Thursday, June 29, 2006

Welcome to Wal-Mart

At the beginning of the week, I started to read an exchange of views on the evils and benefits Wal-Mart. It began as a proimising debate between free-market principles and corporate responsibility, but has degenerated into whining about a lack of appropriate welfare - both from coporations and the government.

You know, I've never really believed much in the liberal media bias, but this article sure makes me wonder. This isn't a discussion of opposing viewpoints, this is a Marxist and a Leninist squabbling over how best to redistribute my earnings to the physically-, mentally-, whatever-challenged army of Wal-Mart greeters. Thanks, but no thanks.

Here's the best way to solve the "Is Wal-Mart Good For America?" debate: SHUT UP. Just keep driving past the teeming masses in front of each Wal-Mart, jostling for parking spaces, and wait until the free market sorts it out. As usual, by the time the "intellectual" debate rages at its highest, the market has just about solved the problem already.

If, in fact, as Barbara Leninreich claims, that the employees are so poorly paid that they can't afford to buy the $7 polo shirts their employer sells...if Wal-Mart employees are such a large part of the target demographic of sales that their poverty will actually hurt Wal-Mart's business more than raising wages would (circular logic, anyone?), then Wal-Mart will adapt or die. Problem solved!

Certainly, something is going on. Wal-Mart isn't rebranding their stores across the country, trying desperately to recapture the higher-end shopper that has defected to Target, because they hope to pay their employees, they're doing it because their stock price hasn't moved up in seven years, because their same-store sale increases have dropped precipitously.

So as Wal-Mart starts to upgrade its product (ie: stop forcing its suppliers to sacrifice quality for price) they will need to upgrade their sales force as well to attract the high-end shopper.

Free market trumps corporate responsibility...again.


Post a Comment

<< Home