Monday, August 30, 2010

Top Ten Reasons Why Wal-Mart Isn't the Bad Guy!

Wal-Mart gets a bad rap from the media and the liberal community. They are characterized as an evil greedy company, exploiting workers and ruining American small business. I don't think that's true at all. Here are ten reasons why:

1. Wal-Mart promotes American manufacturing.  If Wal-Mart can find an American supplier, it will use them.
 A friend of mine worked for Wally World and assures me that if Wal-Mart can find an American source for goods they will buy American first. The company has to be able to deliver enough goods at a decent price, of course, but if an American company can do the job, they get first preference. Most companies fall short because they can't deliver the volume Wal-Mart needs.  That's not Wal-Mart's fault.

2.  Wal-Mart creates jobs by making other companies successful.
There have been many energetic American companies that have been able to meet the production requirements for Wal-Mart that have been made very successful thanks to their relationship with Wal-Mart. In addition, those companies create jobs in their communities in manufacturing, an industry that has been steadily shipped overseas in recent decades.

3. Wal-Mart discourages corporate greed.  
It's when supplier companies get greedy and decide to pay executives those 50 million dollar salaries and bonuses and jack up their prices that they lose Wal-Mart as a customer. If you've ever been to Wal-Mart's Bentonville offices, you would see a lean business in action. Offices are modest by corporate standards. They are all about business. Wal-Mart customers aren't paying for plush executive offices.

4. Wal-Mart passes the savings they make in dealing with suppliers along to the customer first. 
The customer gets a good deal because Wal-Mart doesn't waste a lot of money on admin like some companies do. And they do pass the savings to customers like me who would be in tough shape without the downward pressure on prices that Wal-Mart brings when it comes to town. Giving people a lower cost for goods, helps Wal-Marts customers make ends meet. Wal-Mart's competitive prices are a huge benefit to folks on fixed incomes. Local companies who can't match Wal-Mart's prices have to provide better service to their customers in order to compete. Wal-Mart has helped eliminate the nasty tempered store owner who used to act like he didn't care whether you bought something from him or not. Those guys don't survive.

5. Wal-Mart makes money.

Making money is actually a good thing. By its sheer volume of sales, Wal-Mart makes steady dividends for its stockholders. The shareholders are the ones at Wal-Mart that make a profit. It's a steady and fair profit. If you own a lot of shares, like Sam Walton's kids do, it can be a huge profit because the company sells an awful lot of stuff. If you bought those shares a long time ago, you might even be very rich right now.  So why is that a bad thing? There are people who have worked for Wally World for 30 years that bought the company stock options that are offered to ALL employees, even the lowliest front door greeter. Some of these folk never made more than $9 an hour, but are millionaires today because their stock has risen so dramatically in value since they bought it.

6. Wal-Mart restores the corporate ladder.
People are always lamenting that in today's world you can't go to work for a company pushing a broom and work your way up to company president.  Well, Wal-Mart is one of the few American companies left where you can literally start out pushing a broom and wind up in the upper echelons of the company by dint of sheer hard work.  A friend of mine who has a disability, started out working at the changing room desk at our local Wal-Mart Superstore.  Despite having to work from a wheelchair, she wound up in just two years becoming head of their local community relations office doling out thousands of dollars to local charities and community groups. Being in a wheelchair, she could find few other companies that would even consider hiring her.  But Wal-Mart aggressively hires folks with disabilities and gives them a fair shot at advancement. Yes they hire and lay off a lot of seasonal folk and it may take several runs at it before you "stick", but once you're in, if you do your job, you can move up in the company.

7. Wal-Mart gives back to the community. 
The bulk of Wal-Mart's charity goes to small local groups like school bands, the Scouts, church groups and civic organizations. At a time when the Salvation Army is being banned from some storefronts for being too "religious", they are out in front of Wal-Mart every year and make a lot of money there. Wal-Mart's thousand dollar matching grants program may not seem like much to you, but these small donations do a tremendous amount of good to community groups - the kinds the big foundations won't even bother to consider funding because the impact of their project is too "limited". Somehow Wal-Mart has figured out that lots of little grants can have as big an impact as a few big ones.

8. Wal-Mart has created the word's biggest non-taxpayer funded working prescription drug program for the poor.
Wal-Mart's $4 generic drugs program provided the biggest help to the nation's uninsured I've ever seen. With it's extensive and growing list of generic drugs that they offer for $4, Wal-Mart has created a tool to get everything from pain pills, to thyroid medication to psychotropic drugs to patients who need them. I led a local group that was trying to find a way to get psychotropic drugs for mental patients. We couldn't find a single charitable medication program that was giving away or providing low cost prescription meds to the poor that would even consider helping with medications for mental patients. When Wal-Mart came out with their generic list and we found that it included anti-depressants, anti-anxiety meds and other meds for people with mental disorders, we were able to quit looking.  We didn't have anything else to do. Wal-Mart actually sent their med list to local doctors. The doctors have now started prescribing from the Wal-Mart list for their uninsured patients instead of handing out prescriptions for the most expensive medicine available (from the company that gives doctors those trips to Jamaica as incentives for prescribing their product).  Critics do complain that none of the "latest" meds are on the list. Well in my own family's experience, the older meds that Wal-Mart offers for $4 are tried and tested and I don't see those meds being the target of lawsuits like so many of the newer ones.  And they work.  My wife has one expensive newer medication and she's been able to get that one through the "evil" drug company's patient assistance program because she is disabled.  The rest we get for $4 each of a three month supply for $10. Not only that, but other drug stores in the community have lowered prices on their own generic "lists" as well. One grocery store-based pharmacy now advertises $3.99 medicines, cutting Wally World's price by a penny.

9. Despite Internet rumors, Wal-Mart does offer health insurance to its employees.
An older lady I know, who went to work as a greeter at Wal-Mart, was able to have some work done on her bad knee after she went on their insurance program. Don't believe everything you read in some breathless anti-Wal-Mart e-mail your Aunt Matilda sends you.

10. Wal-Mart promotes World Peace!
One last thing that a lot of folks don't think about is Wal-Mart's contribution to the prevention of war. Because we do buy from China so much, it would be foolish of them to attack us. We're their biggest customer. They couldn't afford to damage their trade relations with us.  Wal-Mart isn't the reason China is such a threat to us. What's the biggest threat to our nation's security is the politicians in our government that have sold their votes to China in exchange for campaign contributions!  The truth is, if China were really smart, they'd donate to conservatives.  Capitalism props up their whole system. Without the vast economic engine that is capitalist America, China would collapse of its own weight. If the president and liberal congress succeed in making us a socialist nation, our economy will be destroyed, America will stop buying from China and China will lose the cash cow that makes their communist system viable. What then will prevent them from conquering us and plundering, especially with those same politician dismantling our military deterrent as fast as they can? It may be that Wal-Mart and other American companies like it are almost the only ones out there (besides what's left of our military) on the thin blue line between us and the "commie menace".

So "Viva la Wal-Mart!" is what I say.

I'm just telling you what I think.


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