Saturday, January 09, 2010


Wondering About Walmart Haters

One of the reasons cited for hating Walmart is that Walmart destroys local businesses by under cutting prices. While this has not necessarily been my observation, I wonder what the Walmart haters do, if anything, to support local businesses. Or, is it just all about hating Walmart?

This Christmas a Walmart hater I know received (from himself or his equally Walmart hating wife) a Kindle or similar device for downloading and reading books. This will allow him to download books to read while bypassing any trips to the local bookstores. One store my local town no longer has is a bookstore, the last of which departed about 5 years ago.

No wonder, with available with its huge selection and fast delivery.

Amazon and other online retailers provide good prices and fast delivery of nearly any non-perishable product and for many perishables. My family commonly buys nutritional supplements and shoes online. We save lots of money on the supplements and finding a decent selection of size 14 shoes in local stores, even in Cincinnati, is difficult at best. Occasionally, I'll buy some other item which I can't find locally, which isn't uncommon in a small town.

As far as the Walmart haters go, are they making any extra efforts to support their local businesses which Walmart threatens? I see little sign of it from the blogging community. I buy a few items each year from our local Radio Shack affiliate, i.e. a store that carries Radio Shack merchandise but is locally owned and operated. (This owner is particularly savvy and has begun carrying Stihl and Cub Cadet power equipment to diversify is product selection.) I patronize a few other locally owned stores when possible because I like having them available for quickly needed items.

But, Walmart haters buying Kindles and all the other stuff online that they can doesn't show their supposed love of locally owned business. Quite the opposite.

I've always been spoiled to have lived three places (St. Simons Island, Athens, New Orleans) where local businesses are valued very highly.

My question is usually in what county/parish to purchase items (Athens-Clarke or Oconee? Orleans or Jefferson?), not what retailer. I split money between Octavia Street Books and Borders on St. Charles, one to support local business the other to support moving business to Orleans Parish from Jefferson.

Luckily, much of the debate has moved away from what big box retailer you purchase cheap Chinese goods from. Local restaurants, local artists, local produce, local music and local writers are all higher ticket items and end up supporting a dynamic local economy.
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