Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Wal-Mart is America(?)

I finally got around to reading this article that Brad linked about Wal-Mart selling organic food at low prices. Part of me is thrilled at the prospect of being able to feed my family better food. However, my excitement is tempered by the outcome described in the article. It's not unlike the feeling I have when I leave Wal-Mart with bags full of crazy-cheap goods. An avid bargain junky, I'm excited by the deals I got but I have that nagging guilt that I've contributed to something that is hurting society.
I justify my shopping there by insisting that it won't make a bit of difference if I do or don't support Wal-Mart. It is the capitalist machine, it's how America works and all we can really do is try and fight the inevitable troubles as they come.
Once organic is mainstreamed, Wal-Mart won't be the only market for it, as the article seems to suggest. There will suddenly be competition and competition means growth in these parts. Organic farms will have to increase production but so will other major chains have to provide the lower priced organics. The demand will grow and so will the farms.
Unfortunatly, the little guy could get trampled by the bigger companies being able to produce more. I recognize this but I'm not sure there's much to be's the way things work here. I don't know what the answer is but it seems a little too easy to get mad at the big guys for it. They all started somewhere and succeeded by finding ways to give people what they want. If they do it unethically or even illegally, we call them out. It's been done before and Wal-Mart was forced to clean up their image as an employer.
How else can we respond?
Read the article, I'm really interested in what others have to say about this.


  1. This has nothing to do with the article but since you were talking about Walmart...I thought I would say a thing or two...

    I hate Walmart...not for all the good reasons to hate them as a corporation...I just can't stand going into their stores...hate them...crowded, usually a little dirtier than I like, filled with people I don't like who are standing in long lines in front of me...Hate it!

    However, this weekend (in an hour of desperation) we went into the Brownsburg, IN Super-Deluxe 24 Hour Walmart of all Walmarts and were blown away. It was clean, not crowded...the associates were beyond nice and super-helpful...the customers themselves seemed a little more put together and there were no and out in record time with our hour of desperation ending in jubilation. Why can't all Walmarts be like this one?

  2. i'm a big un-fan of walmart too.. which is a big statement coming from such a big cheapskate.

    i think it's weird that america's only viable solution is to fight big with big. why can't we fight big with small? i.e. have our own gardens.

    being in a country with zero walmarts and the best organically grown cucumbers i've ever tasted, i'll have to say that these russians have got some good ideas... everyone has a garden, and little babyshkas grow as much as possible and sell it on the streets to the people who only have time for a small garden. then they can the rest. maybe it sounds primitive. but it sure seems like a good idea to me.

  3. Sounds nice, Kress, it just won't work here.
    And if the nice folks in Brownsburg are wondering why we didn't visit...Jedd was cranky. But really, people were remarkably more friendly everywhere we went.

  4. maybe not on a large scale. but i think it could on a small scale. maybe in some places better than others.