Monday, November 27, 2006

Is my boycott working?

MSN Money reports: Stocks plunge after Wal-Mart news. Apparently people bought less at Wal-Mart this month than in the past (vague, I know). I don't really understand economic statistics, but whatever it is, it's bad (for Wal-Mart). Plus, as a result, their stock went down a whole dollar.

As you might not know, but fully expect, I'm boycotting Wal-Mart. It's evil. They treat their employees badly, they're a megalithic monopoly that put smaller companies out of business, and their stores are ugly. I think it's fine to shop there if you need a dress for your sister's wedding, but you're so in debt that you can barely pay your electric bill (in other words, if you really can't afford to shop anywhere else), but I think that those of us who can afford it should shop elsewhere. I know it might be more convenient to stop at Wal-Mart to pick up a roll of film than travel all the way to a grocery store or drugstore or (dare I suggest) a camera store, but is it really worth the convenience in the long run?

People buy groceries at Wal-Mart. I think that by "groceries" they mean Pop Tarts, Pringles, and Pepsi, as opposed to fresh foods. But I'm not sure. Either way, this scares me. If indeed there are fresh foods at Wal-Mart, then are they trying to put real grocery stores out of business? And if not, do people believe they can live (healthily) off the pre-packaged processed snack products that Wal-Mart categorizes as groceries?

I grew up with Target. We went there all the time. That's where I got all my clothes and toys, and occasional housewares. I think we even got a Christmas tree there one year. But now that I'm an adult and I wear out my clothes instead of grow out of them, I can afford to spend a little more on them. It's worth the buck.

(Side note: Did you know that Cambodia is a rare developing south east Asian country in that it actually has anti-sweat-shop practices? They treat their clothing manufacturing workers like human beings. They used to get discounts on trade taxes, but congress didn't re-approve that law when it ran out. Now they're losing business with American clothing companies because other places are cheaper. Bummer.)

Did you know I was such a preacher? Anyway, I don't shop at Wal-Mart. Nor Target. Basically any store scares me if I can't see the back wall from the front door, especially if their big draw is low prices, and the employee uniform consists of a vest. I haven't yet figured out how to avoid Home Depot and Lowes. I can't afford to make a blanket with the yarn at real yarn stores, so I'm stuck with JoAnn Fabrics and Michael's. Sad.

I know that my personal boycott is unlikely to make a significant dent in the Wal-Mart nation, but maybe if enough people start thinking about the consequences of their shopping habits...

A girl can dream, can't she?


  1. Yay!

    I avoid Wal-Mart like the plague; easy to do in the NW and NE, but in the South...people don't know what to say when I tell them I don't shop there. I get a lot of weird looks.

    Target doesn't bother me so much, but I rarely go there. It takes forever to get through large stores with the parking lot and finding things and checkout lines and ALL THE PEOPLE.

  2. I've still never even been in a Wal-Mart, but (*whispers*) we go to Target every now and then because they do have simply everything there and they're so close to our house. We've gotten nice cheap glassware, bookshelves (good quality folding shelves, too) and things like shower curtains from them. Are they especially evil, or only sort of generic-big-company evil?

  3. For me, Target became bad when the one I used to go to turned into a "Greatland" and got lost when I visited. Now, like S, I'm not happy with the largeness and the people and the largeness of the people.

    After a few minutes of superficial research, I have decided that Target isn't nearly as bad as WalMart. So if you have to go to one, pick Target. But you have to pronounce it "Tar-jay".

    Here's my evidence:
    A Google search of "WalMart evil" came up with a ton of things, including an out-dated but informative summary. In addition, the Wikipedia entry on WalMart has a substantial amount of information under "criticism".

    In contrast, the equivalent Google search with Target came up with only a reference to its policy on distribution of Plan B. Also, the Target Wikipedia entry has a shorter list of offenses, but it's still offensive.

    I'm trying to think of a smaller yet inexpensive alternative to these stores for the things you mentioned, M, but I can't. Isn't that sad? (Bed, Bath, and Beyond just isn't sufficient.)