Blogs » On Another Note » The High Cost Of Low Price


When I was younger, I had this plan to take over the world. It was pretty genius for an eight year old (I schemed probably until I was 10) I got myself one of those little maps of the world, and push pinned all the places I would run for election (politics first, then force). The plan was to take over all the little places first, then work my way up to the super powers, then unify them under my one flag. I figured if I started young by writing to overseas politicians, by the time I was able to be president of the U.S. (politics or force) I’d be into my thirties…. I was going to take over small countries the way Wal-Mart takes over small towns…

There’s a new documentary that came out today I can’t wait to see. It’s called “Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price”. It’s directed by veteran documentary director Robert Greenwald. Reading about it, it seems he took a great approach to the film by focusing on hard working America, and not the usual spin doctors and high priced PR men huge world dominating companies we all know they have.
Hey, we all know that we get a little disgruntled with where we work sometimes. That’s why we call it “work”. But I got to tell you, I feel a little something more for the poor workers of Wal-Mart. I mean, we all know that the huge store chain is an unstoppable behemoth bent on crushing all competition in it’s wake. That includes hard working small businesses and mom and pop operations. We know that Wal-Mart is intent on crushing music artists with their edited CD’s and want to put their happy smiley face logo everywhere. We know that Wal-Mart uses a unique type of product placement throughout their stores that makes people buy items they didn’t even know they needed…. But we never really thought about how they treat their employees. The documentary focuses on Wal-Mart’s high priced insurance program to anti union activities, complete with undercover videos, surveillance cameras and other plot twists directed towards it’s own employees, it’s no wonder many employees were told not to watch it or talk about it to each other.
Of course, there is another documentary coming out as a rebuttal. Directed by Ron and Robert Galloway, it is so far titled “Why Wal-Mart Works and Why That Drives Some People Crazy”. Wal-Mart insists that they did not provide financial backing for the film, but they are supporting it immensely. (Hey, anything for damage control, eh?)
It would be simple to say, let’s all boycott Wal-Mart, as a matter of fact, I’ve said it myself, but it didn’t take. I mean, let’s face it, I got a bank in there, Star Wars toys are pretty cheap, and they have a reasonably priced oil change program going on. If I truly cared about my time, I could get a haircut, my eyes checked, some cheap shoes, dog food, and even stop off for a Big Mac. Plus let’s not forget Wal-Mart’s almighty low prices, it’s our own greed that fuels the machine, and we lose stores and businesses that have been around for generations because we would rather save a buck and some change on a few things. I’m guilty, you’re guilty, If you say you never bought something from Wal-Mart, you’d probably be lying.
So what do we do? Well watching the documentary would be a start. Heck, watch both for all I care, I’d pay attention to the one that focuses on middle class working America though, and not the one that interviews slick CEO’s and PR men. Becoming aware of the problem helps. Buying things like CD’s from stores that offer you a choice of edited and non edited CD’s helps too, getting a haircut at a real shop, prescriptions from a pharmacy, and food from a market… Well, let’s be honest that’s a personal decision, but as Victorians the city seems to have this nasty little habit of going to the biggest, best and newest places. That is why you can’t get in a new restaurant for a month, or a new store. I mean seriously, is the coffee at Hasting’s THAT good? (it isn’t but hooray for the expanded book section) Or are we just trying to be the ones where the action is at? Wal-Mart understands you and your cravings for bigger, better, and reasonably priced. And if we don’t stop what we’re doing, we could be pledging to the United States of Wal-Mart before too long.

Maybe I should sue them for stealing my world domination plan.