WALMART: THE HIGH COST OF LOW PRICE OR A GREAT AMERICAN RETAILER LOVED BY MILLIONS?
February 09, 2011
There is a brisk public debate underway as of this date (2/11/11) about whether Walmart should be allowed to build a big 155,000 square foot store just a few hundred feet from U.S. Highway 2 at the Kelsey Street shopping area in Monroe.
A still from the movie "Walmart: The High Cost Of Low Price".
Many in the community fear a huge traffic nightmare should that store be allowed to go in there. Others do not care for Walmart’s reputation as a killer of “Main Street” businesses or the way it has allegedly treated its suppliers and employees in the past, according to various reports.
Still others do not think that a huge Walmart store – and all the mental image baggage it brings to a community – is the best image for the city’s future that the city council could come up with.
Still others feel they were lied to by the Monroe City council over the controversial Sabey-Walmart land deal.
Some folks just don’t want Walmart for all of the above reasons and perhaps more, such as Walmart’s notorious anti-union position. Past employees have told of being “forced to watch” an anti-union “propaganda” film when they started working for the company.
Others don’t like the company for it’s reputation as a “McJobs” type employer -- low pay, not enough hours, few if any benefits.
Others want a Walmart in town, citing low prices that the store offers. Some believe a Walmart store will increase the business for surrounding areas businesses, will bring more businesses to the city and will increase the revenue situation for the city.
Many in the anti-Walmart camp have advised people who don’t know much about Walmart’s past – and the effects the company has had on long time Main Street businesses – to watch perhaps the definitive 2005 move that sparked the Walmart backlash across America called “WalMart: The High Cost Of Low Price,” produced by Brave New Films.
The producers describe the film this way:
"Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price is the documentary film sensation that's changing the largest company on earth. The film features the deeply personal stories and everyday lives of families and communities struggling to survive in a Wal-Mart world. It's an emotional journey that will challenge the way you think, feel... and shop.
Released simultaneously in theaters and DVD in November 2005, the film has been seen by millions worldwide. Families, churches, schools, and small business owners have screened the film over 10,000 times and the world is taking notice. See the film, share it, and become part of the movement forcing companies to act responsibly.”
For someone who has no clue as to what all the fuss over Walmart is about, this film is perhaps as good a place to start as any for the simple reason that the film takes a deep, penetrating investigative look at Walmart that the talking-head TV journalists failed to take the time to do in 2005.
And we are generally of the thought that people should support the work of documentary film makers whenever possible, so you can purchase the DVD here http://www.walmartmovie.com/
You can also purchase the paperback book of the same name there and other books by other authors critical of how Walmart does business.
However knowing full well that 98% of the American public would not be caught dead actually buying a documentary movie, we submit the following link HERE (even though we hate doing this) where the film can be viewed in it’s entirety on the Internet.
Brave New Films – described by Wikipedia as “A media company founded by liberal filmmaker Robert Greenwald which produces socially "progressive" documentaries and viral videos – has produced many “viral videos” that hit it big on the Internet.
Wikipedia cites Brave New films as “as an example of the growing influence the Internet is having in American politics. As of October 2008, Brave New Films has produced as many as 300 videos, which have accumulated millions of views on sites such as YouTube.
But the reason Greenwald’s work is important and should at least be examined in a cursory fashion is not because he “socially progressive” or the second coming of what’s right and what’s wrong about this-and-that, but because his work is a glaring reminder of the type of in-depth reporting that American journalists used to be allowed to do – and used to be aired on the nation’s airwaves – before the massive and near total corporate consolidation of media.
The fact that a Brave New Films can even exist in today’s media world speaks volumes about the failures of American journalism as a whole -- for if it were doing it’s job, Greenwald would not be able to get arrested.
He wouldn't even be a blip on the media landscape.
What he did was simply fill a huge hole that was left after America’s journalists either went to sleep, got stupid and forgot how to do this type of reporting or were stopped from doing this type of reporting or all of the above.
There is some info on Greenwald and his skunk works HERE
MILLIONS SUPPORT WALMART
On the flip side, millions of people vote with their pocketbooks every day in support of Walmart and they write letters to editors and post things on the Internet in support of their favorite store.
So as you are viewing Greenwald’s film, you should also view this film here HERE called “Dear Walmart” that shares letters from customers of Walmart who tell of how much they love and appreciate Walmart’s presence in America’s retail landscape.
Such as this note from Walmart customer Catherine Lavallee:
“I went to a small grocery store yesterday and ended up walking out because everything was almost 50% more expensive than Walmart for the exact same things. When my husband supports a family of 5 on one income, we NEED WalMart. I ♥ WalMart.”
Or these words from customer Joann D'Alessandro:
“I love WalMart. I have three in my immediate area, and the employees fall all over themselves to be helpful at each and every one. My only wish... when I lived in South Florida, the WalMarts were 24-hour stores; here on Long Island, there are none. Working a 4-12 shift, I can't tell you how great it was to be able to get my shopping done after work, when the store was less quiet and I had a little extra energy.”
Make no mistake about it. There are millions of Americans who love and support Walmart
You can learn more about Walmart in Walmart’s own words at it’s website located HERE http://walmartstores.com/