Sunday, August 15, 2010

Walmart vs. Target

Just click on the Wal*Mart label at the end of this post to read what I've written about Wal*Mart; if not, I'll summarize here:

I shop at Wal*Mart because it's cheap. I don't hate Wal*Mart just because they're a successful corporation. I'm not "loyal" to Wal*Mart; if another store offered me similar prices with more convenience, or lower prices, I'd switch in a heartbeat. I don't understand the anti-Wal*Mart hysteria that's out there.

Having said that, I've spent significantly less at Walmart this year, since they implemented the "no bag" policy (I've covered that topic in other posts), and concurrently became reacquainted with the joy of Safeway for certain types of products.

So how should I react to this?

Everyday low prices just got a little higher. A JPMorgan Chase study of a Virginia Walmart (hey, it's a big store, you gotta just pick one to do a decent survey of its inventory) found that in the past six weeks the retailer raised prices on overage of 6%, but on some products, as high as 60%.

My liberal friends have a standard, Journolist-unison-style answer: Target! Well, how should we react to this?

Protesters have been rallying outside Target Corp. or its stores almost daily since the retailer angered gay rights supporters and progressives by giving money to help a conservative Republican gubernatorial candidate in Minnesota. Liberal groups are pushing to make an example of the company, hoping its woes will deter other businesses from putting their corporate funds into elections.

A national gay rights group is negotiating with Target officials, demanding that the firm balance the scale by making comparable donations to benefit candidates it favors. Meanwhile, the controversy is threatening to complicate Target's business plans in other urban markets. Several city officials in San Francisco, one of the cities where Target hopes to expand, have begun criticizing the company.

I'm serious when I ask this: must everything be political?


Curmudgeon said...

Actually, I think the answer is "Yes, it's political." In a recent ruling, corporations recently won the right to make political donations as freedom of speech. Why should the company get a pass on that? If they want to support a cause, they should be able to do so and should be willing to stand up for that belief in the court of public opinion just as you do. If they aren't willing to stand by their words, they shouldn't make the donation.

Freedom of speech does not mean freedom from criticism for making that speech.

MikeAT said...

To answer your question: For certain people, yes.
Most people don’t care if the owner of Target supports Prop 8.

I’m a stockholder in Wal-Mart and I didn’t care Sam Walton supported Bubba in 1992. However, to certain people who like to control other’s lives issues like this are critical. They are called leftist.

I wish we could live and let live but I don’t see that happening.

Anonymous said...

@MikeAT, but for the people who are affected by the passage of Prop 8, you must admit that it matters to them, right? Walton supporting Clinton didn't take anything away from you per se like Prop 8 did to all committed gays and lesbians in California.

Darren said...

As a conservative, I'm forced to wonder why anyone, *especially* gays and lesbians, would seek out the approval of a government for their relationship. What do they think the State of California confers that their love does not--legitimacy? I don't think California can offer anyone that.

Ellen K said...

We had a family wedding this weekend. I bought stuff at Walmart because it was cheap and this was a very casual wedding. To avoid offending our California radical inlaws, my husband felt that he needed to put the Walmart products in bags that didn't have the Walmart name on them. I was outraged and said it was ridiculous for people to get offended by a store for being successful. He's normally quite logical, but when it comes to riling up his sister, he backs down. I chose to just shut up. Everything shouldn't be political.