Saturday, July 12, 2008

To all Wal-Mart haters

DB’s recent posts on these topics give me an excuse to write about Wal-Mart. Disclosure (aside from the fact that I have a little Wal-Mart stock): I live about 5 miles from Wal-Mart corporate headquarters. The quality of life and the professional opportunities in my community are attributable in no small part to Wal-Mart. Wal-Mart and Mr. Sam (as the locals called him) helped transform a few sleepy towns into a small metropolitan area with an ever-expanding list of amenities. Yes, I’m conflicted.

Last Monday DB quoted Sam Walton:

Outstanding leaders go out of their way to boost the self-esteem of their personnel. If people believe in themselves, it’s amazing what they can accomplish. - Sam Walton

There are many Mr. Sam stories circulating around which attest to the fact that he believed in people. Here’s one:

Back in the late 80s, when I was a teenager, I worked at a restaurant on the MO-AR stateline called the Stephenson's Cider Mill. At the time, this was one of very few restaurants in the area. Mr. Sam and his family visited many times.

On a busy Friday night, I was elected to be the "bun girl", which meant I would have a basket of hot rolls and would hand them out to customers that wanted one. In a hurry to get hot rolls to our customers, I left one of the dining rooms and started running quickly to the other dining room. (I knew I wasn't supposed to be running in the hall, do teenagers ever listen?) Mr. Sam was coming around the corner at the same time and I ran right into him, almost knocking myself down. Hot rolls flew everywhere! He helped me pick them up, shook my hand and said keep up the good work! He was a wonderful person!

On Wednesday DB praised the Wal-Mart $4 generic drug program and quoted from a Wal-Mart hating web site:

Rep. Pennartz, for her part, expressed concerns for independent pharmacists across the country, who would face serious difficulties matching Wal-Mart’s low price. Independent businesses are certainly struggling to keep up with Wal-Mart’s pricing, but Pennartz’s concerns reveal a larger point: Wal-Mart’s $4 generics are aren’t an answer to America’s health care problems, they’re a way for Wal-Mart to make more money. Whether that means luring in Medicaid recipients who need cheaper drugs, getting employees to use the company pharmacies for their prescriptions or driving out competing pharmacies, Wal-Mart is only looking out for one thing: itself.

Catch the logic: The company benefits from the program, so it doesn’t matter that it helps patients.

So, Wal-Mart haters of the world, lighten up and watch this vid. It’s pretty funny.

1 comment:

Clinton said...

Just as long as Wal*Mart doesn't fulfill its role in the dystopian vision of Buy N Large ala Wall-E...