The Walmart Conundrum

Walmart delivers to millions good at affordable prices. Without Walmart, many poor people would not have access to things the rest of us take for granted. Grocery bills would put enourmous pressure on families. Sure, Walmart gets attacked for shutting down mom and pop stores, but to attack Walmart for that, we should also be attacking Ford and GM for putting the blacksmith out of business. It is progress.

As Ford and GM brought high speed transportation to the horse and buggy set, Walmart has brought a vast array of products to the average consumer. While the economy on Main Street might be displaced, the consumer savings generated by the low costs of shopping at Walmart are invested in other areas of the economy.

There is one area in which Walmart does not excel — produce. In Macon, we have three Walmarts. Within about twenty minutes of my parents’ house, there is another Walmart. At all four, the potatoes are smelly, the squash is brown, the lettuce is wilted, the onions smell bad, and the overall selection is poor. I’m not sure why that is. At the Krogers in town, the squash is not always great, but the general selection always has good quality — rarely if ever at any of the Walmarts.

For stores that want to compete, in addtion to the meat department (which Walmart does not have because of union concerns) stores can beef up their vegetable selection. Standing out will help people take notice and the produce selection could be the stone to Walmart’s Goliath.

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Erick Erickson

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