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Conis
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 06, 2006 8:23 am    Post subject: Ghetto Mart Reply with quote

Short Video (55 seconds) that sums it up.
http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=7134965419792192673&pl=true
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doug miller
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 06, 2006 12:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sounds like the start of another potentially controversial discussion! I didn't view the video yet but is it, by any chance, about Walmart?
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 06, 2006 12:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I would say its more like a summary of past discussions. It is supposed to be humerous? They don't come right out and say "walmart".... It doesn't require much imagination.


The video is worth a look else I wouldn't have posted it.
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doug miller
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 06, 2006 3:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree that the video is funny, and I think the point it makes about conservation (which is the forum area we are in, after all!) is a good one. I would much rather see companies build their stores on land that was already being used for commercial or industrial purposes, and not see them rip into natural areas. Not only that, I can remember being saddened when they tore down Kenvilles Restaurant and some other buildings, and then covered that large area in the center of Mackinac City with that faux-quaint group of stores. I sometimes think even those flourescent colored signs on the south end of the town are more authentic than those new stores. But having said that, I must confess to going there to eat at Scalawags and take my son to the souvenir shoppes. Times change, people change, so I guess stores are gonna change too. C'est la vie.

But concerning what is clearly an attack on Walmart, I think the makers of that video are shooting at the wrong target. Walmart is successful because the American people have, as people in democracies do, chosen to buy their stuff there. Good or bad, the people have voted for Walmart with their dollar bills and their feet. And my guess is, as long as you can get a half gallon of Breyer's ice cream at Walmart for, say $3.50, lots of people are gonna choose not to pay $6.29 at the store down the street.

Reminds me of a couple things: First, there used to be a bagel shop in East Lansing called the Bagel Fragel. It was around a long time, but eventually, after a Brueggers bagel chain store opened in East Lansing, Bagel Fragel eventually closed. I recall some mourning of the store's passing, and I was kind of sad myself to see it--and the cinnamony sweet fragels they made so well, go. But I also remember another part of the story that didn't get as much play in the local media. My wife went into Bagel Fragel several times in the last year or so it was in business. She noticed that the place was always a mess. She also noticed that the store didn't enforce the no smoking section--so that even waiting to buy bagels a non-smoker might stand in a cloud of smoke. And lots of people, smokers and non-smokers alike, just don't want to subject themselves to that. In short, the store's management and quality control were almost nonexistent, and the shoppers once again voted with their money and their feet.

Another store that, in some circles, has a reputation for having spread like the plague, is Starbucks. And say what you will about it, as one who loves a good, strong cup of coffee or espresso, and who has spent a fair amount of money in Starbucks as well as lots of little privately owned coffee shops, I think Starbucks makes a great product. And some--in fact, most, of those other places charge about the same amount for what is, to put it bluntly, a bitter swill. In short, I think Starbucks is successful in part because they focus on quality control and they do what they do well.

In short, I think a business that tries to sell people what it thinks is good from them instead of what its customers want is a business that is not long for this (or any other) world. There may be reasons not to like Walmart. But I don't think we should blame the company for selling people what they want.
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 06, 2006 3:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I remember Bagel Fragel from my brief tenure in East Lansing...

And I agree regarding the WalMarts of the world. Can't blame them for their success and growth. Years ago, when Home Depot came to town in my neck of the woods, I remember reading a letter to the editor from a local mom & pop hardware store. The summary was basically "Woe is us; this big monster is going to run us out of business." And it did.

I love the little hardware stores. My granddad ran the town hardware for decades in his hometown, and I wish I could've been there. But as a homeowner, it frustrated the h*ll out of me every time I needed a 1/4-20 bolt and it was after 5:30pm, or - worse yet - on a Sunday, and the mom & pop hardware was CLOSED. The local hardware (the one that complained about Home Depot coming to town) was only open until 5 or 5:30 during the week, and 9-1 on Saturday. It doesn't take much to figure out that most hardware needs occur on evenings and weekends. When I needed something, Home Depot was open, and mom & pop's store wasn't.

There's a local, family-run hardware store near where we live now. It is open at all kinds of crazy hours - very late, Sundays, etc., and we give them a lot of business as a result. Of course, their prices are substantially higher than the big guys (Home Depot/Lowe's), but you can't beat the convenience. I'll pay an extra few bucks for that, rather than drive 10 more miles and wade through the huge warehouse store to find one item. They found the key is to be open when they are needed, and it works for them. Sunday night at 7pm, their parking lot is full. Sometimes, mom & pop CAN beat the big stores, if they apply good business sense...!

Dan
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Rich
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 06, 2006 4:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wal-Mart is a small town killer. It destroys small businesses in exchange for $7-$9 hr. jobs. The savings are not that great, certainly not worth changing the dynamics of your hometown.
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 06, 2006 4:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dan:

Although my wife and I regularly go to Meijer to buy food, we also do a lot of our food shopping at Goodrich Shoprite, a store that is smaller and a little more expensive, but that is close, convenient, and most importantly, has a great wine selection, a good meat department, a lot of interesting and even exotic foods, fresh baked goods, a good selection of rental videos, and, generally, knows its market niche and fills it very well. It seems to be thriving, even with tje Meijers and Sam's Clubs and Aldi's, etc. Like the hardware store you mentioned, it knows what it customers want and caters to them. I think it quite possible that some of the smaller stores going out of business are doing so because they either don't know how or simply won't give their customers what they want and need (like the right plumbing part at 2 in the morning!)
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 06, 2006 5:09 pm    Post subject: WALLY WORLD et al Reply with quote

I thought that video clip would generate a response...

I am as guilty as any. I shop at Meijer, Wally World, HD, Lowes. I also try to support my local lumberyard and hardware which in many cases are $$competitive, have better service and far enough from the big box stores that they can compete. (CAN being the operative word)

The Joni Mitchell tune ca 1972 or so: "you don't know what you've got 'till it's gone... pave paradise and put up a parking lot..." Is more the way I took it. More of a tongue in cheek visual-parallel to that song about urban sprawl? More valid now than then, 30+ years later?

Walmart aka "Wally World" simply being the largest and most likely target. They are like the company store. They pretty well decide where they are going to plant one, and when. Being a small town business wrecker is a no-brainer, and it extends well beyond local impact. If it wasnt Wally it would be some other mega business with a different name? There is no doubt they exist and thrive... because they can. Plug "Nestle Ice Mountain" in place of walmart for the same environmental impact/damage. They get to make up the rules as they go along, also for obvious reasons.

And then they sell it back as? This can drift off into politics and trade offs and all sorts of side discussions about "value".

you don't know what you've got 'till it's gone... pave paradise and put up a parking lot.. and "If you build it, they will come".

The frogs can go croak elsewhere. Who need's em when you can look forward to "price rollbacks". "rollin' rollin' rollin'... keep them dozers rollin..."

C
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 07, 2006 8:16 am    Post subject: Wally World Reply with quote

I too shop at Wally World a lot because the prices for the most part are cheaper. Where I shop in Florida that is the main store in the area so who wants to drive 45 miles just to find other stores. Also when we're on the island and go to town to shop there is another case where there isn't too many places to shop.

I can remember, not that I'm trying to show my age, when the Kresge stores came into the cities...it did the same thing as Walmart is doing now...guess this is progress.

So for the most part, I guess you can shop where you want as long as you have they product you want at the price you're willing to pay. This is America....Land of the Free.
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doug miller
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 07, 2006 10:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I remember Kresge and Woolworths and Grants and--what's the name of that big, old Department store that went out of business? For that matter, who would have thought GM would be in the desperate shape it is today?

Anyway, 25 or 30 years ago people might have been surprised to see those old dinosaurs die off. But things change and one day it may be Walmart's turn, for good or bad.

It reminds me of something I read this week by Peggy Noonan:

"It has been a week of movement, of comings and goings that have reminded me of the wisdom of a friend, a businessman. He told me, a decade or so ago, that it is important to remember, especially when you have a problem or a particular challenge, that life is not a painting. Life is not static; it moves. In a painting of a room, say, everything is set in one position forever. But in life the curtains move with the breeze, people enter the room, and leave it. So whatever problem you're facing, realize that life one way or another will change it to one degree or another, and at whatever speed.

This is the kind of advice that goes under the heading, "Man needs more to be reminded than instructed." It reminded me then, and I'm thinking of it this week."

Fortunately, things on our island seem to change much slower than out there in the world at large. Maybe because I am becoming a bit of a dinosaur myself, I hope it stays that way. But a new generation is coming . . .
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 07, 2006 1:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Although I do some shopping at Walmart most is done locally.. We live so far out locally is more convienient anyway.. I go to the big box stores for bulk and Christmas.. Smile Remember the ole Made in the USA.. People are only as loyal as their pocketbooks let them be.. Too bad, because it's come to this.. Got this in my email today........

Joe Smith started the day early having set his alarm
clock (MADE IN JAPAN) for 6am. While his coffeepot
(MADE IN CHINA) was perking, he shaved with his
electric razor (MADE IN HONG KONG). He put on a dress
shirt (MADE IN SRI LANKA), designer jeans (MADE IN
SINGAPORE) and tennis shoes (MADE IN KOREA). After
cooking his breakfast in his new electric skillet
(MADE IN INDIA) he sat down with his calculator (MADE
IN MEXICO) to see how much he could spend today. After
setting his watch (MADE IN TAIWAN) to the radio (MADE
IN INDIA) he got in his car (MADE IN GERMANY) filled
it with GAS from Saudi Arabia and continued his search
for a good paying AMERICAN JOB. At the end of yet
another discouraging and fruitless day checking his
Computer (Made In Malaysia), Joe decided to relax for
a while. He put on his sandals (MADE IN BRAZIL) poured
himself a glass of wine (MADE IN FRANCE) and turned on
his TV (MADE IN INDONESIA), and then wondered why he
can't find a good paying job in.AMERICA......

Buy American Very Happy
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 07, 2006 3:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Susie, That about sums it up. It goes beyond even that.

I am going to briefly sucker in to the Wally World discussion.

If low cost products are better than high cost products, then be satisfied with low quality and no service or support as a bonus.

I am resisting the temptation to write a Treatise on Cabela's which is essentially the Walmart of Sporting goods. And a long treatise it would be having been on both sides of the fence with them in my previous business.

Heres the short version:

How are small businesses supposed to compete with Wally when Wally is selling at retail, below small business wholesale costs. Answer: CANT.

How are vendors supposed to turn a profit when they are dealing with a mega merchandising monopoly which is holding them hostage? They pit vendors against one another and force them to build overseas. So, it isn't about who can build the best product, but who can build the least crappy product the fastest. Whichever vendor can do this, wins.

Made in the USA is a tough sell these days. High wages, unions, safety regulations, pensions= OVERHEAD. So as I heard it put, "hey... 15 cents and hour can add up if your working 80-90 hours a week! Hi Ho, Hi Ho, its off to Taiwan this product goes..."

And when you step up to the counter and ask some gum chewing bozo getting paid $7.00 hr (part time) to explain the differences between product A, B and C so you can make a decision... What you will get is a Idunno and blank stare. You are limited to two questions: A: "Which do you sell the most of"? B "which is the cheapest"?. If bozo knows or cares.

I didn't post the video to whip up a Walmart sucks or not controversy. They just got to be the lucky target, deserving or not. It is about the mentality of it all. Is this what we really want? Or is this what we have been brainwashed by marketing, to think we really want? And this is what we are gonna get, like it or not, ready or not. Part of the scenery "down on the slab".

Quote:
... and I think the point it makes about conservation (which is the forum area we are in, after all!) is a good one. I would much rather see companies build their stores on land that was already being used for commercial or industrial purposes, and not see them rip into natural areas.


Every place that is a "commercial area" be it a parking lot, factory, Walmart or some part of an urban area was once a "natural area", slowly but surely losing ground to development and commerce. To the point "natural areas" which remain are not natural at all, but groomed parks standing as islands in a sea of pavement.

"I think that I shall never see, a Wally as beautiful as a Tree" (except in the garden department?)

To me, the clip was about values, urban mentality, development and conservation. Wally is totally superflous to the point.

C

Last thought: Look at what Wally has done to downtown Cheboygan.
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 07, 2006 4:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It would be nice to see a law passed that would make vendors sell to all retailers at the same price regardless of size. This would help eliminate the building of monopolies in this country. (I liked Cheboygan better before Wal-mart)
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 07, 2006 6:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
what's the name of that big, old Department store that went out of business?
J.L Hudsons, Montgomery Wards? I think Wally took em out?

One of the things about capitalism, which makes it work, is competition. This is where things have gotten so totally screwed up. Small business cannot buy and compete against Wally. USA built products cannot compete with foreign built products. The only competiton left is between vendors and they are getting thinned out pretty good.

A few random thoughts:

I read somewhere that Wally was in the top 5 largest importers in the US?

If GM and FORD were selling cars to Wally, they would be built by Hyundai and Yugo. Yugo would win the contract being cheapest.

Was it Husky or Schwinn (bicycles) that took on a huge Wally contract and either went under or came close to it because the margins were so slim on this huge quantity that they had no resources left to build good bikes that were worth building and were profitable. Wally Crap made in the USA.

Home Depot came into this area in 1997 and immediately put 8 small lumber yards right out of business. I still trade at the local yard in Blanchard. First name basis, all about service and I can buy better quality lumber there at a lower price, than at HD... Tools and some other things. I go to HD. Why not. Same price as Wally

When we rebuilt in 97 (fire), I tried to do all business locally. Went to the local plumbing supply house for two toilets. Got the price. Checked at HD. Like 35% lower for the exact same thing. Back to Plumbing supply with HD price and "what can you do? I am trying to give you my business" He looks it up. HDs retail was $1.00 above his 50 pc wholesale cost. Being the moron I am, I bought the two toilets from the Plumbing supply for the extra $15 each. WHY? For the service and support. Free delivery. I need something and if they don't have it they get it fast and either call or just bring it... even it it is one pipe fitting. They actually care about their customers because they have earned them.

I could go on and on and on about why some small business have survived and others not. Proximity has a lot to do with it. I would prefer to keep the money at home and trade locally even if the prices are a little higher.

In doing this, I am investing in my community, part of the foundation is the local businesses.

I must be old school. Wally makes me nuts. 10-15 years ago Kmart was top dog, at least before Wally and Meijer moved in. Walk into the local K mart and there are like 6 customers and three employees. I don't know how they stay in business... or why bother?

I, too, remember all the small town franchised outlets: Kresge, Woolworth, Grants and non franchised independant hardware stores, and IGA and A&P ($20 bucks worth of groceries and get a free dinner plate). And Leonard gas and Mobile and Red Rose. All sucked up in the mega merchandising vortex.

The only financial force I know that can suck up Wally would be China. So we got that to look forward to if we aren't there already.

C
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 07, 2006 8:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The bicycle manufacturer was Huffy. It's one and only plant at the time was in Celina, Ohio. I worked there at the time. I remember being at the meeting when the corporate CEO came up from Dayton to address all workers on each shift. He started the address by congratulating us on five straight record setting quarters for profit, then told us that it wasn't enough and that the company wanted a 20% cut in our wage/benefit package for the next contract. We ended up settling for a quarter, that's 25 cents, for our raise for the next three years. That's NOT 25 cents per year, it was like ten cents for the first year, ten cents the second year, and a nickel for the third year. I was fortunate enough to find a new line of work soon after that, but many were not. About a year later, the contract was reopened and the workers took a $3 + / hour cut plus lost almost all of their health care.

WalMart, along with corporate greed, helped pedal Huffy right out of Ohio. They then reopened a plant in Alabama, (I think), with even LOWER labor costs. It wasn't long, though, before they moved their entire operation to China. At least they quit using the American Flag on the front of every bicycle.
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 07, 2006 9:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, I'm sorry I helped to derail this post. No WalMarts are coming to BBI anytime soon. And when they do, I'll still buy everything at Hawk's. Take that, corporate big shots! Very Happy

d.
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 08, 2006 8:09 am    Post subject: Ghetto Mart Reply with quote

Dan.... so you will still shop at Hawk's if Walmart was ever to come to Boblo......well don't think you'll have to ever worry about that unless we have a ton of progress in the next few years. Just think what would happen if they pave the road in certain sections like a few want. I would be afraid to guess how many more problems we would have there including a possibility of new businesses coming over. Progress is already starting to show on the island since I moved there in 1991.....where oh where did the serene island go....I hate to think of what the future will bring next. Guess some of us will have to move to Round Island to get the peace and quiet we once knew.... Smile
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Conis
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 08, 2006 10:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Last I heard there was a Super Wally coming to round island. When they have it built, they are paving whats left and building a bridge to Mac island.

Now this might sound weird coming from Conis.

In walmarts defense:

It isn't hard to understand what the Wally appeal is:

    *Reasonable prices.
    *Everything under one roof. If they don't have it, you don't need it. Not going to ten stores for ten different things (gas conservation).
    *Good selection of similar products across a price range.
    * The shelves are always stocked... none of this "we ran out and won't have more until next month".


How many Wally semi trucks do you see on the highway? I see plenty.

Walmart has one of the most sophisticated, global, integrated and efficient distribution systems in the world: All enabled by computer from front to back. Do you know that wally doesn't maintain massive warehouses? Their semis moving products, are the "warehouse" 24/7/365. They have distribution hubs which are almost totally automated.

By use of UPC bar codes, inventory is monitored (check out=output) all the way back to the point of origin. Inventory is ordered, diverted, allocated and generally distributed by a computer driven inventory control network which is global. To make an analogy: It is kind of like a pipeline or massive plumbing system which is always full with no resevoir holding tanks (warehouses). 100% computer controlled. I assume these "smart" control systems also make decisions on reordering from vendors and when to ship what to which store on a low inventory threshold basis.

A friend and business associate explaned this to me in extrordinary detail. Automated inventory control systems are what he designs and implements. His clients range from Steelcase (office furniture) to some "duck factory" (that raises and 250k ducks annual and distributes duck meat nationally). Pretty amazing stuff. All inventory tracking and dispersal via computers and bar codes.

UPS is another example; They know where any package is from pickup to delivery at any time of the day.

With all this comes the point of why small business's have trouble competing with Wally. They don't have this efficiency. The higher the volume, the more efficient Wally becomes.

The mom and pop grocery keeps a clipboard. The get low or run out of something? They fax their order to a distributor, Not automatic. It is inefficient and all translates to added expense and higher markups.

My friends, this is a different age we live it. (ENTER)

C
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DawnM
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 08, 2006 10:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I grew up going to K-Mart and still do. The one in Acme is nice, it's never really busy and the store is well kept.
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 08, 2006 11:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dawn and Tim wrote:
I grew up going to K-Mart and still do. The one in Acme is nice, it's never really busy and the store is well kept.


For years, Kmart was the only show in town (Mount Pleasant).

Meijers moved in first, then Walmart, then Target + many other "biggies". Meijers and Wally have both doubled their size in a "duke out"

They took 90% of Kmarts business. The parking lot is empty, the store is emptier, the mini strip mall KM is in is bleeding bad. Wally is at the south end of town and Meijer at the North. KM in between a rock and a hard spot. I don't know how they stay in business. I saw the exact same thing happen in Big Rapids and Cheboygan for that matter.

Here is Kresge and Walgreen how many years later? I guess there will always be winners and losers. Kroger whooped A&P which whooped IGA?

Question: Why do you think the Acme K mart has been able to survive when others have been closed or are close to that point? Location?Just curious.

C
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 08, 2006 12:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

K-Mart is the only place in Acme to go, it's just simply convenience. There is a Meijer, Walmart and Target on the west side of Traverse City, but if you live on the east side like I do, there is no way I'm fighting traffic and a 30 minute drive to get there. K-Mart is also across the street from the Grand Traverse Resort. Acme is a nice little area and not as busy as TC. Meijer is trying to build on M-72 but Acme township has a master plan with very specific plans on allowable growth. Eventually it will be built but for quick in and out trips I will still choose K-Mart
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 08, 2006 3:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wal-mart has $0.00 invested in all of that stock you see on the shelves.
Vendors get paid via electronic transfer when the item is scanned at the register. It's easy to stay stocked when you have no investment and your vendors know that if you run out they will be gone. Try getting that deal if you are not Wal-mart or mafia. What a brilliant way to pass the burden of product theft to the next guy. Remember the kid in school who used to take everyone's lunch money? He's grown up and doing real well in retail.
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 08, 2006 3:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wink Wink Why is everyone so uptight about Wally World and others ? Businesses have always thrived on OPM long before Sam Walton.. and always will.. JUST REMEMBER.. they are only doing what WE the Customers have demanded.. Lower prices.. Lesson to be learned.. be Careful of what you wish for.. IT might just happen....
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 08, 2006 4:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Personally, I have no problem with WalMart especially the Super Store. One stop shopping, not like Meijer's. Meijer's at one time use to advertise "One Stop Shopping." Not any more. The only KMart here is across town and not going that far. Waste of precious gas. Lots of people working at WalMart. thumbs_up! for that!
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Conis
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Joined: 15 Jan 2004
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 08, 2006 10:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Uncle Steve wrote:
Wink Wink Why is everyone so uptight about Wally World and others ? Businesses have always thrived on OPM long before Sam Walton.. and always will.. JUST REMEMBER.. they are only doing what WE the Customers have demanded.. Lower prices.. Lesson to be learned.. be Careful of what you wish for.. IT might just happen....


Yo Steve??? This is 2006. People will buy anything if they are told they need it and it is cheap. Capitalism depends on competition? If customers want lower prices and are satisfied with crap imported products, go for it. Pitch this to some chump working for $7.00 hr part time/no benefits, because he can't find a better job and see what response you get back? Consumers just buy the crap with no idea of how it gets on the shelves or where it comes from or the long term repercussions of low dollar indifference. Exactly why Wally merchandising survives and thrives. And sell, it does, to the demise of jobs, manufacturing and competition based from the USA.

This isn't some liberal manifesto. This is about how something that once worked well and founded our country has been twisted and dominated and screwed up to the point of "normal" and accepted as "big business".

Quote:
Wal-mart has $0.00 invested in all of that stock you see on the shelves. Vendors get paid via electronic transfer when the item is scanned at the register. It's easy to stay stocked when you have no investment and your vendors know that if you run out they will be gone. Try getting that deal if you are not Wal-mart or mafia. What a brilliant way to pass the burden of product theft to the next guy. Remember the kid in school who used to take everyone's lunch money? He's grown up and doing real well in retail.


You got that right. The vendors own the inventory sitting on the shelves until it gets bought. And beyond they they pay stocking fees which is rent on the shelves just to keep it there. Win-Win for wally, a long shot for vendors killing each other to stay alive. If Wally can't sell it, vendors can run in the red by having inventory there in the first place.

We went through this with Cabelas (same merchandising tactics) and distributors. Bottom line was shove it. Did way better dealing with independent dealers on a 1-1 personal basis as we did both before and after Cabelas. Customers we earned, the hard way by support and service.

I would just love to publicize my dealings with Cabelas which uses identical Wally merchandising tactics. I learned plenty. I am just not going there. Lets just say I have gained insights into large scale merchandising 2006 style and leave it there. The little guy is toast, coming-going and in between. So much for competition. In the balance of my lifetime, I will never spend another another penny at Cabelas.

Shop at the company store... the real cost is yet forthcoming.

C
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Last edited by Conis on Sun Apr 09, 2006 8:37 am; edited 1 time in total
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