Wal-Mart is a business which has been in existence since 1962. Its founder is a gentleman by the name Sam Walton. The company, which has such a massive control in the United States, was founded in Bentonville, Arkansas. Since it was founded, it has not been overpowered by the opposition of any sort. It has snatched a leading, or near- leading position in key areas of the trade market, for instance, it is the biggest foodstuff seller in the United States, the biggest pharmacy in the US, and it forms Hollywood’s largest channel.
The massive retailer is considered to be somehow responsible for the economic gain of the United States. In an annual basis, an estimated 7.2 billion persons are said to shop at Wal-Mart. The company is expanding to other areas like Eastern Europe, and Brazil. It tends to shape lives all over, be it to bicycle producers in China, or to farmers in Mexico, or Chile.
The company’s effect is so great that it is influencing everything from the shape to the design, and even to the working practices. Despite its outstanding collection, worldwide admission to products, fewer costs, and convenience, Wal-Mart is greatly affecting the globe in many ways from the wages paid to communities, to the working surroundings in factories.
Wal-Mart, whether directly, or indirectly, is taking the initiative of shaping the planet that we are living in, and the planet that we are working in. In one way or another, it is touching every Americans life daily. Every week, an estimated 130 million persons or more do their shopping at Wal-Mart. Those are the people who get first-hand experience of the effect of the company, that is, the impact it creates on lessening costs.
Due to the efficiencies, it inflicts on its suppliers, the company has permitted those companies to lessen the costs of their goods, despite them not being sold at Wal-Mart. This has put pressure on Wal-Mart’s competitors, to lower their prices, for them to retain customers as a result of competition. The effect is so strong that it affects even those consumers who do not shop at Wal-Mart. This is because they are forced to pay less, for the goods which they would have paid for, for more.
In addition to pricing, Wal-Mart affects the world in other ways on a daily basis including; product shipping, the packaging and displaying of goods in stores, the factories operations which in turn change the factory employees way of life, the way indirect competitors manage their stores, that is, in the way they present and charge for their products, as well as in the way they make payments to their employees.
Also, Wal-Mart affects communities buying patterns, the way foodstuff is grown and sold, and the way business people and buyers think. In other words, it finds a place inside people’s brains.
Wal-Mart is raising poverty rates to higher levels. This is because it pays too little to its workers, and does not pay for overtime. Furthermore, the employees are not allowed to work for more than 28 hours in a week, and those who are fully employed, earn below the poverty level.
In addition, the company does not allow its workers to join unions, and does not employ workers who have belonged to a union before. Workers, who seem to be knowledgeable of workers unions’ requirements, are fired. Also, only a small percentage of the company’s employees are covered by a health insurance.
The company has also led to mass unemployment. This is because, as a result of its low prices and importation, many manufacturing plants have been forced to partially, or entirely close down, and others to ship their production oversees.
Thus, many of the Americans are left without jobs. The company also creates mass unemployment in that it does not create employment, but rather it creates jobs on top of other existing ones, for instance, small stores are forced to close down as buyers stop shopping in them, but instead opt to buy their goods from ‘the big shop’.
Simply, it destroys others ‘in the name of’ creating new ones. In addition, the company has turned its overseas workers into slaves. This is because they are cheated off their wages, they are overworked without food, harassed sexually, and are threatened to be deported in case they raise a complaint. Workers are also mistreated or undervalued as they are made to use boxes or lawn furniture samples as seats since the company does not want to cater to the office furniture.
As for the suppliers, they do not complain when Wal-Mart impacts their businesses. Despite the company giving them a large market share, some of them are forced to go overseas in order for them to produce goods at lower prices, and hence maintain their business with Wal-Mart. Also, retail outlets, have been forced in one way or another adopt the way Wal-Mart runs its business. Wal-Mart also forces people to buy items that they do not need due to cheap prices thus, leading to ‘consumerism’.
It is therefore clear that whether we buy our products at Wal-Mart, or not does make any difference because the prices we pay for are in one way, or another dictated by Wal-Mart. Even if we never go inside Wal-Mart stores, we are all Wal-Mart customers. Thus, we can say that Wal-Mart destroys our communities.