Showings of Wal-Mart documentary in C’ville

Robert Greenwald has produced a critical documentary about Wal-Mart which is being shown in various places around the nation this week. On November 17, one can see it locally at the Thomas Jefferson Memorial Church Unitarian Universalist and the Friends Quaker Meeting House. Wal-Mart has responded to some aspects of the documentary that differ from the facts. Hopefully events like these raise dialog about the intersection of global commerce and society.

11/17 Update by Waldo: Charlottesville Podcasting has an MP3 of last night’s town meeting about Wal-Mart.

12 Responses to “Showings of Wal-Mart documentary in C’ville”

  • Wal Mart is evil and the people who shop there too.

    don’t feed the monstor. Oh wow, you saved 4 bucks on something by going to Wal Mart. Good job, you made some poor soul work off clock.

  • I understand the protests against WalMart, but I also don’t think there is much overlap between those who protest it and those who shop there. WalMart sells inexpensive stuff for people who need to save that 4 bucks. Not everyone has the luxury of paying more for local products at local shops. I personally don’t shop at WalMart, but I won’t condemn people who do.

  • I went to see it last night, Duane, and it didn’t even occur to me to write about it — I’m glad you did.

    It’s a rough documentary, by which I mean that it’s clearly a low-budget production. There were a couple of times when I felt like my emotions were being played with (such as the parking-lot safety portion) but, on the whole, I really enjoyed it. It’s not like I needed more reasons to dislike Wal-Mart, but now I’ve got lots. :)

    Wal-Mart is a company that could do a tremendous amount of good. Bill Gates, through his unprecedented charitable work, has shown that to be true with Microsoft. Imagine the power that Wal-Mart could have if they told their suppliers that, say, 10% of everything that they make has to be made in America. Wow. What an economic impact that would have. The possibilities changes like this are enormous.

  • I don’t shop at WalMart, either and, just to clarify, I don’t think anybody intends to condemn WalMart customers. I think the goal of the current “awareness campaign” is to bring some of the problems associated with WalMart’s business model to the attention of the public.

    We’re not going to make WalMart go away. But, we may be able to make them understand their responsibilites to their employees, their communities, their customers and the environment. They can be better and, perhaps, if they realize that the public cares, they will be better.

  • Let me explain, Wal Mart is an american cancer. Somehow we as consumers contune to feed it. I really would like to watch this movie and I wish there were focus on the horrors of Wally Mart.

    One of the things that made me really hate WM was a special MSNBC report about the company. One of the stories stuck out about how WM can blackmail their suppliers unlike any other retailer. An example was about pillows. A pillow making company in some little town employed over 500 people to make pillows. And their biggest client was WM. Wal Mart went back to them and said they want to sell the pillows even cheaper. The CEO of the company told WM in order to sustain any profit they would have to outsource their planet. This CEO didn’t want to cut everyone’s jobs. Wal Mart basically told the CEO that they were going to a pillow company that can provide at the lower price. Now the company was shut down because they lost their bigget client. And some company who can send jobs overseas won out. But hey the good news is that the former employees can now shop at Wal Mart.

  • IamDaMan3, I have to admit — I wouldn’t have pegged you for a Wal-Mart opponent. I figured you’d be a “shop wherever is cheapest” kind of a guy. I’m pleasantly surprised.

    Is there anything in particular that really stands out that you dislike? Is it their major role in the loss of American jobs and their support of the growth of the Chinese economy, as you used in your example, that really angers you? Or is there something else?

  • LOL, thanks Waldo! See sometimes i have these left leaning moments. Don’t tell anyone!

    For me, Wal Mart is the best business role model. They buy in bulk and in turn have lower prices. The only problem is the company is a lot different from the days of Sam Waltont. He really cared about his employees. They were paid a lot better then minimum wage. Walton would buy ‘american made’ products which would help employed even more americans. The company was top notch. Then it went into a downward spiral after Walton died. Did you know that Wal Mart at one time wasn’t even open on Sundays. Then when they were, it was like only 12 to 6 plus they would pay an extra dollar to their employees. Now they are open 24 hours. Who cares about employees spending time with their familys and working off the clock?

    Mainly the thing that I hate so much about WM is greed. Greed on both the consumer and the cooperation. Consumers will benefit from lower prices but what cost? Man, I heard that in one state I think Georgia, they have like a high number of Wal Mart employees on welfare. What is wrong with that? I have more respect for people who work for their keep then others who are lazy. But something isnt’ right where you are working at Wal Mart full time and still need welfare because what your earnings can’t help you and your family. The cooperations contunes to feed the consumers like drug dealers to users.

    Now you got people hardly getting by and where do you think they will shop? You got it! Wal Mart is the king of cheap crap. It is a never end cycle. Last year, I think they miss some projection. And they were on the TV with gorilla ads claiming lower prices. I just image more 5 year olds being employed at some planet in South America.

    Finally, since you are not paying your employees well, what will suffer ? Customer service will be crap. Yet you contune to shop there because they are 5 or 10 bucks cheaper then the local shop. Yet the local shop will be a lot more helpful and *gasp* LOCAL.

    I am not a big fan of Micheal Moore but I would be first in line if he ever decided to make a movie about Wally Mart. I am sure he can’t since his movies are sold there.

  • All very interesting — thanks for that.

  • Walmart has totally capitalized on a governmental failure fifty years in the making: the minimum wage hasn’t kept up with inflation. If it had it would be about $13 per hour now: not $5.15. Big business had lobbied — successfully — for years to keep the minimum wage artificially low. When you’re making a third of what your parents made for the same job, gosh, ya gotta shop at Walmart. And the cycle does indeed go on.

    Walmart has specifically gutted a number of American manufacturing companies by becoming their biggest customer and then demanding the manufacturer reduce its prices. Countless manufacturers have been run out of business this way.

    Walmart is indeed bad, bad, bad. I know this. I also am frightfully aware that I fall into a category of people who — because I’m caught in the wage v price conundrum — must (from time to time) feed the bad guy the few bucks I’ve got left. Usually I just plain do without a bunch of stuff Americans think they need. I shop clearance sales and yard sales and auctions, but sometimes the nine year old needs winter boots NOW.

    Beyond all of this: blame TV. TV advertising is overwhelmingly why we think we need as much stuff as we think we need. Individual responsibility blah, blah, blah. Subject the populace to virtually unregulated brain-washing & fail to keep the minimum wage increasing with inflation and a Walmart somehow will crop up to exploit the situation.

  • Elizabeth Says:

    Big business had lobbied — successfully — for years to keep the minimum wage artificially low.

    Maybe just think about that assertion for a moment.

  • IamDaMan3 Says:

    “But something isnt’ right where you are working at Wal Mart full time and still need welfare because what your earnings can’t help you and your family.”

    How long has Cville had the “Living Wage” campaign? They’re not just against Wally World. Elizabeth had it right when she said that the minimum wage hasn’t kept up with inflation. I am happy to say that both my husband and I make well above the min. wage, but we still couldn’t afford to buy a home here. We had to move to Waynesboro. There are still some weeks where the shopping is done at Wally World – including groceries. Sadly, all the grocery stores in Waynesboro seem to “drown” the produce. So, when I want veggies that won’t rot in my fridge in a few days, I shop with my feet. (I do Farmer’s Markets when I can – I also work some nights and weekends)

    Unless my wallet demands otherwise, I do try to shop anywhere but Wal-Mart. I have for years, but that’s mostly because my father worked for K-Mart when I was growing up and they were evil. Some habits are hard to break.

    Now, on the other hand, if you don’t have anything against a chain megamart – Kmart and probably Target, honor the sale prices of their competitors. Just bring in the ad to prove the price.

  • I do not shop at Wal-Mart, have never set foot in one, don’t intend to. Probably likewise the new Target. However, I do not condemn anyone who does- they are not “evil”. Maybe they feel they have no choice.
    Btw, if you are looking for low prices on various and sundry household items,like say a bathmat, try Rose’s at Pantops. They are about all that is left similar to the five and dimes of many of our childhoods. I was really sorry when we lost Woolco and Woolworth’s downtown, again similar stores. Downtown has a lot of nice gift shops, boutiques, and the like, but nowhere you can get a lot of the “practical” items you could find at Woolworth’s-like say a pair of gardening gloves.(of course Martin Hardware is right up Preston-another local business we need to support.Have heard nothing but good about them.

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