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Wal-Mart Symbolizes America


According to a 60 Minutes-Vanity Fair Poll recently released, nearly half of the nearly eleven hundred randomly selected nationwide respondents that were contacted by telephone between August 27th and 31st chose Wal-Mart as the institution that best symbolizes America today.  Distant runners up were split between Google, Microsoft, the NFL, and the banking and financial securities firm Goldman Sachs.  That actually sounds pretty accurate.  Unfortunately, it also sounds pretty alarming as well.

When I think of Wal-Mart I think of an institution without an ounce of culture.  While Wal-Mart offers a variety of low priced products, the majority of those products are produced by foreign manufacturers.  Wal-Mart is notorious for underpaying its employees and for offering little in the way of employment benefits.  Wal-Mart has a reputation for coming into town getting concessions in the form of tax revenue concessions, then turning around and using the local government handout in the form of a tax advantage to give its customers discounts that its competitors can’t afford helping to put some of the other retailers, many mom and pop establishments that have been part of the local community for years if not decades, out of business.

Many Wal-Mart customers could not care less about the effect Wal-Mart has on the retailing landscape or on their neighbor’s employment prospects.  When retailers go out of business only so many of their employees will find employment with the big Wal-Mart store.  Too many people have the mentality that while it is true that Wal-Mart cuts people’s wages and keeps people’s hours low to keep from having to provide mandatory benefits for full time employment, that’s okay because those people can get what they need at the cheapest price possible.  Like Wal-Mart, the American public could not care less about the people who have to do without a livable wage and employment benefits in order to provide the rest of us with the low priced commodities we want.

I would imagine that most Americans would like to operate their business using the Wal-Mart model.  It has proven very lucrative in America.  However, in many foreign countries, the Wal-Mart model just doesn’t do that well in countries with government and economic systems that actually work to protect employee’s and citizen’s rights.  All too often the Wal-Mart way finds itself at odds with various foreign cultures.  Not too surprising considering the reputation of the ugly American.  And if Wal-Mart is the institution that best symbolizes America, Americans symbolize Wal-Mart as well.

Wal-Mart has that unapologetic, indomitable American spirit that must win at all cost.  Its profits must always be higher.  Its presence must always be greater.  Wal-Mart will always do the right thing by the community it serves and the people it deals with when it finds its back to the wall and comes to the understanding that it is in its own best interest to do so.  Otherwise, this corporation has access to some of the best lawyers in America and this corporation will see you in court before they’d do anything out of the goodness of their wallet.  Just like many Americans.

All one needs to do is take a look at the argument surround universal healthcare.  People would rather do without healthcare for everyone as long as they have healthcare for themselves.  When we have healthcare it’s good.  When other people have healthcare, it’s a socialist plot designed to undermine capitalism.  Capitalism is the never ending pursuit of profit and money.  Generating profit and money are the two things that Wal-Mart excels at.  The ironic thing is that Wal-Mart wants universal healthcare.  That way, it wouldn’t have to foot the bill to provide healthcare to its employees and can rely on another government handout.

Honestly, I really don’t think Wal-Mart is that much different from any of the other corporate entities named in the survey.  Microsoft and Google do their damnedest to put other tech companies out of business.  The NFL, just like any other major sports entity, would give players nine figure salaries at the expense off individual fans who can barely afford to go to the game.  And Goldman Sachs is a financial institution.  The first syllable in its name is “gold”, is it really necessary to say anything else.  The whole point of big business is big money.

Most any other corporation would love to be in Wal-Mart’s position.  Wal-Mart might be the best corporate symbol of America.  And it is a pretty good representation of us.  But in reality, there are a few words that are far more accurate in their portrayal of America.  Greedy and narcissistic quickly spring to mind.  Arrogant and pompous are a couple more.  All of these words are accurate symbols of many Americans.  It is no coincidence that they apply to Wal-Mart as well.

Thursday, October 1, 2009 - Posted by | Capitalism, Life, Thoughts


  1. I don’t care for Wal-Mart any more then you do for many of the same reasons. Therefor, I don’t shop their. That is capitalism; not the “never ending pursuit of profit and money”. You stated that “Generating profit and money are the two things that Wal-Mart excels at”; of course this is what Wal-Mart excels at! Wal-Mart is a business. Good, bad or indifferent, this is what companies do or they fail. The blame here does not fall on Wal-Mart, as much as I dislike the company, but with each of us that shops their. If we all supported the mom and pops then Wal-Mart would go away. Take Clemson SC for instance. Wal-Mart has been lobbying to get a super-center in that college town for as long as I can remember. The people don’t want it, because they DO have a culture and a spirit that they don’t want snubbed out by a big chain like Wal-Mart that sells bulk loads of Chinese crap that breaks the first time they get used. They want that personal touch and quality that only comes from well made goods that abound in the mom and pop stores. It might cost more but they are willing to spend it for quality. This again is capitalism. The buyer can choose. The local government can choose. The people can choose.

    As for Microsoft and Google, I am on a windows XP box and used Google to find your site. How much did that cost you?

    It astounds me that you have such a level of Naiveté as to think that business should or could continue to operate without being mindful of profits or lack thereof. Perhaps we should let the Government decide everything for us. Let’s let them tell us where we will spend our money. Or maybe we can just do away with money altogether and just get the goods and services directly from the Government. I don’t know about you, but every time I go to the DMV to get my tag renewed I am reminded of what a system looks like when the government runs it. Rude, inconsiderate attendants that act like I owe them something for the privilege of their time. They have no reason to be helpful or go out of their way for me because they are the only show in town. I HAVE to deal with them. There is not reason for them to excel; no reason to give anything more then the minimum. Their job is safe because no one else is allowed to do it. There is no competition. If their was you would suddenly see that suggestion box emptied out daily. The place would get painted and rude attendants would have to go find another desk to sit behind. They would do what they needed to do to make the people choose to spend their hard earned money with them rather at at that other place down the street. Fairly quickly they would start to strive for excellence and that is something a law or a government mandate can never make people do. That is capitalism.

    If it’s all the same to you; i’ll take take of my own health care. And I don’t feel that I have the capacity nor the right to dictate to others as far as their health care is concerned. Does that make me a dirty, un-informed, unapologetic, indomitable, capitalist pig? I don’t think so. I just want to be left alone. I don’t want to be dictated or ruled over by anyone. I want to make up my mind and I want everyone else to make up theirs!

    I’ve lived all over the US and in Europe. I spent 8 years of my life in the military, defending your right to verbally smash America and her people as if you are the author of original thought; as if you have it all worked out and are content to separate yourself from the rest of us. If you are so offended by capitalism which is nothing more then a peoples right to choose where to spend your money and on what, then there are plenty of countries where you will fit in nicely I’m sure. Please, go find one.

    Comment by horton | Tuesday, January 12, 2010 | Reply

    • Thanks for the feedback horton,

      “It astounds me that you have such a level of Naiveté as to think that business should or could continue to operate without being mindful of profits or lack thereof.”

      You mean money doesn’t just grow on trees?!!

      If I astound you then I must say the feeling is mutual. I am astounded at the number of people who truly don’t even try to comprehend what’s being said. As someone who has worked in database application development for the past twenty five years, I really do appreciate the Microsoft Corporation. Microsoft Access with VBA is by far my favorite working environment. I wrote a Tetris game in Access just to see how long it would take me to work out all the parameters. I also work on a machine loaded with XP. And I usually write my comments and articles in Microsoft Word and edit most of my pictures with Paint. I am a Microsoft junkie.

      I’m also a Honda junkie. I loved my Fords. I worship my DeWalt power tools. The list of products I appreciate from corporate America is a long one. Companies that focus on delivering good products and not just the bottom line usually do well. Companies that seek profits for the sake of profits usually go under in the long run. The most profitable thing a big corporate entity could do this year is send everybody home, liquidate their assets, and then sit back and count the cash. But that wouldn’t do jack shit for them next year. But all too often companies spend so much time focusing on making money that they put the development of a quality product as a secondary item. If anything is naive it is people like you who think a single minded focus on profits leads to good products. There has to be balance.

      You spent eight years in the military defending my right to smash America. But now you want to take that right away. That figures. In typical American style you only want to only appreciate people who think like you, talk like you, and probably look like you. Anybody who says anything differently can go find another country. Why don’t you go find another country if you don’t want people taking advantage of their right to free speech. A right you say you fought so hard to protect. Thank you so much Captain America! So why are you telling me to go live somewhere else now? Obviously, you don’t believe people should have the right to free speech.


      Comment by brotherpeacemaker | Tuesday, January 12, 2010 | Reply

  2. Capitalism is such a dirty word to liberals. Capitilism is what made this country great, and someone with some power needs to figure that out quickly. The progressives (socialists, marxists) whatever you’d like to call them are crushing our economy and the American idea that to succeed in this country requires hard work and inginuity. We are endowed by our creator with these unalienable rights- life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Don’t see anything there that guarantees us health care, welfare, 2yr unemployment etc, etc. If I were guessing I’d say you’d be happy if this government (which has never been successful at running any business) was running Walmart. If smart (profitable)business practices don’t determine what succeeds and what fails, then what/who does? you, the gov’t?

    Comment by JASON LEDERER | Tuesday, January 12, 2010 | Reply

    • Thanks for the feedback JASON LEDERER,

      “We are endowed by our creator with these unalienable rights- life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Don’t see anything there that guarantees us health care, welfare, 2yr unemployment etc, etc.”

      Where did I miss the part that said we are not entitled to healthcare, welfare, two years unemployment, and the etcetera? Where is the part that said only some of us, the very elite, are entitled to mega profits at the expense of the general public? And maybe this government isn’t very good at running a business. What government is? That doesn’t mean the alternative is to have capitalism run amok. There are plenty of countries that run their government with the dreaded socialism model and they do quite well. People don’t have to horde everything from everyone else because there is plenty to go around. America takes the every man for his/her self approach. It works as long as we have a social system that tolerates disparity.


      Comment by brotherpeacemaker | Tuesday, January 12, 2010 | Reply

  3. [Comment Deleted]

    Comment by horton | Tuesday, January 12, 2010 | Reply

    • horton,

      As in the words of your political matriarch Sarah Palin, “Thanks…But no thanks!” Your comments are no longer welcome. Thanks to people like you I have the freedom to delete your input and I didn’t even have to travel to another country to do it. Ain’t America grand?


      Comment by brotherpeacemaker | Tuesday, January 12, 2010 | Reply

  4. EXCELLENT rant!

    And very well spoken. How many Wal-Marts are there in China now? Over 500?

    It’s all about globalization isn’t it? It’s one thing to “succeed” in business, it’s quite another to not care about your own country and destroy it all in the name of profits. Large tyrants protected by pimps in Congress that help them carry on their “great products.” and green marketing…the rich are getting out on the life boats as the Titantic sinks..while THEY go to the forests of Avatar.

    While the little guy is crushed.

    I have three patents, and I can tell you from twenty years of dealing with the likes of the BIG companies, they are RUTHLESS and their mission is seek and destroy.

    When no one has any money left to buy their “cheap” products, what then? Will China send over their soldeirs?

    And all our men will be in…where? Everywhere but here.

    While the soldiers who are overseas defending our “rights” here are worthy of our praise for being so brave as to do what they are doing…

    They ALSO should count on those of us at home to try and defend the freedoms that they fight for, and they are disappearing…daily.

    And one big FUBAR (as my x-Navy Seal Husband would say) of a country, run by a few multinational companies, along with their governmental paid-for politicians do NOT help the America that we all loved and cherished for so long.

    We ARE being transformed…and while I love typing this comment, it all could be erased from cyperspace with the click of a mouse…

    I just happened upon your site…and thankful that I did.

    Comment by Joyanna Adams | Tuesday, January 12, 2010 | Reply

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