Skip to comments.Killing the Golden Goose
Posted on 07/21/2013 12:46:44 PM PDT by Kaslin
Whether or not you shop at Wal-Mart, youve already benefitted from the mega-retailers ceaseless efforts to cut prices. A 2005 study found that the nationwide expansion of the store had driven down everyones cost for food-at-home, commodities and overall consumer products. Competition among retailers drives down prices for all shoppers.
Meanwhile, by one estimate, Wal-Mart saved consumers at its stores a quarter of a trillion dollars in 2006. And that was several dozen price cuts ago. But you need to live near one to benefit directly. And in our nations capital, many residents could be denied the opportunity to shop at Wal-Mart, because the citys government has decided to try to help residents by targeting that company.
On July 10, the D.C. City Council passed a bill called the Large Retailer Accountability Act of 2013. Columnist Charles Krauthammer says the measure is almost like a bill of attainder because its so narrowly aimed. It says that retailers with corporate sales of $1 billion or more and operating in spaces 75,000 square feet or larger would be forced to pay a minimum wage of $12.50 per hour, as opposed to the $8.25 thats the minimum wage everywhere else in D.C.
The law also only applies to new stores, so its a perfect example of crony capitalism: existing retailers such as Target and Home Depot are benefitting from the D.C. governments ability to limit their competition. Unions benefit too. Any unionized retailer, such as Giant or Safeway, would be exempt from the new law.
The Act passed as Wal-Mart was building three new stores in D.C. and planning an additional three. The LRAA would clearly inject unforeseen costs into the equation that would create an uneven playing field and challenge the fiscal health of our planned D.C. stores, the companys regional general manager warned in The Washington Post before the vote. Wal-Mart will not pursue stores at Skyland, Capitol Gateway or New York Avenue if the LRAA is passed.
If the planned stores are indeed shelved, the city would lose hundreds of potential jobs along with the downward price pressure that having a Wal-Mart nearby creates. And because the planned stores are in low-income areas, its the poor who would be harmed the most if theyre not built.
Some dont see it that way, though. The question here is a living wage; its not whether Wal-Mart comes or stays, council member Vincent Orange said before the vote. Of course, a living wage is a fluid concept in a city thats famously filled, especially this time of year, with unpaid and underpaid interns.
Wal-Mart will keep on making money, with or without any presence in the District. Likewise, the city council will continue to pass laws. Its D.C. residents who will suffer. Something is always better than nothing, then work your way up, city resident Kevin Brown told The Washington Post about opportunities at the proposed Skyland location. People are looking forward to that Wal-Mart, they really are. Cronyism means they can look forward to higher prices and lower wages, instead.
There are low-income areas in DC?? Who knew?
Wow. A capitalist in DC. What a surprise.
Yes, let’s have no other stores, only one megastore in every area - what a great idea.
The residents elected the pos that is in office. Elections have consequences.
The first sentence, and the author lost me already. I have suffered because of the WalMart influence. They undersell by providing cheap crap with no originality or handicraft. As a result, high-quality merchandise becomes less available, and even those companies who used to provide it had to cheapen their products and looked for cheap labor to compete. Because of the standardization of merchandise, originality, individual handicraft and quality have just about disappeared.
I'd much rather go back to an economy without these stores that shop globally for the cheapest merchandise. To do that, there would have to be laws that protected the starting and growing small businesses. And you know what? We'd actually save money if we paid more, employing US workers, and the merchandise lasted.
Most small stores in those areas of DC can’t afford to stay in business because of the insurance, taxes and inventory shrinkage. Walmart was a natural choice to provide affordable priced food and household goods and they are fighting it after they all approved it.
I wish smaller retailers could succeed but unless you can pay your own police force and expect a shrinkage rate of at least 2% (which is almost total profit margin), you can’t really do business. When I lived in dc, the closest place was a mini-mart with everything, I mean everything behind bulletproof glass. The milk, the eggs, the bread, the juice was all behind the glass and you had to ask for it. You didn’t have a choice and the basics cost almost double what they did in the burbs. One time I was walking by and there was a guy hitting the glass with a hammer because he didn’t like the outcome of a scratch-off lottery ticket.
The closest supermarket had like five aisles and people would shoplift and sell the stuff outside the store for half price.
There is a reason small stores can’t succeed.
Not in DC. Regardless of what laws the council will pass or how corrupt the council may be, the people continue to elect these stupid people.
Unfortunately, this same mentality is moving the national area. Look at the last election.
I wonder how much it cost Target to buy that law in DC.
Washington does not even try to hide the corruption these days.
Walmart is part of the symptom, not the solution.
>>Yes, lets have no other stores, only one megastore in every area - what a great idea.
I haven’t had a pay increase since 2008 and my wife has had a 100% pay cut in the last year. If you can afford to shop at small businesses, then please do. The economy has taken that luxury away from me and many other Americans.
Amish eschew Walmart
I'm an every few days Wal*Mart shopper. Let's take a look at some of the "cheap crap" brands I bought there in the last week or so:
Gilette disposable razors
Black & Decker weed wacker
Hampton Farms peanuts
Chef Boyardee Ravoli
Dite Rite cola
Eckrich smoked sausage
Great Value tunafish (store brand)
Great Value hand soap with aloe (store brand - exactly the same ingredients as Soft Soap brand)
Yep, Wally specializes in "cheap crap." FWIW, I do shop other stores and it is rare for them to even come close to Wally's prices on the same merchandise.
Killing the Golden Goose is a parable for our entire country at this point. The freeloaders have pushed their desire to live the good life on the dime of the evil rich so far that the productive people aren’t able to support the system. It is breaking down. And all the moochers do is scream that the rich have to pay “more more more!!” When the last producer leaves or is crushed under the weight of millions of moochers expecting him or her to pay for everything, the country will descend into chaos.
Really? I've seen Amish folks quite often in the local Wally.
Do you know why they supposedly don't shop at Wal*Mart?
For all the hype, I haven’t really seen much of an advantage to shopping at Wal-Mart. Kroger and more local grocery chains consistently beat them with groceries, produce, meat and packaged foods.
They do have a good selection of dry goods.
You are correct.
DC Amish eschew Walmart
We have 3 grocery stores in our area, some organic store, a Safeway, and a Wal-Mart.
It took Safeway a couple of years to figure out they were losing sales to Wal-Mart, and they finally cut their prices about 20% to compete.
I admire rich people like yourself, you've got it made and can afford to buy at the old Safeway level prices, or maybe even at that organic place, prior to Obama I could too. No more.
Now I'm extremely grateful to have a Wal-Mart.
Did you know that often times the merchandise sold at WalMart and other such stores is of lower quality?