He opened a pharmacy at the Wal-Mart in Mena, Arkansas, #67, in 1982 or 1983. "There was already a pharmacy in the shopping center there. I opened with a coupon in the newspaper for $5 or $10 off, with the grand opening of our pharmacy, and the 9-cent rubbing alcohol special or something." The next day, the pharmacist in the shopping center announced that he would match Arch's coupon. "So the day after that, I ran a coupon for $20 off your next prescription. And I never heard another word from the guy after that."Not just competition, cut-throat, purposeful put-them-out-of-business competition.
You really can walk in the store, drop off your prescription, do your shopping, and pick up the prescription on the way out. "Once, Mr. Sam said to me, 'Clarence, tell those pharmacists to slow down a bit, so we can get the carts filled up some more.'" (pg. 43
Monopoly and Monopsony
The term for suppliers who are big enough to control prices and markets is familiar - that's monopoly, and anyone who has played the board game understands that if you control the available real estate, you get to charge not what the market will bear, but what you want.So it is pretty clear (at least to me) that Wal-Mart has a huge, and unfair, advantage over just about any other retail business in the USA. If you haven't read the 'Vlasic Pickle Story' you can fined it here.
There is a parallel economic concept for a company that is such a large buyer (Wal-Mart)- of pickles, say - that it holds an equivalent kind of price-control power. The term is monopsony