Friday, December 08, 2006

The Fight to Reclaim America from Retail Giants

Stacy Mitchell at Alternet has a few words to say to consumers:
A growing number of communities are fighting back against the rising power of large retail stores like Wal-Mart. But real change won't come until we stop thinking of ourselves as consumers and start thinking of ourselves as engaged citizens.
The article is a bit long but she is spot on! This point is key:
Despite differences in circumstances and demographics, all of these successful campaigns -- and there have been dozens in the last two years -- have one striking commonality: a core part of their strategy involves getting people to see themselves not just as consumers, but as workers, producers, business owners, citizens, and stewards of their community. When people walk into a voting booth or city council meeting with this vastly expanded sense of their own economic and political identity, they are far more likely to reject big-box development projects and to endorse measures that force these companies to adhere to higher standards. This is a crucial lesson as we work to knit these local efforts together into a broader movement to counter the power of global corporations. [My emphasis]
For decades we have been trained to think of ourselves as consumers first and as responsible citizens second. Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis wrote: "the chain store, by furthering the concentration of wealth and of power and by promoting absentee ownership, is thwarting American ideals; that it is making impossible equality of opportunity; that it is converting independent tradesmen into clerks; and that it is sapping the resources, the vigor and the hope of the smaller cities and towns."

The article is definitly food for thought.


Anonymous said...

This is an excellent article and well worth reading. Unfortunately, we have become a nation that just can't have ENOUGH STUFF. And the only way to have more STUFF is to purchase it as cheaply as possible.
Wal-Mart's lastest tactic is to get their customers to PURCHASE MORE EXPENSIVE STUFF. Most of their customers go after everyday household products like detergent, soap, paper products, toothpaste, shaving cream, clothing and groceries. But the profit on these types of items is little. (Yes, there is little money to be made in selling groceries.) So where is the REAL MONEY? In electronics.
Wal-Mart is trying to get their customers to purchase tv's, dvd and vcr machines, computers, etc.
The question that now remains is will they succeed?
They are also trying to go after Target's more upscale customers. But Wal-Mart has had since its beginning sold cheap goods. And they have targeted the lower-imcome customer. So can they now go after people who have more money to spend? That remains to be seen.
I guess what it all boils down to is this: Wal-Mart doesn't want just their share of business--THEY WANT IT ALL. Their goal is to remove all the competition so that the only place you are left with is Wal-Mart. And will they succeed in doing that? We'll see.
All this goes to prove it that Wal-Mart is ONE VERY LARGE AND GREEDY CORPORATION.
And do you know why they sell groceries if there isn't much money there? Because we all need to eat! And if you purchase your groceries in Wal-Mart, they are hoping you will purchase other things as well while you are there.

Anonymous said...

Currently, Wal-Mart is busy canibalizing itself. By that I mean that they are now becoming their own competition. In many places, particularlly down South, Wal-Mart stores can be only a few miles apart from one another. But they have a problem in that same store sales (stores open for more than 1 year) have stagnated, and in some cases I believe have actually lost money.
Eventually, Wal-Mart will have no place else to go or build. Since the only way they can CONTINUE to show a profit is to keep building, what are they going to do then? I wonder if Lee Scott, CEO has given this any thought at all? And at the rate they are building, that day is fast approaching.
It is Wal-Mart's desire to be the only place where people shop for everything. Apparently, the only way they can even hope to achieve that is by "canibalizing" themselves and becoming their own competition. By doing this they are only proving how greedy they really are. Some great company, huh?

Anonymous said...

Many Nerds won't be returning. Some old timers I remember from last year, people like Trenchcoat Mafia, Silk Dragon Shirt, probably won't be coming back next year.
Spamming blogs I put their names up, immortalizing them, if only until the blog owner erases everything::::
1. Trenchcoat Mafia
2. Silk Dragon Shirt
3. The Distinguished English Gentleman
4. Beta Nerd, and of course
5. Rosie The Transsexual
Rosie's original name was just Rosie, due to his rosie cheeks. They shared he has a high level of knowledge, a tactic the gods employ to create a false sense of security. This of course is the segment which they dump so many transsexuals into.
I too enjoy irony, and therefore Rosie has now become Rosie The Transsexual.
Who else has a nickname in the NerdRoom?

I'd like to remind you many of the people in the NerdRoom are good men. I hope this is reflected in what they are allowed to learn and the progress they're allowed to make.
I'd also like to remind you their predecessors, REAL nerds from a generation ago who fill the computer swap meet, are WONDERFUL men, and since I likely won't be going again I want to remember them as well.

Actually the comparison of the two is a testiment to the devolution of society which will be used as justification for the Apocalypse:::
Today's nerds are NOT wonderful men. They grew up with the internet and many consider pornography as an acceptable vice. They gamble freely, enjoy evil imagry in video games, and this issue is a microcosim of our deterioration.