Friday, February 10, 2006

Alice Walton - Richest Woman in the World

Ok, Alice and her mother each have 18 billion dollars so I guess they tie for richest woman. Alice was good enough to donate 2.6 million dollars to the Progress for America PAC, the group that funded the 'Swift Boat Veterans for Truth'. Wal-Marts political action committee is the 2nd biggest donor to the GOP giving them 2.1 million dollars in 2004. See a company like Wal-Mart has to insure that Democrats never come to power. You wouldn't want to have to stop screwing the country over medical insurance, medicare and medicaid. And, you definitely want to keep paying your employees poverty level salaries. That's how you get Low Prices Always. Always.

Which SL Businesses Will Be Hurt?

According to research done by Dr. Ken Stone, ISU professor of economics:

"I have two intuitive rules of thumb I use in determining which merchants get hurt and which ones get helped. Rule of thumb No. 1 is that merchants in a host town that are selling something different from the supercenter often experience an increase in sales, as they benefit from the spillover of Wal-Mart's high-traffic draw. Examples of these businesses are furniture stores, restaurants, various service businesses, upscale stores, and so forth.

Rule of thumb No. 2 is not so pleasant for existing merchants. It is that anyone selling the same merchandise as a supercenter is in jeopardy and will probably lose sales unless the store is repositioned to capitalize on its own strengths and the supercenter's weaknesses. Local grocery stores are usually the hardest hit, with sales declines of some independent stores reaching 25 percent or more per year.

An earlier study of Wal-Mart supercenters in Texas showed that drugstores in the host town suffered a substantial loss of sales after the opening of a supercenter. An ongoing study in Iowa reveals that there also are sales losses to several other types of stores in the host town, including those selling apparel, jewelry, sporting goods, tire and lube services, eyewear, photo services, and any other, similar merchandise to Wal-Mart's.

Looks like Wal-Mart will be good for the Hair Salon Business.

Always the Lowest Price. Always.

Always Lower Prices. Always. Notice the difference from the title? "Always the Lowest Price. Always" was the original Wal-Mart slogan. That was until the National Advertising Review Board found that Wal-Mart did NOT always have the lower price and ordered them to stop advertising such. Wal-Mart uses the 'opening price point' method of luring in customers and making them think everything is sold at the lowest possible price.

How does the number-one retailer maintain an image of low prices? First, by actually making sure its prices are lower than its competitors, at least on key items. These items are called "price-sensitive" items in the industry, and it is commonly believed that the average consumer knows the "going price" of fewer than 100 items. These tend to be commodities that are purchased frequently.

Read more here

VP Dick "FU" Cheney Loves Wal-Mart

There are lots and lots of lawsuits against Wal-Mart. A huge sex discrimination class action suit has its own website. But don't worry, Cheney will do all he can to protect Wal-Mart. Even though he probably doesn't shop there, he really loves them.

Cheney cited Wal-Mart as “one of our nation’s best companies,” ignoring its poverty-level wages, mistreatment of workers and repeated violations of environmental law. He claimed the company “exemplifies some of the very best qualities in our country—hard work, the spirit of enterprise, fair dealing and integrity.” He failed to mention the 60 federal complaints against the company for workplace violations, Wal-Mart’s decisions to lock workers into stores and charges that it doctored hourly employees’ time records in order to skimp on wages. Instead, he parroted the Wal-Mart executives, the same ones who are bankrolling the Bush-Cheney campaign, and called for “litigation reform,” saying the problem afflicting America is pesky workers who have the nerve to challenge corporate malfeasance in court.
David Sirota, In these times

Wal-Mart Will Create Jobs in SL

Yep, good jobs with good benefits. I'm sure the people who lost their jobs when Upstate Biomedical relocated will be happy to get a job as a Wal-Mart greeter. I mean who wouldn't want to wear one of those cool vests? Oh yeah, and there are plenty of people who lost their jobs at Weyeth-Ayerst who will be happy to relocate to SL to become Wal-Mart 'associates'. Thank you Sen. Schumer for bringing good jobs and a strong economy to Northern NY.

Wal-Mart Foiled in SL the First Time Around

After Wal-Mart was chased out of Lake Placid six or so years ago, they attempted to purchase property outside of Saranac Lake to build their box. The property was purchased out from under them by a wealthy local citizen. He paid a local resident $850,000 for the parcel of land which was assessed at $133,400. The owner of the parcel was 'pleased' that he could sell the land for a 'non-Wal-Mart' use. Well yeah, I guess an extra $700K would 'please' me too.

Thank You Senator Schumer

Ole Chuck Schumer did his bit to get Saranac Lake our new Wal-Mart. Very disappointing. I'm not sure if he has ever even been to the Adirondacks. He's probably been to Lake Placid because politicians think LP is the Adirondacks. Why does Chuck hate good employee benefits and love to ship jobs overseas? In any case, see his letter below:

November 12, 2002

Mr. Lee Scott
President & CEOWal-Mart Stores, Inc.
702 SW 8th Street
Bentonville, AR 72716

Dear Mr. Scott:

I am writing to urge you to open a new Wal-Mart in New York's Adirondack region. I appreciate your continued commitment to do business in New York State and hope that you will join me in that effort once more.
Recently, Ames Department Store closed its retail stores in Tupper Lake and Saranac Lake, leaving the residents of southern Franklin and St. Lawerence Counties and western Essex County with no comparable retail establishment nearby. In fact, the closest alternative is the Wal-Mart in Plattsburgh, a full hour and twenty minutes away.
The Ames closings have severely impacted the more than 20,000 full time residents in the area by further reducing their already limited shopping options. With Ames gone, residents now face new burdens in terms of time, energy and money needed just to buy basic necessities like clothing and home supplies since they need to travel an hour and a twenty minutes to the Plattsburgh store. I cannot imagine what it must be like to travel so far just to do your basic shopping. The year is 2002, not 1902, and our citizens deserve better.
The local economy relies largely on tourism, especially in the summer months when the area population doubles. The demand for a Wal-Mart in Saranac Lake is already present but becomes even greater in the summer when thousands of visitors come to the area. A new Wal-Mart would meet the needs of local consumers and would also be a viable business opportunity for you.
You might remember that in August 1999 I visited Johnstown, New York, and learned that the local economic development officials and Wal-Mart were having difficulty obtaining a permit from the Army Corps of Engineers and the US Fish & Wildlife Service, to build a distribution center in Johnstown. I personally intervened and soon after, an agreement was reached, paving the way for the distribution center to open. Today, there are close to 1,000 jobs directly linked to that distribution center, and it has been a positive addition to both the local economy and to your company.
I hope that we can team up once again to bring Wal-Mart to the Tupper Lake and Saranac Lake area. I believe this effort will prove to be mutually beneficial for both the citizens of New York and Wal-Mart. I look forward to hearing from you and to continuing our excellent working relationship.


Charles E. Schumer
United States Senator

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Wal-Mart Gives Back - Walton Family Foundation

In 2004 the Walton Family Foundation handed out $117,020,891.68 in grants. Lots and lots of money to places in Arkansas of course, but who else got money?

American Enterprise Institute - the people who brought us Iraq War 2 and most of the GW Bush administration foreign policy.
Peel House Foundation - striving to make us more conservative.
Cato Institute - libertarians at odds with Repubs and Dems.
Conservative International Foundation - God only knows what they do.
Heritage Foundation - key architect and advocate of the Reagan Doctrine, I wonder if that included selling weapons to Iran?
Hoover Institute - an institute with well known antipathy to federal social welfare policies .
Hudson Institute - had Richard Pearle as a member, this was one of the strongest advocates for invading Iraq. And, indicted 'Scooter' Libby also a member and neocon Donald Kagan.
National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation - a foundation any anti-union person would love.

Wal-Mart Hates People Who Love Wal-Mart

This is so funny. There was a 'pro-Wal-Mart' blog called 'always low prices' that stopped posting in November, 2005. Why did they stop posting? Because Wal-Mart threatened the blogger and claimed exclusive rights to the phrase 'always low prices'. You can't make this stuff up.

Even Racist Hate Groups Find Wal-Mart Evil

I didn't realize that the North Country had its own branch of the Council of Conservative Citizens in Parishville, NY. Geeze, even these guys don't like Wal-Mart. CCC is listed as an active hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Click to See the Proposed Building Site

Click here to see a satellite photo of the proposed building site of the Saranac Lake, NY Wal-Mart Supercenter.
On the left hand side you can see the Adirondack Railroad tracks and on the other side a large pond and wetland. On the left side of the railroad tracks is the village sandpit. The lower left is the now defunct Stanley Chevrolet dealership. I heard they just declared bankruptcy. Just above Stanleys is the MacDonald's and above that the Carcuzzi Car wash. The photo is old so the new Carcuzzi Car Care Center isn't in the picture, but it is located to the left of the car wash. Click here and in the lower center you can see the old Ames Plaza. The proposed Wal-Mart Supercenter would be bigger than the whole Ames Plaza, parking lot included.

Wal-Mart Creates Jobs?

Rubbermaid: to meet demands by Wal-Mart Newell Rubbermaid, the largest producer of rubber products in the USA, has closed 69 of its 400 facilities and fired 11,000 workers.

General Electric: Wal-Mart is the biggest outlet for GE manufactured appliances. GE has fired 100,000 US workers and exported the jobs to Mexico and Asia

Levi Strauss: The largest manufacturer of jeans and Docker slacks. After meetings with Wal-Mart it looks like Levi is closing their 4 remaining plants in N. America and relocating the jobs overseas.

Jobs created by Wal-Mart in the USA are low paying and without adequate benefits. When each store is expected to make $75-80 million a year, the money has to come from somewhere.

Wal-Mart Is Big

-Wal-Mart is the largest corporation in the world.
-Its a $244 billion dollar business (FY 2003) that employs 1.3 million people in the USA and creates 1 out of every 20 jobs.
-It has some 4700 stores worldwide, 3000 and growing in the USA
-It sells 19% of all grocery store food in the US
-It controls 30% of the US staples market (paper towels, toothpaste etc) and plans to increase that to 50% by 2010
-It handles 16% of all pharmacy drug sales in the US and plans to increase that to 25% by 2008
-A full-time job at Wal-Mart is 34 hrs per week
-Salary for sales 'associate' is about $8.23/hr ($13,861/yr)
-Salary for cashier is about $7.92/hr ($11,948/yr)
-Wal-Mart could pay each employee a dollar more per hour if the company increased its prices by a half-penny per dollar. For example, a $2.00 pair of socks would then cost $2.01. This minimal increase would annually add up to $1,800 for each employee.
-Wal-Mart is good for lawyers, they were sued 4851 times in the year 2000 and have thousands of open cases
-Wal-Mart sees citizen organized opposition to 1 in 3 proposed new stores

You can think of it as the American equivalent of the British East India Company which pretty much ruled the world at one time

An Adirondack Wal-Mart

Saranac Lake, NY is going to be the lucky recipient of a spanking brand new 121,000 square foot Wal-Mart big box. This blog is going to track the trials, travails and tribulations of Saranac Lake, its residents and its neighbors as they deal with this very unethical business.