Saturday, February 25, 2006

"Most Wanted" Corporate Human Rights Violators of 2005

Guess who is among them? Answer here.

Community Owned Department Stores

Arthur, Nebraska (Pop. 130), Powell, Wyoming (Pop. 5,300), Ely, Nevada (Pop. 4,000), Hebron, New Hampshire (Pop. 400) all have community owned department stores. Middlebury, VT (Pop. 8,500) residents think a community owned department store in the center of town would be better than allowing a big box like Wal-Mart to be built close by. Residents of Greenfield, Massachusetts are exploring the same idea. Read more here, here, here and here.

Leaders in Saranac Lake should at least be exploring other options besides the 'easy option' of letting Wal-Mart build in SL.

NOTE: Community Corporations

As Shuman defines community corporations, their ownership and control is institutionally bound to local people. Not surprisingly, Shuman includes municipal public enterprises, worker and consumer cooperatives, credit unions, and community-based non-profits in the category of community corporations. What is more novel is his advocacy of another type of community corporation: the for-profit corporation with a residential restriction on stock ownership. This locally-owned for-profit community corporation is one where voting shares are restricted to local residents and where no one interest can own more than a small proportion of the shares and votes. Its big advantage is that it limits the capital mobility that has devastated so many communities in recent decades.

I found this definition of a community corporation here.

I didn't know that the Green Bay Packers Football franchise is a community owned corporation. That is why they have never moved away from Green Bay, WI.

Friday, February 24, 2006

How About a Cooperative Department Store?

Here is the ideal spot for development in Saranac Lake. The area bounded by Broadway, Bloomingdale Ave, Cedar St and Margaret St. It's an eyesore in the middle of town, is located near the Union Depot, but evidently consists of lots owned by several different people. It's within walking distance of a large number of residents and if the train ever runs from Utica to SL you could even cheaply ship goods on the train. Wouldn't it be wonderful to locate a community department store based upon a cooperative venture. A forward looking community might discuss the possibility of such a venture and even search for State or Federal Funding to purchase land and put up a building to lease.

Wal-Mart Struggling in Germany

German employees at Wal-Mart don't seem to agree with Wal-Mart's new ethics manual.

the ethics-code fiasco shows that Wal-Mart is still prone to do things the Wal-Mart way without enough consideration to local customs. Rivals continue to chuckle about the customer reaction when, initially, Wal-Mart offered services such as grocery bagging. It turned out that Germans didn't want strangers handling their groceries. And when clerks followed orders to smile at shoppers, male customers took it as a come-on.

Read more here.


German courts have upheld the right of Wal-Mart employees to flirt at work. It has struck out sections of the retail giant’s employee code of conduct that barred "any kind of communication that could be interpreted as sexual

America on Wal-Mart

A national survey finds that Wal-Mart is always welcomed....somewhere else. The Saint Consulting group found that 63% of those surveyed would oppose a Wal-Mart store if one were proposed in their community.

Sent by a Concerned Saranac Laker


Thursday, February 23, 2006

Wal-Mart to Compete with Physicians?

Going to Wal-Mart to buy underwear? Soon you will be able to get some of your health care there too. Will this be good or bad for small rural hospitals and medical practices? I'm pretty sure the insurance companies will like it. Read more here.

A Diary by a Wal-Mart Employee

Working at Wal-Mart is a blog written by "An Associate" who lives in Maine.

Concerned about WAL-MART's impact on our world, I decided to infiltrate my local Supercenter in an effort to better understand the company and especially the conditions faced by its workers. In the months since I have truly learned what it is like to be a low-wage associate inside this retailing goliath (hint: it's not particularly pleasant...) This is the story of the working poor, which hopefully will inspire us as consumers to seek change by boycotting WAL-MART.

This person has 'infiltrated' Wal-Mart and has written about his experiences from application time to interview to training to working. It is REALLY well written and well worth reading, especially if you plan to work at Wal-Mart. Start at the bottom of the January archieve and read your way up.

Really Good New Link

I'm adding this new link from a site called "The Hometown Advantage: reviving locally owned business"

Lot's of links to big box and Wal-Mart stories. I particularly like the one by Stacy Mitchell published at titled "What to do about Wal-Mart?" Suggestions are: 1) Bring back trust busting; 2) Expand community control over development; 3) Support small business creation; 4) Value work.

I've also added a link to The Institute for Local Self-Reliance

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Fun at Wal-Mart!

A list of 68 fun things to do at Wal-Mart HERE

Got to admire someone who will list every single city that has a Wal-Mart store.

Those Who Said No Thanks

Read articles from 277 communities that have said 'no' to Wal-Mart (including Saranac Lake and Lake Placid).

UPDATE:Actually, they said 'no' to big box stores in general. I haven't checked all 277 cities, but 'anonymous' did spend over 21 minutes checking out the sites so there may be some cities that welcomed big box stores and 'sprawl-busters got it wrong.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Pro Wal-Mart Websites

I'm having a tough time finding links to pro Wal-Mart websites. There is the Ludwig von Mises Institute made up of libertarians devoted to some Austrian economist that didn't get the Nobel Prize they thought he deserved. There is a story asking if Wal-Mart destroys communities, one about how Wal-Mart serves humanity and one about the union conspiracy against Wal-Mart workers. I don't care too much for most libertarian views and the devotion of faculty at The Mises Institute for a dead Austrian economist scares me a bit. More about them here. Note that the Southern Poverty Law Center has problems with The Mises Institute.

Then there is Working Families for Wal-Mart. Not really much information on their website but if you like Pat Boone you will love Working Families for Wal-Mart. This group apparently gets financial support from Wal-Mart.

UPDATE: Ok, Americansforwalmart here. Lots of information from a pro Wal-Mart organization. However, they admit that most of their facts are obtained from Walmartfacts.

Many of the general facts about Wal-Mart used in this section come from the company’s informational website,