Wal-Mart claims that it benefits local communities when it enters a new area. Evaluate this claim, referring to textual and audio-visual information that you have encountered.
Nowadays, Wal-Mart is quite common in our daily life and it also impacts us unconsciously, such as the shopping habits. Although this global chain supermarket asserts that they bring positive effect on the area where they located in and commissioned the consulting firm Global Insight to write a report in order to prove their point, some people still distrust it. For example, Jared Bernstein and L. Josh Bivens had composed a brief named “The Wal-Mart debate a false choice between prices and wages” in 2006 to doubt the Wal-Mart’s claim. Moreover, Irwin, E.G., and Clark, J’s research about the local costs and benefits of Wal-Mart is also supply some evidence.
In this essay, I will describe the real Wal-Mart from the Bernstein’s study. Firstly, I will summarise the Wal-Mart effect to customers. Then I’ll move on to compare the advantages and disadvantages of working as a Wal-Mart’s employee. Thirdly, I’ll analyse the Wal-Mart effect to the environment around it. At last, I tend to make a conclusion about whether this Global Company did like what it said.
As the biggest beneficiaries of Wal-Mart’s low price, whether we shoppers enjoy the best service? It can be seen clearly that because of the wide ranged goods and low price of stuff, we can buy all the products which we want in “one-stop shopping” and spent lower money to living better live, and consumers even can save about 25 percent of their food budget alone in this store (Hausman & Liebtag, 2005, p113). Meanwhile, the shop which located in the fringe of towns is not only can change citizen’s shopping habits from shopping in city center to countryside, but also convenient for the people who living in more rural areas (Irwin, E. G., & Clark, 2006, p113).
However, the customer service at Wal-Mart is lower than small, more specialized shops, such as put songs with potentially offensive lyrics into sanitized versions of songs area (Bianco & Zellner, 2003 p113). As a result, although Wal-Mart tries to satisfied shoppers from the prices of products, the customer service should be improved.
According to Jared’s report, working in Wal-Mart is not an enjoyable job. Obviously, when Wal-Mart enters a new area, it prepares employment opportunity for those who are unemployed. However, the wages for Wal-Mart retail workers ($10.11/hour) are lower than the average for large shops. (Dube & Jacobs, 2004; Hopkins, 2003; Bianco & Zellner, 2003, p114). They also have to face the undesirable working environment, such as overtime work without any pay, gender discrimination (Irwin, E. G., & Clark, 2006, p114) and lack health insurance. As a result, the employees in Wal-Mart employees need more healthcare assistance programs compare with the other large supermarket workers ((Dube & Jacobs, 2004, p114).
In fact, when Wal-Mart comes into a new area, it not only impacts the local natural environment, but also affects the community, such as the local business, inhabitants, and local government. At best, Wal-Mart can improve the sales of the local restaurants and bring advantages to complementary shops in this area (Stone, 1997, p115). However, the drainage problems and traffic problem which caused by Wal-Mart cannot be ignored. Irwin described that Wal-Mart paid $5.5 million and $3.1 million in 2001 and 2004 respectively because of illegal use of water.
On the other hand, the low price would make local people prefer to go to the Wal-Mart instead of the other local retail shops, which severely harm to these shops’ business, such as florists, drugstores and card and gifts store (Irwin, 2006, p115). At last, because of the low wages and benefits those Wal-Mart employees earned, the local government and the tax-payer have to pay more for public assistance programs like healthcare, housing, food stamps, and subsidized school lunches (Dube & Jacobs, 2003, p116)
Obviously, there are negative effect and positive effect with the opening of Wal-Mart, and the disadvantages and advantages are distributed in customers, employees and environment. The winner, customers, can enjoy Wal-Mart’s low prices and the losers are local retail business because they can’t compete with this Global Company. Moreover, the communities are also impacted on local employment opportunities, potential increase in poverty and traffic congestion.
Jared. B & L.J.B (2006). THE WAL-MART DEVATE A False Choice Between Prices and Wages. Applied Economic Policy Institute. Irwin, E. G., & Clark, J (2006). The local costs and benefits of Wal-Mart. The Ohio State University, Department of Agricultural, Environmental and Development Economics.