Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Walmart Near the Pyramids

The New York Times > International > Americas > Teotihuac�n Journal: No, the Conquistadors Are Not Back. It's Just Wal-Mart.

The more I think about it, the more I dislike Walmart. I've shopped their in the past. I'm guilty of being swept by the prices they offer. Maybe I dislike it because the one by where I live is very chaotic (and not because of the people that shop there; although they could be, too). You can't even walk through the aisles without tripping over a box. It's even dirty. The fact of the matter is that the best time to shop at this Walmart is very early in the morning or sometime after 3am. Besides that, you're in there for a long time. I've been to other Walmarts that are really nice and clean. I wouldn't mind shopping in those, I guess.

With great prices comes great hardships. The reason Walmart could offer super low prices is because they could buy in bulk (big bulk). When a Walmart sets up shop in a town, the first thing to go are the small businesses. They can't possibly compete with Walmart. The simple and most obvious reason is that a small business owner does not have the means to buy in bulk. Unfortunately for these small business owners, they have to set their prices higher. We all know what occurs after this point--they go out of business.

Did you know that Walmart is richer than many countries. If my memory serves me correctly, it is in the top thirty of rich companies/countries (I saw the statistics in one of my Latin American and Caribbean Studies classes). It is richer than some countries!! That's impressive. Who is going to compete with that? I know this is good old capitalism at it's best, but I feel for the small guy (if this was a few decades earlier, I would probably be accused of being a communist). What is funny in this whole equation is that the small guy is the one to shop at this place (including myself--very rarely; although I do like shopping at Target).

Of course Walmart is now international. It's set up shop in Mexico. The point of the above article is that it's going to open a store near ancient pyramids and the locals are upset about this. I don't blame them. There seems to be some controversy on corruption by the city and archaelogists, which does not really surprise me. The locals are worried that they will loose their small businesses:
But an economic reality underlies this dispute - Wal-Mart has not only built stores throughout Mexico, but has taken over several other chains. It is the largest private employer in the country, and wherever this American retail titan erects a new outlet, the local merchants tend to disappear, or at least lose business.

My biggest problem with Walmart is not actually Walmart, but Latin America. Walmart is the largest private employer in Mexico. Why does a foreign country have that much control over Mexico? The answer is that countries like Mexico always look outside of its borders for economic help. It's easier to let a foreign company come in and take over its economy. I'm not going to change the way countries in Latin America operate, but they keep on making the same mistakes over and over again. The more they depend on outside help, the less wealthy and productive they become. This has been going on for centuries now. When are they going to realize this is their biggest downfall?





1 comment:

Fintan Patch said...

Check out this site for a great article on Wal-mart (and more about pickles than you probably would ever care to know)

http://www.fastcompany.com/magazine/77/walmart.html