June 3, 2005

More on America's Largest Retailer

Here is an interesting article: Does Wal-Mart Deserve to Be Hated?

The basic point of the article is that Wal-Mart's actions are no different than any other large corporation like GE, Johnson & Johnson, or Home Depot, but that it's actions for some reason get more attention. The reason given by the author is that Wal-Mart essentially has a big target on its back due to its incredible success. You can read the article to get the whole picture, but there were two things that especially caught my eye.

First:

I'm not going to say that it's completely fair that Wal-Mart pays comparatively less than other employers, but if Wal-Mart can fill its employment needs without offering higher pay or benefits, I'd argue that it has a certain obligation to its owners to do so.
In other words, as a publicly traded company, it has a duty to maximize shareholder value, and that's just what it tries to do.

Second: The author objects to Wal-Mart's policy of not selling potentially controversial media and says he will not shop there until they change the policy. He then goes on to say that it is not censorship and they have the right to sell whatever they want, just like any other company, and it isn't like people can't get the things Wal-Mart doesn't sell. The two statements don't make a lot of sense together as it isn't quite clear exactly what he is protesting if it isn't censorship. I've sent the author an email questioning this. I'll let you know if I receive a reply.

Overall, an interesting read.

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