Some great Wal-Mart related photos on flickr.
Haldane snapped a few photos inside of Wal-Mart in Ithaca, including this one:
H. Lee Scott's comments about Tesco's share of the market being too large a target for UK politicians are easily interpreted as a call for an investigation. In the comments of the last link, Alan (from Alan and Paul) gets to the heart of the matter right away:
It appears that back in 2003, Wal-Mart’s subsidiary Asda controlled 16.9 percent of the British grocery market (slightly more than it has now), when it became the highest bidder to purchase British Safeway, a struggling chain with 12.4 percent of the grocery market.Itoo think Scott's remarks are taken entirely out of context by many, but there's no doubt that Mr Scott i's correct about the desire of politicians to intervene in the economy if it will score them points. What did Scott actually say?
If Wal-Mart had been allowed to purchase British Safeway, it would have controlled 29.3 percent of the grocery market. This level of market share, it turns out, was completely unpalatable to British Trade and Industry officials, who stepped in and proclaimed that it would be illegal for Wal-Mart to have that large a share of the grocery business. Fair enough, I suppose.
But now Euro retailer Tesco has achieved a 30.5 percent market share. Why is it that Wal-Mart having 29.3 percent of the market constitutes an illegal monopoly—but Tesco having an even larger share is just fine? And that, of course, was the obvious question on Lee Scott’s mind when he directed those comments at British antitrust regulators over the weekend.
"As you get over 30% and higher, I am sure there is a point where government is compelled to intervene, particularly in the U.K., where you have the planning laws that make it difficult to compete," Scott told the Times of London, adding that "at some point, the government has to look at it."
Why is it that nobody is calling for intervention into Tesco? Could it be that Tesco has captured the regulators?
Most anti-trust/planning/regulatory laws allegedly designed to enhance competition do exactly the opposite; they do NOT protect the public from nefarious behavior, and as may or may not be exemplified here, they are frequently used by companies as hammers to drive nails through each other and the public.
The skinny: One should greatly doubt the abilities of regulators to determine exactly which market configurations are in the public interest.
Some of you may get a kick out of how ALP is categorized on the right sidebar of the new Wake Up The NEA blog.
UPDATE 9:40PM:That was fast; ALP is now in the pro-WM category.
Remember, ALP is not affiliated with Wal-Mart. To celebrate that all-too-obvious fact, here's a photo of a plain plastic Wal-Mart bag.
Notice circled R's next to Wal-Mart and Always. That means these are registered trademarks. Also notice the small blurry SM next to ALWAYS LOW PRICES. It's not a circled R because the service mark for the shortened phrase "Always Low Prices" is not yet registered with the US Patent and Trademark Office, although it looks like "Always Low Prices -- Always." is finally through the opposition period.
Wal-Mart is entering the realm of "Reality Television", only it won't be as a sponsor of super-physical, survivor-type shows.
For the first time, Wal-Mart Stores is becoming a major sponsor of a reality television show, by signing a branded-entertainment agreement with ABC for "The Scholar," a summer series that begins a six-week run on Monday night. Wal-Mart will be woven into the plots of episodes of the show, which is centered on a competition among 10 high school seniors from across the country for a grand prize of a full college scholarship, valued at $250,000, covering tuition and expenses.
The students will compete in a variety of academic, creative and social tasks, including team challenges, oral exams and defending themselves before a scholarship committee. In one challenge, the five members of the winning team each receive a $2,000 Wal-Mart gift card to outfit their dormitory rooms. And Wal-Mart is underwriting the cost of the scholarships for the nine runners-up, totaling $300,000. (The Broad Foundation in Los Angeles is donating the grand prize.)
There will also be commercials during the show promoting the Wal-Mart and Sam's Club Foundation's long-running program offering scholarships to students in towns where it operates stores and distribution centers.
Apparently Wal-Mart's motivation is to try to counter some of the image problems they think they have been having. The fact that they think they have been having image problems suggests that perhaps the anti-Wal-Mart forces have been having an impact.
The Boycott Wal-Mart for Mothers' Day campaign seems entirely humorless to me, so I thought I'd add my own images to liven things up:
The Wake-Up Wal-Mart blog has a pic of the billboard that Clear Channel refused to run in NYC. I actually find it annoying to read the text on the left, and far less professional overall that I had imagined.
Keene, NH lies ringed with hills in the shadow of Mt. Monadnock, a clot of culture settled in a bowl of stone. Over time I've posted various pictures of Mt. Monadnock, and here's another. Isn't it ironic that one of the best views of Mt. Monadnock occurs at the junction of Key Road and Winchester Street, right across from Wal-Mart?Go look and read if you're interested.
Many people have emailed me wondering why I never posted about the Wal-Mart greeter who was fired for modifiying this photo, by sticking his own head on the body, and then showing a printout to customers.
Well here it is, by popular demand.
Folks, I've known about the original photo for 6 months, and found it rather gross for my taste. Anyway, the guy who was fired has no regrets, because the media has been phoning and knocking on his door constantly.:
Muscatine, Ia. - In retrospect, Dean Wooten says, maybe getting fired from Wal-Mart was a blessing in disguise.Still, he wants to go back to WM; he loves working there! Shhh, don't tell the unions!
For one thing, he had time to volunteer, ringing the bell for the Salvation Army almost a dozen times over Christmas. For another, he's been able to use the down time to add a new swarm to his beekeeping operation.
But mostly, he says, people sure seem to be enjoying the reason for his firing.
That photo. The computer-generated one of him appearing to be wearing nothing but a Wal-Mart sack.
"I thought everybody would get a laugh out of it," Wooten says.
They sure have.
Wooten said he doesn't agree with the judge's decision to deny him unemployment benefits, but he has no beef with Wal-Mart. In fact, he said, he misses his co-workers. Store officials have told him he can reapply for his greeter job again in six months, and he intends to.
"I just loved that job," he said. "Every morning, I'd say, 'Good morning. Enjoy your shopping at Wal-Mart.' And when they left, I'd say, 'Thank you for shopping at Wal-Mart.' I loved meeting the people."
I've come across a new crop of anti-WM photos and pics. Here's the first:
It appears that Wal-Mart's attempt to change its ill-fashioned image is falling short, though some within WM would have us believe otherwise.
By ANN ZIMMERMAN
The Associated Press
7/2/04 9:12 AM
The Wall Street Journal
Two years ago, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. set out to do what was once unthinkable: get serious about fashion.
The world's largest retailer -- known for being cheap but never chic -- had bulked up its fledgling product-design team and dispatched buyers and designers to Europe for inspiration. Most importantly, Wal-Mart announced it would roll out the contemporary apparel line George, which already had enjoyed a decade of success in the United Kingdom.
Stateside, nervous fashion retailers bristled. With apparel sales already stalled, the industry worried it would be the next victim of the so-called Wal-Mart effect. The Bentonville, Ark., retailing chain is known for dominating nearly every consumer product category it sets its sights on -- from toilet paper to toys -- forcing down prices and flattening competition along the way. As the largest seller of clothing basics, such as jeans, sweats and underwear, Wal-Mart sales already accounted for roughly 25 percent of the U.S. apparel market.
Four seasons out, George, which is targeted to women 30 to 50 years old, is hardly the megahit industry denizens feared. Although Wal-Mart insists sales of the George are ahead of plan this year, apparel suppliers, analysts and observers say sales have been far below what the fashion world was expecting.
"(George) is not flying off the shelves," says Marshal Cohen, senior analyst with NPD Group, a Port Washington, N.Y., market-research firm that tracks apparel sales.
One problem seems to be the fact that:
Not that the merchandise is drab or costly. Sharply-priced George offers Chanel-inspired tweed jackets and flouncy floral skirts, with most items less than $20. The problem, rather, appears to be with Wal-Mart's execution. In-store displays are small and often hard to find. Some feel it has suffered from a lack of advertising in a heavily promotional industry. Others perceive George as less a fashion collection than a gaggle of basics in better colors and fabrics.
"When you launch a fashion brand you should do it with 360-degree support in terms of how it is merchandised and placed in stores and you need to talk about it -- difficult issues for Wal-Mart," says Mandy Putnam, an analyst with Retail Forward, a marketing research and consulting firm based in Columbus, Ohio.
George's wobbly start raises the larger question of whether Wal-Mart's low-price, commodity approach is too restricting for a fashion brand. "Wal-Mart is really known for price," says Todd Slater, an analyst with Lazard, a New York investment bank. "But that is not the primary goal in buying fashion apparel."
Yet, still, one is left to wonder if other factors besides those mentioned in the above referenced article may be contributing to some shoppers habits, particularly among the population of momen shoppers that these fashion are targeted and geared to attract.
Maybe, as big as they are, they can manage to afford to stay both in denial and in business all at the same time.
Read the article in full, here.
Ebay has an amazing assortment of Wal-Mart related items, including this charm:
From the Wal-Mart's War on Workers website:
Again, why would Wal-Mart managers and hourly workers want to deal with people who think they're working for a dictatorship?