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Ehrenreich: Wal-Mars Invades Earth

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RamboLiberal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-25-04 01:06 AM
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Ehrenreich: Wal-Mars Invades Earth
http://www.nytimes.com/2004/07/25/opinion/25ehre.html?h...

It's torn cities apart from Inglewood to Chicago and engulfed the entire state of Vermont. Now the conflict's gone national as a presidential campaign issue, with John Kerry hammering the megaretailer for its abysmally low wages and Dick Cheney praising it for its "spirit of enterprise, fair dealing and integrity." This could be the central battle of the 21st century: Earth people versus the Wal-Martians.

No one knows exactly when the pod landed on our planet, but it seemed normal enough during its early years of gentle expansion. Almost too normal, if you thought about it, with those smiley faces and red-white-and-blue bunting, like the space invaders in a 1950's sci-fi flick when they put on their human suits.

Then it began to grow. By 2000, measures of mere size - bigger than General Motors! richer than Switzerland! - no longer told the whole story. It's the velocity of growth that you need to measure now: two new stores opening and $1 billion worth of U.S. real estate bought up every week; almost 600,000 American employees churned through in a year (that's at a 44 percent turnover rate). My thumbnail calculation suggests that by the year 4004, every square inch of the United States will be covered by supercenters, so that the only place for new supercenters will be on top of existing ones.

Wal-Mart will be in trouble long before that, of course, because with everyone on the planet working for the company or its suppliers, hardly anyone will be able to shop there. Wal-Mart is frequently lauded for bringing consumerism to the masses, but more than half of its own "associates," as the employees are euphemistically termed, cannot afford the company's health insurance, never mind its Faded Glory jeans. With hourly wages declining throughout the economy, Wal-Mart - the nation's largest employer - is already seeing its sales go soft.

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Eric J in MN Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-25-04 01:10 AM
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1. What did John Kerry say about Wal-Mart? nt
nt
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Eric J in MN Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-25-04 01:13 AM
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2. Please email the NY TIMES to keep Barbara Ehrenreich.
She's filling in for Thomas Friedman, but please politely ask them to keep her after he returns from vacation:

editorial@nytimes.com

(Don't bash Thomas Friedman in the letter, since they like Friedman, even if we don't, and bashing him would backfire.)

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izzie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-25-04 06:06 AM
Response to Original message
3. I just do not shop there. End up once a year and never find what I want
So end up not going for another year.I am not sure why I hate the place but I did have a friends that said who worked in one in Wash. state and they spent time sewing on made in Am. on things that came in from over seas.
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Jack Rabbit Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-26-04 12:30 AM
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4. Bounce

Wal-Mart's only hope lies with its ostensible opponents, like Madeline Janis-Aparicio, who led the successful fight against a new superstore in Inglewood, Calif. "The point is not to destroy them," she told me, "but to make them accountable." Similarly Andy Stern, president of the Service Employees International Union, will soon begin a national effort to "bring Wal-Mart up to standards we can live with." He envisions a nationwide movement bringing together the unions, churches, community organizations and environmentalists who are already standing up to the company's recklessly metastatic growth.

Some transnationals would rather be destroyed than be accountable. It's their choice, I guess.
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