Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Why the left hates Wal-Mart

The left hates Wal-Mart.
I think we can all agree on that.
But why?
Let me count the most important way.
Wal-Mart is for everybody.
We live in a time where everything, it seems, is niche-marketed. Very few try to reach the mass audience. Remember the halcyon days of Top 40 radio, when you could hear "It's Impossible" by Perry Como and "Whole Lotta Love" by Led Zeppelin in the same hour? Remember the days of the Ed Sullivan show, which offered something for everyone?
Those days are all but gone.
But Wal-Mart built its empire on something for everybody... and that meant everybody, not just the yuppies. Wal-Mart was handed the so-called "downscale" market and ran all the way to a whole host of banks with them.
Wal-Mart provided goods of acceptable and better quality at prices that the lower reaches of the economic scale could afford.
"Omigawd," said Mr. and Ms. Elite. "Those... those... those common folk can get the same stuff we can. That's... that's... that's just not right!"
They also claim that Wal-Mart is killing the smalltown retailers of America, just because it is a total department store. Reality check: Unfortunately, the changes in society over the past 50 years or so did more to put little guys -- and more than a few big guys (remember Montgomery Ward? W.T. Grant? Woolworth's?) -- out of business long before Wal-Mart got out of Arkansas.
It can't be the fact that the Walton family is from Arkansas, could it? Nah. After all, Bill Clinton's from Arkansas. Yeah, but he's a Democrat and the Waltons aren't.
When you get down to it, the fact that Wal-Mart puts items within the financial reach of the lower economic reaches just ticks off Mr. and Ms. Elite so much that it makes them crazy.
Hey, look at some of the discussions on the left over last week's Supreme Court thievery in New London, Conn.
The point? "Omigawd, Hermione, Wal-Mart could come in and get the town to condemn my land for a superstore!"
Didn't seem to matter in a lot of other cases for those folks, though, unlike the right, which was nearly unanimous in its total condemnation of the condemnation issue.
This is not intended to be a defense of Wal-Mart, or a praise of it... just what one person sees as the reason for the hatred of this one retailer.