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Unassisted
07-26-2005, 11:04 PM
Wal-Mart knows how to play hardball.

http://www.pensacolanewsjournal.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20050724/OPINION/507240314/1020


Here's why you can't buy the News Journal at Wal-Mart
Randy Hammer (RandyHammer@PensacolaNewsJournal.com)
@PensacolaNewsJournal.com (RandyHammer@PensacolaNewsJournal.com) You can't buy the Pensacola News Journal at Wal-Mart anymore.

The store ordered us off their property, told us to come pick up our newspaper racks and clear out.

So we did.

A few people called last week, some even wrote letters to the editor, and wanted to know why they couldn't buy the newspaper at Wal-Mart in the days after Hurricane Dennis.

Some managers at Wal-Mart didn't appreciate a column Mark O'Brien wrote last month about the downside of the cheap prices that Sam Walton's empire has brought to America. We all pay a little less, and sometimes a lot less, at the grocery store and department store because of Mr. Walton, the founder of Wal-Mart.

Mr. Walton developed a brilliant business model that allowed him to undercut the prices of his competitors. He made sure that the blue jeans his store sold were cheaper than the jeans the store down the road sold. And if some store had a two-for-one special on boxes of Kraft Macaroni and Cheese, Wal-Mart would have a three-for-one special.

Leave it to old Mark, whose column runs four days a week in this newspaper, to find a downside to this. Actually, it wasn't Mark, but Thomas Friedman, who wrote "The World is Flat," which happens to be a best seller right now.

A downside

I don't mean to rub salt in a wound, but here's what Mark wrote:

"I like Wal-Mart prices the same as the next shopper, but there's a downside, too. Many Wal-Mart employees lack the fringe benefits and insurance that makes the difference between existence and a good quality of life. Yet, we customers pay a surcharge from a different pocket subsidizing health care for Wal-Mart employees who can't afford it."

Mark then described how Friedman's book pointed out that more than 10,000 children of Wal-Mart employees are in a Georgia health-care program, which costs the state's taxpayers nearly $10 million a year. Mark also pointed out that a New York Times report found that 31 percent of the patients at a North Carolina hospital were Wal-Mart employees on Medicaid.

Mark's column really wasn't about Mr. Walton's store, but about Pensacola and how we're becoming a Wal-Mart kind of town, "cheap and comfy on the surface, lots of unhappiness and hidden costs underneath."

That was the point Mark was trying to make.

Bob Hart, one of the upper managers for the Wal-Marts in the area, called me and said he didn't like Mark's column, didn't like a lot of Mark's columns.

I told Mr. Hart that I don't particularly like some of Mark's columns either. Like the one he wrote about charter government, which Escambia County had put on the ballot for voters to consider last year. Mark said the charter-government proposal was a mess and that people would be fools to vote for it.

Mark speaks his mind

I plain didn't like that column, especially since the week before I had written something that said charter government was the best idea since sliced bread. I am Mark's boss, you know. He ought to have given me a little more respect than that.

But Mark speaks his mind. And the truth be told, that's what he gets paid to do, even though it kind of hurt me when nearly 70 percent of the voters sided with Mark and rejected charter government.

Mr. Hart, however, said he and his stores couldn't tolerate a newspaper that would print the opinions of someone who was as mean and negative as Mark O'Brien. But, you know, Mark's not nearly as ornery as that left-wing rabble-rouser Molly Ivins, whose column the newspaper also publishes. At any rate, Mr. Hart said he wanted the newspaper to get its racks off his lots. But he also said that if I fired Mark, we could talk about continuing to sell the newspaper at his stores.

Wal-Mart is a company that wraps itself in red, white and blue.

I might understand it if Wal-Mart said I ought to fire Mark because what he said wasn't accurate. But that isn't the case. Mark accurately reported that there are 10,000 children of Wal-Mart employees in a health-care program that is costing Georgia taxpayers nearly $10 million a year.

Shouldn't we talk about that?

When we stop listening to people on the other side of the fence, when we try to silence and even punish people for thinking differently than we do and raising facts and figures we don't like, well, we won't be red, white and blue anymore.

That's why Mark still has a job and you can't buy a Pensacola News Journal at Wal-Mart anymore.

wally post
07-26-2005, 11:28 PM
great story! Thanks Unassisted!!!

RedsBaron
07-27-2005, 06:53 AM
That story needs national circulation. Let it get enough coverage, with some heat on Wal-Mart, and Wal-Mart may suddenly announce that Mr. Hart took his action without authorization from higher management, that the newspaper can come back, etc.

RedFanAlways1966
07-27-2005, 07:56 AM
Such is life. You put down a company and then expect it to sell your paper, so you make money? Wal-Mart has the right to not sell that paper. As much as that paper has the right to put down Wal-Mart. And I'd venture to guess that the paper needs Wal-Mart more than Wal-Mart needs the paper. The paper will lose sales b/c of this... Wal-Mart will not. Funny how that works out.

zombie-a-go-go
07-27-2005, 08:46 AM
The paper will lose sales b/c of this... Wal-Mart will not. Funny how that works out.

Really?

This story upsets me. And I'll put my money where my mouth is, and pass Wal-Mart as I travel an extra half-mile to Target next time I need to pick up diapers.

Power of the Press.

Jaycint
07-27-2005, 08:52 AM
Really?

This story upsets me. And I'll put my money where my mouth is, and pass Wal-Mart as I travel an extra half-mile to Target next time I need to pick up diapers.

Power of the Press.

Plus lots of hot chicks seem to shop at Target. At least the one in Florence. Just sayin... :)

Larkin411
07-27-2005, 08:54 AM
Such is life. You put down a company and then expect it to sell your paper, so you make money? Wal-Mart has the right to not sell that paper. As much as that paper has the right to put down Wal-Mart. And I'd venture to guess that the paper needs Wal-Mart more than Wal-Mart needs the paper. The paper will lose sales b/c of this... Wal-Mart will not. Funny how that works out.


Yeah it's called exploiting economic advantage to hurt a small business.

Wal-Mart uses similar strong-arm tactics on many American businesses(see Rubbermaid). I hardly think low-priced consumer goods is worth sending a lot of American jobs over to China so that they can be done without fair labor practices getting in the way or environmental protections. Not that you can expect a company like Wal-Mart to police itself but really the government should be cracking down on big business. Adam Smith must be rolling over in his grave.

I'm glad the paper called Wal-Mart out and I think your post shows how badly our media is compromised by being heavily dependant on the commercial sector. In England, they at least always have the BBC which despite it's faults would not have to worry overly much about pleasing Wal-Mart or any other conglomerate.

registerthis
07-27-2005, 09:16 AM
That's how Wal-Mart operates--they're a bully. They demand the cheapest possible prices from their suppliers, or threaten to kick them off the shelves. Anyone who still has warm fuzzies about Wal-Mart and their "All-American" success story needs to read the aformentioned Friedman book, as well as "Nickel and Dimed" by Barbara Ehrenreich.

Personally, I doubt this will have a great amount of affect on the Pensacola newspaper--people aren't going to stop reading it b/c they can't find it at Wal-Mart, they'll just pick it up some place else. This type of tactic isn't surprising at all--it's just how Wal-Mart conducts business.

registerthis
07-27-2005, 09:16 AM
Yeah it's called exploiting economic advantage to hurt a small business.

Wal-Mart uses similar strong-arm tactics on many American businesses(see Rubbermaid).
Vlasic, too. Wal-Mart practically put them out of business.

919191
07-27-2005, 10:15 AM
And a whole lot of other industry. I work in the packaging industry. An example is demanding their suppliers have practically no variance in the color of their packaging. The supplier is forced to demand highly critical quality in the printed product of their packaging, yet must demand a low cost to them for their product to be able to sell to Wal-Mart. Then those suppliers are forced to cut their costs both in labor and equipment, yet require a higher quality product that in and of itself costs more. Hundreds of dollars, even thousands can be spent trying to match a color that already matches by eye, yet must pass a computer reading test.

Dom Heffner
07-27-2005, 10:28 AM
Such is life. You put down a company and then expect it to sell your paper, so you make money? Wal-Mart has the right to not sell that paper. As much as that paper has the right to put down Wal-Mart. And I'd venture to guess that the paper needs Wal-Mart more than Wal-Mart needs the paper. The paper will lose sales b/c of this... Wal-Mart will not. Funny how that works out.

You really don't want what you are describing here. In the world you speak of, the media should live in fear of big business and be afraid to report anything that could be detrimental to newspaper sales. Wal-Mart could be making people work for nothing and under your terms, a newspaper should not report it because Wal-mart might not sell their paper anymore.

No thanks.

westofyou
07-27-2005, 10:30 AM
Locally we're not wanting them here thus we're doing something about it.

http://nosellwoodwalmart.com/default.aspx

919191
07-27-2005, 10:38 AM
Such is life. You put down a company and then expect it to sell your paper, so you make money? Wal-Mart has the right to not sell that paper. As much as that paper has the right to put down Wal-Mart. And I'd venture to guess that the paper needs Wal-Mart more than Wal-Mart needs the paper. The paper will lose sales b/c of this... Wal-Mart will not. Funny how that works out.

Actually, newspapers make most of their money from ads rather than from sales, I believe. The more papers they sell, the more they charge for their ads.

Dom Heffner
07-27-2005, 10:41 AM
Actually, newspapers make most of their money from ads rather than from sales, I believe. The more papers they sell, the more they charge for their ads.

Yes, but if no one is seeing the ads, you can't sell the ads for as much. Circulation determines advertising rates.

Blimpie
07-27-2005, 11:15 AM
Locally we're not wanting them here thus we're doing something about it.

http://nosellwoodwalmart.com/default.aspxThat's a good move on your part. Their corporations expand to smaller and more rural towns like a pervasive disease. They setup shop bragging about all of the jobs they create and the economic impact that they will have on the community through their corporate tax base.

My father-in-law works at our local Sam's Club Discount Store and says that this corporate philosophy is mandated from the Bentonville home office--leaving no room for interpretation by their local/area level management people. Not only is their health insurance is a joke, but they basically steal overtime from their employees daily. I am told that their employees are forced to clock out at exactly eight hours (must be witnessed by a supervisor) and then the management proceeds to find another 1-2 hours worth of things for you to do under the "oh--just one more thing if you don't mind" category... :help:

RBA
07-27-2005, 11:15 AM
Yes, but if no one is seeing the ads, you can't sell the ads for as much. Circulation determines advertising rates.

And WalMart usually bypasses traditional newspaper advertising as most of their ads are bulk mail delivered.

I wonder if the US Postal Service gives them a special discount rate?

KronoRed
07-27-2005, 12:37 PM
Plus lots of hot chicks seem to shop at Target. At least the one in Florence. Just sayin... :)

One out Beachmont isn't bad either

I mean..I'VE HEARD that

:D

RedFanAlways1966
07-27-2005, 01:06 PM
I understand the comments in reply to my 1st post in this thread. I kind of left my comment open-ended...

But my main point is Wal-Mart does have the right to not sell certain items. Just like a newspaper, whether truthful or not, can report as they please (per freedom of the press). I highly doubt that The Pensacola News Journal will be put out of business by this. But make no mistake that The Pensacola News Journal will use this as a tool to sell more of their papers. Just like Wal-Mart uses their size as a tool to drive down prices. Freedom to sell items that you want works just like freedom of the press. Ironic?

Perhaps there will be a few people who decide to not shop at Wal-Mart any longer b/c of this Pensacola News Journal thing (like zombie). But most people care more about how much money they spend when shopping than they care about one newspaper in Florida (which they will never read in their lives).

I like to get the best prices when shopping for certain items. Whether that store carries a certain rag (and for whatever reason they decide to not carry it) does not mean a thing to me and the majority of Americans. If I can pay $100 for stuff that would run me around $110 elsewhere is what I care about (w/ 2 kids to feed). The Pensacola News Journal? I could care less who sells their news and who does not. I read The Dayton Daily News. If Wal-Mart here pulled it, I could care less. I'd still get the paper like I do everyday and still shop at Wal-Mart for certain things.

Johnny Footstool
07-27-2005, 01:15 PM
But my main point is Wal-Mart does have the right to not sell certain items.

Exactly.

There shouldn't be a law that requires Wal-Mart or any other retailer to sell certain items.

Consumer outrage and "dollar votes" have to force the issue. If you don't like what Wal-Mart is or isn't selling, you can buy those items elsewhere and hope that the lost revenue will convince Wal-Mart to carry those items again (fat chance on that happening, though).

zombie-a-go-go
07-27-2005, 02:05 PM
Just like a newspaper, whether truthful or not, can report as they please (per freedom of the press).

Not really. There are laws against libel, for instance.

But I get your point.

PickOff
07-27-2005, 03:51 PM
Of course WalMart has the right to not sell whatever it wants. And Walmart can't sell certain illegal items, as a paper can't print anything it wants as fact, opening itself up for litigation.

But this we all know as quite obvious.

If the Journal printed inaccurate information than I could see the issue, but unfortunately for Walmart, that was not the case. Walmart will probably get tired of explaining to their customers that they have a problem with the paper and have decided to no longer carry it. It just makes Walmart seem all the more ridiculous and as if they have something to hide. I, for one, find this rather amusing. I'm sure it is the talk of the town and the paper will not suffer for it.

How Walmart will be be to save face on this one, I will be interested to see. I imagine that the manager will be fired or moved to another store eventually.

Since the Pensacola News Journal is the most widely read paper in NW Florida, they will probably want to offer it to their customers eventually. With all the bad PR Walmart has been geting over the last few years and in light of the recent campaign to brighten Walmart's image, I can't imagine the executives are very happy about this recent development.

I'm sure the paper would prefer to be sold at Walmart, but they are not going to beg to be back on the floor.

It is unfortunate, but true, that the vast majority of Americans do only care about getting the lowest price possible for the items they desire. I understand the need to be as frugal as possible, particularly when you need to make a paycheck stretch to buy everything you need and hopefully set something aside. Unfortunately it seems to be getting harder and harder to do.

Shopping at Walmart only serves to bring wages down and encourage other companies to offer less in the way of benefits, not to mention the further global effects that will only continue to hurt our country's competitiveness.

Shopping at Walmart to me, is like buying goods you know might have been stolen, perhaps even from your neighbor, but not caring either way because the price is so right.

registerthis
07-27-2005, 04:31 PM
It is unfortunate, but true, that the vast majority of Americans do only care about getting the lowest price possible for the items they desire. I understand the need to be as frugal as possible, particularly when you need to make a paycheck stretch to buy everything you need and hopefully set something aside.
And, ironically, one of the reasons for this is the ridiculously low wages places such as Wal-mart pay their employees.

PickOff
07-27-2005, 04:56 PM
And, ironically, one of the reasons for this is the ridiculously low wages places such as Wal-mart pay their employees.

Exactly, yet another self-perpetuating cycle.

RosieRed
07-27-2005, 04:57 PM
When I lived in Ithaca, NY, there was a major battle going on between residents not wanting a Wal-Mart, and Wal-Mart wanting to come to Ithaca. And I mean *major* battle, which went on for years and years. (Here's (http://www.ithacahours.com/archive/9406.html) an article from 1994, for example.) There were lawsuits, petitions, meetings, etc. I wish I could post some articles from the city's newspaper, but you have to pay to use their archive.

The residents were able to put major delays on the timeline to open the store, but Wal-Mart "won" and opened a store in Ithaca in Jan. 2005.

From the looks of the following sites, some residents still aren't too happy about it.

http://www.petitiononline.com/wlwith/petition.html
http://www.walmartlivingwage.net/
http://www.rso.cornell.edu/cola/walmart.htm

All of which is to say, good luck WOY.

REDREAD
07-28-2005, 09:25 PM
And I'd venture to guess that the paper needs Wal-Mart more than Wal-Mart needs the paper. The paper will lose sales b/c of this... Wal-Mart will not.

I kind of doubt that. People that want a paper will be willing to drive to another store to get one. And they may go ahead and shop at that other store while they're there.