While I am sure similar practices go on in all of the major chains, Wal-Mart's anti-union activities are well documented and despicable. We're talking about tactics and intimidation that Sally Fields could never have imagined, much less stood up to. While I do appreciate the company's latest attempts to go green, I will only shop there in the most dire of circumstances for many of the reasons already stated. Add to that, I have never gotten a smile from someone at Wal-Mart and that's after an hour of searching for someone to help me.
For groceries, I shop where I work, Publix. I really hope we expand into some of your areas eventually. It's something like 40% associate owned and customer service is the #1 priority. It really is drummed into our heads everyday. We are well paid, comparatively, and, considering the industry, fairly selective about the people that are hired. Despite what you may hear, Publix beats everyone but Wal-Mart on prices.
I do agree on buying local though. SC has even rolled out a new advertising campaign on it. The wife and I will head to the farmer's market this weekend.