Wal-Mart: The Main Street Merchant of Doom
The small town was in need of a hired gun. The people were tired of dealing with the local price-fixing merchant scum who ran the town like a company store. This low-life bunch held the people of the town in a death grip; the townspeople believed they overcharged on every purchase. In spite of what appeared to be a case of collusion, the law was powerless to do anything. What competition there was had been effectively eliminated.
Suddenly, coming over the rise and wearing white, their hired man came riding. The women and children buzzed with excitement. The men were happy. Although his methods of getting the job done turned some people’s stomachs, the local watering hole buzzed with tales of how this hired gun would change their world for the better, how someday soon they would have the benefits long afforded the big city. But, others asked, at what price?
THE MODERN VERSION OF THE“HIRED GUN”
In his final days, the man appeared to be somewhat too frail to handle the enormous job. Yet, the courage and self-confidence that he instilled in his associates radiated a belief in low prices and good value for all to see. As his associates rode into town, that radiance put to rest the people’s fears that things had changed. Sam’s spirit, the Wal- Mart Way, had come to town.
Sam Walton, founder, owner, and mastermind of Wal-Mart, passed away on April 5, 1992, leaving behind his spirit to ride herd on the colossal Wal-Mart organization. To the consumer in the small community, his store, Wal-Mart, was seen as a friend. On the flip side, many a small town merchant had been the victim of Sam’s blazing merchandising tactics. So what is Wal-Mart to the communities it serves? Is Wal-Mart the consumer’s best friend, the purveyor of the free enterprise system, the“Mother of All Discount Stores,”or, conversely, is it really“The Main Street Merchant of Doom”?</pclass="msonormal">