Yesterday I posted a long blog entry about the video Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Prices. If you can watch the video with an open mind, I recommend it. Basically, it's 97 minutes of anti-Wal-Mart propaganda. In my post, I promised to give my opinions on Wal-Mart.
Personally, I don't like the store. Wal-Mart is all about low prices at whatever cost. As noted in the comments, they buy a lot of Chinese products, so buying at Wal-Mart sends a lot of money to China. I don't consider this a big deal, but would rather that money stay in a country friendly to the US. Of course, if a US company could make the same product as cheaply as a Chinese company, I have no doubt that Wal-Mart would switch. And I'm a strong capitalist, you go with the lowest cost product.
But Wal-Mart also seems to play some stock games. I've noticed that the stores have frequent stock-outs. I think there are a couple of reasons for this, one is that they are popular. Customers go in and buy all of an item and the store can't get it restocked quickly enough. Or, in some cases, I believe they intentionally have stock-outs in order to get you to come back the next day. And in some cases, they are trying to keep inventory costs down, so they let shelves stay empty.
Wal-Mart also favors low prices at the expense of service. Finding an employee when you're shopping is difficult, finding a knowledgeable employee is almost impossible. Ask where is an item and you'll get a better answer from the mom shopping with a baby than you will from an employee. When it's time for check-out, you'll see they have 28 registers and only 4 of them open (the local Wal-Mart has gotten better at this).
Wal-Mart is not on my list of favorite stores. But I still visit. They have everything. I can be (barring stock-outs) assured that I can go in one time and find everything I need. And if I'm out of town, they are usually easy to find. What do you think of the store?