Store Wars

kelley kelley at
Wed May 30 21:06:50 PDT 2001

When Wal-Mart Comes to Town Tamara Straus, AlterNet May 24, 2001

In 1998, David Glass, the chief operating officer of Wal-Mart, outlined his company's objective: "First we dominate North America, then South America, then Europe and Asia."

If Glass had been speaking of any other enterprise his words might have seemed far-fetched. But Wal-Mart's growth since 1962 actually has resembled a blitzkrieg. The largest retailer in the world has 3,000 stores in the U.S. as well as chains in Britain, Germany, China, Korea, Mexico, Brazil and Argentina. It opens a megastore every two days. It is the U.S.'s largest private employer, with 925,000 people on the payroll, and the second largest employer in general after the Federal government. The company also boasts the largest computer, surpassing the Pentagon's, and the world's largest fleet of trucks. Wal-Mart might as well appear in the dictionary under the word huge.

I know the above statistics because I just watched "Store Wars: When Wal-Mart Comes to Town," a documentary film by Micha Peled that will air on PBS beginning June 7. "Store Wars" is not exactly a critique of Wal-Mart's business practices, but it is hard to come away with a favorable view of the company, which lines its proposals with million-dollar incentives to cash-strapped towns and then threatens to move its megastore to Town B if Town Council A says no. <more>

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