Friday, November 29, 2013

Black Friday - are you part of the one percent? recently published an Associated Press article about Black Friday altercations at a Walmart in Tazewell, Virginia. Since it's the AP, and I don't feel like paying by the word, I'll confine myself to quoting from the comments to the article.

There is absolutely no reason ever to go to Wal-Mart. And if you need proof, here it is....

Walmart shoppers haven't evolved since ancient times....

Gunfight at the white trash corral....

You know these men have to be white, or the AP would have never picked up the story. Go onto youtube later, and see what happens at all of the ghetto Walmarts across the country. See how many people are trampled and assaulted, or even worse.

Isn't it interesting that you see a lot of references to "white trash" and "ghetto" when talking about Walmart customers, but not when talking about...say...Target customers?

After all, as Ryan McMaken noted in a 2008 article:

This loathing of Wal-Mart as unique among big-box retailers is perennially on display as Home Depots and Targets are opened with little to no opposition while Wal-Marts are rewarded with a bevy of anti-Wal-Mart yard signs and protests across the countryside.

While the sheer volume of anti-Wal-Mart articles, books, and documentaries are no doubt a factor, Wal-Mart's woes can also be traced to another phenomenon: its catering to low-income customers.

Alone among major retailers, Wal-Mart is primarily identified with small towns and low-income shoppers. One often hears jokes about unwed mothers shopping at Wal-Mart and about the long lines endured while some customer at the front of the line fumbles with her WIC vouchers.

McMaken's piece was entitled "Class War and Wal-Mart" (the store subsequently changed its branding). It notes that the difference between Walmart and Target is confined to its customers, and not to the way in which the two companies do business.

If we look deeper, we find that Target, Home Depot, Kmart, and others engage in more or less identical labor and retailing practices as Wal-Mart. Target's average wages are no higher than those of Wal-Mart. Target's health care options are no more lucrative. Target imports foreign goods just as much as any other retailer (including Wal-Mart) yet this seems to trouble few. Few big-box stores pay their sales associates "high" wages, and all rely on keeping costs low by finding the least expensive (imported or otherwise) goods available.

So the hatred of some toward Walmart is not primarily motivated by the company itself, but by the people who shop there, which is why People of Walmart is so popular (and why that blog is associated with blogs such as "WTF Tattoos" and "White Trash Repair").

And make no mistake - at least as of 2005, there were clear differences between Walmart shoppers and Target shoppers:

But let us at least create the appearance of propriety by first discussing some findings by consumer shopping analyst Scarborough Research:

Target-exclusive shoppers are more likely to be female, younger and richer. For example, Target-exclusives had an average household income of about $85,000, compared to $57,000 for Walmart-exclusives, according to a 2005 survey.

Walmart-exclusives are most likely to also be in the checkout lanes at Dollar General, Family Dollar and Big Lots, while Target-exclusives are hitting up Nordstrom, Macy’s, Costco and Mervyn’s.

Walmart is big in smaller and Southern markets, while Target performs best in larger urban areas.

It's ironic - or perhaps it isn't - that at the same time some were chanting "Occupy" and criticizing the 1%, they were amusing themselves by looking at funny pictures of poor Southerners with big butt cracks. They justified it by saying that they were opposed to the evil corporate management at Walmart, but you didn't see a lot of pictures of Mike Duke and Bill Simon floating around - just their poor, dirty, trashy, ghetto customers.

When you make fun of the 99%, aren't you part of the 1%?
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