on October 11, 2009
Want a non-biased point of view on everything Wal-Mart? Then this book is it. The story and impact of Wal-Mart is presented from different points of view; those who see Wal-Mart as a good and those who see it as a bad for the local and national economy. Supported by various, insightful examples, the book is also very well written and has well annotated source notes. The book was also shortlisted for the FT/ Goldman Sachs Business Book of the Year award. Recommended read for any who are interested in Wal-Mart and its effects.
Mr. Fishman has written a very focused book that explores the “Wallmart Effect” to the consumer, the supplier and society in general. For the consumer, Wallmart has been an effective bargainer getting the best prices for the consumer that money can buy. As a consequence, consumers have been able to buy more stuff at cheaper prices. An interesting story is used to illustrate the consumer accumulation of stuff as observed by the Haines underwear company. With a drop in price of boxers, y-fronts and panties, the company thought the consumer would save their money to spend on other items. They’ve observed the opposite. Consumers spent as much money on their underclothes as they had done previously at the higher prices. They were simply purchasing more of them to the extent that Haine's marketing specialists couldn’t figure out what consumers were doing with all that underwear. They couldn't possibly wear it all. My daughter purchased enough underwear to only have to do laundry once a month but how many of us want to do that? For suppliers, Wallmart can be their best friend and their worst enemy. Suppliers are squeezed to sell their products at the very cheapest price often to the detriment of the quality of that product and the sustainability of their company. The Levi name was added the list of products offered by Wallmart only to be forced to sell an inferior product under their name. The “Snapper” company ended their relationship with Wallmart because they didn’t want an inferior lawnmower sold at that store to be mistaken for the more expensive version sold elsewhere. The impact of Wallmart on the towns and small communities where it’s introduced is also explored. Initially, a rise in employment is observed followed by a drop as the local stores are forced out of business and those employees lose their jobs. After an initial adjustment period, employment levels in those areas return to pre-Wallmart levels a slight rise in the level of poverty. “The Wallmart Effect” is slightly dated offering insights that have already become widely understood since its publication. Nevertheless, this is a fascinating look at the impact a megacorporation has had on the lives of everyone it touches.
on April 23, 2014
I found this book to be much more interesting than expected. It's informative, with a lot of the information and arguments put forth being original to the author, at least at the time of publishing. It is well written and easy to read. I recommend the version of the book with the new introduction by the author.
on December 30, 2006
Wal-Mart has used it's "Always low prices" slogan to destroy everything original and good about American society. They are like the borg, "you will be assimilated". The book describes the profound effect that Wal-Mart has had on the American economy.
Fishman remains mostly neutral showing both positive and negative effects of the growing behemoth. However, one has to wonder whether Wal-Mart used its growing influence to alter the content of the book in an attempt to prevent the book from effecting its sales. One can only hope that the book will make some people think twice about shopping there.
on January 2, 2011
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