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3.8 out of 5 stars
3.8 out of 5 stars
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on August 23, 2010
I am writing the review because I just recommended this film to a friend and had to try to recall what it's about and why I found it compelling and valuable.

This film is a collage of perspectives, or puzzle pieces, that unite to explain the impact of globalization via transnational retail giant Wal-Mart. The main obstacle to putting these pieces together ourselves and understanding the affect of operations like Wal-mart on society is that our knowledge of them is limited: we know that Wal-mart offers products at prices that are among the lowest anywhere; what we do not know, and perhaps have not cared to know, is exactly how Wal-mart manages to do that.

Reviews that attack this film for its production values are off the mark. This film is not a slick production because its objective is to simply show us, like YouTube for example, what people are saying and doing and in this case what happens when lower price is chosen as the sole motive for purchase. We get a glimpse of what happens to producers and suppliers, to middle and small retailers, to Wal-mart employees and even to its customers and the environment.

I was amazed to learn for example of assaults in Wal-mart parking lots and their policy with regard to these incidents. Also, I do not know what it is like to work there and so hearing from actual employees was very insightful. It was also enlightening to hear from some of their competitors, particularly smaller mom and pop operations that had been around for a long time and who have been surprised and learned that competition is healthy, but only when it is able to exist.

Reviews that attack this film for not presenting a balanced perspective are also inaccurate. With the company constantly advertising and blowing its own horn with regard to the value of shopping there, is the impact of Wal-mart balanced? The combined wealth of the Walton family is near $80 billion, with Sam Walton's heirs all in the top 20 of the worlds wealthiest people while Walmart's wages and benefits also set standards but more at the other end of the spectrum. Most people seem to think that shopping there is a good idea but other than to save a few bucks over the short term, is it really?

The High Cost of Low Price refers to official Wal-mart policies, provides quotes, and perspectives of company officials when possible, and interviews with public officials who have had occasion to deal with them. In the end we learn that this corporation holds its cards very close, and that anyone who tries to find out what's going on in there is going to have a hard time finding anything out.

That's why this film is valuable. It's an eye opener, and a must for anyone who believes that driving prices lower can only be a good thing.
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on September 27, 2006
Even if you don't buy it, watch this. I don't give it 5 stars only because some of the other reviewers mentioned that some of its production quality isn't the greatest, in addition the ending gets a little corny and pointless. But everything up until the last 15 or so minutes of this movie is quite good. As far as the argument portraying only one side or leaving out the 'good' Wal-Mart does...

1. Let Wal-Mart make their own case, if I'm critiquing Wal-Mart, why should I have to defend them?

2. What 'good'?

If your argument is "These jobs are better than no jobs!" I disagree, Jobs that hold you in poverty are not better than being forced to find another way to make money. Watch this movie!
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on May 24, 2014
This movie's astonishing collection of research and reports of different dimensions of the ultimate corporate success in our times, asks some very disturbing questions! If a company comes in to a community, closes its independent competitors and then relocates, is it anything more than an 'Independent' assassin? When a company claims to be green while ignoring government concerns they are leaking poisons into reservoirs, can they continue to claim to be green? When workers in China are interviewed working for slave wages, what is the real cost of low prices?
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on February 16, 2016
Features employees who use government programs to get by due to low wages, former business owners run out of business, parking lot violence, and workers in China. Insightful.
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on February 10, 2014
a bit dated but still worth a watch... there are others too.. absolutely an eye opener even today for lots of people out there!!
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on December 10, 2014
Fantastic documentary. I think it is available on Youtube.
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on July 5, 2014
Service and product are great. We'll produced documentary
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on July 16, 2014
Quite fascinating and informative
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on September 24, 2014
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on March 28, 2013
The content is a little old, but it's good food for thought. Decent content that I am hoping to use in the classes I teach about social action and documentary film.
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