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Old 03-17-2009, 11:04 PM   #81
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The pocket book usually wins out.
I'll paraphrase. People tend to be greedy and hold the saving of a few dollars above their neighbors, the loyal mechants on the town square and on Main St, who stood by them for years. After the locals have shuttered their shops and the lights in the WM parking lot blaze 24X7, they blame WM, where they shopped with glee, instead of themselves.

WM never shut down a local merchant. Local customers who abandoned the local merchant did.

People deserve what they get.
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Old 03-17-2009, 11:34 PM   #82
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I lived in a town that successfully kept out Wal*Mart, even though many people were in the habit of driving 25 to 30 miles to shop anywhere other than with the local merchants. Not every local merchant is beloved by the town populace. I was strongly in favor of Wal*Mart coming in, event though the stores are ugly as ugly can be, partly because I wanted cheaper basic groceries, sporting goods, etc., but mostly because even before Wal*Mart began their generic $4/month drug program, they were so much cheaper than the local pharmacists that I really hated filling an Rx locally. Once I went to all 4 or 5 local pharmacies pricing something (I didn't have drug insurance on my policy)- I think it was an antibiotic for one of my kids. Prices varied from $40 to $65 or so. And the locals were not very gracious about quoting the price.

So I called Wal*Mart, asked them the cash price for this drug. $14.

I drove down there and got it. Later I mentioned it to one of the pharmacists. When I told him what it cost, he did not want to believe me. He said that was less than his wholesale.

So I understand why they would do almost anything to avoid getting a Wal*Mart, but IMO the local merchants are usually not worth saving. They were not operating public service agencies. They were doing something that a not so bright, not so energetic guy or gal with a fairly modest amount of capital could do and make a pretty fair living and have a lifestyle that got them home for an early dinner. If they want to and have the drive and energy to do it, in many fields they can always move to a true high service business model, not just an "I know old Jim from Rotary" phony service model.

In addition to the merchants, the weekly newspaper, the doctors and optometrists etc., what kept out the Wal*Mart were rich, relatively young retirees and professionals who worked at the end of a high speed connection. I don't mean rich like another thread defined it, I mean rich like paying twice as much for many things and 4x as much for others was nothing to them, compared to keeping the open sore of a Wal*Mart out of their fantasy existence.

Wal*Mart has done a lot for America. I guess you can tell that I am not totally in love with any of the small towns that I know anything about.

ha
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Old 03-17-2009, 11:43 PM   #83
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I'll paraphrase. People tend to be greedy and hold the saving of a few dollars above their neighbors, the loyal mechants on the town square and on Main St, who stood by them for years. After the locals have shuttered their shops and the lights in the WM parking lot blaze 24X7, they blame WM, where they shopped with glee, instead of themselves.
The small merchants did serve their customers in rural areas, but let's not romanticize the relationship. The prices were high, the selection was limited, and if you didn't like it, tough. People in rural America love Walmart because they can finally enjoy the same choices and virtually the same prices as people in the suburbs have enjoyed for years. This is not a small issue--it means hundreds of dollars saved every year, and many of these people don't have much to begin with. As Walmart stores open up in poorer urban areas, they are embraced for the same reasons--the consumers welcome a chance to escape the high prices and they've been paying.

You are right about who is to blame responsible--the consumers who vote with their wallet.

If old Bob who runs the local grocery store believes customers should pay 20% more and keep shopping with him because he's a nice guy--then he isn't much of a businessman. He should just go out on the street with a tin cup, at least everyone is being honest at that point.
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Old 03-18-2009, 12:29 AM   #84
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Walmart also provides jobs. On a recent walmart project I was professionally involved with, there was a city councilwoman representing the poor part of a mid sized town in North Carolina who was crying profusely when the councilors representing the richer parts of town voted down the walmart development. She was crying because there were no jobs in her district for the multitude of poor youth. A supercenter can bring in 400-500 decent paying jobs. Well, decent paying versus selling crack on a street corner, which is the future that 400-500 youth have right now. Or those that are still alive I should say.

And the sad thing is, all those wealthy people who didn't want the walmart actually have cars that allow them to continue to drive a bit and shop at walmart. Many of the poor residents don't have cars so can't access a walmart to save money.
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Old 03-18-2009, 11:13 AM   #85
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It has never been the company I object to, it is what the general public does to the store and merchandise. My biggest aversion is the local clientele and their lack of personal hygiene and outrageous habits. I'm not a snob, just conscious of disease transmission and food safety. I've seen people open jars or containers, taste, and put them back on the shelf. I've seen people sneeze and cough, into their hands, and then paw the fruit.
They DON'T just do THAT at WalMart..........
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Old 03-18-2009, 11:18 AM   #86
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They DON'T just do THAT at WalMart..........
I've never seen anyone do it at Trader Joe or Whole Foods...
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Old 03-18-2009, 11:21 AM   #87
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I've never blamed WM when the new WM Supercenter at the edge of town causes small shops on the town square to eventually close. The blame goes to the local citizens. Shopping at WM instead of remaining loyal to Andy and Barney and their chums on Main St was the choice of the local citizenry, not WM. Don't want a WM in your area? It's your and your neighbors' choice. Just don't shop there and they will go away, guaranteed.
The local grocery chain was very vocal at the WalMart zoing hearings, as were the Teamsters. I found it quite compelling since Walmart was only moving ACROSS THE STREET into a Supercenter from where they had been for 16 years before. Apparently a bunch of NIMBY folks got fired up about it.

I spoke at the meeting too. Since I didn't recognize the folks at the meeting that claimed to be concerned, I asked publicly if they LIVED or WORKED in my hometown. The all said no, so I suggested to the Village Board that we only let people who WalMart will actually effect speak at the meeting. That got me a lot of positive calls at home after the meeting.........

The Teamsters guy was really a tool, his comment was: "Hey, if you guys want a bunch of Mexicans doing U-turns in semis on a busy street, then have at it"............
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Old 03-18-2009, 11:27 AM   #88
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I've never seen anyone do it at Trader Joe or Whole Foods...
The folks that go to Walmart can't afford to go to those stores.......

On another note, a local high end grocert store opened in Novmeber of last year in my hometown. This a place where you would spend a fortune buying everyday items, but they have the topshelf produce and meat and bakery we all like, plus items you can't find anywhere else.

The place is ALWAYS busy. This store is clean, and CARPETED and has laminate floors in the non-carpeted areas. Funny, they built and opened in a RECESSION, and stuff is flying out of there. They have been in business since 1926 and have a STELLAR reputation in our area.......
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Old 03-18-2009, 11:27 AM   #89
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A Modest Proposal*: Maybe we need some sort of "shopper certification." To pass, you have to take a little test on in-store etiquette, the germ theory of disease, etc. The Asst Manager takes a look at how you are dressed and checks for foot odor. If you pass, you get your certification card, which is checked at the door when you shop. The first time you are caught parking your cart cross-wise in the aisle or reaching to the back of the case for the freshest milk--your card is revoked. "No soup for you!"

Or, maybe this is really what the membership fees at Sams and Costco are supposed to accomplish--establish some kind of screen that enhances the shopping experience for those inside.


*Apologies to Jonathan Swift
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Old 03-18-2009, 01:14 PM   #90
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The first time you are caught parking your cart cross-wise in the aisle or reaching to the back of the case for the freshest milk--your card is revoked. "No soup for you!"
Is buying the freshest milk really a violation of the in-store etiquette? I always reach to the back if I see a longer dated milk carton. But I don't waste others' time if they just want to grab a 1/2 gal and go. I get out of the way. Maybe I'm the problem and you guys are all complaining about me!
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Old 03-18-2009, 01:16 PM   #91
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Is buying the freshest milk really a violation of the in-store etiquette? I always reach to the back if I see a longer dated milk carton. But I don't waste others' time if they just want to grab a 1/2 gal and go. I get out of the way. Maybe I'm the problem and you guys are all complaining about me!
If I know I'm going to be using it all within a day or two, I'll grab the shorter-dated stuff out of courtesy most of the time. But if I'm buying a gallon to last us 7-10 days or so, I'm looking for the freshest and longest dated one I can find.
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Old 03-18-2009, 01:22 PM   #92
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Is buying the freshest milk really a violation of the in-store etiquette? I always reach to the back if I see a longer dated milk carton. But I don't waste others' time if they just want to grab a 1/2 gal and go. I get out of the way. Maybe I'm the problem and you guys are all complaining about me!

Remember the movie Clerks? The strange customer who carefully picked through cartons of eggs to assemble one with only the largest eggs?

I pick and choose. I ask the fish seller to hold up the fish so I can see it better, and incidentally get a good whiff too. Yesterday in Chinatown I found a fish market with the shellfish at least in live tanks. Give me that frisky one please!

One of the many advantages of living around a lot of Asians is that one quickly loses his embarrassment at being a picky shopper.

Ha
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Old 03-18-2009, 02:08 PM   #93
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If I know I'm going to be using it all within a day or two, I'll grab the shorter-dated stuff out of courtesy most of the time. But if I'm buying a gallon to last us 7-10 days or so, I'm looking for the freshest and longest dated one I can find.
Ditto. The milk jugs in Kroger are on a slanted rack so they slide into position as they are taken, and it is (deliberately) inconvenient to get any behind the first row. I'll usually take the freshest one on that first rank, but I won't pull them out and shuffle them. I don't try to get the very freshest yoghurt as long as the stuff i buy won't expire before I'm likely to eat it.
Bread: Same. Some brands have encoded dates or just have a tag that says "Thursday." I won't buy those brands.
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Old 03-18-2009, 02:27 PM   #94
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I guess I'm the same way. If I'm buying milk and I know I'll use it quickly, I don't care about the date. But we typically have a hard time finishing 1/2 gal within the two weeks our milk is good for. So I go long.
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Old 03-19-2009, 01:46 AM   #95
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My local (Austin, TX)Wal-Mart and Target are across the highway from one another. Wal-Mart just added on the grocery part to the store and Target has some foods but not a real grocery side. So far our local HEB grocery seems to have better prices than Wal-Mart on most things I buy. I have started getting cards in the mail from HEB giving super savings on a few items only available in HEB's near the newly groceried Wal-Mart.

I miss K-Mart! Austin lost all that were here.
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Old 03-19-2009, 01:04 PM   #96
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I guess I'm the same way. If I'm buying milk and I know I'll use it quickly, I don't care about the date. But we typically have a hard time finishing 1/2 gal within the two weeks our milk is good for. So I go long.
Ditto - just two of us have a hard time finishing up a 1/2 gal. I had a tooth fixed last week, had a numb face and was absolutely starving. I had some ripe bananas that had to be eaten that day and extra milk on hand. A light bulb went off in my head.
I found the blender, a handful of frozen strawberries, put it all in, pressed a button and voila - the milk got finished up on schedule. I was full all afternoon!
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Old 03-19-2009, 02:43 PM   #97
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I'm in a suburb close to Chicago. Grocery stores are everywhere and extremely competitive. As a frugal guy, I'm just naturally motivated to take advantage of that. We get a "shoppers newspaper" which includes flyers from most of the stores in the mail on Wednesdays. By skimming the flyers and being willing to shop 4 - 5 stores, I seldom buy groceries that aren't on sale, frequently deep sales.

When we were working, this was a pita. But retired, what the heck, an extra hour or two every couple of weeks is no big deal and I get a kick out of beating the system. Besides, our area is very ethnic (well under 50% White) and I enjoy hitting some of the stores catering to various ethnic groups.

I do cruise the Walmart and Target grocery sections once in a while and find that overall they have good prices. But they can't/don't come close to beating the deals I can get by shopping the loss leaders at several independent or chain groceries. WM and Target have overall good prices but few really deep discounted sales.

DS and DIL, both working and with three kids, don't have time to do this. I get their list via email most weeks and pick off everything on it that I can find steeply discounted. They finish on the weekend at a Target Supercenter.
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Old 03-19-2009, 05:05 PM   #98
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We don't have any of those super walmarts or super targets, so food has to be bought at a grocery store.

Our veggies are overpriced and sorry looking compared to most other parts of the country.
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Old 03-19-2009, 05:55 PM   #99
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Price of greens/lettuce etc is absurd lately. Ill become a carnivore before I pay those prices.
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Old 03-19-2009, 06:31 PM   #100
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A Modest Proposal*: Maybe we need some sort of "shopper certification." To pass, you have to take a little test on in-store etiquette, the germ theory of disease, etc. The Asst Manager takes a look at how you are dressed and checks for foot odor. If you pass, you get your certification card, which is checked at the door when you shop. The first time you are caught parking your cart cross-wise in the aisle or reaching to the back of the case for the freshest milk--your card is revoked. "No soup for you!"

Or, maybe this is really what the membership fees at Sams and Costco are supposed to accomplish--establish some kind of screen that enhances the shopping experience for those inside.
*Apologies to Jonathan Swift
How does what you wear affect your ability to go grocery shopping? I sometimes go to Wal-mart after work with my jeans that have holes in them and have "dirty knees". Does that mean i'm not allowed to shop for groceries? Do I need to go home first, take a shower, and put on a shirt and tie to go grocery shopping?
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