I’m glad that some folks have good employment experiences there; that wasn’t the case for the folks I either knew or read about who did work at Walmart or Costco. I have no experience with Sam’s Club so I can’t speak to that. I’m also glad to know that Walmart and Costco are starting to stock locally made products. That’s always nice to see, but it was not always true. If that’s part of a new “kinder gentler” corporate strategy, then that’s great. I’d be curious what percentage of their product lines are sourced locally; I’d be really impressed if it was as high as 10%. Whatever the percentage, I hope that trend will continue and expand.
As for the charitable donations, I wonder if those donations are equivalent to the tax base their presence subsequently dried up, particularly given that most Walmarts and other big-box stores typically lobby heavily for tax breaks prior to setting up a new store. I also have a hard time believing that a charitable donation (which can offset that corporations own taxes????) would be as good as the same amount of tax revenue for that county. Charitable donations can be turned on and off, and reallocated, by corporate decision. Tax revenue was the bloodstream that fed most local and regional public works services like schools, hospitals, police departments and the like. To have those crucial services depend on the whim of whether an out of state corporation wants to make another charitable donation? Hardly something to put much confidence in for the long term.
I also speak from facts, and from experience. Walmart in particular, and other so-called big-box stores in general, have repeatedly been involved with the loss of a number of small businesses around them, for many (some analysts claim most) of the stores they’ve put in. And the loss of those businesses has set in motion the death of small town economies, repeatedly. Were those businesses going to fail anyway, and those towns doomed to dry up? I’m sure some of them would have. But others were doing thriving business right up until the day Walmart or the like opened. If that had only happened occasionally, then it could be chalked up to random chance. But it’s happened so often that a pattern has emerged. It happened in my home town, and it continues to this day. I choose not to shop at such places. Everyone is entitled to choose how they spend their money, and where.
Bottom line, I certainly didn’t intend to start some firestorm on this topic. But I also had personal experience that felt relevant, which I chose to share. Folks can use it, or ignore it, as they see fit.