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The Wal-Mart Effect: How the World's Most Powerful Company Really Works--and HowIt's Transforming the American Economy Paperback – December 26, 2006
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Top Customer Reviews
In his _Wal-Mart Effect_, Fishman doesn't deny the pernicious practices of Wal-Mart. But the more interesting feature of his book is his analysis of the culture that Wal-Mart has created in the United States. In a word, Wal-Mart has trained the American consumer to expect and to demand low prices, and to immediately suspect that any commodity that has a higher price tag than its Wal-Mart equivalent must be a rip-off. The Wal-Mart ethos, in other words, has replaced traditional consumer concern for high quality with low cost as the primary criterion.
This replacement of quality with cheapness is troubling enough (think of the environmental effect of buying cheap crap that quickly winds up in a landfill). But Fishman goes on to show that the new culture of low costs means that Wal-Mart must relentlessly scurry to satisfy the customer demands that its practices have created. So Wal-Mart increasingly buys off-shore sweat shop products to keep down prices, and in the process is forcing more and more American wholesellers, already struggling to survive, to shut down their U.S.Read more ›
Mostly, though, I got a glimpse into the ways Wal-Mart affects our economy, for good and ill, with their relentless search for low prices (which consumers seem to love, not realizing how this could weaken our economy), to the bully tactics used to force suppliers to offer the "lowest price", even in the wake of higher costs for raw materials and other factors that make price cuts near impossible, below a certain level.
The result? Wal-mart often buys from manufacturers who produce products overseas (they can often produce products for prices cheaper than American companies), lessening the benefit to the American companies and actually forcing many longtime name brands out of business. Gone are many of the familiar names we used to see on store shelves and others are hard-pressed to stay in business (Rubbermaid learned a hard lesson when it tried to buck the Walmart dictates and Walmart retaliated) or are forced to lessen the quality of what they offer.
Anyone who lives near Walmart (and who doesn't?) should read this book to get a real idea of how the company influences nearly every product you buy.
Why? Because the Walmart "formula" is one more and more companes are being forced to imitate. Yes, this may result in lower prices for many products but is the overall longterm effect good for us- and our economy? That is a major issue addressed in the book.
By the way, an excerpt from this book appeared in a national magazine and led to what that magazine called the most powerful response from its readers IN THE HISTORY OF THE MAGAZINE. So be prepared for the author to keep you glued to the pages.
Wal-Mart's business practices are well known: promising "everyday low prices" and convenience as its competitive advantages as a general merchandiser, the company relentlessly searches for cost-efficiencies in the form of squeezing suppliers, offering relatively low wages and little health care, and developing an unprecedented logistics operation that literally spans the globe with sweatshops in China, etc. That is about it and it explains the company's phenomenal expansion and the growth of its power.
Of course, the case of the critics is becoming equally well known: 1) workers need a "living wage" and better health coverage options; 2) suppliers need better treatment so that they do not ruin their brand when selling to WM; 3) local governments should not face so much pressure to grant tax breaks and other concessions to WM; 4) local businesses need some protection and nurturance to stay in business when WM comes to the community; 5) WM needs to learn to listen to the concerns of critics and act on them better.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Wal-Mart, one of the world’s largest companies, accounts for 2% of the U.S. gross domestic product sales and in any given week over 100 million people will shop inside of a... Read morePublished 3 months ago by sue harris
This book is a great read. It gives insight to the largest company in the world. As a bonus, my copy I bought from Amazon was autographed by the author.Published 5 months ago by Christopher S.
Astonishing analysis of Walmart’s role in changing the American economy, as well as its enormous impact globally. Read morePublished 6 months ago by mr. mike
Groundbreaking and eye-opening. I actually ENJOYED reading this book for a class, and that's really something. Buy it, read it, never forget it! Read morePublished 8 months ago by E. Armstead
Good balanced book on just how the market has been changed by Walmart. Prologue does not set you up for the good content in the book so don't be let down by that section. Read morePublished 11 months ago by A. Rosenberg