Minnesota Farmer

The Walmart effect
January 25, 2012, 9:40 pm
Filed under: food, organic, Politics | Tags: , , , , ,

Bigger is better has been the mantra of so much of business for many years.  But bigger can lead to many problems.  Let’s call it the Walmart effect.

We all have shopped in Walmart stores.  This behemoth of commerce is effecting everything we do now days.  Today, Walmart has a larger influence on what many countries produce than government does.  It is said that the buyers from Walmart get royal treatment when visiting China, better treatment than the U.S. Secretary of State.  They handle more money than most countries.  Thus, what Walmart wants, Walmart gets.

You can see it today in the meat case at your grocery.  When Walmart recently changed the grade of beef it sold, prices across the country shifted.  Long established buying practices moved overnight.  How can the little guy keep up.  The truth is, they cannot.

We decry the shoddy way that things we buy are made, but it is all our fault.  We would rather buy at the big box store for less, than buy a better quality, slightly higher priced, product.

We lament the loss of the small farmer, but he was not fast enough to adapt to a Walmart world view, so the guy that did adapt is now farming his land.

We go into the store to buy our favorite chicken products, but do not understand that they cannot be grown on a small farm, processed at a small butcher shop, and be sold to the consumer for the same price as meat produced in a larger flock.

Currently there is a shortage of organic milk, because Walmart is buying up all that they can.  Prices are going higher as demand outstrips supply.

We have sacrificed quality for price.  We thought that cheaper was better.  Now we are paying the price by letting the “Walmarts” of the world control our lives.

Will it end?  No.  No matter how much we complain about the way the products we buy are produced, we still demand that they be produced cheaper.  If you want better, buy from the producer, not a “Walmart.”  Our buying patterns have been analyzed by large merchandisers and they have found we will buy cheaper over better.  We are demanding cookie cutter duplication of things that are individual.

Can you still buy quality?  Yes.  But it is getting harder.  So few people make enough money anymore to afford the craftsmanship of hand made.  Foods raised in small plots are around, but they cost more.  The little guy that fixed your appliances has been put out of business by throw away merchandise.

We have done this to ourselves.  We are to blame for the rise of the country sized company.

The next time you get upset about “too big to fail” businesses, just remember, we made them this way.

Me, I’ve never liked buying things in the big box stores.  If there is a small town store that has the same stuff, I prefer to shop there.


1 Comment so far
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Right on. I’d like to think things are turning in our direction as I see more purchasing direct from farm, but sometimes it also seems like we’re getting no where.

Comment by lidafarmer

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