Big Box Bust: The Wal-Mart Effect on Small Communities

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Everyone loves to save money. In the tough economic times of today, every dollar counts. For some families, saving twenty dollars a week can mean the difference between having food on the table or not. Whether out of necessity or just the thrill of getting a good deal, American families have been relying on “big box” retailers for inexpensive products for decades. There really is nothing quite like going into one store and being able to buy clothes, groceries, auto supplies, pet supplies and items for the home. An entire day’s worth of shopping can be done in one place at a fraction of the time, at very competitive prices. These same stores also hire hundreds of employees from the community and are thought to benefit the city and county greatly with their tax dollars.

It seems as though these retailers should be welcome with open arms when they look into building one of their mega-stores in America’s mid-sized communities. Closer inspection, however, should make citizens think twice before opening their communities to these corporations. Job loss, negative impact on the local economy and the low wages these stores pay are just a few reasons why big box retailers do more harm than good to the communities in which they locate.

A big box retailer is defined as a retail store that occupies an enormous amount of physical space and offers a variety of products to its customers. The term "big-box" is derived from the store's physical appearance. Located in large-scale buildings of more than 50,000 square feet, the store is usually plainly designed and often resembles a large box (Investopedia). Some of these stores, such as Wal-Mart, K-Mart and Target, provide consumers with a wide variety of goods. Others, deemed “cat...

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... if a community doesn’t have any businesses where people can work for a decent wage, where is that buck going to come from?

Works Cited

Big Box Tool Kit. “Five Myths About Big-Box Retail.” Institute for Local Self Reliance. 2009. Web. 27 Mar 2011.

Chambers, Susan. “Reviewing and Revising Wal-Mart’s Benefit Strategy.” Memo to Wal- Mart’s Board of Directors. 2006.

Civic Economics. “Andersonville Study of Retail Economics.” Oct 2004

Investopedia, terms. n.d. Web. 27 Mar 2011.

Neumark, David, Junfu Zhang, Stephen Ciccarella. “The Effects of Wal-Mart on Local Labor Markets.” Discussion Paper Series, Paper 2545, University of Bonn. Jan 2007

Ross, Thomas W. “Winners and Losers Under the Robinson-Patman Act.” Journal of Law and Economics. 1 Oct 1984, Vol. 27, No. 2: 243-271

Walmartfacts. Corporate Fact Sheet. Mar 2010. Web. 8 Apr 2011.

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