Over the past 20 years, the nature of the American retailing market has changed dramatically, going from Mom and Pop's boutiques to mega retail stores like Wal-Mart. Especially in the last decade, Sam Walton's discount stores have proliferated in almost every city across the United States and Canada. But the opinions about the effects of Wal-Mart in small towns divide the rural population in two groups. Through economic, cultural and social arguments, the anti-Wal-Mart activists and the advocates defend their point of view about the expansion of the store in small communities.
The anti-Wal-Mart activists believe that the creation of giant discount stores in the rural regions of the United States will lead to their economic and cultural destruction. With economic impact studies, they show that Wal-Mart's incredible gains are in fact taken from other local merchants, whom finally run out of business. According to Sarah Anderson, an economic analyst with an anti Wal-Mart stance, the establishment of a new store near a small town destroys more jobs in independent businesses than it actually creates in hiring local workers (1994). Moreover, a Wal-Mart funded community impact study in Greenfield, Massachusetts demonstrated that the construction of a new mega store would create 274 jobs. But in long terms, the community projects to lost about the same amount in the locally owned competing businesses (Sarah Anderson, 1994). The anti Wal-Mart activists are also concerned by the return of the profits in its adoptive community. The economic spin-off of the money spent in local business is largely superior than with the discount store. But almost all the profits made in a Wal-Mart are returned...
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...change with their time.
The Wal-Mart conflict is deeper and more important than a simple competition among retail stores. The choices made by the population will determine the future of the economy, culture and way of life of the American rural communities. In fact, the anti-Wal-Mart activists and the advocates represent continuity and change in small towns. The mega discount store is only the firing element of an already existing questioning.
Anderson, Sarah. (1994). Wal-Mart's War on Main Street.
Writing and Reading Across the Curriculum (pp.216-222)
Johnston, Jo-Ann. (1995). Who's Really the Villain?
Writing and Reading Across the Curriculum (pp. 222-225).
Norman, Albert. (1994). Eight Ways to Stop the Store.
Writing and Reading Across the Curriculum (pp.207-209).
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