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#28135 - 06/06/04 06:43 PM Re: wal-mart shoulder bags!
bountyhunter Offline

Registered: 11/14/03
Posts: 1224
Loc: Milwaukee, WI USA
Moved it over here because it has taken on a different tone.

In 1996, I ran for the State Legislature because the YA-HOO in my district voted to give a bunch of rich jerks taxpayer money to build a baseball stadium and to make it property tax exempt and to pay the district that runs it with taxpayer money

I outspent my opponent about 3 to 1 and lost the election about 10 to 1. I was called unpatriotic, a hater or mother and apple pie by people who were too niave to see how they were being abused. I was voted against by people who said "You are no different than what is already in office, because once you get in, you will do the same thing just to stay in office, so why bother to vote for you". I spent $6,000.00+ of mostly my own money (You don't get many contributions running against a 16 year incumbnent.) to try and make a difference.

Wal-mart succeeds because our legislatures and those in moneyed positions want them to succeed. If you really want to stop corporate abuses, fight the power structure within your systems first and always. Buying at wal-mart gives me the ability to do what the Vietnam veterans had to do when the early M16's were jamming left and right in combat; PICK UP THE ENEMIES WEAPONS AND FIGHT WITH THEM until you get your own weapons working (For those of you that don't know, a lot of good men died because of problems with the early M16's in Vietnam. Soldiers wrote home for handguns and shotguns because their issued rifles were failing on them so often.).

The money I have left over will continue to be used to attempt to unseat politicians who created unfair trade practices, high gas prices, and job outsourcing. Running around feeling personally good about not buying at wal-mart is not going to help as much as using the money I save to run for office, get good people elected, and support causes that benefit America.

By the by, in my block of homes with the American flag hanging outside, I am the only one on the block who knew and respected the practice enough to fly my flag at half-mast out of respect for President Ronald Regan who passed away yesterday.

Bountyhunter <img src="/images/graemlins/laugh.gif" alt="" />

Edited by bountyhunter (06/06/04 11:21 PM)

#28136 - 06/06/04 08:44 PM Re: wal-mart shoulder bags!
Chris Kavanaugh Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 02/09/01
Posts: 3824
As in my other reply, this is not a personal attack or flame war directed toward you. It is virtually impossible for a consumer to totally avoid every product without economically supporting unfair worker exploitation, destruction to the environment or supporting some oppressive political regime. I do it, sometimes consciously and more often sadly ignorant. There are gasoline companies I will never patronise. Yet my old Volvo is contributing to global warming everytime I attend radical environmentalist events running on independent dealer fuel. I just bought my girl a diamond. Now, I know a great deal about the 4C's, settings and appraisals. I drove my gemnologist nuts demanding a diamond from a source that didn't finance one of the several horrific conflicts in our world. There are times when you have to take a stand, painfull or financially difficult as they are.

#28137 - 06/06/04 09:50 PM Re: wal-mart shoulder bags!

Well Bounty, I won't argue with your opinion, but I prefer not to feed the enemy with MY hard earned dollars. I can buy what I need elsewhere and STILL follow your (very good) game plan. At least we agree (I think) on the fact that in the long term, wally world isn't good for anybody but it's owners.


#28138 - 06/06/04 11:05 PM Re: wal-mart shoulder bags!
bountyhunter Offline

Registered: 11/14/03
Posts: 1224
Loc: Milwaukee, WI USA

You have to understand that if we could get an appreciable number of people to lower any self-serving corporate entities profit on the front end (The things they sell to make a profit on.), they have built in "backdoor loopholes" that allow them to deduct those "paper losses" from what little taxes they already pay. If you have ever attended Union meetings regularly, you find mostly the same people there while a whole lot more than show up complain. That situation is even worse with the public at large. Ever since the Regan era, Unions have been losing clout, value as organizations, and members.

Look at the amount your average politician gets in contributions and you will quickly realize that if you spend money that you save (No matter where or how you save it.), the people as a group could probably outspend and elect politicians it wants because the business interests that corrupt our system wouldn't be able to keep up the pace on a continuos basis.

The Chevy Beretta I drive (I'll bet you thought I drove foreign!?.) is made in large part (I don't know if it is a majority.) in Canada; does that mean I am buying Anti-American?

I want wal-marts tactics stopped as well as other large America corrupting corporations, sports teams, charity groups (No one cuts off the Boy Scouts from my money because the Scouts won't allow certain individuals to serve as leaders. I don't give to the United Way anymore.) or psuedo non-profit groups. That happens at the legislative level and everything else which hurts them a little or not at all can't begin to help as fast as having the laws changed.

An old Hawiai Five-O episode had a saying I like very much that says; "Behind every smile, there are teeth". Smile at these problems until you have the teeth (Laws) close enough to bite them.

We do agree, just that we believe in fighting differently.


#28139 - 06/06/04 11:17 PM Re: wal-mart shoulder bags!
bountyhunter Offline

Registered: 11/14/03
Posts: 1224
Loc: Milwaukee, WI USA

I'm a 58 year old fart that believes the worst thing that could happen to the world is to have everyone agree with me. I also think the worst thing that could happen to the world is to have everyone in the world agree to the same solution for every problem. Besides all that, I am a "Displaced Person Immigrant" who came to this country 53 years ago, took the "immigrant abuse" during my younger years, earned my citizenship papers in 1965, and in the process have developed a pretty thick skin. When you can keep chasing the pretty women (In a politically correct, nonstalking manner.) and get rejected so often (Hell, the last time a good looking woman said "Yes" to me, I forgot what came next. <img src="/images/graemlins/tongue.gif" alt="" />), a little discussion like we have is water off a ducks back.

Someone once said; you don't learn anything from people that agree with you all the time, and I am still able to learn.

Bountyhunter <img src="/images/graemlins/wink.gif" alt="" />

#28140 - 06/07/04 02:55 AM Re: wal-mart shoulder bags!
Eugene Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 12/26/02
Posts: 2856
I'll probably drift furthur off topic, but I have a Wal Mart story of my own. I come from a small farm in the hills of WV, drive back down a few times a year to visit. Left for home early one Sunday and the wife was bored so I drove up by the Mountaineer Mall that I used to drive the hour long drive to as a kid when I first got my license. We drove up the big hill to the mall and found a big empty building with faded letters from Sears, J.C. Penny, Radio Shack, Marshal Fields, etc. At the one end where Montgomery Ward used to be was a Walmart. Closer to my parants house there was one remaining grocery store all the other stores have closed. Drove the other way on another trip to MD and the same thing, everything closed but the one Walmart. I've went to a couple more small towns and they are all the same empty malls, empty stores, boarded up grocery stores and pharmacies and one Walmart and nothing but walmart. There is no choice at all, need eggs and milk, go to walmart. Need shoes, walmart. Need a knife, walmart. Need tires, walmart. Don't like the brand of eggs, milk, shoes, knife, tires? Too bad, there isn't another store around. My cousin from high school and his wife now come up and stay the weekend with my wife and I about twice a year and go shopping because there are no other stores within the 250miles between them and us but walmart's. He wanted a digital camera and three walmart's near him only had one brand and never had any models less than $300. He's using an old PC that I gave him, that I pulled from the dumpster, works as a mechanic and a volunteer fireman so he doesn't have much money to spend on things such as that. I took him to an actual computer store where he found a nice little 3 megapixel camera for $129 and a case and some batteries, and spare memory card. I see the face of small town USA being completely changed. Used to be kids hung out at the ice cream shop, women at the hair salon and men at the hardware, etc. Now the only place to go it walmart and the only place to get a job is walmart.

#28141 - 06/07/04 09:17 AM Re: wal-mart shoulder bags!
NY RAT Offline

Registered: 09/19/03
Posts: 256
Loc: brooklyn, ny
now i feel like the odd man out here, living in brooklyn ive never even been in a walmart yet.
not sure if we even have one here honestly, we had K-mart but not exactly the same.

but we have a target store so i suppose thats close to walmart right?
been gone so long im glad to be back

#28142 - 06/07/04 02:11 PM Re: wal-mart shoulder bags!
Nomad Offline

Registered: 05/04/02
Posts: 483
Loc: Just wandering around.
<warning: Rant mode on>
I believe folks are seeking a simple target for a complex situation. Wal-Mart is but a symptom of a much larger issue. True, it is the symptom that most folks see, so I guess it is understandable that they point their fingers at the convenient symptom. But the disease causing the Wal-Mart symptom is like most diseases, very complex and not given to simple cures like “kill the wal-marts”.

The world is changing and the rate of change is increasing daily. Better to try to understand what is happening.

To believe that a company will go into a third world country and pay first world wages is naïve. They will of course pay low wages, but they will be higher than the wages otherwise available. Yes, people will work in sub-standard conditions, but look at the conditions at other available jobs. Of course we see it as deplorable. But here is the difference, we SEE IT. If it were not for the involvement of large corporations like Wal-Mart and others, these folks would continue to labor, pounding brass into bells.

Rather than shunning wal-mart or similar companies, we need to pressure them to use their influence to increase the working conditions in the countries where they purchase their goods. We need to use them as change agents. We need to reach through their corporations to the people working at the other end. Large businesses have rendered most governments (including ours) impotent. The change agents in the world are now businesses and we must learn how to influence their behavior.

The common reply is that we should bring those jobs back to our country. Do you really want your kids making shoes? Do you really want a large portion of the world’s population to continue to live at the bare subsistence level? We need to export those jobs. We need to use those jobs as a way to raise the living conditions in the poorer places on this planet.

But we need jobs. We need to get the economy rolling again. I am from Maine, and I am sorry to say that Maine, in many respects, is like a third world country. The labor-intensive woods industry has passed into history. The shoe manufacturers have left and many folks are without work. People are without any meaningful healthcare. Children are living below the poverty level. Bring back the shoe industry? Harvest the few remaining forests into clearcuts? Sorry to say that looking back will not solve the problem.

But, one might say, jobs are only one facet of the issue. We can’t shop anywhere but at Wal-Marts. All the local shops, with their diversity are gone. It is not like it was in “the good old days” when we could go into a local hardware store and get what we needed.

Yeah, well, I worked in one of those local hardware stores. I am 66 now and I lived through what many of you call “the good old days”. Not what I call ‘em. First, your selection of stuff was far inferior to what is available today. You had to make do with what was available or do without. Well you could travel to another store, right? Yes, perhaps in the next town. Took about an hour to get there and it probably stocked the same stuff cause they both got it from the same distributor. It got really interesting when you needed a special part. Usually you had to write a letter to some far off manufacturer. They would eventually reply with a quote. Then you sent them a check. They waited until it cleared and then sent you the part by parcel post. In due time (perhaps several weeks since the process started), you would get the package, only to find out it was the wrong part and the process began all over again. A much-needed piece of equipment sat idle thru the only month it was needed.

And working in that store. Well true, the owners did their best to make your life reasonable. But reasonable then would mean working with hazardess materials without proper protection. We use to stack dynamite in boxes to the ceiling in the back room. I hate to think about what else was in there. And wages, well, no hospitalization, no paid vacation, no nothing. You work, you got a very small wage and that was all. The owner had no responsibility to you. You got hurt, sorry, but if you can’t work, you don’t get paid.

It is “The end of the world as we know it. (TEOTWAWKI)” Not in the way most folks mean the phrase, but it is TEOTWAKI, none the less. Better get used to it cause it ain’t gonna go back to what it was.

Folks complain about loosing the shopping diversity of “the good old days”. Look around folks. I see a far larger diversity around me now than I ever did before. Thai food, Futon stores, stores dedicated to things that I did not even know existed. Does this mean it is all for the good? Of course not. But...The way it is, is the way it is.

Jobs, yeah, we need ‘em. But we need better jobs than making shoes; cause the competition for those jobs will mean very low wages. And the folks that want those jobs are not going to go away.

So what do we do? Wish I knew. But I do know that TEOTWAKI is here and we better see it clearly for what it is. There is no guarantee that we will continue to have the good fortune we had in the past.

<rant mode off>

...........From Nomad.........Been "on the road" since '97

#28143 - 06/07/04 04:42 PM Re: wal-mart shoulder bags!
Eugene Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 12/26/02
Posts: 2856
I'm thinking the hardware store example may be directed at my post since I brought it up. I may not be that old but I grew up in a small town and used to buy from the small hardware stores. I've found that the big chain hardware stores have much less selection. Many times I have drived to three different ones to find a simple part such as an odd size bolt. The stores today are concerned with selling high profit items, grills, riding mowers, etc. Growing up in the small towns we would buy our lawn mowers from the same store we bought our tractors and keep them for years and were able to go back to those tractor stores and but parts to fix anything we broke or wore out. The big chain stores of today sell disposable items and won't even order the most basic of parts. Its not the fault of Walmart or Home depot though, we are short term thinkers, we want to buy what we want now, don't want to wait to order it, don't want to research it, don't care if it lasts, just go to the store and buy another. The job issue is something I see problematic in the small towns. My father works in a manufacturing job and as products become more complex and factories more automated it takes more skilled labor, instead of sewing the shoes we have to learn how to program the CNC machine to sew the shoe and fix and maintain it. As we continue to shift more and more manufacturing to the other countried their technical levels will increase as they learn how to operate and fix the equipment. What I see happening in my own home town is as the stores close down the employees that were their for 25 years or more loose their returment and are forced to go work at walmart type of stores who force them to work part time to avoid paying any benefits. Soon the small towns become employees and shoppers of walmart and the economy of those towns begins to fail as the employees of the only store are unable to purchase enough products from that store. The small town becomes and import only area where the few poeple on retirement and government support are the only ones with a steady income and young and able to work are forced to relocate leaving empty homes. I don't blame walmart or whomever, its the comsumers at fault. I personaly will try to find products still made in the US myself even if it means I have to pay more or do without. For example I saved up and bought one Arc AAA or a mag lite instead of the 10 for $10 contry comm flashlights because I would rather make a couple sales to American conpanies that just bring in more stuff from China. I'm nat saying anyone is wrong for it, just asking you to think if its worth it to save a $ or 2 here and there. I try to decide if I really need something before buying, justify it and have a place to put it/store it/use it. A good example is my mother in law who feequents the dollar stores and buys all kinds of stuff because its so cheap. She has a house full of dollar store junk and always thinks I'm rich because I can spend $30 on a flashlight, but she has at least 30 $1 items collecting dust and another 30 $1items that will get thrown away and another 30 $1 that will get given away. To try to get back on topic a bit since I've started down the road of being equipped and prepared I started out with the same dollar store syndrome. i would buy a bunch of supplies/gear and put them in the garage. I got so much I was always having to move it around, pile it up, never could find anything when I needed it, breaking it, whatever. Since then I've looked back at all the $ I spent and realized how little I have to show for it and started getting real picky with my stuff. I will research a long time to buy the perfect gear and it all has to fit together, where I store it, how I maintain it, how often i will use it, etc rather than just buying from whatever is available on the shelf at one store. now with that attention to detail my stuff works better and is more organized, things aren't getting broken from being piled up or left in the garage floor and I know where something is when I need it. Thats my point of the whole walmart exmaple.

#28144 - 06/07/04 05:06 PM Re: wal-mart shoulder bags!
Chris Kavanaugh Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 02/09/01
Posts: 3824
I think it is cultural hubris to assume people pounding out brass bells are living in abject despair. WE may think happiness is a microwave and the traditional mexican chimeria stove something for the patio. A mexican indian may prefer the chimeria over the ecological and cultural destruction to bring electrical power to run that microwave and roads through his fields to import Kerr Magee corn tortillas from Iowa. The world simply cannot support the american living standard, the first Ferrari showroom opening in Beijing aside. We can't keep it up ourselves. Gasoline, a finite resource is slowly approaching HALF the price our european friends pay. When those Pliestocene deux ex machina SUVs stagger to a final stop there will be no train system europe has. Then we better hope cobblers are around to repair our hiking boots. $200 nikes made for pennies in Vietnam won't cut it. Walmart and world trade? "let me save you from drowning, said the monkey to the fish as he put him up a tree."

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