business news in context, analysis with attitude

Sometimes, it seems like MNB is all-Wal-Mart, all the time…

i>MNB user Inga Johnsson wrote:

In Edmond, Oklahoma you can find the dirtiest and most rundown parking lot that grace the landscape and its surroundings. There is not one tree, not one flower but mostly a parking lot filled with gasoline fumes and dirty old pavement.

Guess where you are at? Wal-Mart on 33 rd and Broadway Extension. This is the Fortune 500 company that tells me they care about the community. Well, it looks like hell froze over and Wal-Mart certainly does not plan on spending a dime on the environment. Shame on Wal-Mart.

I do not shop Wal-Mart anymore since becoming more politically informed about their political dealings and wheeling. This was not what Sam Walton meant when he said : "made in America".

Another MNB user wrote:

You hit it on the nail head. Wal-Mart World domination is coming. We out
west are going to saddle our horses up and head for the hills.

Good luck. Wal-Mart probably owns the hills.

MNB user Alan Binder wrote:

I always enjoy, and learn from, your daily industry news and commentary. I also usually ignore any typos that land in your columns; you have a lot to cover every day, so I'm more than willing to let the occasional error slide by.

I have to comment on this one, though: "...A major reason for the peculation seems to be that Wal-Mart plans to open at least four supercenters there..."

You meant "speculation", which means theorization. You wrote, "peculation," which means embezzlement. Was this a typo or a Freudian slip? Hmmm....


Actually, we have to admit that we didn’t even know the word "peculation." It was a typo. (And thanks for understanding the fact that we work without a net in the early morning hours, and are prone to the occasional typo.)

But a it was a pretty good typo.

MNB wrote that "You can't blame Wal-Mart for this strategy. [of supporting Republican candidates]", and one MNB user responded:

Actually, this is a very high-risk approach. If the Democratic party wins, they will more than likely have a long memory regarding Wal-Mart's closed purse strings. It seems that with as much negative press as Wal-Mart has had lately, they would be wanting to make as many friends as possible - including taking steps to soften their critics' harshest feelings. Instead, Wal-Mart (along with nearly everyone else who is getting into politics lately) is taking an all-or-nothing approach. American politics have reached the point where compromise is considered a failure, and Wal-Mart is marching to that same drumbeat - Winner takes all. The problem with "winner takes all" is that "loser gets none" is the other side of the coin. Sooner or later it will come up tails.

"But what other retailers have to wonder is at what point their interests diverge from Wal-Mart's, and at what point they need to be trying to match or exceed the company's political clout, while coming at it from a different direction."

Other retailers need only try to apply for a loan with Arvest bank (50% owned by WMT) to find out just how divergent their interests are. Can you imagine bringing your business plan and financial statements to your competitor, asking for permission to go into competition? That said, there may still be something to be said for retailers getting behind WMT and supporting it on certain issues. Any retailer that wants to do big box formats, innovate supply chain technologies, or keep government regulation to a minimum would have a powerful ally in WMT. It will require a delicate approach and vigilance, but then anyone competing with WMT already knows that.

MNB also wrote the other day that "there are serious questions that need to be considered about the political, economic, cultural and social implications of the company's dominance and expanding influence."

And one MNB user responded:

And wasn't much the same said of all the self made companies, and men, of yesteryear?

Men like Ford, Carnegie, Rockefeller and all the others of a similar ilk? And aren't we one hell-of-a-lot better off for what they did?

Regarding Wal-Mart's deal with Time Inc. to publish a women's magazine just for the Bentonville Behemoth's customers, we wrote, "We think this is a smart move for Wal-Mart on a number of levels...but a move that Time Inc. may eventually find to be akin to having sold its soul to the devil."

MNB user Eric Reiss wrote:

Very smart move by Wally, as you said. Regarding Time Inc. and their 'soul': Most of our mainstream mass media outlets have made that deal long ago.

Beholden to major advertisers; editorials and articles many times become nothing more than another advertisement. Examples of this are also regularly seen in the 'news outlets', a good example being the recent 60 minutes interview of Clark that was nothing more than an infomercial for his upcoming book. The book being published by an arm of the same corporation that pays the 'unbiased' 60 minutes staff. Wal-Mart is simply taking the concept a little further by doing this openly and without apology. I've often wondered if a 'newsletter' created by the local grocer that mixes recipes, interesting information regarding food safety, etc. and coupons might make for an interesting way to draw customers... Any thoughts?

We absolutely think it would…enough so that we're going to do something we don't ordinarily do in our editorial section.

Distinctive Communications is a former sponsor of MNB that is doing exactly this. If you're interested, call Ron Robertson, Executive Publisher, at 720-851-5000, or e-mail him at .

Check it out.
KC's View: