Wal-Mart is coming!

Just kidding, it's actually the movie "Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price" playing all over the Triangle this weekend. Lot's more great info on this from the Facing South (the wonderful blog of the Institute for Southern Studies, which you all should read).

In Chapel Hill, it will be shown at the Community Church on Sunday 11/13 at 1pm and Thursday 11/17 at 7:15 pm. Here's a complete list of Triangle screenings.



Chatham First will join thousands of other grassroots organizations and show the much anticipated release of Robert Greenwald's movie, “Wal-Mart: the High Cost of Low Prices” on 7 p.m., Tuesday, Nov. 15, at the Dockside Restaurant. Discussion of local issues to follow. Come early to eat dinner and support our supporter.

For more info, including details on the Nov 21 Conditional Use zoning hearing for the proposed Wal-Mart at Starpoint, see:


Terry, that's an unfortunate date to choose, as I'm sure many of us will be eating at restaurants supporting RSVVP on Tuesday (http://rsvvp.org).

Maybe 2 dinners are in order....

James--Good news. Dockside is one of the participating restaurants.


If you go to walmartmovie.com, there are other showings in the area. Screenings begin Sunday night.

The same night also as the Triangle Bloggers Blast in Durham!

On other fronts, Dan Coleman (of OP fame) has the cover story on WalMart in this week's Indy.

Just in case you needed (another) cause to add to your reasons to boycott Walmart, add this one to your list -- Catholic League called for boycott of Walmart based on use of "Happy Holidays" instead of "Merry Christmas"

I know this objection may not resonate with all of you here, but I'm always looking for a new reason!

Ya know, this smells a lot like any other propaganda film that goes out under the guise of being a documentary or informative. Several titles come to mind on all ends of all spectrums, but I think y'all can come up with your own favorites.

I just don't understand why people hate Wal-Mart so much. I'm not the defender of the Wal-Mart faith or anything, but I am an economics student and just don't understand what the big hubbub is about.

That said, I'll prolly still go see the movie -- though much like with "Farenheit 9/11" I imagine that no one will leave the theatre with a different opinion than they went in with.


Documentaries tell stories, they are not journalism. Therefore you should never expect neutrality of position. What this particular documentary does (or so I've read) is give voice to those who are directly impacted by the business practices of Walmart, including competing(?) business owners, customers and employees.

Here's a review of the film you might find interesting:

Wal-Mart was one of the businesses in 'Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting by in America' by Barbara Eirenreich. This was summer reading for UNC in 2003 and chronicles the experience of a white woman trying to make ends meet in the 'unskilled' labor market.
Although the movie will be more in-depth and address other issues, the book reveals some of Wal-Mart's unfair and questionable practices in their treatment of employees.

Well, I'd take "Nickel and Dimed" with a grain of salt. It's a good example of a wealthy muckraker capitalizing off of what probably does deserve to be looked at. I'm sorry, but when I was going through the book, I couldn't help thinking how silly the woman was and how it was painfully obvious she's never done an honest day's work in her life.

Yeah, work's hard. That's why it's work. I believe comedian Drew Carey put it best with, "You hate your job? Why didn't you say so? There's a support group for that -- it's called EVERYONE. They meet at the bar on Fridays."

But I think I digress. I guess I'll just have to wait to check out the actual movie myself to see whether it deserves praise or condemnation. Regardless of its bent, as long as it's accurate....


Wal-Mart isn't bad because it's a big corporation. You know that I love big corporations. I think Starbucks is the greatest thing that ever happened to coffee, just like Barnes & Noble and Amazon are the best things that ever happened to books.

If Wal-Mart's business plan was just to buy in volume, and sell at lower prices than local businesses, that would be fine. It's just good business, and nobody could fault them for it. If their business plan was just to use low-cost foreign workers, that would be fine. I have no moral qualms with getting third-world workers to make something for 25 cents an hour, and it's ultimately for their benefit (I used to be anti-globalization, until I went to China and talked to "exploited workers"). The same goes for their employees... people choose to work there.

The problem with Wal-Mart is that they compete in an underhanded manner. They don't have everyday low prices. Rather, they go into an area, take a loss on certain items long enough to run local competitors out of business, and then jack prices back up once they have a monopoly. From an economic standpoint, it's not fair competition... it's exploiting the barriers to entry, and ultimately doing a disservice to consumers.


If anyone's interested in a *slightly* more in-depth analysis of some common criticisms of Wal-Mart, I just posted over on the Opinion Desk blog at the DTH website:


As a side note, I think most people here would find the City Desk blog interesting from time to time as well:


I went to see it here in Philly over the weekend. We had a great turnout of over 300 Sunday night. I thought I was pretty informed about the situation, but the parking lot security issues was completely new to me. I really liked the film and I'm thinking of seeing another free screening later this week if I have the time. I hope you guys get some great turnouts down there!

What you're talking about is predatory pricing, which is illegal.


Walmart has been charged with preditory pricing in 19 states and three European countries, 352 counts in Wisconsin alone. The trouble is that the penalty in many states is miniscule ( $500 per count in WI) so Walmart just adds the fines to the cost of doing business.

In Europe where the legal implications are greater, the government has been more sucessful in containing the Walmart juggernaut.

How many of those charges have been proven and survived appeal?

They settled the Wisconsin case was settled for an undisclosed amount. (2001)

The first Arkansas cases date from the mid- 1990's, and most end with some out of court settlement. A quick google yields about 11 major open predatory pricing suits, and the interesting quick fact that Walmart is the most sued company in American history, named in about 5,000 cases a year, or 14 per day, every day.

How many have been proven and survived appeal?

Out of court settlements don't count. (Just ask Bill Clinton: http://www.cnn.com/ALLPOLITICS/stories/1998/11/13/jones.text/ )

The key Arkansas case (Goode) was overturned upon appeal with the Arkansas Supreme Court saying, "that below-cost sales cannot be the sole basis for intent to injure competition."

And to further reinforce the court's ruling, "the 12 pharmacies operating in the area prior to Wal-Mart's presence are still open today. And the addition of two pharmacies and 20 pharmacists in the county since the arrival of Wal-Mart further supported the company's position."


Ooh, ooh, I've got it! Let's talk about Bill Clinton in an ostensibly local thread about Wal-Mart! Because that's relevant to the point at hand!

It is relevant in that the previous post used "settled for an undisclosed amount" to imply guilt.

As demonstrated by Clinton's settlement, simply agreeing to a settlement does not mean you actually did anything wrong.

Yes, and until you gave us the example of Bill Clinton, nobody here understood that. (I wish OP had a "roll-eyes" emoticon that I could insert here.)

Anyone headed South this evening? Big planning changes on tap for Chatham, including a proposed mod to a 10/70 ratio on development for NE Chatham - something that should be very welcomed by a "big box" developer.

Do you have to be a Chatham resident to speak at tonight''s meeting?

David, I don't think so. I've spoken before the Chatham BOC a couple times - you just sign up. Seems like that's standard procedure for our local governments. I know our Council has entertained some out-of-town talent on more than a few occassions ;-)!

For background on the proposed rule changes on tonight's Chatham Commissioners agenda, and some of the arguments against them, look here: http://www.chathamcitizens.org/

DWQ has said there can be no new pollutants added to the upper neck of Jordan Lake--the portion that would receive the runoff from whatever is built on the Lee-Moore Oil site. Does anyone know how the commissioners expect to get around that state-mandated limitation on stormwater runoff?

Great job by Chatham County activists!

The crowd was rowdy. Speakers ignored the county clerk when she told them their time was up. The crowd refused to hold their applause after each speaker. They whooped and hollered for speakers they agreed with and hissed at the one they didn't.

About 150 Chatham County residents filled all 18 rows of seats in the Chatham County Superior Courtroom, and they spilled over into the jury boxes. Most were there to speak out against changing the process developers use to apply for zoning permits. Others were against relaxing watershed rules to allow for more development in Chatham County.

Before the first of two Board of Commissioners' public hearings Monday, County Planning Director Keith Megginson explained that the zoning process proposal mainly would change two aspects of the application process: It would allow board members to speak with developers and citizens outside public meetings, which is currently illegal, and it would stretch the application process from one to two months, giving adjacent property owners more notice of public hearings, and allowing more time at the end of the process for either the developer or citizens to sue if they disagree with the outcome.

Nineteen people spoke on the matter. All were against it. They said they wanted communitywide meetings with developers, not just adjacent landowners.

(snip, snip)
"I am in agreement with everyone who spoke tonight," board Chairman Bunkey Morgan said. "I like the idea of a community meeting beforehand."

A few hours later, the board heard from about 30 people who spoke on a suggested change to the water ordinance protection act.

(decision on 10/70 ordinance was also postponed)


"The crowd was rowdy. Speakers ignored the county clerk when she told them their time was up. The crowd refused to hold their applause after each speaker. They whooped and hollered for speakers they agreed with and hissed at the one they didn't."

Is this also a "great job" when we don't agree with those doing this?

PS: I know, pushing civility means you're soft and overly sensitive. :-)


The crowds could moon the commissioners and still not come close to being as offensive as Bunky Morgan cheating his way onto the commission.

Two wrongs will never make one right because two wrongs will always be two wrongs. But my math has also been challenged lately! :-)

Civil disobedience sometimes become necessary when elected/appointed officials do not represent the needs of the people. I believe last night's behavior is an indication that the patience of Chatham residents with the pro-growth commissioners is just exhausted. But perhaps they should have thrown tea bags instead of hooting and hollering. :)

There's civil disobedience and there's boorish behavior. If those who want a big box store had done the same things, would you be as tolerant of them. I just can't imagine Kevin or Mike or Moses letting that go on.


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