People have been mad at Walmart
I don’t mean people that shop there are mad. Nor am I meaning the Target vs. Walmart clientele comparison. Either could be another post from all I’ve seen but, no, not what I mean for this entry.
People are mad at the company in general.
Okay, there are many reasons why people are mad at Walmart and I’m sure there’s some legitimacy to the arguments. Whether it’s the pay issues or the insurance situation, there’s plenty of stores and instances to talk about. Maybe they’re all true and maybe the lore has gotten so big that derision has taken over. That also is not the point of this particular post, but it does touch on a part of the reason for all the anger.
Mad at change
Let’s go back to it’s root a bit and look at it from there.
Sam Walton had a great business model. It scaled enormously since his passing.
At 1735 locations in 1992 when he died, it was the Nation’s largest retailer, compared to today having more than 4200 stores worldwide with 11 Billion in profits, a current record. Things change when they hit scale like that.
Some people were mad when Walmart would come in to their town. One of the arguments was that it took all the ma and pa stores away, running them out of business. I saw that, it did happen. I know I’m not bringing up the arguments in any detail that people are vehement about and that’s because it’s not what I want to say. That other view is out there, already said and not my cause.
There are towns where Walmart has taken hold. It brought jobs. Maybe more jobs than it pushed out. If we’re all community minded and caring about our neighbors, that could be a good thing. Of course, when it’s you, your take on others’ benefits has it’s suddenly defined boundaries. Nonetheless, Walmart brought the convenience of products that may not have been available in that community. It brought the ancillary businesses and jobs that always show up nearby – the Olive Garden’s, Discount tires, Home Depot’s, Applebee’s etc.
Where my hope lies
It’s my hope that through the purging of both successful and poor running businesses that served a local community, the reset button was hit for the better, overall. Like the sadness of a fire over the landscape that promotes good new growth.
I know there are some standout businesses that couldn’t compete with the behemoth, that is sad – agreed. But it’s not the end of the story yet.
People are mad at the first part of the cycle. The full benefit of a change isn’t yet realized. If it was only that, I’d agree more.
Walmart provided something that was needed, as evidenced by the model working in that location and all the business it draws. Location after location has proven it.
The back half of change
Emerging now is a redefining of what your town really is by what it’s people want/need. The same need that Walmart brought originally, but deeper. Now there is the resurfacing of the ma and pa stores, more specialized to provide those things that Walmart can’t carry. Walmart can be many things to many people. But not all.
As an example, if hockey is big in your community, Walmart may carry a few products to cater to that need, if at all, but they won’t carry the depth of product that a specialized sports or even hockey specific store could. Certainly not the depth of team and school named products the local hockey store would carry. You get customer support there because – hey, you’re a hockey town.
Pick an industry. If it’s wanted/needed in your town, a ma and pa can have great success with it. They will always be more community minded because it isn’t corporately run. Larger multi-store operations have to be financially efficient, catering to many stores. So the larger corporate entity homogenizes.
It’s back to the supply and demand that Walmart was founded upon.
Providing care of service and specialized products, the ma and pa model can be something that Walmart won’t even try to compete with. It’s not their model.
In other words there are many locally available holes in the market. I see them emerging and succeeding. It can be much more targeted. Maybe it’s another industry or a product line that is far more niche oriented. It’s small business, still the most prevalent in the US. Isn’t there a reason why there are so many small pizza joints in any town?
Just like most anything in life, if you get mad and stay mad, you’re probably not seeing or understanding the full depth of a situation. You are rendered unable to see the best opportunity when you get stuck in that mode. It’s no way to live. Not for me anyway.
I say move on, look deeper to get to the good stuff. It’s there.
I’m not saying you have to shop there but you can stop spending energy being mad at Walmart now.