Walmart -are they killing off small business or just providing good prices?

where do you shop? - groceries-where do you shop
United States
February 11, 2007 7:22pm CST
I recently purchased a printer/copier/scanner/fax machine for $47 dollars recently on the Walmart.com site(that price includes the shipping cost). After a lot of research online and looking at many other stores(even looking at printers in the stores in person) I could not beat the deal presented by Walmart. I bought the printer although I did not feel good about it. I have previously avoided purchasing items from Walmart because of my belief that I think they are beginning to monopolize the market with their low prices and putting a lot of small businesses out of business. I also have experienced horrible customer service from employees at a local Walmart. How do you feel about Walmart? Do you think they are just providing consumers with low prices or are they monopolizing the market and putting other stores out of business?
9 people like this
36 responses
@davaoguy (319)
• United States
12 Feb 07
That might not be Wal-Mart's intention but it's super low prices can really affect small businesses negatively. One thing that the government should do is to put a price index on how low these discounts stores could go so as to buffer the the impact on other small businesses. If you lose small businesses, some people might lose jobs and that situation could be alarming.
3 people like this
• United States
12 Feb 07
That is happening at alarming rates. In the small town where the nearest Walmart resides, I have seen one large supermarket(Roth's) and a smaller discount store go out of business as a direct result of Walmart's unbeatable low prices. I hope that at some point that the government gets involved to help make it a fair marketplace for all businesses.
1 person likes this
• United States
12 Feb 07
I completely disagree with the idea of forcing a minimum price. At best, it only makes Walmart more profit at the consumers' expense. If Walmart is working within the confines of the law, then there is no reason that they shouldn't be allowed to sell their products as cheap as they want. If that forces other stores to adjust their business model to keep up with competition, so be it. If local governments cared about their small businesses and the effect Walmart's stiff competition has on them, they should stop giving Walmart (and other large companies) tax breaks from coming into town just to attract part time jobs. As a small business owner, this of more concern to me than box store pricing.
2 people like this
@AnnaB87 (761)
• United States
12 Feb 07
They are a monopoly and I don't really understand how they are getting away with it, Also we have had problems with customer service in many ways this past week we went to return and item they would not accept the return nor would they allow my dh to take the item home. so basically they stole sixty dollars worth of merchandise from us. and we did have it checked at the door so they could tell it was a return item. My husband was too mad to stay there and try to deal with them plus he has left us in the car so he did not want to leave us stranded if he said or did something to cause himself to get arrested and he was mad enough to of hit the person, but thankfully he did not, We still need to figure out how to get this money back because we do not have that kind of money, Sixty dollars is a lot to our family,.
3 people like this
• United States
12 Feb 07
That is ridiculous!! If you bring merchandise in to return you should at least leave the store with the cash for the item or the item itself!! You make a big stink with the management and get you money or merchandise back!!!
1 person likes this
• United States
12 Feb 07
Walmart is cheap on a lot of stuff, but don't fall into the trap of assuming they have the lowest prices on everything. They want you to think that, so you'll buy everything there with no research. If they were cheap on everything, they wouldn't be raking in those huge profits. Walmart can afford to price things low and still profit because of their enormous purchasing power. They can squeeze suppliers and force them to sell at lower prices or risk losing their biggest customer. I think some of Walmart's business practices are very sketchy. They haven't technically done anything illegal (other than hiring some illegal immigrants), but still I think some of their activities are kind of unethical. They go into small towns and kill all the local industry. Some would say it's just capitalism at it's finest. I just think it's dangerous to have one business have that much dominace in anything.
3 people like this
• United States
13 Feb 07
Excellent points made!! Very well written and informative statement. Thanks for your input.
1 person likes this
@SAHMom (40)
• United States
12 Feb 07
I DO NOT shop at WalMart. My husband LOVES Walmart but I too agree that they cause alot of small businesses to fail simply because the small businsses can not compete and that is so sad to me. I know that no matter what type of business you have there is always going to be competition but personally I would rather shop somewhere else.
• United States
12 Feb 07
I know so many people that feel the way you do!! Kuddos for you for standing your ground against this retail giant.
1 person likes this
@volcom (161)
• United States
12 Feb 07
I'm pretty sure the only reason wal-mart has such low prices is because they want more business. I think this because almost every time I go there I always see amazing deals on a lot of things. One time I saw 50$ ps2 games 2 for 1 which is an amazing deal that is paying 50$ when you should be paying 100$. And now that I think of this more it actually does seem like they are trying to kill off other small buisnesses cause why else would they provide such low prices even though they could raise them and they would still sell fine. They jus twant to kill off other buisnesses so they can be on top and get the most money and sales. This is my opinion on this.
• United States
12 Feb 07
I know a lot of people may say it is just"business" but with such low prices they are not allowing fair competition.
1 person likes this
@Debs_place (10524)
• United States
12 Feb 07
I am a resercher by nature, I try to buy the best I can afford and get the best bang for my buck. I don't have many bucks, so I go with the best price. If Wal-Mart has the best price, everything else being equal, then they get my business. Maybe they are putting other stores out of business, there is a k-mart about a mile from my house- the place is disgusting or was the last time I ws there, boxes in the aisles, merchandise on the floors, no one to help you. Yet, Wal-mart is better run, has better prices and provides a better shopping environment. Where woukld you pick - mismanaged, higher prices - that means that you are reqarding bad service or in my case drive 15 miles to Wal-mart for better prices and service as well as a better selection.
3 people like this
• United States
12 Feb 07
I totally agree with you word for word! I go where I get the best bang for the buck, however, I sometimes will pay a little more to a store in town, simply because I know the owner and they will provide excellent service for me.
2 people like this
@ma_belle (1357)
• United States
12 Feb 07
I avoid Wal-mart like the plague. I don't appreciate their business practices nor do I like how they drive small business out of towns and cities. Their huge stores and fleet of transport are all energy hogs as well. The stores in my area are usually run-down and its clear that the employees don't want to be there and don't really like their jobs. I do have to visit a Wal-mart once a year when I go to a little town up in north country, new york for my summer vacation. That is the only place where I can get stuff up there, since the store did drive out a lot of business when it opened.
3 people like this
@jhrcsr (349)
• United States
12 Feb 07
I would love to say that I only shop at the local stores, but I do not. The reason being that I must find the best value for my money in order to maintain my family. I cannot say that I enjoy the fact that many mom and pop stores are being shut down because they cannot compete with the big guys. I do not. I grew up with several people who's families owned their own small business and I own my own as well (but I do not compete with the big guys as I do flea markets and antique shows, so I'm pretty safe). I do, however, try to buy all my meat at the local store as they have the best meat even though it is a little more expensive than the larger stores. The bottom line is, you have to do the best you can for your family and that means finding the best product for the least amount of money so that you can have more money to purchase the things that you need to in order to support your family.
3 people like this
• United States
12 Feb 07
They are killing small businesses and they do not even have what I want most of the time. And the people that greet me, scare the life out of me. Wal-Mart is not my favorite place to shop.
3 people like this
@minerc (1373)
• United States
12 Feb 07
I think that there prices continue to go up, Some things you can get cheaper at Walmart but not all. Customer service and Employee rudeness I have expierenced at so many stores (big chain) the smaller stores do have great customer service. I try to buy more from the smaller ones because of this. Walmart don't care as much as they use to and it will be a mistake in the future.
• Canada
12 Feb 07
Walmart is just what it is a company that treats it employees badly and is tryin to monoplise the retail industry they force out small bbuisness and theaten towns by not building there and if they are unionise they shut the store and move it down the road. The force other companies to sell exculsivly to them or force them to provide items so sheap that there is no profit in it for them and they end up going out of buisness. They do not even give the benifits that hard workin peopel have fought for. They are after the dollar adn only if you are not a minority or woman do you stand a chance of getting to be a manager at one. They are worse than homedepot who when you are a CEO get over $200 million in severance from them.
3 people like this
@danoneism (680)
• Malaysia
12 Feb 07
i understand u even that walmart is not avaliable in my country.. here we have other hypermarts such as carrefour, makro and other.. i agree with u that these hypermart provide better price than small local shops.. and its operating 24 hours... well.. this had been an issue last year when many of these small shops complaining that they will have to close down if this situation continues.. these hypermart is really killing those small shops.. for example near to my house there use to be a supermarket which a 3 lot size now size down to only 1 lot.. the owner have to sell his 2 lot due to a hypermarket opened near by.. poor the owner...
3 people like this
@Kaldonya (278)
• United States
12 Feb 07
I used to really like Wal-Mart....mostly because [at the time being a single parent] it was what I could afford. Now...with a family of six, since I becamse a SAHM, out of necessity, we've still been shopping there. But recently I've noticed that customer service has gotten absolutely horrible and that all the smaller businesses are closing up because they can't compete. I've also noticed (in our small town....where're they going to build a 3rd store within a 20mile radius - ugh!!) that they are raising their prices!!! I think that they are doing that because they know that there really isn't anyone around to compete with them and so now they're setting higher prices. And most times, the shelves do NOT reflect the price increase. At first when I complained about the loaf of bread being marked $1.07 on the shelf and ringing up for $1.18, they refunded me my money. But after MONTHS of this, they now will only give the difference between the two prices. They have become really slack in that area. Last week I bought a tube of diaper rash creme marked $4.34 on the shelf. It rang up for $5.67!! Also...I went to buy that new movie out: Facing the Giants. It was on sale for $16.87. They were out, and had none in the back. I asked for a raincheck so that when they get them in I can still get it for the sales price, and they were RUDE and said, "no, we don't offer rain checks. You'll just have to pay full price if they come in after the week is over." "Well I would like to be able to buy it on sale. I feel that it is unfair to punish me by charging me full price instead of offering a rain check just because you might not get them in." They didn't care. I drove to the other one 10 miles in the other direction. They didn't have them on sale, but I explained what happened, and they gave it to me for the sales price. That was nice of that store. But overall.....I do not like Wal-Mart anymore.
2 people like this
• United States
13 Feb 07
So much for low prices. How can they get away with putting one price on their merchandise and the item ringing up at the register at a different price?
1 person likes this
• India
12 Feb 07
walmart had a big part in killing many a small town downtown shopping districts.its practices between the 60's 70's and 80's were to come to a town and build a store on the suburbs and undersell everyone else.eventually the small business folks were driven out of business.
2 people like this
• Canada
13 Feb 07
This practice has not stopped. Now, they are known to move into a small town, close all the local businesses down, then close up and move to the next biggest town. This forces the members of the first small town to go into the bigger town for supplies, and effectively destroys the smaller communities.
@emeraldisle (13139)
• United States
12 Feb 07
First I'd like to know what mom and pop local places Wal-Mart is supposed to be closing down. We have 2 Wal-Marts within a short span of one another in my area but there never were many mom and pop shops for everyday items. It is all specialty shops and those Wal-Mart doesn't compete with. They compete against other chains, like grocery stores, pharmacies, and department stores. They buy in mass amounts so that way they get the best deal. They look at long term amounts and are willing to sell for less knowing they will sell more of them. They don't go for the immediate large profit and small sales. They are smart in business that way. There are many laws in place that prevent them from running out all competition however they can if the other competition doesn't want to fight. What is amazing though is when I was growing up I heard these same arguements about K-Mart. That they would close the small businesses, that they would monopolize the area, etc. The same thing was said about Sears and Montgomery Wards. So if those already killed them all what is left for Wal-Mart to kill off? The thing is if you are so worried about the small business then shop there. Don't worry about saving $10 or whatever and go to the small computer shop around the neighborhood. Boycott Wal-mart completly. Don't even check the prices there. That way you might not be tempted to do business there. If you really feel they are that dominating then stop using them. Then you won't have to worry.
2 people like this
• United States
12 Feb 07
I have seen a couple of businesses in close proxinity to the local Walmart close down in the past 2 years. Actually, I can think of 3 businesses. All 3 businesses were in direct competition with Walmart selling everyday items and groceries. Two of the businesses would be considered small business and the other a Roth's supermarket could not compete with the low prices and 24 hour business hours of the Walmart Superstore. I don't think that those businesses failed because they "did not want to fight" I simply believe that they did not have the resources like this retail giant to compete. I know that may seem like "business" but how is driving prices so low that there is no competition fair? What about the american dream for the small business owner? You are right...from now on I will put my money where my mouth is..I will boycott Walmart completely. In the past 3 years I have patronized their stores maybe once or twice a year..but after reading other posts here on this topic I know that others feel the same way. I will take my money elsewhere!! Lastly,I think the fact that you do not see any mom and pop businesses in your market speaks volumes about the effect of Walmart...no competition in sight!!
1 person likes this
• United States
12 Feb 07
I live in a small town that has seen the direct effects of a big company like walmart, Alot of our local businesses have gone away entirely because of Walmart and Sams Club. Yet if you go into our local walmart you cannot find a price on most items, and when you can you cannot find someone to help you get it to your car. It is ridiculous! I hate the fact that even though there is NO customer service and the place is packed with people? because unfortunatley we all want to save money!
2 people like this
• United States
12 Feb 07
In a perfect world, a store that has a reputation for bad customer service practices would be expected to go out of business. Sadly, that is not the case here. It is hard to beat their prices!!
1 person likes this
@cuhkiz (568)
• Philippines
13 Feb 07
I think thats how business works. Wal-mart just set to give affordable price for consumers and small business can't do anything about it. Wal-mart started as a big market and how can small business play fair with that. And because its business, firm ones stand out to the rest. Maybe small business should be more organized. Business is business and only the more credible one remains. Somehow it is also monopolizing the market because walmart has a amous name since then so consumers go with that well known one.
2 people like this
• United States
12 Feb 07
I believe that they are killing off small businesses! They are not always the one with the best deal either! I lived 2 miles from Wal-mart went everyday didn't know how I would ever survive without! I now live 30 miles from the closest wal-mart and have discovered that there are places that charge less! I hardly shop there at all now and don't miss it one bit! And they are not very good to their employees either, they only truely care about one thing and that is the almighty dollar! Not in treating one fairly or giving the best deal! JMO
• United States
12 Feb 07
They are doing both I think. They offer good products at a low price. That measn that the little stores can not compete sometimes. So they will either have to lower the price or go out of business. There was a small time grocery store where I live that went out of business. I went in to get some stuff when they had it 75% off. At that price there were about the same as a bigger store. So you can see the problem there.
2 people like this
@pendragon (3351)
• United States
12 Feb 07
Walmart kills everything in it's path, legally, illegally, they are a juggernaught of cultural mediocrity.There will be the biggest boom ever when that regime plummets to earth.
2 people like this