Friday, April 20, 2007

What you get and what you pay for

I just finished reading "The Wal-Mart Effect" by Charles Fishman. Good times.

Tell you what, read this book in NYC and people will come up to you to ask about it or share a Wal-Mart related tidbit with you.

It's a fast and engaging read. Fishman is careful to give Wal-Mart their props and perhaps the occasional benefit of the doubt and then just lays it all out there to the best of his ability. There are a lot of things that we don't know because Wal-Mart won't tell us. There are a lot of stories that people won't tell because Wal-Mart won't let them or they are afraid of the retribution that Wal-Mart might exact.

The discipline of Wal-Mart is truly amazing. And the ways they wield pressure to lower prices and cut costs is both wonderous and frightening to read about. The path from wonderous to frightening - Fishman would argue that it is all a matter of degree or of the scale of a thing. Too much of what you believe to be a good thing can yield unintended consequences that effect everything when writ large on the world.

There's a lot in this books that is just mind-boggling. I will probably have to reread it focusing on the numbers and trying to get a better grasp on their implications.

" ... Wal-Mart's total profit comes to $3 an hour over a typical year. So although there may be some dispute about whether the average Wal-Mart store associate earns $8 an hour or $9 an hour, Wal-Mart could not afford to pay those people $12 an hour. There isn't enough money - at least not without raising process." -Charles Fishman

That's the kind of thing that I have always wondered about. The margins are at times so narrow and the difference of a few pennies spread out over selling astronomical amounts of products is where the profit or the savings come from or the threat of bankrupcy.

"No company has more discipline or focus than Wal-Mart, but all that discipline and focus are designed to wring costs out and bring prices down." -CF

And this is not without a cost to the environment, a cost in labor conditions, in the wealth or poverty of communities world-wide, in the quality of our lives, in the quality of merchandise we buy and in the shift in reliability of the brands that we love. Costs that are passed on to governments, to the environment, to the customer, to manufacturers and suppliers.

"This is who we are! We bring truckloads of great stuff whole convoys of great stuff, to a Wal-Mart near you! What's not to love?
It is a moment worthy of Greek literature, a moment of soaring ambition and potentially crippling lack of self-knowledge. The problem is not that we don't adequately shower Wal-Mart with gratitude, kindness and acknowledgments, it's that Wal-Mart doesn't understand why we don't. Two months worth of disaster relief [After Hurricane Katrina] cannot undo a half-century's worth of other damaging Wal-Mart effects." - CF

Plus apparently while it is true that we save a lot of money by shopping at Wal-Mart it's a bit of a mystery to ponder what we do with that money. Clearly we are not saving or investing it. Where does it go? To buy more cheaply manufactured socks? To buy soon to be obsolete electronic products.

"Misperception isn't always perception - sometimes it's reality. Sometimes the way others see you is, in fact the way you are." -CF

Fishman says this of Wal-Mart could the same not be said for anyone or group?

There has been much talk of the potential for Wal-Mart to do good. At some point they might want to get out of the bargain discount game or they might want to take some of that considerable clout and control that they have a use it as a lever to change the world for the better.

"If cost isn't the ultimate question anymore, what are the important questions?" - CF

"There is no human adjustment harder to make than to abandon the very principles that have been the source of your success and adopt their opposites as the path to continued success." - CF

Change is hard for us all. Probably the bigger you are, the more successful you are - the more inertia you have. And the harder it is to see far enough ahead of you to the point of diminishing returns. The point where Wal-Mart might wring all the efficiency that it can out of retail. The point where they run out of room to grow. The point where their effect is of a mgnitude and seriousness that someone or something demands that they be held accountable. Will Wal-Mart be able to adapt or will they eventually hollow themselves out in the way they have hollowed out so many of the companies they like to call their manufacturing and distributing "partners?"

Charles Fishman rightly points out that in the 45 years is not a lot of time and the kinds of enormous corporations that exist today, Wal-Mart being the ultimate example, did not exist in the way they do today. Totally new animal. They are not a part of the free market. They in many ways own and control it. And we as human animals that share the planet with them need to figure out what can be done to help a company like Wal-Mart identify what "the important questions are," demand that they put significant resources into finding answers, and hold them accountable.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Austrian Sigmund Freud is known as the father of psychoanalysis yet people have (mental) health problems because of their disfavor, illustrating the preditory purpose of this discipline, this individual.
These people.
Of course Hitler was Austrian. Glock, maker of the semi-automatic gun favored by the most ruthless of black street gangs, the Bloods and the Crips, is Austrian.
RedBull Energy drink, Buwdeiser both Austrian.

The Holocaust was foreshadowing, yet another example of the Jews sacrificing to help the disfavored::::
1. 1492 exodus from Spain.
2. Spread throughout Europe as clue to heathen Christians worshipping a false god.
3. "Quasi-Holocaust claim" contradicting boss.
The Apocalypse (or an Apocalyptic event) will be initiated by an Austrian. When the national referendum to allow foreign-born individuals to run for president is introduced I recommend you DEFY and vote NO!! In the years prior to this vote the gods will send POWERFUL clues suggesting the IMPORTANCE OF DEFIANCE.

It will be the Koreans. There may not even be any invasion:::They gods will scapegoat them telepathically.
Black people like the ones who terrorized Korean businesses during the 1992 riots in California will be executed. I have personal reinforcing evidence.
This time the holocaust will be black.

Italy's boot is a clue showing the god's intent with the Romans.
Oshkosh. Oshkosh is a clue just as Lake Michigan and Green Bay are clues::::
Oshkosh is the ejaculate clue:::Life springs forth from this city.
Expect your traditional Second Coming of Christ to come from Oshkosh, Wisconsin. Consistant with the possibility of matrilinial lineage it may be the mother's family from the Lake Winnebago area fulfilling some "Manifest Destiny" bullshit theater::::You see Manifest Destiny all around you (corporate). Expect the white man's god's prophecy to be fulfilled.

1. Corporate sourcing violently punished::::
They suggest the whole "sourcing" era, where it is positioned that their brain-less clones obtained product from China and other Asian countries for the lowest possible price, will be punished violently if the gods elect to employ the "Chinese invasion" script.
One of the reasons it was so important to get out before 1980 or before the end of each 20-year war-revelry cycle (1960, 1980, 2000, 2020, etc).

2. Deception of Southern rednecks to blame for Republican control:::::
Republicans, party of preditory disfavored, keep guns available. Easy gun availablility is an "open door" for the gods, a tool used to prey on the disfavored.
Republicans, party of preditory disfavored, gave you the Clinton impeachment theater 1998.
Republican loyalty is why noone cares that rednecks are set up for the slaughter.

The Simpsons offered many clues to the disfavored, not the least of which the frequent references to "pack/mob mentality".

ANYTIME you feel "peaked", experience craving or ANY thought disturbance where you want or like something irrationally (ex:::Halloween) IT IS THEM TRYING TO HURT YOU!!!!!! "MAgic" is used EXCLUSIVELY to hurt the disfavor:::The fuel of disfunction::::::addiction, homosexuality, crack babies.
There are subtle (sub)conscious tactics they can employ with the computer to make you think as if you are cooperating when they really are pushing you into your offense. Your (great-)grandparents were pushed into a disgregard for their descendants and their children were pushed into being sell-out whores. Parents who are sell out whores often have children with gay experiences.

This isn’t about reals and clones. This is about the brains and the brain-less:::The brain-less are families who have been OUT FOR GENERATIONS!!!!
This is the key which unlocks the god’s puzzle.

Kosher is a favor bestowed upon the Jews. The South eats LOTS of pork and there is a oyster bar on every corner.
It's kinda like liquor stores in the ghetto. This is the kind of irony the gods laugh about.

gods got rid of the retarded woman who lived across the street, prior to the fall of 2006 so your handiwork wouldn't stare you in the face while there was so much attention.
gods took similar evansive manuvers w/ bi-racial.

Bill Clinton wasn't impeached because he lied.
Bill Clinton wasn't impeached because he was orally copulated.
Bill Clinton was impeached because it was 1998.

Women are the favored gender:::Those who understand what it means to be a woman are already halfway there.
The purpose of the masculinization of women of the last 40 years was to pave the way for The End.

HOW TO PRAY:::1. I'm sorry for what I've done wrong. 2. I don't want to sccumb to temptation and make any more mistakes. 3. I want to fix my problems. 4. Please don't hurt me.

We will ALL be held to the responsibilities entrusted to us, no matter what temptations contradict this.

If you don't do the right thing you're going to do the wrong thing, and the right thing to do is to ACTIVELY fix your problems and pursue the favor of the gods.
If you're not working hard to fix your problems, if you don't creatively work to get the hell off Earth then you will be consumed by it, by the reverse positioning-institutions they instilled as temptations::::popular culture, democracy, materialism.

American space tourist returned after 13 days in space::::"The first thing he noticed about Earth is…the smell." They don't want people coming back. They WILL do things like this:::It's intent is to prevent people from returning, either for favorite expeiences, sports, etc. and proof my Situation had to fail:::It woud have commanded much attention from the other planets.