....LMB: "Pax Wal-Martica"....

February 21, 2003

Fortune magazine has named Wal-Mart as its "biggest Most-Admired company" for 2002.

The article points out how Wal-Mart is so huge that nearly every business has to alter its practices to suit Wal-Mart.

How huge is Wal-Mart? Let's check some creepy facts:

  • Wal-Mart's sales on one day last fall--$1.42 billion--were larger than the GDPs of 36 countries.
  • It is the biggest employer in 21 states, with more people in uniform than the U.S. Army.
  • It plans to grow this year by the equivalent of--take your pick--one Dow Chemical, one PepsiCo, one Microsoft, or one Lockheed Martin.
  • If the estimated $2 billion it loses through theft each year were incorporated as a business, it would rank No. 694 on the FORTUNE 1,000.

    If that doesn't blow your mind, then get off my site, you fucking cyborg.

    Wal-Mart sells 39% of the nation's dog food, 32% of its disposable diapers, and 30% of its photographic film. What kind of market share do you need before its an illegal oligopoly?

    The whole article is very interesting, examining Wal-Mart's cutthroat business techniques (well, some of them). The key seems to be Wal-Mart's insistence on purchasing items from their retailers at the absolute lowest possible price, allowing Wal-Mart to sell these items to consumers at a very low price. Unfortunately, it also means that the retailers need to pay their workers as little as possible to maintain their low sales price. Which presumably pushes wages down for huge portions of the population, who then need to rely on the great deals at, uh, Wal-Mart.

    So that's the Wal-Mart secret, using their economic clout to get the lowest prices available and draw in maximum customers because of their deals.

    Well, that and repeatedly violating their workers' rights.

    Posted by Jake at 12:11 AM

    I had to stop at a Wal-Mart once when I was driving north, and it began to snow; I had to get chains for the car. I went in and found them right next to the...guns.

    I hurried out as fast as I could.

    Yay America!!! Land of the bleak and dysphoric lowest-common-denominator standarization!

    Posted by: michele at February 21, 2003 12:34 PM

    So did you buy the chains?

    Posted by: Eric at February 21, 2003 04:40 PM

    do all wal mart's smell like toilets? the ones i've been to always do.

    Posted by: art mooney at February 21, 2003 05:29 PM

    I always feel so torn when I visit back home in Indiana and the CDs that cost $18 dollars here in Chicago cost a lot less in Wal-Mart. I don't know of any major retailers that have unionized staff (probably how they came to be major retailers). I also remember when Wal-Mart had it's "Made in America" push - but it seems that has toned down in the past five years... I'm sure I'd be stunned the dearth of items truly made in These United States.

    Links to sites critical of Sam & Co:

    I'm stunned when I take a moment to measure how much a commodity cost to make versus how much it costs to market - that is, how much extra money it costs to convince me to buy it at a higher price.

    Posted by: Andy at February 21, 2003 10:55 PM

    The Wal-Mart, one of those mega-stores that's the rage in my town, doesn't sell alcohol. Is this the franchise's policy or just this one's puritanical "keep 'em dry" campaign?

    Posted by: Eric at February 22, 2003 08:53 PM

    What's your point?

    Posted by: Johnny Bardine at February 23, 2003 08:34 PM

    Dude, you might have a little more cred if you understood the difference between retailers and wholesalers/suppliers.


    Posted by: Lex at February 24, 2003 08:07 AM

    If you're talking to me, I think you misinterpreted my rhetorical question.

    Posted by: Eric at February 24, 2003 10:07 AM

    Yes. Yes, I bought the chains. I would have preferred not to, but it was 11 or so at night, and I didn't know the area.


    look at me, supporting Phillipine sweatshops making...um...tire chains?

    oh well.

    Posted by: michele at February 24, 2003 01:41 PM
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  • Lying Media Bastards is both a radio show and website. The show airs Mondays 2-4pm PST on KillRadio.org, and couples excellent music with angry news commentary. And the website, well, you're looking at it.

    Both projects focus on our media-marinated world, political lies, corporate tyranny, and the folks fighting the good fight against these monsters.

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    Media News

    November 16, 2004

    Tales of Media Woe

    Senate May Ram Copyright Bill- one of the most depressing stories of the day that didn't involve death or bombs. It's the music and movie industries' wet dream. It criminalizes peer-to-peer software makers, allows the government to file civil lawsuits on behalf of these media industries, and eliminates fair use. Fair use is the idea that I can use a snippet of a copyrighted work for educational, political, or satirical purposes, without getting permission from the copyright-holder first.

    And most tellingly, the bill legalizes technology that would automatically skip over "obejctionable content" (i.e. sex and violence) in a DVD, but bans devices that would automatically skip over commericals. This is a blatant, blatant, blatant gift to the movie industry. Fuck the movie industry, fuck the music industry, fuck the Senate.

    Music industry aims to send in radio cops- the recording industry says that you're not allowed to record songs off the radio, be it real radio or internet radio. And now they're working on preventing you from recording songs off internet radio through a mixture of law and technological repression (although I imagine their techno-fixes will get hacked pretty quickly).

    The shocking truth about the FCC: Censorship by the tyranny of the few- blogger Jeff Jarvis discovers that the recent $1.2 million FCC fine against a sex scene in Fox's "Married By America" TV show was not levied because hundreds of people wrote the FCC and complained. It was not because 159 people wrote in and complained (which is the FCC's current rationale). No, thanks to Jarvis' FOIA request, we find that only 23 people (of the show's several million viewers) wrote in and complained. On top of that, he finds that 21 of those letters were just copy-and-paste email jobs that some people attached their names to. Jarvis then spins this a bit by saying that "only 3" people actually wrote letters to the FCC, which is misleading but technically true. So somewhere between 3 and 23 angry people can determine what you can't see on television. Good to know.

    Reuters Union Considers Striking Over Layoffs- will a strike by such a major newswire service impact the rest of the world's media?

    Pentagon Starts Work On War Internet- the US military is talking about the creation of a global, wireless, satellite-aided computer network for use in battle. I think I saw a movie about this once...

    Conservative host returns to the air after week suspension for using racial slur- Houston radio talk show host (and somtime Rush Limbaugh substitute) Mark Belling referred to Mexican-Americans as "wetbacks" on his show. He was suspended for a couple of weeks, and then submitted a written apology for the racial slur to a local newspaper. But he seems to be using the slur and its surrounding controversy to boost his conservative cred with his listeners.

    Stay Tuned for Nudes- Cleveland TV news anchor Sharon Reed aired a story about artist Spencer Tunick, who uses large numbers of naked volunteers in his installations and photographs. The news report will be unique in that it will not blur or black-out the usual naughty bits. The story will air late at night, when it's allegedly okay with the FCC if you broadcast "indecent" material. The author of this article doesn't seem to notice that Reed first claims that this report is a publicity stunt, but then claims it's a protest against FCC repression. I'd like to think it's the latter, but I'm not that much of a sucker.

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    Mission: Mongolia

    Jake's first attempt at homemade Mongolican barbecue:


    What went right: correctly guessing several key seasonings- lemon, ginger, soy, garlic, chili.

    What went wrong: still missing some ingredients, and possibly had one wrong, rice vinegar. Way too much lemon and chili.

    Result: not entirely edible.

    Plan for future: try to get people at Great Khan's restaurant to tell me what's in the damn sauce.

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