January 26, 2006


Chicagoans flock to Wal-Mart jobs (LESLIE BALDACCI , 1/26/06, Chicago Sun-Times)

Eighteen months after the Chicago City Council torpedoed a South Side Wal-Mart, 24,500 Chicagoans applied for 325 jobs at a Wal-Mart opening Friday in south suburban Evergreen Park, one block outside the city limits.

The new Wal-Mart at 2500 W. 95th is one block west of Western Avenue, the city boundary.

Of 25,000 job applicants, all but 500 listed Chicago addresses, said John Bisio, regional manager of public affairs for Wal-Mart.

"In our typical hiring process, you're pretty successful if you have 3,000 applicants," he said. "They were really crowing about 11,000 in Oakland, Calif., last year. So to get 25,000-plus applications and counting, I think is astonishing."

Mightn't we consider Wal-Mart to be just one more institution of mainstrseam American life that the Left hates?

Posted by Orrin Judd at January 26, 2006 9:39 AM

Especially when we consider what Wal~Mart's founding principle and governing philosophy is: Cost-plus-a-defined-profit-margin pricing.

Do Wal~Mart critics want Americans to be price-gouged ?

The Wal~Mart Corp. is essentially a enormous philanthropic organization, even if we ignore their actual massive charitable donations.
It's probably no coincidence that they are headquartered, were founded, and first grew massive in the highly religious rural South.

Posted by: Michael Herdegen [TypeKey Profile Page] at January 26, 2006 10:06 AM

Mr. Herdegen:
"Do Wal~Mart critics want Americans to be price-gouged"

Yes! You're not supposed to want to get quality goods at everyday low prices! You should be willing to pay an insane markup to get whatever's available just so that you can feel smug and superior because you're supporting "locally owned businesses."

There's a little book store near me that is pretty much the archtypal Vermont hippie bookstore. You can't throw a brick without hitting a Michael Moore book or a poster demonizing George Bush. "The People's History of the United States" is in prominent display in the window. Yet I'm supposed to want to shop there just because they're "independant." I'm supposed to feel sorry for their tales of woe because they're losing money. Why? They make it plainly clear that people of my political stripe are not welcome in there, so why should I give them my money? Borders may be liberal too (or so I've heard) but at least they're willing to let their political beliefs take a back seat to providing decent service and a good selection.

Posted by: Bryan at January 26, 2006 10:29 AM

Among the many problems facing inner city residents is access to the larger chains with lower prices. Pushing a Walmart out into the suburbs usually ends up with the city suppling busing to outlying shopping centers. The city not only misses out on jobs and access for its citizens who would benefit the most, but the added expense for public transportation.

So are the "victims" being inconvenienced for a questionable socialistic slap at capitalism or is it the graft the businesses currently in town are paying to the city fathers. This is an urban/blue problem created by the bluemeisters, who are elected by the "victims," who in turn seem pleased to criticise the capitalists demonised by their patriarchs. Talk about "plantation politics!"

Posted by: Genecis at January 26, 2006 11:11 AM

You are all giving the lawmakers too much credit. They could care less if people save money or get gouged. They could care less if anyone has access to reasonably-priced goods. There is only aspect to this story that matters: WalMart is non-union.
The left doesn't want people to shop at locally-owned stores (maybe some small subset of tools do), they just want to keep filling their coffers with union cash.

Posted by: JT at January 26, 2006 12:16 PM

I've always wondered what would happen if a Teamsters organizer shows up someday at that "archtypal Vermont hippie bookstore," flashes a bunch of union card applications from the store employees, and demands recognition.

Posted by: Mike Morley at January 26, 2006 1:20 PM

Wal-Mart is not a charity; it is a business. And whatever Sam Walton's principles are, he's not running the company today. Wal-Mart used to advertise its "Made in America" goods, but now it's all about the China-price.

Wal-Mart has very cheap prices on certain items to bring customers in, but the rest of their wares are not "always low prices." Outside the price leader items, you would be paying an equal or greater cost for its other items as any other stores. It's a great marketing gimmick.

Posted by: Chris Durnell at January 26, 2006 1:59 PM

Bryan, are you in Middlebury?

Posted by: Former Green Mt. Stater at January 26, 2006 2:16 PM

Wal-Mart has very cheap prices on certain items to bring customers in, but the rest of their wares are not "always low prices." Outside the price leader items, you would be paying an equal or greater cost for its other items as any other stores.

I have not found that to be true in Colorado, Kansas, or Utah - perhaps it's true in your area.

Whatever moral guidance died with Sam, it remains true that Wal~Mart still fails to charge all that they could for their wares; customers get "the China price", plus three percent.
In that way, the EFFECT of Wal~Mart's business practices is more like that of a charity, rather than a for-profit business.

Posted by: Michael Herdegen [TypeKey Profile Page] at January 26, 2006 2:23 PM

"plus three percent"

Michael I need to step in to say your calculator must be broken, it's greater than 3% and the actual percentage varies widely on all items in the stores. Otherwise everything you have said is accurate. (ahh well not charity)

Posted by: h-man at January 26, 2006 3:02 PM

"[...]In these upcoming battles, legislators should be mindful that companies like Wal-Mart are not the enemy but rather frontline soldiers in a real war on poverty. The profit motive leads them to seek out areas where there is much idle labor and put it to work. Where they are prevented or discouraged from doing so, the alternative job prospect is rarely a cushy spot in the bureaucracy. Rather, it is continued idleness and hardship."

Mr. Hanke, a professor of applied economics at Johns Hopkins University,

Posted by: Genecis at January 26, 2006 6:16 PM

Is is certainly entertaining to read various contributors' theories of what could possible have motivated the Chicago politicians to move against the interests of their constituents and the city as a whole is such a fashion.

Let's try another one.

Could it be that the worst pinko moonbat fantasies are but off by half, and that there is a vast conspiancy of malefactors of great wealth pulling the strings not just of Rebublican politicians, but of Democrats also. After all, the effect of Chicago's decision of Wal-mart was only to spare the corporate monster Chicago's taxes, which I am assuming were more than the suburb's. Surely this was worth greasing a few city pols.

If we really discard the tinfoil cap-liners (isn't it THE NSA that runs all those government satillites?), we might infer that the conspiracy is much vaster that that.

Why is is that so many bloated plutocrats are so generous to social causes such as gun-control, baby-killing and sodomite prosyltization? It should be obvious that this has all been a right-wing plot.

The so-called "progressives" have been manipulated into espousing the foregoing divisive distractions. The real power, over the purse and the military, has remained in rightist hands, leaving the left to mourn over what might be the matter with Kansas.

Far-fetched? Yes, but not more so than most leftist paranoia. Perhaps the folks over at The Nation could kick my idea around a bit; it certainly maks more sense that miost of what they come up with..

Posted by: Lou Gots at January 26, 2006 9:30 PM

25,000 job apps. Wow! that is a statement. Want to bet that not all of those folks are currently unemployed.

Posted by: Robert Schwartz at January 26, 2006 10:31 PM

I couldn't care less if Wal-Mart was good or bad for America. This is America, we should have a free market.

Posted by: RC at January 27, 2006 12:30 AM