Americans Reality

Fred has a very interesting post today on Wal-mart and their lack of benefits for employees. 

I used to run a small company in the garment center.  We did business with Wal-mart.  They are not very nice to do business with.  On one hand the order is huge but on the other hand if they don’t get the price they want, they just screw you in the end.  For instance, if they want a pair of pants for $7 and you can only do it for $7.20, they might take the order anyway.  But, if you don’t ship it perfectly and on time,  I mean perfectly hung on the hangers, you get charged back 20 cents a garment.  In the end, they get their price and you lose you margins.

Regardless, the conversation we used to have about Wal-mart was Americans reality.  Americans want the lowest cost on their consumer items but they want the items to made in the good old USA.  Well, if we made those pants in the good old USA, they cost $18 because of higher paid workers, health care, etc.  In essence, Americans want their cake and eat it too.  Surprise…not. 

Somewhere, the costs will get you.  For instance, the Federal Government lowers the taxes but the State raises them in order to cover the costs.   The costs to run the post office, the streets, the cops, the schools, costs money.

As a country, we owe our work force access to solid Health care.  How we do that, I am not sure but if we don’t provide it, we will continue to pay in other ways such as higher Insurance costs.  Hilary Clinton was actually before her time on this one. 

As for Wal-mart, consumers love them for the prices but you can’t have it all. 

Comments (Archived):

  1. ellen

    I have gone to Walmart exactly 3 times. I bought my husband crew socks and bobby pins for myself. The socks wore out after 2 wearings. I don’t quite understand. I found absolutely nothing that was less expensive and of the same quality that I couldn’t find elsewhere that was better quality and of equal price.

    Could you please tell me what they have that is lower-priced and of good quality? My understanding of a bargain is to get fine quality for a just price, not stuff that is flimsy and poorly-made. In the end these items are worthless. My feeling is that Zayres and Bradlees and Caldors had similar quality fashion items.

  2. christy

    Wow, I haven’t thought of Caldors in a while.

    Just wait until New York gets Meijer’s. That place is 1000 times worse than Walmart. It’s like a Walmart plus a Home Depot plus a Stop & Shop. You can’t get out in less than 3 hours and it kills everything around it so you have to shop there. Midwesterners love ’em.

  3. Ted

    Somehow you left the critical third variable out of your Wal-mart analysis: productivity. The demand for rising wages and lower costs is only met by increases in productivity. As productivity rises, costs for things like healthcare will even out and possibly even drop. As productivity falls, the relative cost of goods and services, healthcare included, will rise. So if we want to have our cake and eat it, too–we do so by becoming a more productive economy. Not sure where Hillary stands on this idea, though..

  4. Abby

    Thanks for this post gotham gal.

    I’ve found most of the stuff at Wal-Mart to be cheaply made, and not all of it is that inexpensive. We found a wheel barrow at the local hardware store that was much cheaper. I think that only the obvious items are significantly less expensive. They’ve studied this.

    I do agree with Fred that employer-based healtthcare is messed up, because a lot of people cobble together several part-time jobs. I don’t think that we can dump everyone on the individual market unless there’s a big lto of government regulation. Bill Bradley wanted to open up the FEHB to everyone, provide premium support and make it tax deductible for the individual.

    But in the end, I think that this is something that society has to be responsible for. Low wage workers won’t be worth the cost of their healthcare. They probably aren’t now. That’s why the government has to step in/

  5. charlie crystle

    Single-payer healthcare with tort reform is the only viable, fiscally sound way to provide healthcare for all and lower cost to business.

  6. anon

    “For instance, the Federal Government lowers the taxes but the State raises them in order to cover the costs. The costs to run the post office, the streets, the cops, the schools, costs money.”
    That’s a nice trick running all those together. Where’s Mom and apple pie? Maybe some of us want taxes lowered. Period. The post offcie is only partially suppoerted by federal taxes. The “streets” are most likely local, but there’s a lot of that bad pork helping build and maintain local streets. Cops? Local, not federal. Or should be. Schools. Local, not federal. Or should be. But too many liberals and big-government conservatives want the federal local distinction blurred. Yikes!