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This page contains a single entry by Westley Annis published on January 20, 2007 2:17 PM.

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WalMart Killing WalMart?

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Is WalMart its own worse enemy?

Forget the numerous web sites that are denouncing WalMart's employment practices or the movie made about all of WalMart's business practices. I'm looking at it strickly from a consumer point of view.

In the 80's I remember articles talking about the problems Americans were having because they were faced with too many choices. I have always thought it was a good thing, especially since that is the driving force behind our economy. Without choices there is no competition. No competition means we would all be paying higher prices for goods we buy.

WalMart however, seems to be the new Henry Ford, with his infamous quote:

People can have the Model T in any color--so long as it's black.

What I'm seeing every time I walk into a WalMart is a lack of choices. Just the other night I was looking for a what seemed to me to be a basic item, a plain solid black t-shirt for my son. All I found was white, grey, two shades of blue, and green.

Before you say I'm just whining because they just didn't have the choice I was looking for, the thing that grabbed my attention was the amount of space dedicated to boys clothing and the amount of items presented in that space.

At most, you had 1,000 square feet dedicated to boys clothing. When you figure men's, girls, and infant/toddlers each only had 1,000 square feet, and women's is probably only about 200 feet bigger. WalMart has an average store size of 102,000 which means they are only dedicating about 6% of their floor space to clothing.

What really got to me was how limited the choices really were. There was basically a wall of jeans, another wall of cheap dress shirt/tie combo's and printed logo t-shirts, two tables of folded t-shirts, four racks of printed t-shirts, a couple of racks of shorts, and another wall with sleepware, underware, and socks. Almost all of this merchandise was in the gangsta type style. Not what I am looking for my son to wear.

And it is not limited to clothing.

I love movies, but I hate renting them, so I don't do Blockbuster or NetFlix, I buy them out right. I also like widescreen movies. I want to see the full picture as it was filmed, plus I could see several years ago that televisions are moving to the widescreen format.

WalMart seems to be the only outlet for DVD's that are released in the Full Frame format. In fact, you have to dig through a hundred full frame copies of a movie at WalMart to find the one copy they have that is widescreen. Couple that with the fact that WalMart rarely carries the Special Edition versions when the movies are released in different packages and now I have simply stopped buying movies at WalMart.

If not for the fact that in my small city, the number of choices I have is so limited that I have to include WalMart, I think I could do without them.

The good news for me is that I can still manage to go three or four months without ever stepping inside of a WalMart store.

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