Walmarting

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Walmarting is a neologism referring to U.S. discount department store Walmart with three meanings. The first use is similar to the concept of globalization and is used pejoratively by critics[1] and neutrally by businesses seeking to emulate Wal-Mart's success.[2] The second, pejorative, use refers to the homogenization of the retail sector because of those practices.[3] The third, neutral use refers to the act of actually shopping at Wal-Mart.[4]

Background[edit]

The term "Walmarting" derives from debate over Walmart's business practices, which effectively apply optimization concepts from logistics, purchasing and finance to achieve and maintain low prices.[citation needed]. More generally, "Walmarting" refers to the spread of Wal-Mart's business model to other big-box retailers throughout the American economy, and the national or global implications of that proliferation.

The Wal-Mart business model includes: marketing to a broad "family" demographic that includes rural as well as urban, ethnic minorities as well as mainstream, people without a higher-level education, lower- or working-class consumers, as well as the middle-class; one-stop shopping based on a very large selection of goods and services; the use of intense price-competition and high-technology inventory management to stimulate and satisfy end-user demand; extreme economies of scale based on big-box delivery of consumables; aggressive supply-chain management that requires producers to reduce their costs significantly to find an outlet for their goods; employment of store workers for low wages, few benefits, and little job security to reduce overhead.[5]

Critics[who?] have claimed that the domestic impact of Walmarting is to force local businesses into bankruptcy because they are unable to compete with Wal-Mart's "low, low prices", and to reduce the standard of living for local workers who lose their jobs, then must accept work at Wal-Mart levels of compensation. Similarly, some critics argue that the international impact of Walmarting is to force American suppliers to rely on low-wage foreign producers for goods, leading in turn to an unfavorable national balance of trade and contributing to the growth of the American temporary and low-wage employment sector[citation needed].

In response, Wal-Mart proponents[who?] point out consumer monies saved by purchasing lower-cost goods can then be diverted elsewhere in the economy to create jobs. Supporters of Wal-Mart have also noted that retail-driven price competition rationalizes the economy and eliminates wasteful deployment of capital and labor. Wal-Mart advocates[who?] particularly emphasize the democratic values inherent in providing a store where all Americans can afford to shop.

Walmarting differs both from "Disneyfication" and "McDonaldization," though there is a significant resemblance. "Disneyfication" and "McDonaldization" emphasize the "fun" of theme park attractions and fast food dining, while Walmarting markets itself mainly upon shopping for savings. "Disneyfied" businesses embellish a particular theme as imagined history, while "McDonaldized" businesses rationalize a specific good or service. By contrast, "Walmarting" plays upon a single aspect of shopping – getting a bargain – and applies it across the board to a broad range of goods and services available in its "super-stores."

The "Walmarting" concept has been applied in various industries. The external links below cite examples of its usage for the first two definitions.

Outside the U.S.[edit]

India has experienced a similar phenomenon of Wal-Martization to the United States, with significant negative ramifications for its economy.[5]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Service employees propose a program for change". Interview with Andy Stern, president of the Service Employees International Union, by journalists David Bacon and Philip Maldari on KPFA-FM radio, Berkeley, CA, January 19, 2005. Retrieved 2006-04-30. 
  2. ^ "More Fortunes out of Digits--Is Data Warehousing the Walmarting of the future?". Highly recommended resources by OmegaPoint Network Enterprises, 1999-2005. Retrieved 2013-12-04. 
  3. ^ "First Friday's in Mt Jackson at The Art Group". Shenandoahmusic.com website. Retrieved 2006-04-30. 
  4. ^ "Things to do around EIU". Eastern Illinois University electronic student handbook. Retrieved 2006-04-30. 
  5. ^ a b Sridhar, V., and Vijay Prashad. 2007. Wal-Mart with Indian Characteristics. Connecticut Law Review, 39 (4):1785-1803. Title page

Further reading[edit]

Documentaries[edit]

External links[edit]