Some of you could be stand up comedians. Kat I enjoyed the story about your son's employer. What a generous man who truly values his employees. I still like Walmart because,considering it's so large, they have such emphasis on fair treatment of employees. Whoever said that for every happy employee I talk about, he can describe 10 other cases of abuse, I cringe at that. As big as these companies are, there's no doubt there's some of that--it's inevitable but I seriously doubt 10 to 1. For the most part, there are satisfied people at Walmart. I don't think they'd walk in and apply if they didn't think they were suited for that culture.
On the down side, like you Kat, I prefer smaller stores. Who wouldn't prefer Main Street USA with attractive shops and boutiques. But our culture has been slowly changing for years, and so I accept the new environment when I reflect on my childhood when I know damn well that many in my hometown couldn't afford the mom and pop prices as easily as some others. So, despite the changing countryside, I like that more people can have what only a segment of society had in the past. My biggest gripe is aesthetics. I've hated the garish "Walmart blue" buildings that invaded the scene for years and I'm happy to see that more have earth tones these days. However, while traveling I observed one W-M in a mid-Atlantic state that had signage all over the front of the building and I know that the town's planning commission and/or city council did little or nothing to negotiate for an acceptable appearance. I know these companies will work with the towns. I also hate all the vacant buildings across America and that W-M and others will build a store and 10 years later, within a mile or two, will build a supercenter. But the good news is that some cities across the country are now requiring large discounters to have a plan in writing, before they can build, as to what'll be done if their building become vacant. Now for a comment that'll tick off some of you. There's a college prof somewhere in the Midwest who assists cities and towns in their effort to fight W-M, of which I'm sure you're aware. I heard this man on MSNBC reluctantly admit that W-M has done a lot to help our economy. As I mentioned before, I'm sure they'll shift to no. 2 or 3 slot one day, but for now, by keeping prices low, people continue to buy. I'll wait for your attack.