I don't mind paying a few bucks more when I can walk into a store, get
greeted nicely and have all my questions answered. When I ask if they carry
something, they walk me to the item. They don't point. If I have a question
as to how to use or install something, they tell me. And when I buy
something, they thank me. I also found that they are not that more expensive
than the box stores. Just like I leave a bigger tip for great service in a
restaurant, I pay a little more to be treated like a human being.
You'd probably like Ellis Ace Hardware, one of my favorites in my area
and the closest to me. You walk in and are surprised by how small the
place is. Then you realize that there are no aisles to wander to get
what you want: you go to the counter and tell them what you need, and
they get it for you. And they know their stuff.
The place has one of the highest customer service ratings of any
hardware store in the Bay Area.
Personally, I like Vista, but I probably won\'t use it. I like it
because it generates considerable business for me in consulting and
That's why I chuckle everytime these threads come around bashing Walmart ,
Homedepot and Lowes ...But they get that warm fuzzy feeling like they are
doing something important by throwing money away in small so called mom&pops
, so to them I guess it's worth it..LOL...
The backroom at ACE has one of everything, and the guys out front
provide complete verbal instructions.
One of the towns in this area fought off, at least temporarily, building
a WalDump on a pristine, riverfront site. Wal probably could much
better afford the legal expenses, but this was a dedicated group of
people - just ordinary local folks, not an enviro. group. We also lost
a large mobile home park - nice, well-kept retiree homes - to a chain
that might be Wal. I won't shop Wal if it's the last store on the
planet. Folks can keep shopping at Wal and wondering WTF happened to
And, in your first example, the purists can live in the riverfront park
because they can't afford anything else.
If you look at the cities that do not have a Walmart (Chicago, New York,
Boston, D.C., San Francisco, Baltimore, Boston, etc.), I think you'll
discover the pattern (Houston has 17 Walmarts, Las Vegas has 14).
Jobs? Last year a Walmart opened across the street from Chicago. The store
had THIRTEEN THOUSAND applicants for 300+ jobs and 70% of the applicants had
Chicago ZIP codes! Most studies show Walmart creates more jobs than are
lost - and the jobs are of equal or better employe value.
Sure, some mom and pop stores will suffer, but complaining about that is
equivalent to lamenting the demise of the buggy-whip industry because
eveybody's buying the new-fangled automobile.
Myself, I'd LOVE to be able to open a store in the same parking lot as a
Walmart - use them as an anchor store: Ice cream shop, bookstore, sandwich
shop, auto parts, wedding chapel, whatever.
Sorry, I don't buy that. It may be true when looking *only* at retail jobs
gained at Wal-Mart vs. retail jobs lost at their competitors. But Wal-Mart
sells very little American-manufactured goods. Their insistence on
price-cutting has been a significant force in driving manufacturing overseas,
and thus contributed to the loss of manufacturing jobs in the U.S. To be sure,
Wal-Mart is not the only retailer responsible for this -- Home Depot, Lowe's,
Target, and Sears, among others, share in the blame. But to say that they
create more jobs than are lost, when they serve mostly as conduits for
marketing to Americans goods that are manufactured by non-Americans -- goods
that used to be made in America, by Americans -- just doesn't hold water.
It is GOOD that manufacturing jobs move overseas - provided they moved
because the foreign producer can create a product that has a higher
value/price ratio than the corresponding domestic product. When a foreign
supplier can produce something better/cheaper than his domestic counterpart,
each nation, in the aggregate, is better off.
Adam Smith settled this controversy in the 18th century with his book, "The
Wealth of Nations" (unfortunately, some people don't keep up with the latest
Adam Smith knew nothing of mass produced goods, electronics, machines
(other than looms?), so whatever the heck he knew about economies and
jobs has little to do with 2009. Value/price ratio? We should rather
buy a cheap piece of imported junk (with less control of the
manufacturing quality) than a more expensive quality item? That isn't
Agreed. Except that the "more expensive quality items" are often hard
to find, and require almost as much from the consumer in terms of *time
to find the damned widget* as money to buy it.
I'm sure I've wasted years of my life researching potential purchases
just so I don't get stuck with some POS that fails as soon as the 90-day
warranty is up. (sometimes that happens anyway.)
replace "roosters" with "cox" to reply.
You apparently haven't bought any power tools or kitchen appliances for a
long, long time.
The imported replacements of what used to be made here are cheaper, certainly.
In every sense of the word, too.
But better? You've got to be kidding. We used to make appliances and tools
here that would last a generation. Now we import cheap crap from China that
falls apart in eighteen months and winds up in a landfill. How is that an
There is a flaw in your argument. We started making cheap crap here too.
Black & Decker was one of the leaders in the rush to consumer grade junk.
Lasko Metal Products fought the cheap stuff by making their own version of
cheap fans back in the mid 1970's. I have a couple of made in the USA drill
from B&D that are not as good as many imports. GE sold the small appliance
division to B&D also and they kept making stuff cheaper. Why? Because we
wanted cheaper from the discount stores at the time.
Wal Mart takes a lot of heat, but thee were discounters going back a number
of years that fought for every low price imaginable. They just did not do
it as well as WM. You can probably think of a bunch of discount stores that
have gone under in the past 20 years, before China made everything. Two
Guys, Lechmere, Bradley's, Crazy Eddie, Zayre, Clover, Kiddie City, and
every department store that sold decent merchandise at reasonable prices.
Macys is about the only one left.
Consumers demand cheap stuff too. We are as much to blame as the stores
My biggest lament is that, occasionally, I wish to buy the high quality
version of something - a power tool comes to mind - and it's hard or
impossible to find. Ace does carry the "high end" stuff as well as the
cheap stuff. At the big box stores, it's ALL the low end merchandise.
I've never been in a HF store and have no intention of ever going. I agree
that it is cheap crap. OTOH, I've bought a few items that are very good
quality and meet the specifications of the US brand that formerly made them
either here of Japan, Hong Kong or wherever they chased the cheap labor. My
Kitchen Aid toaster is a good example. Works perfect for a few years now,
but it did cost more than the Wal-Mart $7 toasters.
My company produces custom molded parts. We buy and re-sell the tooling for
the job and make parts as the customer needs them. Typical tooling from the
US, Germany, or Italy runs about $10,000 and takes 8 weeks on average. If
we buy it at that price, we only mark it up about $500 to cover costs
because we really want the long term product sales. In some cases, the
prospective customer says, "I can't justify that tooling cost so I'm
sticking with my old method of packing even though the piece price is a
little higher". Sale lost
Along comes China mold maker. He quotes the same tool for $3500 and two
week delivery. We go to the same prospect and quote $5000 for the tooling
and he gives us an order. Tooling is shipped exactly when promised.
Quality is as good as any other source. We have new business and keep
people employed. Customer saves money. We have happy customer for many
The other side is that we have lost good customers as they moved their
Still another story. The wife of a co-worker was laid off about 6 months
ago. The product her division made was split between China and Alabama.
Last week she was called back to work. Neither China, nor Alabama, is able
to produce the quality of goods needed so it is back to Rhode Island. Other
products are still gone though.
No one scenario, no one story fits all. You can get good, you can get crap
from most any place.
You're ignoring the relative probabilities: any randomly selected product made
in China, Vietnam, or Malaysia is FAR more likely to be crap than a randomly
selected product made in Canada, Germany, the U.S., or Australia (to name a
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