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Pondering Walmart's patriotic pledge
Posted By Roger Simmermaker On 02/05/2013 @ 9:26 pm In Front Page,Money,Politics,U.S.,World | No Comments
Walmart, the nation’s biggest retailer and largest employer, recently juiced the headlines with the announcement that it will stock its shelves with $50 billion of American-made merchandise over the next decade while hiring 100,000 veterans starting in May 2013.
But does this new seemingly patriotic pledge mean that consumers who value the Made in USA label on the products they buy should start shopping (or shop more often) at Walmart as a result? After all, it is fairly well known that many self-described patriotic consumers have avoided Walmart for years and even decades because it sources many of its products from overseas and other various reasons I will discuss in this article.
First of all, Walmart won’t need any increase in consumer traffic to sell those $50 billion of American-made goods over the next 10 years, and they won’t need new customers to keep the 100,000 newly hired veterans employed. In other words, you can bet that Walmart isn’t relying on customers like me who have refused to shop there for several years returning to patronize their stores.
The end result of Walmart carrying billions of dollars more American-made goods over the next decade will be that the existing customers will be buying them instead of the imports that were replaced on the shelves.
But what are some of those various reasons I mentioned earlier that have kept customers like me away from Walmart over the years?
All told, the current day media message is that Walmart claims that about 66 percent of the goods it sells at its U.S. stores are sourced, grown, or made in the United States. But that is misleading if you are using such percentages to determine where to spend your consumer dollars. Since Walmart now dominates the grocery market, where goods are typically sourced domestically or locally anyway, this percentage sounds higher than it really is. It’s difficult to find imported grocery items like bath soap, laundry detergent, or dishwashing liquid.
That means Walmart uses these goods to offset the low percentage of apparel and other accessories in its stores that are typically imported. It’s likely that your nearby supermarket has a higher percentage of American-made products in its stores than Walmart does.
I do applaud Walmart’s announcement, and I do hope it will give the American economy a much needed boost and gives veterans opportunities they might not otherwise have.
But again, my main point is that if you don’t already shop at Walmart for whatever reason, Walmart doesn’t need you to start shopping there to move the $50 billion in extra U.S. goods or keep the veterans that they do hire employed.
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