The Tasters "Weren't Entirely Happy."

From a logical point of view, it's impossible to understand why food nerds have such a hard time believing that Wal-Mart could bring excellent food to the masses. The Wal-Mart model can and does work for a wide spectrum of goods. Organic mixed greens are not so very different from sweaters or shotguns or Popsicles or toilet paper as far as Wal-mart is concerned. But food scold Michael Pollan (among others) has so demonized the company that an article in The Atlantic noting that Wal-Mart sells rather nice veg reads like a revelation.

Here's the short version of The Atlantic's take on Wal-Mart's swank food offerings:

I’m convinced that if it wants to, a ruthlessly well-run mechanism can bring fruits and vegetables back to land where they once flourished, and deliver them to the people who need them most.

and this

The service people I could find (it wasn’t hard) were unfailingly enthusiastic, though I did wonder whether they got let out at night.

Even in making the concession, author Corby Kummer can't quite resist the use of the word ruthless and the implication that Wal-Mart enslaves its staff.

On to the details: Kummer buys two batches of nearly identical groceries at Wal-Mart and Whole Foods. He has them prepared in a restaurant kitchen and invites taste testers to make a blind side-by-side comparison. The Whole Food grocery set cost $50 more, $20 of which is spent on top of the line chicken breasts (Wal-Mart didn't really offer equivalently high-end meat.)

The taste testers preferred the Wal-Mart veggies overwhelmingly, with complaints about the meat and dairy. "The tasters were surprised," he writes, "when the results were unblinded at the end of the meal and they learned that in a number of instances they had adamantly preferred Walmart produce. And they weren’t entirely happy."

And the wrap up:

Michelle Harvey, who is in charge of working with Walmart on agriculture programs at the local Environmental Defense Fund office, summarized a long conversation with me on the sustainability efforts she thinks the company is serious about: “It’s getting harder and harder to hate Walmart.”

UPDATE: Elsewhere, Radley Balko asks "Does Wal-Mart Make You Skinny?"

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  • Xeones||

    I've been pleasantly surprised by Walmart's produce selection and quality, but i stick with the Farm Fresh for my meat and beer needs.

  • zoltan||

    I stick with Texaco for my beer needs. Needs!

  • Maxwell||

    Yeah. The organic or boutique groceries are surprisingly over-rated in the produce department IMHO. They are overpriced and don't offer a higher quality than chain stores in general. They only thing they do offer is a wider / more exotic variety.

    But what is it with the meats at WalMart? The chicken is terrible, and I can usually buy quality beef for much less elsewhere. Sounds like lots of people agree. Any theories?

  • robc||

    No clue, but my nearest grocery is a WalMart neighborhood store (grocery only) and I dont EVER buy meat there (well, except bacon). Thats it, everything but meat is fine and at a good price. But the meat department blows.

  • ||

    Almost all of the meat is "enhanced" with a water/salt/flavoring solution, which leaves it spongy and off tasting. It's listed on the label, if you look for it. Even if it didn't taste so weird, I really dislike paying per the pound for saline solution.

  • ||

    The meat is "enhanced" because it has been raised/trimmed to be lo-fat, in response to complaints from the nannies. Without fat, meat cooks up pretty dry unless you braise it. So, to be politically correct, they inject some juice/salt to make it taste better. Welcome to the future!

  • ||

    Agreed about the meat. I haven't had any trouble with the chicken, but the beef is awful. It's been injected with brine, theoretically to make it taste better -- but it didn't work. Otherwise, great food selection, great prices, what's not to like??

  • Walmart is the anti-christ||

    Fuck walmart. It will be the death of us all

  • Your comment is the anti-smart||

    Then why are you encouraging us to have sex with it, you left-wing sicko?

  • Who Dat?||

    The WalMart in Breaux Bridge, Louisiana is simply wonderful!

  • dave b.||

    Who goes to Wal-Mart in Breaux Bridge? Poche's has all you could ever need.

  • Who Dat?||

    Maybe I don't want to drive that far. I'm over by Mulate's.

  • Will||

    Then hit Charlie T's; much closer to you.

  • Who Dat?||

    What is this? A Breaux Bridge convention?

  • ||

    Beau Bridges has a line of produce at Walmart?

  • ||

    You sir are a genius! LOL, ROTF

  • ||

    Rouse's rocks, hope they open one in BB someday. Poche's is much better than Walmart. You both talk like you have a long drive in BB lol.

  • ||

    There's Lobster Girl for the fellas and Wal-Mart Bag Man for the ladies.

  • Pip||

    +1

  • zoltan||

    I'll stick with Scott Brown.

  • Women heard this too||

    I always wondered what was under the jacket

  • Abdul||

    I remember shopping in the Danville, VA Walmart and finding a recipie for "Italian* chicken."

    It was just chicken parmesan, but I guess the management thought that sounded too exotic.

    * Proper pronunciation in Danville is "Eye-Talian."

  • GILMORE||

    Shout out! My mom is from Danville VA. Used to spend summers there as a kid with the grandparents.

    Short Sugar Barbecue, baby.

  • Abdul||

    Short Sugar's is decent, but Pigs R Us in Martinsville has it beat.

  • Death Panelist||

    It's a bit of a crotch-binder, but nobody could beat the price.

  • Jeff P||

    Not enough bleach in the world to blind me properly after seeing that.

  • Almanian||

    Try a table fork - worked for me

    *good thing I'm a touch typist*

  • ||

    He appears to have made a mangina inside the shopping bag.

  • Progressive||

    “It’s getting harder and harder to hate Walmart.”

    BUT IT'S PART OF OUR PLATFORM.

  • Almanian||

    Nah, I still hate WalMart. That was easy.

    Well, clarification - I hate SHOPPING at WalMart. I don't hate that they exist.

    Guess that's kind of a different reason for being a hater than the corporashun haters.

  • Zeb||

    I feel the same way about Walmart. I don't go there because I generally find it an unpleasant experience. But you can't argue with the enhanced standard of living it brings to a lot of people.

  • Colonel_Angus||

    Walmart in my area has improved lately. Meijer on the other hand, is like walking in to the Star Wars bar. There's some fucked up people in there.

  • I Heart Capitalisms||

    There's an idea: you can judge how a store enhances living standards by how gross the customers are. The closer it is to the Star Wars cantina, the more it does for the really poor people.

  • ||

    I wish some of Walmart's critics would do as much for poor people in terms of making affordable goods of decent quality available and, also, offering entry-level jobs for people of low skills with, at least, some benefits and potential for advancement. Yes, I've heard the horror stories, but I don't think there's a small grocery or hardware store in my area that can offer its employees what Walmart does. The people who want Walmart to go away also want poor people to go away -- one reason they don't like going to Walmart is that they'd actually have to see some of them.

  • ||

    Hell most medium to large retail companies don't offer benefits that Walmart does.

  • ||

    Walmart keeps poor people poor,reduces the standard of living for everyone. Doesn't pay people a living wage and only part time work so they don't have to pay for benefits and directs them to the health care system (our tax dollars) to subidises thier employees. We are a bunch of children as long as it looks good and is cheap that is the only value you put on something that feeds your body? That makes you healthy or not, you would rather pay $1/pound on tomatoes and &$60,000 on the health costs of buying cheap food, why is that smart some one tell me. The money Walmart makes still goes out of the community and you are supporting your own enslavement and ill health. Nothing is said about how much the farmers are being paid. They say they are just linking into the existing systems. That is what has brought us consolidated, centralised, terrorism prone food system in this country where the farmers take all the risk and liability and are paid .07 cents on the dollar for thier products. That is why there are subsidies the gov't exports understand exports where they don't stay in the country commodity crops drove the price down th where the farmers can only produce crops below the cost of production. How is that any king od good business, your are supposed to make a profit. What it does do is keep farmers from making a living and the whole process is controlled by big ag. Cargill,1 company owns 80% of the grain crops sold globally. So the farmers have no choice but to be involved in the system if it the only thing going. So I have great reservations in thinking that Walmart haas any interest in the health of small farms or the local economy. Looks like more PR to make them look warm and fuzzy and add farmers to the list of keeping people poor. After they drive our standard of living down because of them and companies like them, just who is going to be rich enough to consume thier products.
    I light of the economic down turn people really ought to think about the real value that is our life. If all you want out of health care is a good bottom line for the company you have to be a fool to think you are going to get health care. If You want a school system that is vibrant and producing smart people who do think then you will value education and not a bottom line. If you value your communities support the people who are in them and don't send your dollars else where. We all have to value the intangebles and conduct business in a much smarter way. There is no such thing as economy of scale it is a shell game. I am a farmer and do manage a network of small farms and our company is own by the farmers and the processing and distributioni needs to be owned by us as well. That way all our money stays with local businesses, provides jobs and supports the local economy and we are in charge of our own destiny. Do something to help bring prosperity back instead of accepting poverty.

  • ||

    Around here, it really depends on which Wal-Mart you go to for shopping. For many years you couldn't get me to go near the store that closest, since it was generally a hole. Recently, they put up a new one in a more upscale neighborhood and the store is world's apart from the other one.

  • randy||

    Darury - "I don't like to look at poor people."

  • ||

    I've generally found the Wal-Marts around here to have very nice vegetables.

    I wish I could say the same about their bland and over-brined meat selection. Which I've always found odd, since Sam's Club has terrific selection, price and quality in their meats.

  • ||

    Wal-Mart's fish always looked very unappealing to me, but then again I detest fish that has been wrapped in plastic for any period of time. But their produce is very good, and sometimes their prices are crazy low. A huge papaya for 1.29? Not per pound, just 1.29? Awesome.

  • zoltan||

    Avocados 2 for $1!

  • ||

    69 cents for a huge bunch of cilantro! Limes 3 for a dollar! Wait, we can make guacamole!

  • ||

    Tacos de Carnitas!!

  • Women heard this too||

    Glad to hear you men are trained to grocery shop.;-)

  • ||

    Walmart is a major destination for latino shoppers and they demand fresh produce and Walmart delivers.

    God I love supply and demand!

  • nebby||

    So no one is interested in decent meat?

  • nebby||

    So no one is interested in decent meat?

  • Sean W. Malone||

    Your mom?

  • hamilton||

    Win.

  • Almanian||

    "I've generally found the Wal-Marts around here to have very nice vegetables."

    YEAH, THE CUSTOMERS ARE GREAT, BUT HOW DO YOU LIKE THE PRODUCE!!!

    *badahBUMP {cymbal crash}*

  • Eric S.||

    It is difficult to find more smug elitism than on the Atlantic food page.

  • highnumber||

    Aw, come on! Who wouldn't be surprised that Wal Mart has good produce, often better than Whole Foods? That's not elitist. It may be wrong, but it follows from the way the two stores market themselves.

  • jasno||

    I'd be surprised.

    I sat next to an eastern Washington apple farmer on a plane ride a couple weeks back. He claimed that Whole Foods produce buyers are far and away better than anyone else. That matches with my limited experience shopping there.

  • ||

    Must be while Michael Pollan doesn't seem to like Whole Foods that much. They are too "big" and have to buy produce from "industrial organic" monoculture growers. So if they can buy it so can WalMart (and every other huge chain that buys organic).

  • ||

    I have no objection to Wal-Mart in principle, of course, but shopping there is reminiscent of going to the DOT office to get my license renewed. Or, I imagine, going to see one's parole officer.

  • Brian Combs||

    Racist!

  • ||

    More classist.

  • ||

    I'd go with tasteist.

    Not to be confused with tastiness.

  • ||

    Don't be absurd; ProL has no taste. Just look at the people he associates with.

    (stares hard at JW)

  • ||

    Spoken by the man who prefers New York pizza to Chicago-style. Ha!

  • ||

    ProL, you just revealed your poor taste better with that statement than I ever could.

  • ||

    Chicago style is not pizza.

  • ||

    Philistines.

  • ||

    It's pie

  • Inkblots||

    NONSENSE. Authentic St. Louis-style pies beat them both. The square beyond compare!

  • pete||

    I'm from St. Louis, but I live near Chicago now. If you are referring to Imo's, you have lost it. I would rather eat cat vomit.

  • pete||

    I'm from St. Louis, but I live near Chicago now. If you are referring to Imo's, you have lost it. I would rather eat cat vomit.

  • ||

    Gots to give the people what they want.

    I like Wal-Mart because they keep everybody else's prices lower.

  • Raven||

    The veggies at Wal-Mart usually are decent, although the selection is not outstanding. The meats are pretty hideous. But I refuse to go there because of problems I had trying to use coupons.

  • SIV||

    They have ,hands down, the best ammo prices. That's kind of do-it-yourself meat.

  • ||

    LoL

  • ||

    I’m convinced that if it wants to, only a ruthlessly well-run mechanism can bring fruits and vegetables back to land where they once flourished, and deliver them to the people who need them most.

  • ||

    The Tasters "Weren't Entirely Happy."

    But, were they not unresponsive?

  • Slut Bunwalla||

    Damnit, I was gonna make that joke!

  • RCTL||

    Then that makes you both sick shits.

  • DMXRoid||

    How did you miss the money quote in this article?

    "In an ideal world, people would buy their food directly from the people who grew or caught it, or grow and catch it themselves."

    Really? In an ideal world, instead of specializing at all, every human should devote their labor to acquiring food? People should be forced to catch and kill their own houses and computers too. Then we'd be in utopia.

  • JD||

    In an ideal world, I wouldn't have coffee or chocolate (not being likely able to buy directly from the people who grow it, seeing as how they're in the tropics and I'm not)? Methinks the person who wrote that sentence didn't think it through very carefully.

  • ||

    Good catch. My God that is a stupid statement. I guess if you didn't live on the coast, you wouldn't be eating any seafood. Live up north? You better learn how to can and pickle because it is going to be a long winter.

  • ||

    What do you guys have against famine and limited choice?

  • TP||

    I must live in an ideal world, or close to it. 8 months out of the year I buy 90% of my produce directly from local growers. Fish and crabs, I catch, or get from friends that catch them. Dairies are local, and some have their own convenience stores (not many 7-11s) And guess what, I live in NJ.

    Ideal world, my ass.

  • Brett L||

    Not a coffee drinker, eh?

  • Kolohe||

    It may repeat on him

  • Brett L||

    Not a coffee drinker, eh?

  • Kolohe||

    You too, I see.

  • ||

    Isn't "Ideal World" the NJ license plate slogan?

    Well that or "home of The Situation"

  • Old Mexican||

    Even in making the concession, author Corby Kummer can't quite resist the use of the word ruthless and the implication that Wal-Mart enslaves its staff.

    But Walmart DOES enslave its staff because the staff is non Union!! Don't you get it? You are NOT a slave of big corporations if you are instead in a Union, and Unions are cute and cuddly and soft and lovable!

    [Uh, forget about the obvious false dilemma implied by saying one is either a slave if non Union or not if Union, but it is NOT my false dilemma.]

  • nebby||

    No he mentions walmart holding their staff against their will because Walmart has a long history of doing just that.

  • ||

    They do?

  • nebby||

  • ||

    AHA!!!!!!
    (not)

  • Michael||

    I’m convinced that if it wants to, a ruthlessly well-run mechanism can bring fruits and vegetables back to land where they once flourished, and deliver them to the people who need them most.

    I wish to express my general disdain for people who lament the loss of our imaginary agrarian lifestyle in the wake of the national Walmart incursion. Sorry, I'm unable to type anything clever this late in the work day.

  • prolefeed||

    I bought two bikes for my kids at Wal-mart -- much cheaper than anywhere else for comparable quality.

    My objection to Wal-Mart is the low-rent merchandise in general and the inconvenient location of the one on Oahu, but I'll shop there from time to time, if only to tell liberal friends about this shopping heresy.

  • Marc||

    If your concept of an inconvenient location includes anywhere on Oahu, then I'm going to have a hard time sympathizing.

  • Sal Paradise||

    Yes, I sometimes enjoy shopping there simply for spite.

  • Zeb||

    "bring fruits and vegetables back to land where they once flourished"

    Yeah, I am not sure what that is supposed to mean. I am all for local agriculture because fresh food is good food and I think farms are pretty, but you have to be pretty stupid to think that it is going to solve any imagined food production problem.

  • Mike Laursen||

    Farms are often prettier from a distance than they are close up.

  • ||

    You're mostly right. I live just a stone's throw from Lancaster County, PA, and I can tell you that up close, farms stink. Literally. I live right across from a big farm, separated by only a large field and a road. Very pretty. But when they're spreading manure ... yikes.

  • T||

    Wait, the tasters were unhappy they could get better tasting produce for less money? Maybe I'm not pretentious enough to understand this point of view. But then again, I shop at Wal-Mart.

  • Gilbert Martin||

    Well, just like snooty restaraunts that are selling "the atmosphere" along with the food, Whole Foods is selling smug self satisfaction along with the produce.

    Those who willingly buy that hook, line and sinker aren't happy to have that feeling yanked out from under them.

  • Snooty Eco-Prick||

    That's my Prius you're leaning on, pig. Better not have scratched the paint...

  • pistoffnick||

    Wal-Mart nearly always has the lowest price on shotgun shells.

  • ||

    Yup. It used to be by a lot, too; It was nice to be able to shoot 4 rounds of skeet or trap for $13.88.

  • PR||

    just don't buy the "Sam's Load" shells for your semi-auto. they don't have enough powder to eject properly.

  • ||

    I didn't even know they had such a thing (unless you're joking, which would be pretty good). I only bought Winchester or Federal.

  • PR||

    true story. I bought a case of some Winchesters because the price was so low, but they didn't eject, so we called 'em "Sam's Load"

  • ||

    They work fine in an over-under with a long barrel. What kind of jerk shoots trap and skeet with a semi-auto? Huh? Answer me that!

  • PR||

    it was dove hunting in Brownwood Texas. what was great though when you entered the store there was a display with a giant manatee sized camo/see-through negligee draped across about 50 cases of shotgun shells.

  • Abdul||

    Hey, be nice.

    That manatee is somebody's bride.

  • ||

    My dad was the Georgia AA 12 gauge state champion a couple of years running, and he shot with both a Remington 1100 and a Browning side by side, so . . .

  • ||

    I wonder what his wife called it?

  • zoltan||

    Good for Wal-Mart, but as a Texan I prefer cheeeeeeapass HEB.

  • KyleG||

    +1 for HEB.

    We only go to Wal-Mart if they're offering something HEB does not.

  • Old Mexican||

    Gotta love HEB.

  • B, S & Q||

    Friggin meth-heads! HEB sucks on toast. Prices are higher and they constantly replace items with low-quality high-margin Hill Country Fare.

  • Old Mexican||

    Hey! I used to buy my meat and produce from HEB. I bought my other shit at Walmart. The HCF crap I only bought on an emergency basis only (which was almost 99% of the time :P )

  • PR||

    really gotta love HEButt's Central Market

  • Colonel_Angus||

    Rural King! (not)

  • Maverick||

    Central Market (HEB) is damn good.

  • Spoonman||

    HEB really isn't that good. I live in Houston and have an HEB, Randall's, and Kroger all within about equal distance. The prices and products are way better at Kroger, and Randall's has good reduced-for-quick-sale steak and Safeway soda.

  • ||

    Have to agree to this (I'm a little SW of Houston) and have the same experience. But we have a Walmart too, milk for $2 a gallon? I'll take it. Our Walmart has exactly one good cut of beef - it sometimes has choice ribeyes...

  • Tman||

    Penn and Teller did the whole organic vs. non-organic thing pretty well. The taste tests they did of produce with the organic elitist agri-intellectuals was priceless.

    I especially enjoyed the part where they had people eat two different pieces of the same banana and they still acted like one was better than the other.

    Maybe I just hate people.

    http://www.bigvidpro.com/?v=JfrJ3TnLRlxI1J-PXTlblg

  • ed||

    Speaking of hating people, what's funny about the elderly having to make ends meet in their final years by taking jobs as Walmart greeters? Maybe they enjoy the abuse and ridicule, but I doubt it.

  • dick cheney||

    go f#*& yourself

  • Turneky||

    Most older people work because they are bored. Being a greeter means they stand around and talk to people all day. Its probably not for the money.

    Demographically, older=more wealthy anyway.

  • ||

    Exactly. My 69-year-old father is by no means rich, but he's financially fine (he certainly isn't struggling to "make ends meet") And he talks all the time about getting a job as a WalMart greeter, because he thinks it would be fun hanging around chatting with folks all day.

  • ||

    What's so sacred about being elderly?

  • Butts Wagner||

    The gold deposits in their veins.

  • Slut Bunwalla||

    Better than giving them jobs as cahsiers. I went to Walmart once to buy, like, six things. I got in line on the express lane. There were five or six people in front of me, each with fewer than ten items. I should have been out of there in less than ten minutes. But NO. The cashier was an old, diabetic, obscenely slow man who could barely move and had to use a cane to drag items toward him that were more than half a foot away from him. I waited in line for about 30 minutes.

  • Slut Bunwalla||

    To clarify: I wasn't mad at the old man. It wasn't his fault. I was mad at whoever hired him as a cashier, and whoever decided it was a good idea to put him on the express lane. I doubt he enjoyed the situation anymore than I did.

  • ||

    So where would you prefer the elderly seek employment? Crossing guard? Security guard? Janitor? Wal-mart Greeter sounds like a great gig for a 70 something. You make it sound like Wal-mart is responsible for the financial situation that prompted them to seek work.

    BTW - My father retired well, great retirement plan and pension. Worked another ten years at Office Depot just to keep active. Loved the job.

  • Patriot Henry||

    "Penn and Teller did the whole organic vs. non-organic thing pretty well. "

    Organic = "government approved". Is it any wonder that the chief difference between "organic" and "conventional" is that the former costs more?

  • mike c.||

    That damn Walmart offering old people make work jobs pisses me off.

  • ||

    Local farmer's markets for most produce in season. Walmart has more selection and better quality produce off-season than any other local/chain store, due to higher turn-over.

    All meat from a local custom meat-packer/butcher shop. Being from a central plains state, I'm screwed no matter what when it comes to seafood.

    I don't really understand the whole food snobbery thing, when it comes to ingredients. If I want a nice, fresh bunch of asparagus, I could care less what the sack says.

    Now preparation, that is another matter entirely. That would be my area of snobbery. Of course, I live in a land where macaroni and cheese is considered a vegetable, so the bar for snobbery is pretty low. :^)

  • ||

    Also, I know the Walmart meat guy, and it's hard to beat a 40 lb box of chicken backs/necks for $10 (order on Monday, pick up on Wednesday) when you make your own stock. Or a 50 lb box of beef rendering bones for $13.50

  • T-Piddy||

    I have not shopped at a Wal-Mart in over 8 years. I hate them. Not for being anti-union, not for bringing in Chinese merchandise...I hate them for their predatory store placement during their growth phase of the late 80s and early 90s.

    They would purposely find small markets that they could exploit and essentially sucked the soul out of small town USA. It's one thing to want to bring in revenue from a small market...its another to make yourself a primary employer. It's a smart business model...make them work there so they'll shop there....but it's still pretty effing evil.

  • Small Medium at Large||

    I just contacted Sam Walton, and he said to tell you to go fuck yourself.

  • TP||

    What is this "go fuck yourself" stuff. I've tried, but I can't seem to do it. Except maybe that time I threw an empty 40 of Old E through a cop car window, while the cop was in the 7-11, just for the hell of it. Of course I was high on Valium, methamphetamine, Wild Turkey, and yes, Old E. I fucked myself real good that night. But I'm feeling much better, now.

  • Colonel_Angus||

    If Walmart can offer goods and services at a better value to consumers than competitors, then so be it. It frees up assets and workers for more productive areas in the market. Maybe those towns killed themselves by offering Walmart tax deals in the name of "jerbs!"

  • ||

    I have relatives who lived in those small towns that Wal-Mart "sucked the soul out of." Mostly they love Wal-Mart. Know why? Because the local stores that existed before Wal-Mart came sucked donkey balls. Big, hairy donkey balls. They live better because of Wal-Mart; they have better, cheaper food, furniture, clothing, you name it, because of Wal-Mart.

    And evil, evil Wal-Mart, giving those people jobs! I've worked a lot in the entry-level job market since high school (long story — mostly my own fault), fifteen years now. Wal-Mart (and Target) were, in general, the best employers of any I worked for. They had better benefits, better pay, took better care of their people — did pretty much everything that progressives say they care about for their employees (with the exception of unions). People who say that Wal-Mart is a bad employer have either never worked there (or in the retail industry in general) or have an inflated opinion of what an employer owes them.

    Small town America before Wal-Mart wasn't a utopia of wonderful local stores who gave their neighbors great jobs. Those local stores were mostly dingy, nasty places to shop and work; every place I ever saw was depressing. The jobs were shit, and they paid shit, and they were at least as soul-draining as working at Wal-Mart. Life in small-town America sucked hard; Wal-Mart has made it suck a little less. Maybe your experience is different, but from everything I've seen Wal-Mart is one of the best things to ever happen to America.

  • PR||

    amen brother. my small town relatives knew and loved WalMart long before any city snobs knew there was such an entity. mom & pop were usually the richest people and shittiest employers in town (no advancement past the relatives) until they couldn't sell laundry soap and toilet paper at triple the WalMart price.

  • Colonel_Angus||

    Another benefit of chain retailers, is you can expect to find the same standards throughout the entire system. Contrast that with the dives you find in small towns.

  • Maxwell||

    yeah I'll second PR on that. I've worked for two different family businesses, and it sucks if you aren't in the family. Something goes wrong who's Mom + Pop going to blame? You or their perfect kid?

  • Pope Jimbo||

    Let me join the Amen Chorus.

    I grew up in a small town and the local stores were horrible. The local department store was absolutely ruthless in their practices.

    Now when I go back home, the local Walmart is full all the time with happy locals.

  • Wally ||

    I worked at Wal-mart along with some state-employed university jobs and the Wal-Mart people may not have been happy to be there (I know I wasn't), but they were happy they had work and money (so was I). In contrast, the University employees were self-entitled babies who thought mininum wage was not enough to do NOTHING(I'm not kidding, a paperweight with a scowl expression painted on it could do that job), came to work hung-over (I know I did), and would probably abhore the amount of work I had to do at Wally World. The Wal-mart stockers may have been drunk and/or high, but they could stock shelves like no one's business and come back for more the next day. Not a life I would choose forever, but it has it's rewards like no fucking student debt... fuck you, you assholes who said school would pay for itself. LIES. Financial aid for some, and slavery for the rest. Thanks a lot.

  • PR||

    let's not forget Sam Walton started as a mom & pop operation, he just satisfied his customers needs better and VIOLA, his business grew.

  • ||

    Some years back I read an newspaper article relating a successful effort by activists somewhere to block a Walmart store in their community. When queried by a reporter about the hundreds of potential jobs lost to poor disadvantaged workers of the type Walmart employs, an activist-intellectual responded that it was better for the poor to be on welfare than to have to work for Walmart.

    Why do I call the activist an "intellectual." I believe it was George Orwell who told someone: "You must be an intellectual. Only an intellectual could say something so stupid."

  • ||

    People have to still hate Walmart because they can't come to grips with the idea that the market spoke and Walmart listened. Only government can force real true change, right?

  • Almanian||

    True dat

  • juris imprudent||

    Only government can force real true change, right?

    You want a real entertaining digression sometime? Get a liberal to attempt to explain how corporations use force - which many a good liberal will insist they do. Though they'll be damned if they can explain it - it is just something they take on faith.

  • Patriot Henry||

    "Get a liberal to attempt to explain how corporations use force - which many a good liberal will insist they do. "

    Or if you want a real answer, ask a real libertarian. Corporations use force by getting the state to do their dirty work for the most part, although shining examples of fascism such as Walmart go ahead and lock up their employees (here and abroad) and force them to work. That's some good old fashioned market initiative. /sarcasm

    Why are so many "libertarians" so dominated by fascism that they blindly support key opponents of liberty merely because they happen to be engaged in commerce?

  • Fearsome Tycoon||

    Libertarians don't give carte blanche support to any commercial organization. We support their right to buy, sell, hire, and fire. But when, for example, a private organization lobbies the state to pass new regulations that smother its smaller competitors, or persuade the state to use eminent domain to steal a private citizen's property so the corporation can get prime real estate, then we object.

    When Wal-Mart is selling better produce at a good price, that's a good thing. When it supports Obamacare because it would destroy smaller competition, that's a bad thing.

    Nothing is black and white.

  • ||

    "Why are so many "libertarians" so dominated by fascism that they blindly support key opponents of liberty merely because they happen to be engaged in commerce?"

    That's an argument libertarians have everyday. I don't understand why so many aren't as skeptical of corporate power as they are by government power or any other power structure.

  • ||

    Why are so many "libertarians" so dominated by fascism that they blindly support key opponents of liberty merely because they happen to be engaged in commerce?

    Um what? no one supports rent seeking. Those are not Libertarians you speak of, those are Republicans.

  • Patriot Henry||

    "People have to still hate Walmart because they can't come to grips with the idea that the market spoke and Walmart listened. Only government can force real true change, right?"

    Was it the market speaking that allowed so many governments around the world to collude with Walmart to allow this "peerless leader" of corporations to routinely get away with criminal actions?

  • ||

    Are you referring to Walmart's organic produce, or did you take the opportunity to go off on a tangential rant?

  • ||

    So what "criminal actions" do you have in mind? And is Wal-Mart the only corporation that has performed these "criminal actions," or is it common practice in retail?

    I ask because, all too often, when people complain about "Wal-Mart," they often mean "the retail industry in general." Wal-Mart doesn't pay less than what progressives call a "living wage"; the retail industry does (with some exceptions). Wal-Mart is just a convenient target, rather than being egregiously worse than other corporations.

    Note that, if you mean actual criminal acts, this doesn't excuse Wal-Mart. Wal-Mart deserves to be punished for its criminal activities, whether or not everyone else is doing it. But if your complaint is about the way big American retailers do business, complain about that, not about Wal-Mart. If it's just about Wal-Mart, though, more power to you.

  • Patriot Henry||

    "So what "criminal actions" do you have in mind? "

    Slavery, both here and abroad. Wal-mart is a sick organization from the top down.

    "I ask because, all too often, when people complain about "Wal-Mart,""

    I say what I mean and I mean what I say.

    I have yet to read of another American corporation locking employees in the store and forcing them to work. I've read of many others lying to and stealing from their employees - but none as frequently or aggressively as Wal-mart. Wal-mart is not a model corporate citizen.

  • ||

    And they weren’t entirely happy

    Fucking elitist assholes. Everyone west of I5 and east of I95 should just emigrate to France or something.

  • ||

    Whoah, whoah, dude. I'm about half a mile west of I5. Do I have to go too? I'm east of Alaskan Way, though.

  • robc||

    Buh Bye Epi.

  • ||

    Damn it!

    You know that half of Seattle is east of I5, right?

  • ||

    Ha! I made the I-95 cutoff by about 3/4 mile.

    To be fair, most of the elitist asshats/progressive douchebags in DC either live in the city (which I-95 would have bisected) or to the west of 95 in the 'burbs.

    I'd use the Appalachians as the saw line. It's the only way to be sure.

  • dfd||

    Yeah, would have bisected but since that part wasn't built, I-95 instead runs along the east half of the Beltway meaning everyone in DC is west of 95.

  • robc||

    Appalachians and Rockies, cant be too careful on either end.

  • ||

    Everyone east of the Mississippi and west of the Mississippi. That'll do it!

  • juris imprudent||

    Whew, a couple of miles east of I5.

  • In Time Of War||

    Ha! West of I-5, but I'm representing The 'Way. We don't have one of those effeminate Whole Foods down here and we don't want one.

  • ||

    I'm half a mile east of I-5 and I'm still an elitist asshole (though I disguise the fact by wearing a Carharrt jacket to Wal-Mart.

  • ||

    I'm from The Shithouse. That's East of 95 ain't it? Elitists? haha.

  • ||

    They'd just end up protesting Auchan.

  • GILMORE||

    We seem to have this debate every now and then, where most people all agree = the "premium" of most premium foods (organic, free range, all natural, local, blah blah) is largely marketing and packaging, and has far more to do with the consumer's personal feelings about themselves - e.g. "I'm a superior person who appreciates superior things"

    There are usually 2-3 holdouts who insist that we are all philistines and that the quality of their local organic swiss chard is miles above "mass produced" foods.... yet when pushed on actual facts about time on shelves, handling, amount of/type of pesticides/fertilizer used, etc. they usually resort to a subjective, "I can just *taste* it" position. No self-professed gourmand seems to want to know too much about the realities of the supply chain, production, logistics, benefits/liabilities of organic/non-organic for different types of produce (e.g. tomatoes? Any fruits? great - corn? cabbage? most stuff? not so much)... when things get into the *details*, suddenly they dont want to play, and accuse the masses of being on a witch-hunt to eliminate farmers markets and their favorite cheese shop. Same thing every time.

    I've experienced this a lot ever since doing a 2yr study on organic food; whenever the topic came up and I started talking about how most organic produce comes from what we would all see objectively as "factory farms", people put their fingers in their ears and go, "nya nya nya, I can't hear you". The only thing surprising about Kaplan's article is that this discovery should be surprising at all. (other than to his 'tasters')

    Side note: I believe we are probably now at the tail end of the ~15 year trend toward 'upscaling' of consumer products (food/bev/cosmetics & toiletries). Starbucks has already pretty much screwed the pooch, and many of the 'less but better' products that have flooded the market are being replaced with 'value' offerings. The economy obviously has affected this, but I think it has only sped up a process already in the works. Does this mean that some people wont spend $3-4 for a bottle of POM juice, or $6 on a tube of all-natural toothpaste? No. But they will certainly lose shelf space and the ability to maintain the margins they've enjoyed.

    For what its worth, I wish their was a Wal-Mart that you could access by Subway in NYC.

  • Warty||

    Organic food is a hairshirt, dude. LOOK AT ME LOOK HOW MUCH I CARE ABOUT THE EATH

  • ||

    It's also a status indicator. LOOK AT ME AND HOW MUCH MONEY I CAN BLOW ON SINGLE ORIGIN BOLIVIAN ORGANIC FAIR TRADE CHOCOLATE.

  • ||

    Actually, Warty, in my experience a lot of people who really focus on organic are suffering from a type of hypochondria; they're just positive that the chemicals and fertilizers and whatnot used in regular farming are bad, or at least worse, for you, and possibly even harming you. Though there's absolutely no evidence for this whatsoever, and if there were, organic producers would have TV commercials running 24/7 trumpeting it to the heavens.

    My aunt is one of these people, in fact, she's so bad that she'll often refuse to eat food with non-organic stuff in it. Sigh.

  • ||

    Yeah, Im really tickled when the wife insists on buying the $6/gallon organic milk at TJ's.

    $6?! Fuck me.

  • ||

    What's really retarded is that this stuff is solely marked up because it says "organic" on the label. A bunch of Whole Foods' store brand items are organic, and they're sometimes the best price in town.

    If you really want to get a chuckle get a grandparent talking about the prices of basic foods years ago, like milk, eggs, sugar, flour, onions, etc. Then tell them how much that gallon of organic milk is. Then run.

  • ||

    Please don't get me started on the "hormone free" milk bullshit.

  • ||

    What about hormone free yogurt?

  • Pendulum||

    Please do start on it. My girlfriend, usually very sensible, indicated that she was planning on buying hormone-free milk based on something she read (and a This American Life show we watched together). I need the info to diffuse this.

  • ||

    Good luck with that. There is so much bad information on every "women's" web site or in the same type of magazines. WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT YOUR FOOD THAT'S KILLING YOU or 20 ORGANIC FOODS TO GET YOUR MAN TURNED ON is going to be hard to fight.

    Basically, you want information that proves that non-organic food *isn't* bad for you, in a vast sea of liberal-arts degreed idiots raving about how their nipples were softer after switching to organic bread or how their hair was shinier when they stopped using the water bottle made with BPA. Just surrender now.

  • ||

    Please do start on it. My girlfriend, usually very sensible, indicated that she was planning on buying hormone-free milk based on something she read (and a This American Life show we watched together). I need the info to diffuse this.

    Most of the theories are based on the belief that elevated levels of IGF-1 in cow's milk will cause cancer, based on a link between elevated levels of IGF-1 in humans and increases in certain cancers.

    However, this idea leaves out several important facts.
    1) Differences in IGF-1 concentration in cows treated with rBST vs. non-treated cows are marginal.
    2) The human body's internal production of IGF-1 greatly exceeds the amounts available in milk.
    3) Most ingested IGF-1 does not survive digestion.

    Hence, it is unlikely that blood sera levels of IGF-1 would be significantly affected by injesting milk from treated cows, over injesting milk from non-treated cows. Moreover, the link between IGF-1 and cancer is pretty shaky itself. Correlation vs. causation.

    Finally, rBST opponents frequently claim Canada and Euope banned it based on cancer concerns. Which is flat out flase, the Canadian panel actually said there was no biologically plausible reason for concern. They just caved into activist pressure and banned it anyway.

    http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/dhp-mps.....cc-eng.php

  • dantealiegri||

    Indeed, what is up with these people that make the tremendous logical jump of "dietary X == blood X"?

  • robc||

    When I lived in Madison, I wouldnt buy milk if it had a "NO BGH" sticker on it.

  • ||

    $6 per gallon is normal prices for regular, non-organic milk in Hawaii.

    Price of "paradis" ...

  • ||

    How much per gallon for soy milk? Almond milk? Rice milk? Hemp milk? Oat milk?

    Man, there are a lot of "milks". And don't forget malk!

  • Hacha Cha||

    mmm hemp milk

  • ||

    "Fat Tony! You promised me 'dog' or higher!"

  • Spoonman||

    Dude, it's because TEH EVIL CORPURASHUNS prevent the information from coming out.

  • ||

    And when Whole Foods goes into bankruptcy, the progressives will blame John Mackay's stance on health care, and claim credit.

  • Patriot Henry||

    "There are usually 2-3 holdouts who insist that we are all philistines and that the quality of their local organic swiss chard is miles above "mass produced" foods.... yet when pushed on actual facts about time on shelves, handling, amount of/type of pesticides/fertilizer used, etc. they usually resort to a subjective, "I can just *taste* it" position. No self-professed gourmand seems to want to know too much about the realities of the supply chain, production, logistics, benefits/liabilities of organic/non-organic for different types of produce (e.g. tomatoes? Any fruits? great - corn? cabbage? most stuff? not so much)... when things get into the *details*, suddenly they dont want to play"

    I'll play anytime. I seek out and analyze the source/origin, processing, packaging, transportation, etc of everything I eat. I've found that the produce I buy from the man/woman who grew it and picked it, while not so beautiful, has superior flavor to the bland picture perfect imitation crap I used to eat.

    Try a blind taste test of Parmesan Reggiano and Kraft and see which one has superior flavor, aroma, and texture. Is it the one made from cows fed Italian grass and flowers that takes months or years to produce? Or is the one made from cows fed chicken manure, waste products from animal rendering, and bubblegum (wrapper included for roughage) that is made using the latest food-science to produce the largest quantity at the lowest cost?

    Or do a taste test of a 40 year old traditional balsimaco vinegar versus the colored and flavored wine vinegar labeled "balsamic". Or a single estate chocolate versus Hersheys.

  • ||

    I'll play anytime. I seek out and analyze the source/origin, processing, packaging, transportation, etc of everything I eat. I've found that the produce I buy from the man/woman who grew it and picked it, while not so beautiful, has superior flavor to the bland picture perfect imitation crap I used to eat.

    Maybe. Probably, even. But unless you're doing blind taste tests, knowing where your food comes from creates a bias in your mind. Look at The Judgment of Paris. If French wine tasters are told where wine is from, they rate French wines higher than California. If the tests are blind, California wines are as likely to rate highly as French wines. IIRC, French wine tasters still refuse to perform blind tests, because they claim knowing where the wine is from is as important as its taste.

    Try a blind taste test of Parmesan Reggiano and Kraft and see which one has superior flavor, aroma, and texture. Is it the one made from cows fed Italian grass and flowers that takes months or years to produce? Or is the one made from cows fed chicken manure, waste products from animal rendering, and bubblegum (wrapper included for roughage) that is made using the latest food-science to produce the largest quantity at the lowest cost?

    Or do a taste test of a 40 year old traditional balsimaco vinegar versus the colored and flavored wine vinegar labeled "balsamic". Or a single estate chocolate versus Hersheys.

    You're probably right. I'd even say you're almost certainly right. I think you're confusing process with quality ingredients, though. If you gave the milk that Kraft uses to those Italian producers, would the cheese they make be appreciably worse? Maybe not quite as good, but is it a difference you'd actually be able to reliably taste? I doubt it. Same thing the other way — give Kraft the high-quality, grass- and flower-fed milk, and it's going to taste largely the same as Kraft Parmesan cheese always has. Again, maybe a slight difference, but possible not enough to taste. And if you compare the two swapped cheeses, the Italian cheese will still be better than Kraft's, because the effects of process on the final product will completely swamp the effects of the ingredients.

    What's more, traditional producers almost never experiment to see what they can do to make their product better. That's one thing that has made California wines better than French wines; the California producers are willing to use new techniques if they produce better wine. If your Italian cheese makers experimented with a few of the techniques that Kraft uses, they might improve their final product. Maybe they'd find that some of them can be used with no effect on the quality of the product, allowing them to lower the price of their cheese with no effect on their profit. Some of the techniques might even improve their product. And some of them would make it worse, and they could then discard those. But we'll never know, because instead of concentrating on producing the best product they protect their market with regional labelling restrictions, and blindly insist that the traditional way of doing things is best rather than embracing any improvements that might come along.

    For my money, I would be more than willing to put a cheese maker that concentrates on quality Parmesan cheese, experiments with techniques, and uses genetically modified ingredients up against any traditional Italian cheese maker. I'd bet anything you asked that my hypothetical cheese maker would produce both better and cheaper cheese. It'd still be more expensive than Kraft, of course, but Kraft is going for a different market.

  • ||

    I seek out and analyze the source/origin, processing, packaging, transportation, etc of everything I eat.

    I would do that, but I have a job. "Italian grass" - does this actually merit a response?

    I'm not so sure the point is that some food tastes better than others, that's just subjective and who cares? I think the real point is that I can go get some strawberries in the middle of the night next Tuesday and eat them. The vast majority of every human who ever lived could not have done that. I'm richer and better off because I can. Not even the richest King of old could have done it...

  • ||

    "Italian grass" ... There are times when this sort of thing is true. Sheep in Iceland eat moss, mostly, in the summer. Hay in the winter like everywhere else. Icelandic lamb (slaughtered in the fall, and mostly ate moss) tastes astonishingly good. Icelandic mutton, more than a year old, tastes like mutton everywhere else. Don't know why they don't export the lamb for premium prices, like Kobe beef.

  • nebby||

    Can't find it right now, but there was a good break down (I think in Consumer Reports) about how certain items you wanted to be organic and certain items it did not matter. dairy and meat were two of the items I remember being listed as definite organic buys.

  • ||

    Even my father, who normally purchases vacuum packed "industrial grade" steaks in mass bulk, STILL raves about the grass-fed rib-eyes we grilled from Whole Foods several years ago.

  • Hacha Cha||

    walmart and sam's club have excellent food at easily affordable prices. I think these anti-walmart nuts would rather see the poor starve to death.

  • Patriot Henry||

    "walmart and sam's club have excellent food at easily affordable prices. I think these anti-walmart nuts would rather see the poor starve to death."

    No, they have crap food at crap prices that can easily paid for by those who earn crap. Take away Walmarts real source of "market power", the governments which prop it up, and the poor will be able to afford much higher quality food + everything else.

  • ||

    No, they have crap food at crap prices that can easily paid for by those who earn crap.

    No, they have decent food at low prices that can be easily paid for by those who earn low wages. Have you ever been poor? Wal-Mart is a godsend when you're on a budget. You can eat well. Maybe the food isn't quite as good as you'd get at Whole Foods, but it's a damn sight better than starving. As I've often said, we live in a country where the main problem is poor people have too much to eat. Considering all the millennia of human existence before the twentieth century, food at Wal-Mart is cheap, plentiful, and of astounding quality. The average poor person in America eats better than kings did even two centuries ago. Not as exotically, but better.

    Take away Walmarts real source of "market power", the governments which prop it up, and the poor will be able to afford much higher quality food + everything else.

    Oh, bullshit. I'm more than in favor of taking away Wal-Mart's government-granted privileges. And maybe if you did it tomorrow Wal-Mart would disappear. But whatever took its place would either look the same or produce worse results.

    Look, it's not that hard. The reason high quality food is more expensive is that it's harder to make. Which means there's less of it, which means there's less supply, which means the price is higher. Now, I'd argue that there are indeed government policies propping up the price of food. Mainly, though, it's agricultural subsidies that maintain inefficiency in the agricultural industry. What Wal-Mart allegedly does to depress food quality I admit I can't figure out.

  • Patriot Henry||

    "No, they have decent food at low prices that can be easily paid for by those who earn low wages. Have you ever been poor? "

    I am poor. Wal-mart sells crap. If you are ignorant of what real quality food is like, it might seem great compared to the incredible variety of crap food we have in America.

    "Wal-Mart is a godsend when you're on a budget. You can eat well. Maybe the food isn't quite as good as you'd get at Whole Foods, but it's a damn sight better than starving."

    If the only options available to you are McDonalds, starvation, and Walmart, it is no wonder the latter seems so great. If my choices for a national leader are Hitler, Stalin, and Obama...I'm picking Obama. Doesn't make it a great choice or a good thing.

    "As I've often said, we live in a country where the main problem is poor people have too much to eat."

    Ya, that's because of our federal "cheap food" policy. Lots of super crappy food at super crappy prices.

    "Considering all the millennia of human existence before the twentieth century, food at Wal-Mart is cheap, plentiful, and of astounding quality."

    It's quite the trick. It sure seems great until you consider the consequences, such as the destruction of the land. While in the past new land would offer centuries of slowly declining harvests modern science will give us a few decades, maybe a century in all, in which the destruction is hidden through the advancement of the ability to rob the soil of it's ability to sustain life.

    "But whatever took its place would either look the same or produce worse results."

    Only in an unfree market. In a free market better options would appear and thrive.

    "What Wal-Mart allegedly does to depress food quality I admit I can't figure out."

    They do the same thing with food as with everything else - they demand the lowest price. Quality, ethics, and the long term consequences are all but forgotten, or actually forgotten, while the lowest price is pursued no matter what the final cost is.

    You get what you pay for. Wal-mart sells poverty, destitution, and destruction. It's the last great hurrah of the mass production culture. If it is truly successful in the long run it'll be the last hurrah of humanity.

    If you constantly demand more for less, more for less, yet more for even less, you eventually reach the seemingly paradoxical point in which you get nothing for everything. Capitalism is based upon positive sum exchanges, a win-win situation in which all trade more to get more. Corporatism is based upon negative sum exchanges, a lose-lose situation in which the consumer tries to screw the corporation out of it's profits by demanding better and better "bargains", the corporation screws it's employees by demanding they provide more and better labor for less and less compensation, the employees screw corporation by providing less and less quality initiative effort etc, the corporation screws it's suppliers by trying to screw them out of their profit, and the suppliers try to screw the corporation by cutting corners on quality and ethics. And the governments screw everyone by taking a cut of every step and part of this process.

    In capitalism people compete to be the best to make the most. In corporatism people compete to be the worst to make the most. Mal-wart is not a capitalist entity.

  • Pope Jimbo||

    OK, it is a given that the veggies at Walmart are better, but do you get a floor show while shopping at Walmart?

    How are you supposed to get your RDA of smugness if you shop at Walmart?

  • ||

    This result doesn't surprise me. I really like the Whole Foods seafood and meat counters but their produce is overpriced and typically not very fresh. I have no trouble believing that Walmart does a better job distributing perishable produce.

  • Patriot Henry||

    "The Wal-Mart model can and does work for a wide spectrum of goods."

    Sure, if you fail to factor in quality and ethics.

    "Even in making the concession, author Corby Kummer can't quite resist the use of the word ruthless and the implication that Wal-Mart enslaves its staff"

    Is the mere documentation of Walmart enslaving its staff enough reason for liberty loving people to take a principled position in opposition to this State-Corporate head of the Leviathan-Hydra? Apparently not. After all, what's liberty compared to low prices?

    "The taste testers preferred the Wal-Mart veggies overwhelmingly,"

    Whole Foods sucks. At least they haven't been caught on video enslaving their employees, foreign or domestic. But if you have to pay more for slavery free food, why bother?

    "Michelle Harvey, who is in charge of working with Walmart on agriculture programs at the local Environmental Defense Fund office"

    Great source for this "libertarian" magazine. Yep. Defend the Leviathan using quotes from EnviroNazi liberals, since they have such a great track record of intelligence, discernment, and understanding the finer points of any situation. Perhaps the next article can promote cap-and-tax with some more quotes from the EDF unchallenged by opposing viewpoints or the facts of the matter?

  • ||

    Yea, WalMart sucks. Just like all corporations. And government rules. Because governments would never turn their citizens into serfdom through massive deficits, unfunded mandates, crippling taxation, or nihilistic monetary policies. /sarc

  • Patriot Henry||

    "Yea, WalMart sucks. Just like all corporations. And government rules. "

    Corporations are created through government lies in order to produce more taxes for the government to take. They also provide a great platform for governments to engineer societies.

  • ||

    If WalMart enslaves its staff, do you also think the entire retail industry are slavers? After all WalMart benefits are better than most other retailers out there, including the one I recently left (I worked in an office in HQ, yet barely educated WalMart cashiers had better benefits than me).

  • Patriot Henry||

    "If WalMart enslaves its staff, do you also think the entire retail industry are slavers? "

    I haven't seen any evidence of any other American corporation enslaving Americans. Wal-mart's record remains unique in this regard.

    "After all WalMart benefits are better than most other retailers out there"

    That's saying a lot. And I'm sure their food is better than Taco Bell. And their senior management is more pleasant to work for than the Gestapo.

  • ||

    I avoid organic produce if at all possible. A complete waste of money.

  • monkeyfan||

    ...Not to mention that it has also been known to shrink men's balls.

  • ||

    Walmart (at least in north Florida) uses a central packing house which i feel does a poor job packaging the meat. Beef in particular is never "sealed" in shrink wrap. It sits in a foam container and is closed in with a big air pocket. If you want excellent "Walmart" meat go to Sams Club. They have their own butchers and correct packaging done by hand. Quality is usually good to excellent.

  • Buckland||

    An elderly neighbor of mine died a year or so ago. She had 3 items buried in her casket with her: Picture of grandkids, her University of Kentucky basketball jersey (she was a player on one of the early lady cats teams), and her WalMart greeters badge. The 3 items that meant the most to her.

  • ||

    I remember the study that Nebby mentions above. I seem to remember, pesticide residues/levels were higher on root vegetables (they absorb and store stuff by nature) and fruits that are sprayed late in their growing season (berries for instance). Fruits or Veggies with thick skins that you do not eat showed no difference (bananas, oranges etc.) Can't remember on the rest, but I know that organic produce uses a lot of "natural fertilizer" that has it's own set of bacterial concerns. A friend's husband used to manage a grocery store and said he couldn't believe when people would pick off a grape and pop it in their mouth unwashed.

  • ||

    It's not just the pesticides. Some studies show food grown with traditional manure fertilizer plus no pesticides had a broader spectrum of different anti oxidants etc, besides the basic vitamins we grew up with. There are theories such as the pesticides are so good that plants don't develop their own defenses, similar to the theories about children not exposed to nature enough when young developing more allergies.

    But Pollan in his books doesn't provide footnotes just "suggested reading" making it hard to follow up.

    But really I think most people are approaching it backwards: if you want to make a huge change in how we eat, the burden of proof is on you to prove your new way is just as healthy, not on people who don't think we should change. That's how it usually works.

    So instead of challenging growers of organic food, we should be challenging the companies that make artificial fertilizer with only 3 chemicals in it and pesticides that food produced that way is just as healthy.

    Of course there are other concerns, like feeding enough people, cost, etc., but most of these companies making the fertilizer and pesticides are rent seeking welfare queens anyway, which in general we are supposed to be against. They are not competing in a free market. I think we can all agree on removing subsidies to grow food a certain way, and let the market decide what is best.

  • ||

    “It’s getting harder and harder to hate Walmart.” I'm sure that's not from lack of trying, however. Any representative leftist/"Progressive" will work up a good hate for anyone and anything that doesn't fit the pre-set narrative. Of course, now that the CEO of "Whole Paycheck" (er, Whole Food) has had unflattering things to say about the Obama/Pelosi take over of the health system, I'm surprised these mind-numb left-bots haven't had their heads explode by now.

  • ||

    Money Shot:
    "In an ideal world, people would buy their food directly from the people who grew or caught it, or grow and catch it themselves."

    Yes, Michael, you dickwad. And you'd be so effin' busy doing that that we wouldn't have to read your tired, elitist tropes in The Atlantic. Furthermore, you'd find that you can't grow vanilla, pomegranates, arborio rice, truffles or bananas in New England. And farmers who live in places that do grow those items don't want to have to drive up to Raynham MA or Rockville, CT or to have you look down your nose and ask them if their produce is raally-raally fresh either.

    Twatwaffle.

  • Fearsome Tycoon||

    The reason Wal-Mart meat sucks is that a few years back, the butchers successfully organized a union. So Wal-Mart simply eliminated the butcher position company-wide. Hence, truly fresh meat just isn't going to happen at Wal-Mart.

    But I shop at Save-a-Lot, so what do I know?

  • ||

    I lost my job last month. Finally managed to land a part time job and during the time I was unemployed, it was Walmart and its pricing that kept me alive. In times of trouble, it was not Mother Mary but Walmart that kept me alive.

  • ||

    Maxwell|2.16.10 @ 7:32PM|#

    "The chicken is terrible, and I can usually buy quality beef for much less elsewhere. Sounds like lots of people agree. Any theories?"

    Mine (the three in my area) don't have a bucher area with meat. They only the processed frozen stuff (Tyson, et all). So, my theory is it is not a national program so they don't have a big corporate department to look over quality / spend time setting standards / thinking up ways to make it better / et cetera.

  • ||

    Costco has some very nice produce as well. And their meat is superb!

  • ||

    Union veggies are the best veggies! That's why these people had to be tricked, because they know better. This Karl Rove-like deception on these innocent folk is shameful.

  • Cecil Moon||

    I guess that since I have been eating food from Wal-Mart for twenty-five years, I must be on the verge of death or at the least, serious illness. If I do die, it will more likely be the result of smoking for the last fifty-seven years that does me in. That would be a double-whammy for a guy 77.

    I do agree that their meat sucks.

  • Ronald||

    I'm surprised nobody has said Aldi has pretty good products and produce for the price, and is cheaper than WalMart.

    I saw in the paper yesterday WalMart wants to be more like Aldi with more house brands. But they can never be as cheap because they have way too much overhead. I needed Tomato Paste and Milk yesterday, spent 38 cents on the can of paste and $1.69 on the milk.

    I also shop at Costco, I trust their meats more than anyone else because they do extensive testing for contamination & bacteria.

  • ||

    "In an ideal world, people would buy their food directly from the people who grew or caught it, or grow and catch it themselves."

    I was told recently that the entire agricultural output of WA State would only feed 20% of the state's population. So, in this "ideal world", which 20% gets to eat?

  • megscole64||

    I really like our local walmart, and have found some of the produce to be great and others not so great. The grapes were horrible. But the bananas are cheap and decent (even their "organic" banana price is pretty low). The potatoes are fine as is the cauliflower, tomatoes, celery, etc. Their apples taste like cardboard though.

    I would like more info from those who say that organic milk is a scam. I swear to gai (only kidding) that I CAN taste a difference between the cheap milk we used to buy and the organic milk I bought for several years. Now we buy from a farm and it tastes much like the organic and is a lot cheaper. But it still weighs on me that the chemicals given to dairy cows could be dangerous.

    I'm not religiously grounded to this thought...it just isn't something I take for granted and appreciate sources that claim otherwise.

    Oh...and I rarely buy meat at Walmart. We did find some ham that was delicious, but the hamburger / steaks always look kind of gross.

  • ||

    The thing with milk is while the carton might say it's whole milk in reality it isn't.

    Different breeds of cows have different levels of cream and butterfat in the milk they give. The companies that process it don't care what kind of cow the milk came from it all goes into one big tank.

    Then the cream is separated right down to skim milk. Some cream is added back to get 1%, 2%, low fat, and "whole" milk. The rest is used for half and half, heavy cream, ect.

    What you're getting with organic or farm fresh milk is real whole milk straight from the cow. This has a much higher butterfat and cream content, which is why it tastes better.

  • ||

    WalMart canned vegetables can also be good. WM's canned sauerkraut is MUCH cheaper than any canned or bag variety. Their canned greens aren't bad, but fresh greens are a better deal.

  • ||

    Walmart has good produce but not great meat. If we happen to go to Costco we'll pick up meat - but here in western VA Kroger does have good meat. Martin's is good but pricey. Can't stand going to Whole Foods in Charlottesville - customers are mostly rich and snooty but enough unwashed hippies to keep me away.

  • ||

    The big difference between the "organic" veggies and regular veggies, is that the "organic" produce has bugs in it. Why do the dirty hippies want us to eat bugs?

    -jcr

  • ||

    Walmart has a fantastic fishing section.

  • ||

    The Wal-Mart in my area has really high standards. In fact, you must have at least two teeth and weigh under 670 pounds before they will allow you inside the store.

    I'm hoping to get in before too long.

  • ||

    The bit about locking them in at night is from a "Simpsons" episode.

  • ||

    well, you can whip their taters, but you can't beat their meat!

  • wo||

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  • wo||

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  • wo||

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  • wo||

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  • wo||

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  • wo||

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  • sathi2000||

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