Walmart

Wal-Mart's Proposed Customer-Assisted Delivery System: Brilliant or Predatory?

Help a store deliver merchandise and get discounts

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I bet if Whole Foods considered this service, the response might be different.
Walmart logo

I'm not likely to ever be featured on the infamous "People of Walmart" Web site, partly because I am not quite fat enough to be entertaining and do not own any clothing featuring animal prints, but also because I hardly ever set foot in the place.

I don't avoid Walmarts out of a sense of superiority. I just find trying to actually shop in their extremely busy physical stores to be frustrating. The same holds true for Target. The places are often overfilled with people and understocked with the merchandise I'm actually looking for, resulting in a doubly frustrating experience. Who wants to have push their way through the crowds and then end up leaving empty-handed anyway?

So like millions of Americans, I do a significant amount of online shopping, having purchased everything from batteries to blankets to box fans via the Internet. Recognizing this shift in purchasing habits, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is looking for ways to stay competitive with the Amazon monolith. Reporting for Reuters, Alistair Barr and Jessica Wohl take note of the corporation's embrace of "crowdsourcing" to draw on its own customers to allow for local deliveries without having to rely on external shipping processes:

Wal-Mart Stores Inc is considering a radical plan to have store customers deliver packages to online buyers, a new twist on speedier delivery services that the company hopes will enable it to better compete with Amazon.com Inc.

Tapping customers to deliver goods would put the world's largest retailer squarely in middle of a new phenomenon sometimes known as "crowd-sourcing," or the "sharing economy." 

A plethora of start-ups now help people make money by renting out a spare room, a car, or even a cocktail dress, and Wal-Mart would in effect be inviting people to rent out space in their vehicle and their willingness to deliver packages to others.

Of course, Wal-Mart would have to offer some sort of incentive for customers to handle their labor for them. According to the story, the plan is to offer these customers discounts on their purchases to help cover their costs, though a company executive says it's all still in the brainstorming stage.

Christopher Mims, tech and science reporter for Quartz, tipped me off to the story with a tweet: "Wal-Mart just found a new way to squeeze free labor out of America's desperately poor lower middle class." We had a brief exchange on Twitter where I argued that you can't be "desperately poor" and also "lower middle class," and then he brought up income distribution gaps, and then I bought up purchasing power, and that led to comments about the obese poor making bad food choices, which is symptomatic of the whole Wal-Mart debate. The problem isn't really Wal-Mart. The problem is that some Americans don't like the choices other Americans make and they blame retailers for offering consumers those choices.

I don't see how this system could be considered taking advantage of their customers if the customers get a deal out of it. That the payment comes in the form of Walmart store merchandise is not a problem for regular Walmart shoppers, obviously. Then the money saved from not having to pay for Walmart merchandise (most of which is not actually junk food) can be spent on other things and improve the financial situation of the "desperately poor" shoppers who participate.

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  1. That is absolutely brilliant. Being a really smart and creative idea means every Progtard must hate it and see it as exploitation.

    1. Only because its TEH EVUL WAL-MART doing it. If a “locally sourced artisnal mayonaise” shop owned and operated by good little proggie hipster retards started offering the service…

      1. Sloopyinca: Crowdsourcing you say? Hmm…

      2. Yep. One good little proggie in the Twitter discussion says it’s a “great opportunity to case a house though”. That’s code for “poor people will steal your shit”. Classist, and probably racist at the same time! Wow, just gotta’ love those open-minded, compassionate liberals LOL!

        1. They really hate the white middle class. They have to hate someone. It is human nature. And the white middle class is the last acceptable group to hate.

          1. It’s not the middle class they hate, John, they fear the people outside their culture of liberal-arts degreed, salaried knowledge/office workers.

          2. No, they hate poor minorities. Everything the progs have ever done has made things worse for poor minorities. They’ve shunted them off into ghettos (you know who else shunted a minority into ghettos?) and made them dependent on the State. It’s been a steady spiral down since LBJ took up the cause.

            1. They don’t hate poor minorities. They like them so much they don’t want them to go.

              One thing I’ve noticed about most progressives is that good and obvious intentions are rewarded much more than good results. They want to reward people for having their heart in the right place no matter how evil the actual results are.

      3. What if it were owned by a libertarian hipster cool-person?

      4. Yeah, don’t some so-called “co-ops” already do this kind of shit? And basically require you to volunteer for them for the privilege of buying things from their uppity little stores?

        1. I belong to a Farm Share. It’s basically a subscription to a farm’s production. You can agree to have your residence be a distribution hub for deliveries in exchange for a reduction in fee.

          1. WAKE UP MAN!! You’re being EXPLOITED!!

    2. The problem with this, for Mims, is that it (a) would help poor people (by giving them discounts for something they were doing anyway) while not (b) hurting rich people.

      (a) and (b) must always go together in their eyes.

    3. Wal-Mart could start a program of all-solar powered stores, provide a living wage and pension to employees, and donate all profits to curing AIDS, and it would still be a corporate plot to exploits teh poors

    4. Wal-Mart could start a program of all-solar powered stores, provide a living wage and pension to employees, and donate all profits to curing AIDS, and it would still be a corporate plot to exploits teh poors

  2. The problem is that some Americans don’t like the choices other Americans make and they blame retailers for offering consumers those choices.

    But … but … no one would ever freely make a choice that I personally wouldn’t make. Therefore, Wal-Mart must be using some of that evil corporate voodoo to coerce people into doing its evil corporate bidding. [/prog]

    1. “evil corporate voodoo”

      Say, if you ever, uh, find a source of that…you’d let me know, right? My Swiss masters, um, employers, would be pleased. They might double my fondue ration!

  3. According to the story, the plan is to offer these customers discounts on their purchases to help cover their costs, though a company executive says it’s all still in the brainstorming stage.

    Awesome. What a great idea. This would be such a great way for unemployed/underemployed folks to start to get back into the work force as well. Also, online reviews of the delivery persons’ customer service could act as a resum?/references. This is so creative, it makes me happy to be a human.

    Christopher Mims can SUCK IT!

    1. Mims applies the same illogic used by Rand Paul’s detractors – if WM is doing it, then it is bad by definition.

    2. I was thing the same thing. I will lose my job in may due to maxing out on my temp contract for 18 months I can make up to $86.00 and not effect my unemployment, even store credit helps to buy groceries. I feel abut assist is there should be a I I can contribute to my needs is some way Or take a lesser paying job for 6 moths using walmat to help make ends meet; tips and store credit will work. and return back as a contractor for another 18 month run.

      1. hey, as long as spelling isnt required, you should do fine

  4. The funny thing is that if Wal-Mart didn’t do this – if it was the Craiglist guy instead – and he gave it a cute website with a peace symbol and called it FreeShareDelivery, the progtards would FALL ALL OVER THEM FUCKING SELVES about how wonderful it was, how “cooperative”, how good for the environment, BLAH BLAH FUCKING BLAH BLAH.

    Because it’s not the action, to them, it’s the actor.

    1. ^^THIS^^ Politics is fashion and a way to distinguish yourself from the “other”.

    2. Freecycle is exploiting the upper middle class urban 20-somethings!!!

      In all seriousness, at what point should we stop trying to inform these class warrior idiots and just tell them to go fuck themselves?

      1. The time is now. You know the reply to use – “fuck off, slavers”.

    3. “Because it’s not the action, to them, it’s the actor.”

      DING! DING! DING! DING!

      Their entire existence is one gigantic ad hominem fallacy.

  5. Be honest now, who wants Walmart shoppers knowing where they live?

    1. “Be honest now, who wants Walmart shoppers knowing where they live?”

      As opposed to a Walmart employee? meh…

      1. As opposed to a Walmart employee?

        They’re so old, they won’t remember it by the time they walk away from your doorstep.

        1. Welcome to Walmart, I love you.

  6. ‘We had a brief exchange on Twitter….”

    seems the commentariat’s admonition against troll-feeding should, on occasion, be shared with the writers. Scott, you descended into the void of stupid by trying to reason with an unreasonable person. Perhaps an online pain relief purchase will help.

    1. Yeah, I’m reading the tweets right now. Scott has good ideas. Mims tweets read like the fleeting thoughts of a retarded schizophrenic.

      Seriously, Scott. I don’t understand a word this fuckface is writing.

      1. Mims tweets read like the fleeting thoughts of a retarded schizophrenic.

        There’s an easy explanation for that: they ARE the fleeting thoughts of a retarded schizophrenic.

      2. Seriously, Scott. I don’t understand a word this fuckface is writing.

        That’s because he’s the *science* reporter, you science-denying Morlock.

  7. I have an idea for a technology that would save retail: An app that lets you map retails stores by a specific type of product.

    For example: Suppose you’re looking for a particular type of lightbulb. You do a search on that and goggle shopping brings up a dozen places that you can order it on line. But you don’t want to wait 3 days for it to be delivered and don’t want to pay shipping costs. Why can’t you just map out retail stores stocking the product locally, so you can drive over and pick it up? Nobody does this.

    With the exception of a few big box stores, not many retailers list their inventory online, and it’s pretty much unmappable. The system just isn’t organized to let you pull up all stores selling Product X. It’s organized to tell you all products being sold by Store X. But in theory, it should be possible to put together a product database that will index retail outlets by product instead of vice versa.

    I bet someone could make a shit ton of money doing it too.

    1. “You do a search on that and goggle shopping brings up a dozen places that you can order it on line. But you don’t want to wait 3 days for it to be delivered and don’t want to pay shipping costs”

      Google gives you the option to search “in stock nearby” already, along with a map. Is this extremely long-winded sarcasm?

      1. That only works for stores that post their inventory online.

        1. Sure…they haven’t figured out how to enter data telepathically yet.

          1. Uh, yeah, and thus what you’re talking about isn’t comparable to what Hazel is talking about.

      2. Somehow I never noticed the feature before.

        However, it’s not very complete. Seems to only work for large items stocked by sears and home depot and such.

        When I try to search for shampoo, I get nothing. Even though I know that the shampoo is stocked at the grocery store across the street.

        1. “When I try to search for shampoo, I get nothing.”

          Strange, I got 173 results for shampoo nearby. You don’t live in Somalia do you?

          1. In Somalia, even if you find a store carrying shampoo, there are no ROADZ for you to get there.

        2. Why does Google need to tell you that then?

          1. Comparison shopping from the couch!

            I use the invisible hand extension for firefox to help with that.

            1. Is *that* what its for? I, uh, was using it for something else.

          2. If the store posted their inventory and price, you could choose between the cheapest option, best selection, or maybe the easiest store to get to on your route, etc.

    2. The problem is that someone has to update the database. The stores MIGHT want to do it, but it’s going to be a serious pain in the ass for them to update the db every time they get a delivery.

      Also, I could totally see a store wanting people to enter their establishment to look for a product, and then wind up buying another product while they’re there, rather than being able to check online.

      1. I can see that too, but I think in the long run, you’re going to be better off participating.

        It could be handled by the supplier end, though. Instead of home depot making it’s store inventory available, the light-bulb manufacturer makes all the stores it is supplying. Then you have some sort of integrated inventory management so the supplier knows when a unit sells at the retailer, and the supplier then keeps it’s own database.

        IIRC Walmart actually does something like this with it’s suppliers. When a unit sells in a Walmart store, the supplier instantly knows and can ship more units to the store.

        1. “IIRC Walmart actually does something like this with it’s suppliers. When a unit sells in a Walmart store, the supplier instantly knows and can ship more units to the store.”

          The search results for Walmart are very accurate with Google. I’ve used it numerous times to locate something I needed in stock locally.

        2. I’m sure Google will put together some inventory open API just so they can capture that data and advertise better.

        3. I thought about writing something along those lines, but getting the data is the problem.

          My idea was an app that takes your shopping list, then organizes it by row. That way you don’t have to walk the entire maze at the grocery store.

          I abandoned it when I considered how to populate the database.

          1. Or worse – stores that move their layout around every couple of months – Walmart and Barnes and Noble I’m looking at you.

        4. Then you have some sort of integrated inventory management so the supplier knows when a unit sells at the retailer, and the supplier then keeps it’s own database.

          Again, this requires the participation of the retailer. They’re currently under no obligation to report sales to the supplier.

          1. They’re not obligated to report sales, but most retailers today use integrated Supply Chain Management software. Inventory is tracked and reported from warehouse, to loading dock, to store shelf, to cash register, and reported back to the warehouse.

            Also, with RFID tags, merchandise is tracked to where it is used, and even to where it is disposed of. The data is quite fascinating, I’m sure.

      2. Really shouldn’t be – they tag the stuff when it arrives/goes on the shelf and the register automatically removes it from the inventory list when sold.

        To be honest, all the data is there – inventory status is even uploaded to regional distribution centers automatically to let *them* know what needs to be kept in the wharehouse.

        There’s just no link between that data and customers.

      3. Can’t Google just send their fleet of spy vehicles around scanning bar codes and/or RFID chips, like they did with home wireless networks?

    3. I’m pretty certain the Swedish alcohol monopoly Systembolaget has a search by store facility to narrow down searches in addition to searching by type of alcohol/what food it goes with/etc.

      Somehow I can’t imagine any US state’s ABC doing this.

    4. This is the reason I hardly ever go to Barnes and Noble anymore. Their shelving system doesn’t make sense if books fall into multiple categories, or if the person who put it on the shelf thinks it might be in a category that you wouldn’t think it’s in.

      When I want something, I don’t want to spend 30 goddamn minutes looking for it.

  8. I just find trying to actually shop in their extremely busy physical stores to be frustrating. The same holds true for Target. The places are often overfilled with people and understocked with the merchandise I’m actually looking for…

    This is very true of the Walmart near me. The Target is quite a bit better.

    Apropos of nothing, I’m surprised that more grocery stores don’t offer delivery, especially here in FL where we have massive amounts of old people.

    1. Well I for one don’t want a delivery of old people!

      1. You must not be in my steak-of-the month club

    2. I do most of my shopping at Walmart and have never had a problem with anything I’m looking for being understocked there (other than ammo, but that’s a whole other rant).

      Also WM has cheap shipping to home for small items and free shipping to a store for any item from their online store. The only disadvantage they have compared to Amazon is that AMZ doesn’t have to charge sales tax, an artificial govt-created advantage which is hopefully going to change soon*.

      * totally expecting to get flamed for this, b/c libertarians forget about the dangers of govt interference in the marketplace on their pet issues.

      1. Amazon is already charging sales tax in Texas. So now some of my larger purchases go to places like Hayneedle.

        an artificial govt-created advantage

        The same one that’s been in effect for decades. Sales tax never applied to mail order. Amazon is no different. Government only started to get butthurt when they figured out their expenses were rising too fast for current revenue streams to keep up.

        1. It was unfair back then and unfair now. Before the internet you really had to wait a long time to get something via mail order, so the unfairness was mitigated somewhat, but now it’s ridiculous. You have a business model largely dependent on a legal loophole.

          1. Uh, I think Amazon has other competitive advantages. Like not having to have a physical retail operation at all. The sales tax thing is just gravy.

            1. True, but they have a disadvantage in that you can’t buy something from them and have it immediately, and can’t look at something in person before you buy it. Those natural disadvantages tend to balance the natural advantage of which you speak.

              1. That’s what the Best Buy/Kohls/Target product showrooms are for, examining products in person before ordering them online from Amazon. It’s a convenient service, and free of charge.

        2. “Capitalism breathes through those loopholes.” – Mises

          http://mises.org/daily/6310/Long-Live-the-Loophole

      2. Interesting that you don’t seem to have a problem with the various subsidies and tax breaks given to Walmart, but it’s the boogeyman “libertarians” who are inconsistent…

        1. I don’t know of any subsidies WM gets (other than infrastructure improvements which are incredibly minor compared to the sales tax differential); I don’t think they should be getting preferential treatment, however.

          1. Tax breaks and “TIF” shit.

          2. Tax breaks such as special property tax deals- which really do put established businesses at a tax disadvantage.

          3. http://money.cnn.com/2004/05/2…..subsidies/

            This has been common knowledge for at least 10 years, and is one of the reasons Amazon and Whole Foods are such better examples of market success stories than Walmart.

      3. Wait a minute. You think it would be a good thing if any retailer that fills online orders was forced to comply with fifty different sets of sales tax codes?

        That means that small companies that can’t absorb the cost will stop doing online orders, and if that’s a major part of their business they might just quit altogether.

        Not to mention that being a barrier to new businesses that want to offer their products across state lines.

        It would be an economy killer.

        1. california, washington, texas and a few other states already force this onto online retailers.

          They ahve to track the shipping address of every order and calculate all applicable sales taxes based on product type and exact location of the purchaser.

          MASSIVE onerous overhead to small business.

          1. “They ahve to track the shipping address of every order and calculate all applicable sales taxes based on product type and exact location of the purchaser.”

            Not that I agree with more taxes, but don’t you need this to actually ship it anyway? There’s no superfluous “tracking” involved.

        2. It’s more than 50 actually because different counties and even different cities have their own sales tax rates. If you don’t like it, don’t start a business depending on shipping stuff nationwide.

          Of course, Congress could simplify things by making a uniform sales tax code for products shipped in interstate commerce, but they probably won’t (and notably Ron Paul is ranting about the possibility right now).

          There obviously is software available to do this, since Apple, Barnes and Noble, Walmart, etc already have to do it for online orders as they have stores in every state.

          1. Big companies can absorb the cost. Small companies not so much.

            Why do you want to put small companies out of business?

            Seriously. That’s not a rhetorical question.

          2. “Congress could simplify things by making a uniform sales tax code for products shipped in interstate commerce”

            No, actually they can’t since congress can’t dictate to the states what their tax policy will by.

            The best congres could do is add *another* tax onto interstates shipping and promise to divide the revenue up by address.

      4. So any small business that does online sales will be forced into becoming a tax collector for any state that has a sales tax.

        Great idea. Fucking brilliant.

        1. Nope; they could refuse to ship to states they don’t want to collect sales tax for.

          1. Why do you want businesses to discriminate against their customers based upon their physical location?

          2. I would be MORE likely to buy from an online small business that refused to sell to states that would charge sales tax on them.

            1. What if you live in a state with sales tax and because of this they won’t sell to you. Sounds like discrimination to me.

      5. “Capitalism breathes through those loopholes.” – Mises

        http://mises.org/daily/6310/Long-Live-the-Loophole

    3. Never go to Walmart at the beginning of the month.

      Just don’t…

      But I don’t have problems at Walmart or Target. I can usually get in and out with relative ease. The problem is often Sam’s Club.

      1. Sundays at Walmart here are like being dropped into Mexico City, except with less supply. NTTAWT.

        1. Last time I was in Reno visiting family, my aunt decided she needed something from WalMart. I said something about WalMart shoppers being weird and she made fun of me for being ridiculous so we went. There was a special needs field trip going on when we got there. The place was wall to wall mobility scooters and young adults wearing helmets and drooling. The look on her face was delicious.

          1. The quality of a Wall Mart varies by whether there is a Target in the area. If there is not a Target, they actually seem to make an effort. If there is a Target, however, they just say screw it and go for the lowest common denominator.

            1. Interesting. I’ll have to keep an eye out for that. The Walmart closest to me is fairly nice, but it’s also in a relatively nice area, and is smaller than most Walmarts. There is at least one nearby Target.

              1. I Think the last time I stepped into a Walmart was when I got roped into helping my mom pick out eyeglasses. (No, she didn’t get the Spencer Tracy frames. I knew better than to suggest that to her face.) Dad eventually got his eyeglass prescription filled at Walmart too, and both of them say they had a positive experience.

                The big reason I don’t go to the local Walmart is that it’s in an annoying to get to location from where I live. The street that has all the malls is almost on the side of the hill, with half the stores being uphill, and those being a pain to get to. Walmart is on the uphill side.

        2. Where do you live? In Denver it’s a melting pot of fat, rude loud people of all colors with way too many kids bitching to the cashiers about what their EBT cards should cover and trying to get me to rear-end them in the parking lot. But I have to give it credit for this: If not for Walmart I wouldn’t even know you could get fishnet shirts in triple extra large.

          1. “Where do you live?”

            North Carolina

          2. Never get in line behind a woman with kids at Walmart. There’s invariably something she’s trying to buy that won’t be covered by EBT and then you’re in the blinking-lane-number no man’s land.

            A few weeks ago I bought a shotgun at my local WM and waited over an hour for the background check people to pick up, another 15 minutes for them to approve (being born in IL blows), and another 15 minutes for them to get the non-floor model gun out of the stockroom. I couldn’t believe how many people showed up at the sporting goods counter trying to pay for their groceries there during that time.

            1. I almost always enter and check out through the garden center. Solves a lot of my Walmart logistics problems

      2. I like the idea of Walmart, but being an anti-social agoraphobic beyotch, being in there damn near drives me to Bedlam-like states of crazy. Even ordering online and picking up at the store tests the shit out of my patience.

      3. Costco is the worst — no room to move. Walmart’s not really that crowded, the people just move very, very slowly in large, extended family groups. Target is pretty wide open — wider aisles, fewer people. I guess that’s because in this part of California, local governments try to stop Walmart from opening stores, but everyone likes Target.

    4. Walmart is the store of last resort. Can’t find it anywhere else? Walmart probably has it, but you have to go there to get it.

      1. I refuse to buy most produce, deli items, and butcher meats at Wal-Mart, other than factory packaged stuff. Wal-Mart’s perishable operations have a grimier vibe than at the grocery store. So I go to the grocery store more often.

  9. Christopher Mims, tech and science reporter for Quartz, tipped me off to the story with a tweet: “Wal-Mart just found a new way to squeeze free labor out of America’s desperately poor lower middle class.”

    Or give people who need it discounts for taking a short detour on the way home. What a fucking retard.

    1. It’s not new, it’s not squeezing, it’s not free, and it’s not labor (WM is using the vehicular capital of the deliverers, not the labor)….. but oh well, it has all the right buzzwords.

      1. Think about it at the micro level. Suppose I am a manager of a Wall Mart. And some single mom with a reliable car and a really tight budget comes in my store. Feeling bad for her, I say hey, “I have these two DVR players to deliver to a couple people in your neighborhood. How about you deliver them for me, saving me the UPS charges and in return I will knock 10% off your bill?” To a normal person, I just did her a favor. To a progtard, I just exploited her. How do these people remember to breath?

        1. Because you should devote your entire life to helping her out and seek nothing in return. Otherwise you’re a monster!

        2. Think about it at the micro level.

          Progtards don’t think on the micro level. Now if FedGov came up with a jobs program employing people as local deliverymen (unionized, pensions, benefits, etc.) they would consider it. Progtards can only find order in the world from the top down.

          1. Why do you hate our unionized Postal Carriers?

        3. To a leftist, any time someone does something for money that the leftist wouldn’t do, this is exploitation. When a guy in Shanghai gets a job at Foxconn with poor working conditions for a dollar an hour, that’s exploitation, regardless of the fact that his likely alternative employment would be hauling drywall up and down hills on his bicycle all day for less money.

          1. Wait, who are you and what have you done with the real Tulpa?

    2. Yeah, how does he think Walmart is going to force people to do that for free? Hold them captive in the store if they don’t? It seems pretty obvious that this will not be free labor.

      1. That’s what the government does to doctors.

        1. Didn’t seem to work on our friend Dr. Groovus.

  10. I am not quite fat enough to be entertaining and do not own any clothing featuring animal prints

    You have no idea what you’re missing!

  11. Wal-Mart has food products that the grocery store doesn’t have, and vice versa. And I mean shit from the same brand. What the fuck?

    For example, Wal Mart has the good Stouffer’s dinners, like steak tips, and Schnuck’s has the shitty ones, like meatloaf.

    I’m a good chef (not for money), but most nights I procrastinate on cooking because I’m lethargic so I just want to microwave a couple things quickly.

    1. I buy the King Oscar sardines at Wal Mart because they’re good for me (and they really make the dogs coat shine)….and they are 30% cheaper than the local Raleys.

      You can find all the “quality” ingredients if you are willing to engage more than the absolute minimum required number of neurons.

    2. “Schnuck’s”

      Stop right there. You answered your own question.

      1. Kroger is even stupider with their dumbass card thing to get discounts, which I refuse. There’s no other place in this dump where I currently reside.

        1. Just get the card and don’t fill the form out.

  12. Christopher Mims, tech and science reporter for Quartz, tipped me off to the story with a tweet: “Wal-Mart just found a new way to squeeze free labor out of America’s desperately poor lower middle class.”

    I also just love how he assumes that the only people who would do this are “desperately poor lower middle class” people (whatever the fuck that means). Because as EVERYONE knows those are the only people that shop at Wal-Mart. Nobody with a greater than median annual income ever sets foot inside a Wal-Mart, nosiree, only poor, stupid, slack jawed, fat redneck bitter clingers who are too stupid to make the “right” choices and too stupid to realize that they’re being “exploited” by Wal-Mart. What a shitstack.

    I bet he has a beard, wears thick rimmed glasses, and only eats locally sourced, organic, cruelty free vegan “cuisine” and drives a fucking Prius while smugly bloviating with his eyes closed about he’s so much more progressive and “ahead of the curve” than some.

    Boy, stereotyping people sure is fun! No wonder prog-tards do it so much.

        1. If I invented this guy, I would be accused of stereotyping.

          The only thing that makes up for my inability to buy my own health insurance is the fact that I can put off the start of my day until 10 a.m. ? after the baby is with his sitter, after I’ve made breakfast, after I’ve listened to a bunch of the podcasts I rely on to keep me abreast of areas that I cover, such as technology, science and the environment, from the BBC, NPR and PRI. The rest of the day could consist of any combination of research, interviews and writing. An unfortunate percentage of my day often consists of simply tracking down experts and getting them to agree to an interview time and date that’s compatible with my deadline.

          A good day consists of two or three interviews with incredibly smart scientists and engineers on the cutting edge of their fields, who generally offer up mind-blowing tidbits about future areas of research ? if you can get them past the 45-minute mark in an interview.

          1. Isn’t he just so special. And why any actual expert would take any time out of their day to talk to that douche bag is beyond me.

            1. The actual experts probably don’t have time to google him.

          2. And he uses OS X of course. As do I, but I don’t fit the stereotype (and I sure as hell don’t use TextEdit for my document preparation, lol)

          3. Why the hell does his baby need a frickin’ sitter?

            1. I hope his son grows up to be a duck hunting, gun fanatic, libertarian voting welder.

              1. I would seriously buy that kid the most takticool .22lr known to man complete with picany electric chainsaw.

        2. It also helps to have a niche. As a science and technology journalist, there is (I like to imagine) a certain level of expertise separating me from, say, music journalists. Not to impugn their work, but it’s hard to stay in a field where a million bloggers have, in essence, utterly replaced you.

          Yeah, it takes a fuck-ton of expertise to write down names of scientists from BBC and NPR science stories and then harangue them into doing an interview; and to write at the level of understanding found in your average Popular Science or Wired article.

          This guy has probably never been in an academic library, or on JSTOR, since he graduated non cum laude with his English degree.

          1. If he had an expertise he would be working in a field not writing about it.

        3. Holy shit, I had no idea what the guy looked like, and I nailed it except for the beard. And that’s probably only because he most likely can’t grow a full one, just that little spotty patch of fuzz on his chin.

    1. Considering that a lot of people are poor because they have poor spending habits and or are lazy, I would bet that most of the people who take advantage of this won’t be poor at all, but instead be enterprising and at least middle class.

      1. I see the system being more like, “Betty G. needs blah-blah delivered. I know Betty G. and will run into her when I pick my kids up from soccer practice. I’ll deliver it to her then and get 10% my Wal-Mart purchase. What a deal!”

    2. Mims is Exhibit A as to why a technocracy is likely the worst of all the possible systems.

      Of course, our right-thinking betters know that this is not the case. And in case you disagree with them, “Back off, man. I’m a scientist.”

      1. I’m a practicing engineer, I love me some technology, and a technocracy would be a goddamned nightmare. Most scientists have the managerial skills of tree frogs and engineers aren’t much better.

        1. “Most scientists have the managerial skills of tree frogs”

          BACK OFF THAT COMMENT!

          /Tree Frogs

        2. “managerial skills”

          Shouldn’t an ability be measurable before one calls it a skill?

          Theoretically, anything you need to know as an engineer could be condensed in one book. But there are no objective training manuals for managers. You could argue that it’s because managers are innately gifted and are above the need for the pitiful instruction used by mere mortals, or you could argue that the guides that do exist for managers are all full of contradictory BS for a reason. Jmtc.

          1. Actually, project management at least has become very formalized:

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Project_management

            There are training manuals and textbooks on the subject.

  13. Nothing drives a proggie quite so crazy as a WalMart.

    1. Sarah Palin shopping at a Wall Mart after speaking at a Tea Party Rally.

      1. With her shopping list written on her hand.

      2. Bingo. Sarah Palin: the one thing that drives them crazier than a WalMart.

        My favorite is all the people who think Walmart is evil, but Target is really great.

        1. Probably because Target shoppers are wealthier:
          http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-50…..nt-chains/

          I like both stores, but the progs protest every time they try to put a Walmart in my area…

          1. I find Target stores to be better lit and therefore prefer them (seriously).

            1. Oh, I agree. Aesthetically, I’m not a fan of Walmart.

            2. Targets always seem cleaner to me too, although I’m not sure if that due to actually being cleaned more or if it’s just because the bare concrete at Walmart just looks dirtier than floor tiles.

          2. There’s a Walmart right across the street from the Del Amo Mall, where the Mervins used to be. We have an adjoining parking lot and the way their shoppers drive makes me want to raze that motherfucker to the ground.

            1. That one doesn’t sell ammo. Therefore, I do not consider it a real Walmart. I have to drive all the way to the one next to LGB airport to get the cheap ammo…

              1. Yeah, it’s in a smaller space and seems to have a much more limited selection. I’ve only been in there once actually even though it’s walking distance from work.

              2. …and to jet down to King Taco. 😉

                1. Didn’t know there was one nearby. My home King Taco is on Olympic, and I try not to cheat on it…

                  My old routine was Turners Signal Hill Walmart Johnny Rebs, but I haven’t done that since I had kids (around the time that Johnny Rebs caught on fire and burned down)

                  1. So you had kids, which made going to Johnny Rebs inconvenient and decided If I can’t have it no one can! and torched the place?

                    If you’re the arsonist who took out Sharkeez Hermosa Beach, God bless you!

                    1. I used to live right next to Sharkeez when it burned down. The bars are one of the reasons I moved away from downtown hermosa. I got so sick of drunk midwestern 20 somethings acting like they were on spring break. On any given night after 2AM, you could hear people fighting, fucking, pissing, and shitting down the street from me…

                      I cheered (quietly) when that place burned down, but they built it back even bigger and douchier than before…

                    2. Why quietly? I was disappointed they’d roped it off so that we couldn’t go dance (literally) on its ashes. If at least one new strain of anti-biotic resistant syphilis didn’t develop there then I’ll eat my hat.

                      Also I’m sure the fire finally fixed the unholy stickiness of the floor.

                    3. Why quietly? They were actively seeking suspects, and a good place to start looking would have been any angry neighbors or people dancing on the ashes….

                    4. I suppose, I just thought it was universally accepted that it was an insurance scam.

                    5. It was an insurance scam.

              3. I have to drive all the way to the one next to LGB airport

                You live in a place with a lesbian/gay/bisexual airport? No transgendereds?

                1. Actually Ted, LGB is about the most LGBT airport in the world. And with the new remodeling and construction it will soon be FABULOUSSSS!!!

                  1. Can you still just walk in and get on a plane with no questions asked? It’s been something like 10 years since I’ve been there and I remember it being the opposite of the LAX experience.

                    1. No, but TSA is pretty minimal. And the little bar in the temporary concourse can get pretty rowdy before flights. It’s fun.

                    2. Unfortunately I’m spitting distance from LAX. Otherwise LGB would be a really attractive option.

        2. Yeah they have the exact same business model, thus should be equally “evil” in progressive eyes.

          I asked a prog about it once, he said that Target only moves into an area after WalMart has already forced all the small businesses into bankruptcy, so therefore Target is not the problem. I laughed in his face, and he said “No, it’s true, my professor told me in class. You didn’t even finish college anyway, how would you know.”

          1. I wonder how he would explain the fact that there’s a Target in Brooklyn, but no Walmart. Then again, the Atlantic Center Target is a dump of apocalyptic proportions, so they’re probably just filling a market niche left by the absence of Walmart.

  14. This same up this morning on greg sargent’s blog. my repose: brilliant. their response: exploitation and who handles the workers’s comp when your the untrained delivery guy inevitably hurts himself.

    1. Because driving up to someone’s house and handing them a package requires serious training and probably a government license. I shouldn’t hate people. But I really can’t help but despise people like Mimms.

      1. I dunno, the issue of Walmart’s liability when Jane Volunteer injures herself or drives into a busload of nuns with puppies, was the first thing that came to my mind.

        I wonder what their umbrella insurance carrier thinks of the scheme?

  15. Scott Shackford ?@SShackford 2h
    @mims It’s not the income distribution that matters, it’s the purchasing power. The “desperately poor” cannot even afford Wal-Mart.
    Expand
    Christopher Mims ?@mims 2h
    @SShackford Some of the measures of what you can buy are grossly distorted, though. E.g. treating food as mere calories,
    Expand
    Christopher Mims ?@mims 2h
    @SShackford And not considering actual quality. Hence, obesity.
    Expand
    Christopher Mims ?@mims 2h
    @SShackford Not all the fruits of our race for ever more productivity are sweet.

    As long as we are free to make choices Mims doesn’t like, we are enslaved.

    1. Not all the fruits of our race for ever more productivity are sweet.

      This is the most meaningless pile of smug sanctimonious shit I’ve ever seen. And I go to HuffPo almost every day.

  16. I don’t expect something like this to take off. But I expect the applicable agencies to begin implementing regulation for things like “operating unauthorized delivery services” and “transporting food in vehicles that haven’t been inspected”. If a guy can be shut down for repairing lawnmowers for free in his garage…

    1. They’d have to shut down Meals on Wheels and pizza deliverers too…

      1. Big companies can absorb the costs, while individuals will be shut out.

        That’s how the government grows the economy.

        1. MoW and most pizza shops are not big biz.

          1. Chains are not big biz?

  17. Wal-Mart Stores Inc is considering a radical plan to have store customers deliver packages to online buyers

    And when Jim Bob says he delivered my TV and I say he’s full of shit, is Walmart still legally on the hook to send me another one, or am I responsible for locating Jim Bob and suing him for it myself?

    1. I would assume WalMart personally brings you another TV and then blacklists Jim Bob from the program.

      1. Sweet, two TVs for the price of one!

    2. WM could demand that you sign an affidavit saying you never got the TV, and then have the cops search Jimbob’s place.

    3. Try to think outside the box SD.

    4. I am sure Jim Bob signs an agreement to deliver the TV. And if he doesn’t, Wall Mart will sue him. And yeah, Wall Mart can and will sue Jim Bob over a couple of hundred dollars. They are notorious hard asses in court. One Jim Bob might try walking away with the TV. But he would only do it once.

      Also, Wall Mart could just put a hold on the delivery person’s credit card until the goods are delivered.

      1. Also, Wall Mart could just put a hold on the delivery person’s credit card until the goods are delivered.

        That gets in the way of exploitating the desperately poor who don’t have credit cards.

        1. WalMart could just put a hold on the delivery person’s EBT card?

      2. “They are notorious hard asses in court. ”

        Not from what I’ve seen. My wife’s firm sued them 3 times last year, and they settled each case after a few weeks (for more than the cases were worth), before discovery was even complete.

        1. I think it depends on the type of case – they probably have a set of case types they have instructed counsel to be absolutely stand fast on, others that are not so highly placed in their risk hierarchy might be shrugged off.

          I had one class action matter with them (as their excess insurance carrier) and their in-house counsel seemed to have quite the workload.

          1. Funny, that’s exactly why they were settling the cases so quickly. They were scared shitless of class actions.

            1. They may need to hire more counsel, heh heh.

          2. And you can tell exactly where they place the case in their risk hierarchy by who they hire as outside counsel. There are some shitty, almost sub-literate attorneys in CA.

        2. Maybe they have changed. But in the 1990s when I was in private practice, they were known to never settle anything.

          1. A lot of what I have seen has to do with CA’s insane workplace regulations. Walmart is a huge target for civil suits here. Some have merit, but most don’t…

  18. The definition of exploitation: paying someone a price they are willing to accept for a job they are willing do to while some liberal-arts major watches from the sidelines.

    1. Well, yeah.

      Whenever someone voluntarily enters an agreement, there must be some kind of subterfuge going on.

      Only agreements resulting from government coercion can be trusted. After all, bureaucrats have absolutely no self interest and are only looking out for the greater good.

    2. Excellent. I might add “while some liberal-arts major watches from the sidelines and criticizes

  19. I’m not likely to ever be featured on the infamous “People of Walmart” Web site, partly because I am not quite fat enough to be entertaining and do not own any clothing featuring animal prints, but also because I hardly ever set foot in the place.

    Things cosmotarians say: “Oh I hardly EVER shop at Walmart”

    1. As a cosmotarian, I love Walmart. It keeps Walmart customers out of the stores I frequent, and thus spares me the burden of having to polish their fat motor-scooterized fingerprints off my monocle.

      1. and thus spares me the burden of having to polish their fat motor-scooterized fingerprints off my monocle.

        I thought we all used child labor to polish our monocles.

        1. Child labor is a fungible resource. If they aren’t busy polishing monocles they can be brushing top hats, ironing coat tails, and buffing silver cane toppers.

    2. Things cosmotarians say: “Oh I hardly EVER shop at Walmart”

      Or people who live in Los Angeles. Although one might argue the cosmotarian badge is better.

      1. “Get your hands off me, you damned cosmotarian Angelinos!”

        /Heston voice off

      2. Yeah, it’s more an LA thing for me. I tried to shop at the Wal-mart in my community when I lived out in the desert but frequently ended up leaving empty-handed.

    3. Things idiots say: cosmotarians

  20. Wal-Mart just found a new way to squeeze free labor out of America’s desperately poor lower middle class.

    Discounting goods can be adequate consideration for the purpose of a contract. And as Shackford already noted, you can’t be both “desperately poor” and “lower middle class” any more than you can be a “exceptionally tall midget.”

    Or is this just a sign of the Lazy Mimzy stringing words together without caring whether or not they make sense?

    1. Tweetarrhea?

  21. “The problem is that some Americans don’t like the choices other Americans make and they blame retailers for offering consumers those choices.”

    Direct, concise and dead-on accurate. I love it.

  22. they could do something like uber. need a package delivered to x. who wants it for this discount? maybe even let the user restrict the delivery area

  23. I’m really disappointed that there isn’t any Tony in this thread. It’s perfect material. I’m gonna step in for him.

    You libertarians/capitalists love exploiting people to enrich big business, so of course you’d like this.

    Which is worse: killing a box full of puppies on your way to serve your corporate Walmart masters, or earning $40 million stealing from the orphans that you capitalists hate so much, because you love competition and richness? CHECKMATE, LIBERTARIANS.

    1. +100 very funny.

    2. Whoa! Brilliant!

  24. Well, it definitely sounds like a “sharing” economy. What if we don’t want to share our stuff with other Walmart customers?

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