Cost vs. Value or Why Wal-Mart Perpetuates the Cycle of Poverty

I am going to start this post by apologizing if I come across as preachy or patronizing. I get so flipping angry when people are taken advantage of by those with superior knowledge or power, which leads directly into the following rant…

 It seems obvious but any company that hands out a Food Stamp application along with the application for employment has lost their moral bearings. Yes, I am talking about Wal-Mart. I have heard all the reasons why folks shop at Wal-Mart starting with their incredibly cheap prices and how, in this crappy economy, WalMart is a reasonable alternative.

Wal-Mart IS a reasonable alternative if you can’t do the math. Since I do math all day in my job, let me work the numbers for you and THEN come and tell me that Wal-Mart has your best interests in mind with their incredibly cheap pricing.

Back in the day (like in the Great Depression that our grandparents raised a family in) the goal was not to have the MOST stuff, but the best stuff one could reasonably buy because everyone understood that 1. You get what you pay for and 2. Better quality goods last so much LONGER and therefore, cost LESS over the long haul. EXAMPLE: My sweetie got a Wal-mart gift card for Christmas last year and so off we went to Wal-Mart ot spend it. He needed a new zip-up sweatshirt/jacket and Wal-Mart had them for only $15. (Really! $15! Wow! What a deal!) And the zipper broke and rendered it useless in less than one month. Less than ONE MONTH. Of course, they refused to take it back. Grrrrr.

Fast forward one year…In December we were in Target and found similar sweatshirt/jackets. They cost twice as much but the fabric was twice as thick AND they were made in America. The new jacket has since been washed multiple times, still looks brand new and has already lasted TWICE as long as the one we bought at Wal-Mart last year. So let’s do the math.

Wal-Mart jacket: $15 and lasted <30 days

Target jacket: $30 and going strong after 60 days

Basically, the jacket purchased at Target will cost LESS and LESS as time goes by.

Effective today, the Target jacket costs the SAME as the crappy Wal-Mart product ($30 ÷ 2 months= $15 per month).

Next month the effective cost of the jacket will be only $10! ($30 ÷ 3 months= $10 per month).

One year from now the effective cost of the jacket will be $2.50. Yes, TWO DOLLARS AND FIFTY CENTS. ($30 ÷ 12 months= $2.50 per month)

So tell me, does inferior quality really cost less? And is Wal-Mart really TRULY helping people by selling junk? And, to carry it one step further, do you really think Wal-Mart is selling crap that they KNOW is going to wear out quickly because the love you or are trying to help you? Hell no! They are in the business of moving inventory. Cheap product serves Wal-Mart but it doesn’t serve YOU. So I’m thinking our grandparents had the right idea….quality, NOT quantity. One great thing instead of a closet full of junk.

So what is OUR responsibility? We have to give up the idea that more stuff is better. Quantity over quality does not improve the quality of our lives. It just clutters it up, weighs us down, and makes us poor. The good news is…. we have the power to chose a RICH life! All we have to do is slow down and think.

(More Wal-Mart rants to follow!)

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