Firstly, to succinctly describe my shopping habits: I'm a bargain hunter. I dislike shopping in general. I also dislike clutter in my house so I don't buy a lot anyway.
Why I've been a WalMart shopper: It's cheaper.
What's making me reconsider: The WalMart corporate philosophy of essentially forcing its suppliers to out-source to foreign countries in pursuit of low prices. WalMart originally took pride in providing "Made in the USA" products and also utilitzing input from it's employees to improve it's stores. Everything has changed. WalMart, as the biggest retail chain, has become the biggest importer of foreign goods and not only encourages, but literally forces, it's suppliers to go outside of America for goods.
So what's the big deal?
The greatest detriment is not only the loss of jobs in the US, but growth and perpetuation of what is nearly slave labor in other countries. The jobs within WalMart itself are also not what they used to be. Whereas the employees of the past apparently had value to the corporation, the trend is to create a mass of dead-end, minimum wage jobs where the employee is just another ant in the hill. This unfortunate corporate evolution is also affecting health care benefits, in that the corportation is advocating poor benefits packages in order to discourage it's employees from--in it's viewpoint--overutilizing the medical system. This philosophy is also being advocated to other companies.
We're in economically difficult times. It seems a common sense approach to shop where the best deals are. But I must admit, it's weighing upon my conscience. At this point, I can no longer support a corporate philosophy which is, in the long term, detrimental to the viability of real American business. I've been shopping more than usual lately, since Christmas is just around the corner, and I've tried to focus on buying "Made in Montana" items (a big deal here) and supporting locally owned businesses, but I usually get household items from the local WM. But in WM and other places, I've recently taken a much greater notice of where items are made, and I've began leaving items on the shelf that I may have purchased in the past. American manufacturing jobs can't continue to be outsourced at the current pace if the American economy is ever going to recover.
Americans have fewer dollars to spend right now. I think it's critical at this time that we all really pay attention to where--and to whom--those dollars are going.