For years, I have been watching the stories of Walmart. How they (mis)treat their employees. How they keep pay low so employees use the public health system. How they discriminate. How they use contractors with illegal immigrants.
But there is another part of Walmart that I have a hard time reconciling. We spend a good deal of our summer in a small town in Michigan, a state that you no doubt know has been brought to its knees with this depression. Where unemployment in Detroit hits 50+%. A place where truly people are grateful to be working. Thus the dilemma.
The Walmart in Tawas City is a supercenter – a huge market with wonderful fruits, vegetables, table linens, gas and beach gear. The last time I was in Walmart, I counted no less that 20 associates; employees taking care of the check out lines, slicing our ham and turkey for lunches, stocking the shelves. These people have jobs in here Michigan. If asked, I would be curious to know what they think of Walmart.
If you know me, or us in my house, you know that we make a concerted effort to shop locally. We support a number of local businesses, restaurants and shops. When I am up north, I shop in small local places for good wine and great chocolate. But for my staples, Walmart is the best place in the area. No other major store is investing in the area – Meijers isn’t anywhere to be seen, either is Costco.
So thanks Walmart for investing in small town Michigan.