Post Promotes Author of
Reporter joins chain store critic in
attacking Wal-Mart’s low prices.
By Ken Shepherd
Business & Media Institute
April 13, 2006
Â Â Â Â
A can of shaving cream for less than a dollar or a garden rake for
$3.88 is a great deal for the average consumer; to
The Washington Post,
it’s just more evidence of how oppressive Wal-Mart really is.
Â Â Â Â Finding scandal in low prices, the Post sent reporter
Bob Thompson to accompany Charles Fishman, author of “The Wal-Mart
Effect,” to a Wal-Mart SuperCenter in Hagerstown, Md.
Â Â Â Â While the liberal media frequently criticize business
for profit-making, Fishman, a senior editor for Fast Company
magazine, slammed Wal-Mart in a
article, accusing it of eroding corporate profits for other
Â Â Â Â “The public image Wal-Mart projects may be as cheery as
its yellow smiley-face mascot, but there is nothing genial about the
process by which Wal-Mart gets its suppliers” to sell their items
wholesale at a low price, complained Fishman.
Â Â Â Â “Wal-Mart is legendary for forcing its suppliers to
redesign everything from their packaging to their computer systems.
It is also legendary for quite straightforwardly telling them what
it will pay for their goods,” the author complained in his article
for Fast Company.
Â Â Â Â Following his guest’s lead, Thompson shifted his April
13 article from expressing amazement at low prices on everything
from tube socks to Easter candy to comparing the Bentonville,
Ark.-based retailer to a drug pusher.
Â Â Â Â “Almost no one turns down Wal-Mart. The sales volume it
offers is simply too enticing,” Thompson wrote, leading into a
complaint by an unnamed tool company executive that selling to
Wal-Mart was “like getting hooked on cocaine.”
Â Â Â Â While Fishman may not go that far, he has called for
increased regulation of the retailer. In a Jan. 27, 2006, interview
Fishman suggested additional government regulation targeted at
Wal-Mart, saying, “We have a responsibility as a country, as
citizens, to hold companies the scale of Wal-Mart accountable for
Â Â Â Â Fishman later argued that Wal-Mart owes government
bureaucrats for its success in the free market and suggested the
retail industry was too unregulated. “Wal-Mart couldn’t do what it
does without the United States of America and every one of the
government entities in the United States. In return,” he added, “we
are entitled to a sense of what the impact is.”