There is a huge movement happening in America. People more and more are demanding products made in the US and are encouraging others to shop locally rather than opting for a big box store. This is a great thing. I personally love fresh produce from my farmers market; and I love the personal experience and great customer service of my local mom and pop shops. However, there are a few good reasons to include Wal-Mart, Target, McDonalds and other big chains in your shopping and consuming.
The most obvious reason for shopping big box stores is clearly the lower prices. You are definitely going to see significant markup when shopping locally. This is worth it for some products and services, and not for others. I think it is necessary for some people to have the option of a substantially lower grocery bill at Wal-Mart than they would otherwise have at their local grocer. Now, are you going to have to deal with lower quality because of the lower price? Most of the time, yes, you will certainly see quality suffer, but it is rarely such poor quality that it is not usable or consumable.
Now, some may argue that the reason they can charge such low prices is because they use child slave labor. This leads me to another great reason to shop at big chain stores. Supporting global economy. Child labor may seem like a terrible thing. Essentially it is, nobody wants to send their children to work twelve hours a day in a sweat shop. We have to remember though, this is the third world we are talking about. It is required for basic needs that every able bodied family member bring home an income. If a government or other entity steps in and disallows children to legally work, the children are not then placed into educating facilities or dandelion fields in which to frolic. They are instead forced into worse situations such as sex slavery and extreme poverty. So basically, the more we support capitalism and the global economy, the closer we come to eliminating starvation and other terrible consequences of poverty.
Another great reason to support big box stores is for the employment opportunity it offers the people of your community. Yes, I am aware Wal-Mart and the like are currently under fire for paying very low wages, but for now let’s focus on the positive. Big box stores have great opportunity for entry level employment. You literally need zero skills or experience to work minimum wage positions in these places. This is ideal for high school and college students who do not yet require a living wage to survive. There is also ample room to move up in the company. The current CEO of Wal-Mart started there as an entry level employee and worked his way up. You see, mom and pop shops generally only employ family and close friends. If you do manage to get hired your chances of moving up are slim to none because owners of these shops more often than not leave their stores to their children.
In conclusion I think it is clear that our local, national and global economies need both mom and pop shops and big box stores to best serve everyone in the world. We all have our beefs with our local Wal-Mart and Mcdonalds I’m sure, but consider the reasons above for overlooking them or maybe even finding a way for your community to come together and improve the shopping experience at these stores.