Big-box stores abet hate groups?

April 12, 2012

Walmart, the biggest of the big-box stores, creates some big problems for communities, including a surge in the formation of hate groups, a major university study suggests. [San Francisco Chronicle]

The study’s lead author, Dr. Stephan Goetz of Penn State, noted that “Walmart clearly has done good things in the communities studied, especially in terms of lowering prices.” But a downside to such commerce is becoming apparent, he added, because “there may be indirect costs that are not as obvious as other effects.”

Goetz said the researchers discovered an undeniable correlation between the number of Walmart stores in any given county, and local hate group activity. By driving away small businesses in the community, Goetz said, community values are eroded, civil engagement limited, and social bonds broken — all of which provides fertile ground for an uptick in hate group activity. The researchers said they selected Walmart for the study partly because the store’s presence usually indicates other big-box stores, such as Target and Home Depot, are nearby.


56 Comments

  1. Ugluk says:

    This story is ludicrous, and unworthy of CalCoastNews. I’m sorry to see it here.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 4

  2. Citizen says:

    This is a faux scientific study; correlation does not equal causation. For one thing, big box stores such as Walmart do not usually go into an area until population growth creates an adequate market. So population growth is part of the equation–but the study ignores the implications of larger populations.

    My favorite comment from the San Francisco chronicle comments was this:

    “ARE YOU KIDDING ME??? This is easily one of the most preposterous hypotheses I’ve ever heard!! So what does a bunch of HOME DEPOTS create? Hate groups that want to remodel your bathroom?”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 2

    • bobfromsanluis says:

      If you read the article that the San Francisco story was from, you would see that the data was used mostly from Walmarts, but other big box stores were also studied. All large businesses in retail also study population predictions, attempting to plan for expanding into areas that will be large enough to support them as the stores are built. The one large difference that Walmart usually has is the ability to crush the local competition if they can; not areas can be “captured” by Walmart, especially those built closer to more urban areas, but those stores that have more of a rural population base usually don’t have as much competition so it can be that Walmart will use their tremendous buying power to undercut the local Mom ‘n Pop stores until they have left, then Walmart will start to raise their prices back to their “normal” so-called “lowest price, always”. With the local economy now firmly in their control, they hire more workers than they really need and keep the number of hours available to any one worker low so they are always looking to work more hours, afraid to call in sick, a large percentage of them unable to afford to pay for any offered health insurance, and in some areas employees are given pointers on how to apply for food stamps and other welfare type programs to supplement their meager wages.
      As to “correlation does not equal causation”; the premise of the study was based on all large box stores, and if most of the local Mom ‘n Pop stores close due to big box stores coming in to their area, you will see a decrease in membership in local service clubs like Rotary and so on, that is what I took from reading the articles on the study.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 2

    • racket says:

      Thank goodness correlation does not equal causation.

      Presumably 90+ percent of all rapists drank breast milk. Do we blame the milk?

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  3. Lilylu says:

    I am sorry but I cannot afford to be socially conscience about putting WalMart out of business. I am trying to feed my family and get us the necessities we need. In this economy and the situation we are in…My husband lost his job of 15 years 2 years ago. He has been working 60 hrs a week making less than 2/3rds of what he use to make. I have worked outside the home all my adult life. With kids, mortgage and gas prices, we barely get by. Some of you refer to ‘WalJunk’, but I can get the best prices on many staple foods, toiletries and other household items there. Believe me, I shop around and other than the bargain basket at Grocery Discount Center, their prices are the best on many items. So put me down all you want, make fun of me, I will still walk into WalMart with my head held high as I do what I have to do for my family.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 3

    • Typoqueen says:

      Hey, I hear you and I understand. We have to do what we have to do. Most of us use Apple products that are made with forced slave labor by children making a few bucks a day. But we still buy them. I would rather do all my shopping at Spencer’s because it’s a small local business but I can’t afford to. As I’ve said, I purchase a certain product at Walmar because I can’t get it anywhere else, but I could live without that product. I think that we can hate something but still be forced to use it. Big corps own this country. They have you and me right they want us. They have taken the small guy down and have made many of us dependent on them. Walmart isn’t that much different then many big cold heartless corps in this country, they are the reason that we are so broke, we must shop in places like that, we need them and they need us to be broke so we’ll buy their cheap stuff. Big corps like Walmart control the economy. I might be wrong but I think that the people that call it ‘Waljunk’ aren’t putting down the people that shop there or the people that work there for that matter.

      Personally I wouldn’t put you down for shopping there, I completely understand. But I hope that one day you will get back on your feet and when you do, I hope that you decide to buy your dog food at Lemos or CDs Pet Store. I hope that you get back on your feet so you can support businesses like Spencers. Maybe instead of buying eye glasses at Walmart, maybe you could buy them from my friend with a cute little optics store in Pismo. When things get better for you, will you frequent local businesses or least businesses that have a better track record then Walmart? I think that the only reason many of us shop there is because we have no other choice, not because we want to. Their shoes are cr@p, you must admit that but hey, 98% of us are wearing cr@p these days so you’re not alone.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 5

      • Cindy says:

        In the last 2 years, I have only shopped at WM once and it was only after I exhausted all the other alternatives in looking for a 12 inch long oval shaped flower pot. I didn’t find it at WM either but I hit the candy rack on the way out because I was so low on energy. I certainly don’t have money to blow but I manage to support my local merchants. I don’t need much and I don’t need WM. Food for Less has great prices as does the grocery discount. I also grow my own garden and can fruit and vegetables when I have down time from working which isn’t uncommon.

        P.S. Try the $Store for toiletries and cleaning supplies, they beat WM.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 4

        • BeenThereDoneThat says:

          Funny. Walmart closed on Friday with a stock price of $59.00. Dollar Tree closed at $96.00. Who do you think is the big business?

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 2

          • bobfromsanluis says:

            “Who do you think is the big business?” That would be both Dollar Tree at a 2010 volume of 5,882.4 Million dollars in sales (5.88 Billion) versus Walmart with 405,046 Million dollars (405.046 Billion) sales in 2010. Walmart did 81 times more in sales; that is much bigger than Dollar Tree for sure. Of the two, I would (as anyone who can read and understand facts) that Walmart is a much larger operation, a much “bigger” business.

            Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 2

          • Cindy says:

            Oh come on, the Dollar Tree isn’t about to put any mom&pop stores out of business. You can’t even compare $Tree to WM. $Tree is such a fun little store with all sorts of little things and the best part is that I never have to look at the price. Its great to take little kids there and tell them they can have any X# of things that they want. YIPPIE

            It will be interesting to see who comes to A-Town to shop at WM besides Templeton.

            Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 4

  4. Typoqueen says:

    “That way they don’t get stuck with crappy employees like they do in the Gov. sector”

    @Beenthere, I resent that. There are a lot of good people that work for the govt.. My very close family member was shot 3 times while in Vietnam while he was working for the govt.. Brave fire fighters, hundreds which were killed during 911. Yesterday a mayor received 3rd degree burns on his hands while helping to rescue his neighbor. I’ve had many dealings with dedicated social workers that are under paid and over worked, what a thankless job they have BTW. Some teachers that I’ve known are some of the finest people that I know. I recently went to the SLO DMV and was amazed how organized they were considering how overwhelmed they are and the lady that helped me was very polite and did a good job. A neighbor where I used to live was prison guard that has permanent brain damage from an injury that he received while working at CMC. He’s a good family man.

    For you to insinuate that Walmart employees are somehow better quality then govt. workers is just stupid. Your hatred for the govt. invalidates anything you say. I once went to the SM Walmart to get a stereo for one of my kids from a locked cabinet. The only employee that I could find couldn’t even speak English. She took off to find me someone that could speak English but no one came back to help me. Other than in the fabric dept., I have never received good customer service at Walmart, all of their employees like they hate their jobs. The only reason that I go there now is because they sell a product that I can’t get anywhere else, I hate going there and dread every trip that I’m forced to make in that depressing store.

    I would much rather deal with the employees at the DMV then the employees at Walmart. Talk about big brother. Look up at all the cameras in those stores, I’ve never seen any store including Targets, Sears, Kmarts etc. with so many obvious cameras, it’s like they’re telling their customers ‘we don’t trust you’. Walmart is a cold sterile and heartless environment and the employees act like robots.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 8

    • BeenThereDoneThat says:

      My point was that with at will employers it is easy to get rid of a sub par employee. Have you ever noticed the act of God it takes to get rid of a postal employee or a teacher that isn’t performing well? It takes a LOT of red tape to do and a lot of time they (higher ups) will put up with the sub par perfermance rather than go through the effort.

      I am not saying that all employees are bad, you should know that from reading my posts enough in past. Again try getting rid of a tenured teacher vs an at will employee. Also try and get performance out of someone who is tenured vs someone that has to make sure they perform well every day.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 5

      • MaryMalone says:

        There should be policies protecting employees’ rights in ALL organizations, including government organizations.

        Unless there is a union for the workers, in most cases the “protections” for the government workers are a joke…nothing but window dressing.

        As I’ve said before, having worked for both government agencies and non-government organizations, working for government agencies was much, much worse. You would not believe the heII they can put you through.

        A lot of the value of an organization is the knowledge base stored in its employees’ brains. This is something that the government is not taking into consideration when they try to get rid of older workers, by one method or another. The managers often are just rotating through on their way up the chain of Peter Principle levels until they reach a position where they are completely not qualified to do, where they will stay and make their subordinates’ lives living heII.

        Government agencies can be soooooo political (partly because it’s directing officers are usually elected) that looking at an employee manual to see what an employee does for work is a joke. There is no documentation that, in many cases, actually describes what the real policies are that the employees and officials follow.

        Many of the people who end up being at a government agency for a long period of time, to the point of retiring, have not moved on because, socioeconomically, they simply could not. So these vulnerable employees end up taking sometimes decades of abuse and harassment before they can get their retirement.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 7

      • Slowerfaster says:

        Oh what nauseating BULLPUCKEY !

        The slavedrivers at WALJUNK use that as a bludgeon AGAINST hard-working, conscientious employees that constantly have to be wary of straw bosses and petty dictators that make their barely above minimum wage jobs a living hell !

        Try going up against a jerk in authority that doesn’t like YOUR religion, or politics, or skin color, or the way you part your hair !

        Your wild generalizations are nonsense. WALJUNK has these internal policies that treat employees like serfs codified….and they’ve been caught at it. They are the MOST SUED company in American history, and have the MOST judgments against them. ALL for due cause.

        Keep sticking up for criminals. Got a pretty good idea just where you’ve been.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 4

        • BeenThereDoneThat says:

          Yes minimum wage jobs. I know a lot of people like myself that started at the bottom working minimum wage. I NEVER thought for one moment, gee my boss needs to pay me enogh so I stay here forever, to do this menial task. NO my thought was this was MOTIVATION to keep moving up in life.

          Today I own and run my own business. And before you start your usual hating, no I didn’t get any tax breaks etc. I did it all on my OWN.

          Just saw the dust up in the paper with Mrs. Rommney. The part that I love for all you haters of the rich, is when she mentioned about living in a small apt. when she and Mitt where going to college and barely getting by.

          Last how about Walmart. How did they get started? They were a small business when Sam Walton started his first store in a Mid west down town. The same kind of Mom and Pop’s store that you and Typoqueen are always championing. Hmm shear Irony huh.

          Oh and one last. For all you rich haters and the rich not paying enough, how about the news today of Obama’s (the one’s championing class envy) only paying 20% last year. Again gotta love the irony.

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 2

          • Typoqueen says:

            Who hates all rich people? I haven’t seen anyone say that they hate all rich people,, are you off of your meds?

            There are big corps that run their businesses without screwing over their employees and their customers. Costco is a perfect example of that. I have no problem with people becoming successful. You just don’t get that, you following the tea bag mantra and can’t see past that.

            Yes, we have seen Obama’s Tax returns, wonder how long Mitt will put off us seeing his returns. Many wealthy people agree that they should be paying more taxes. Not all rich people are greedy selfish pigs and neither is Obama. BTW Obama’s is trying to make it so people that make over a million dollars should have their taxes hiked, Obama didn’t make over a million $$. I’m sure that when he gets out office that he’ll be making millions and that he won’t complain when he gets taxed more. He did say that like Buffet he pays a lower tax rate then his secretary and that it’s not right.

            Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 5

            • BeenThereDoneThat says:

              Oh Typo. First I’m not off my meds. I have to be on them to deal with your supercilious behavior. Second your beloved president would be considered rich enough to fall under the Alternative Minimum Tax.

              Oh and on your tea bag, please I have had my opinions WAY before the tea bag party. I don’t need someone to tell me how to think.

              Yes Costco is a fine company.

              Last for all these people like Buffet who think they don’t pay enough, then don’t take the tax breaks that get you down to the 15% bracket.

              I’ve heard enough of this uneducated jibber of people not paying enough. I have a friend who has made $700,000 from his company and paid $350,000 in taxes. I know of others locally that have done the same. Are there some who slip through the cracks? Yes but a LOT of people in the $250,000 to a million range (and yes they are by the books considered rich no matter how you want to spin) pay at least 50%.

              Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  5. shelworth says:

    I think a lot of these “Studies” assume a premise, then go out to prove it. Left, right, doesn’t matter, they are “proving” their particular point of view. There was a Penn and Teller show about a Walmart in, I think it was Detroit, that “saved” a neighborhood from total decay. Everything boils down to the individual, and the choices he/she makes.
    In regards to Hotdog’s comments; I don’t particularly fear much, but I have guns, I don’t really hate anything, but I have a Pit bull (sweetest dog ever), neither of which has ever killed anyone. I just can’t understand anyone who thinks that if all guns were taken away no one would ever be murdered. It’s like they’re afraid to put the blame where it belongs; people.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 3

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