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LETTERS TO THE TIMES

The Big Wal-Mart Effect

November 29, 2003

Re "The Wal-Mart Effect," Nov. 23-25: As an owner of a small manufacturing company, I have seen firsthand the impact that imports are having on business and employment. We are importing products and exporting jobs. It does not just affect the manufacturer; it affects everyone the manufacturer does business with -- the products and supplies that are bought, the services that are paid for and the taxes that are paid for government services.

It's a game for the managers of Wal-Mart to see just how low they can go, how much more they can squeeze. What a sad commentary it is for the company to feel that the "Buy American" program left it in a position of having to play catch-up.

This problem is bigger than Wal-Mart, but these articles show clearly the direction that things are going. I ask each of us to think about the future. Where will you be working, next year or five years from now? What legacy are we leaving our kids? Think before you buy.

Dana Matejka

Perris

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The store growth map on Nov. 23 looked like an unchecked skin cancer. I do not like the techniques that Wal-Mart uses. It is better to promote jobs in the U.S. and to have higher wages to enable workers to purchase higher-cost goods. We have lost much of our furniture and textile industry and many other good-paying manufacturing jobs. Worse, as with China, we have also given our technology and tool know-how to enable others to build quality products.

I am willing to pay higher for quality goods made in the U.S. I recently sought out and purchased two pairs of shoes made in the U.S. to prove it. If people would be objective, they would see that the added cost per year to purchase clothing made in the U.S. is not significant.

George W. Zeissner

Fountain Valley

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Your Nov. 24 article said that store managers at Wal-Mart earn about $95,000 a year and Supercenter managers earn $130,000. As a consumer I am concerned. I think we can do a little better than this. I bet the next thing you tell us is that these managers have full benefits also.

Doesn't Wal-Mart realize that paying those types of salaries does nothing but bring up prices on the goods we all buy at Wal-Mart? I thought these guys were trying to find ways to cut their bottom line. I'm sure if the hard-working frontline employees at Wal-Mart are willing to work for $9 an hour and no benefits for the prosperity of the company, then managers can and should do the same.

Dan Reeser

Bellflower

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After reading your Nov. 23 article about Wal-Mart, I had a fantasy. Imagine our federal and state government run according to the frugal style of Sam Walton. The possibilities are delightful to contemplate.

Esther Levy

Sherman Oaks

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I am gladly willing to pay a few extra dollars at a Wal-Mart competitor's store in order to know the person assisting me across the counter is at least earning a decent, livable wage and has the health-care benefits he or she is entitled to. The employees who devote long hours to the Wal-Mart conglomerate probably do it at a sacrifice someplace else in their lives. As a teacher, I hope it is not their children who miss out on their parents' attention or have to suffer dental, vision or health neglect.

Shame on you, Wal-Mart! By golly, your CEOs should be flying coach, because your employees probably can't afford to purchase a ticket to fly anywhere.

Margaret Fitzsimons

Whittier

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Wal-Mart claims it is helping the communities it overtakes; unfortunately, the opposite is true. Wal-Mart may bring in 400 to 500 jobs, but what about the "mom and pop" small-business owners it puts under? Sure, Wal-Mart has friendly greeters and great prices, but I prefer a greeting from a familiar face, someone who knows and remembers my name, inquires about my family and asks about my health.

Given a choice to stroll Wal-Mart's sensory-overloaded aisles or to walk the beautiful streets of our town square ... well, the choice for me is so obvious.

John Marchese

Henderson, Nev.

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Wal-Mart's impact on our communities, jobs and the world can be summed up in what could be its new advertisement: Save now, pay later; support the Chinese communist military and increase the U.S. trade deficit. Shop Wal-Mart, world's largest importer of goods from and exporter of American jobs to China.

Charles J. O'Connell

Stevenson Ranch

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