With Walmart in the midst of a fight with DC over employee wages, the Washington Post devotes its weekly "five myths" feature to the company. Among them:
- It's only for low-income shoppers: A Pew survey found that 80% of respondents in households earning more than $75,000 had shopped there in the previous year, and nearly 40% were regulars.
- It's a savior for poor families: That's the story the company likes to tell, and many low-income families believe it, but that's because they're focused on "consumption (what we pay for goods) over production (what workers earn for making goods)," writes Princeton professor Rebekkah Peeples Massengill. They're not looking at the full picture. The chain's "genius lies in camouflaging its exploitation in terms that frame its relentless cost-cutting as a kind of benevolence."
- It's bad for the environment: The story is a little more "complex" than that. Yes, critics have plenty of fodder, but Walmart is so influential that it can single-handedly force green-friendly changes on a large scale. When it banned milk from cows with synthetic hormones in 2008, for example, the dairy industry changed to accommodate.
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