Wal-Mart Not Only Undermines Small Towns…
… it undermines small-town documentaries too. New York Times columnist John Tierney’s investigative reporting on the new anti-Wal-Mart film “Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Prices” turns up some interesting contradictions between the documentary-world Wal-Mart and the world the rest of us live in. (Unfortunately, John Tierney’s great article is not free (unless you get your NYT free from your mother, as I do). You have to pay to see it or sign-up for temporary access (and cancel later).
Tierney investigates some of the sad stories in “Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Wages.” One such story was H & H Hardware, driven out of business by low Wal-Mart prices, according to the documentary. Except that today a thriving Middlefield Hardware store operates successfully where the mismanaged H & H used to be (mismanaged according to an interviewed customer and the former H & H owner).
And the Amish, shown in the documentary as deeply fearful of the new Wal-Mart descending upon them, are reported by Tierney as quite happy shopping at their new local Wal-Mart, as their horses and carriages are hitched comfortably outside.
Tierney interviews one Amish customer, “I wasn’t too happy about Wal-Mart coming… I didn’t know what it would do to the community.–would it make it more citylike? But I was surprised. It’s kind of nice now. I like shopping here.”
The column ends with another Amish Wal-Mart shopper commenting “Wal-Mart isn’t really a big issue with our people… At first some were upset because they were scared by something new. But now they like being able to get everything here…”
Imagine… the Amish fearful of something new. It’s an interesting post to hitch your documentary to.
(My own rather wordy two-cents on the influence of Wal-Mart is here: Wal-Mart: Seen and Unseen) — Greg Rehmke