Nearly everyone in the US has shopped at a Big Box store before. There are several different ones, including Walmart and Target. There are still a few K-Marts as well, though not as many as there used to be.
Some people love Big Box stores, while others don’t appreciate them at all. There are both positives and negatives if you have one in your neighborhood, and we’ll discuss a few of those now.
They Have Very Low Prices
Bix Box stores are undeniably popular. Walmart does more than 138 million transactions per week, so it should be no surprise that there are hundreds of locations nationwide. A business model that’s this successful is bound to keep expanding.
The low prices are one of the reasons why some people are such big fans. You can get a pair of sneakers for $10-12 in many of their stores. You can get a winter coat for $20-30.
It’s true that it’s off-brand merchandise, but if you’re impoverished, you won’t want to pay an extra hundred dollars just for that Nike swoosh logo. Think about how many people have lost their jobs since the pandemic began. They are probably glad that stores like this exist since they can get so many products for far less than the name brands would cost.
They Have Everything You Could Want
Another positive is that you can go to a Walmart or Target and find everything on your shopping list. A Target is like a brick-and-mortar version of Amazon. You might need many disparate items, and a Big Box store is where you can find most or all of them.
You might need to go grocery shopping, and many Big Box stores have full grocery sections inside them. Frozen foods or canned goods are there, but you can find fresh produce as well.
You can get TVs and other electronics. You can get clothing and shoes, kitchen items, toys for the kids, and vehicle supplies like new windshield wipers.
Some Walmart locations even have full-service garages. You can get your oil changed, your tires rotated, and do a little shopping while you’re waiting. It’s hard to argue with the business model when you’re walking out of the store with your shopping cart piled high, and you don’t need to make any additional stops.
They Don’t Pay Their Employees Well
Now, on to the negatives. Big Box stores generally do not pay their employees very much, at any level. Some people argue about what exactly a decent living wage is in this country, but one thing is certain: you’ll have a hard time getting by on what Walmart or Target pay you, even if you work there full-time.
You might start at minimum wage or pretty close to it. The problem with minimum wage is that it’s not inflation-adjusted. It’s absurd to think that anyone could live on $10-12 per hour in America today, especially after taxes.
You have people trying to raise kids on that, make mortgage or rent payments, make car payments, and still have a little left afterward for the occasional indulgence. It’s impossible.
If a place like Walmart is paying you minimum wage, that’s an insult. The only reason they’re paying you minimum wage is that they can’t legally get away with paying you less than that.
The Employees Work Very Hard
Some people say that Walmart or Target shouldn’t pay their workers well because those are “unskilled” positions. It’s true that you probably don’t need a college education to run a cash register. That does not mean it’s not a hard job.
A cashier is on their feet for the better part of an eight-hour shift. The human body should not stand in one spot for eight hours. It strains the back, neck, and knees.
The longer you work at one of these jobs, the more your body breaks down. Those who have worked at a job like this for twenty years or longer often develop terrible health problems.
They Kill Smaller Stores
One final mark against the Big Box store is that they kill off any smaller, competing businesses. Smaller hardware or grocery stores cannot possibly compete with these behemoths.
Where Walmart or Targets spring up, smaller stores close. That’s tough for family-run businesses, that some people feel are a community’s backbone.
At this point, you’ve probably made up your mind regarding this issue. Think carefully as you decide whether or not to support your local Big Box store.