Today was a big day. I saw it in the news, heard it on the radio, and even read it on a sign pulled behind a rented Bi-Plane! Walmart llego! there were clowns on stilts dancing at the mall! There were counter pro-testers from Super Selectos just outside the mall property too! holding signs that read “Super Salvadoreno!”, encouraging locals to stick with the locally owned chain.
Walmart arrived here years ago. Dispensa Don Juan, Dispensa Familiar, and Hyper Paiz are all owned by Walmart. Previous posts referred to shopping at Walmart in El Salvador in 2011 in the form of Hyper Paiz, and to be honest, I found the random items I was looking for, at a low price, all in a comfortable, familiar structure. El Salvador is a great place to provide low prices but it is not a good place to undercut local businesses and knock them out of business.
I committed long ago to avoiding Walmart. It’s not a boycott, but an affirmative act. I have a love of small independent business people, and prefer to vote for them with my dollars. Id rather spread my money across those various outlets than give it all to one single foreign owned business. I buy from friends.
That said I have more than one (intelligent) friend claiming they could not have made it as a single mother without Walmart pricing and convenience. Others praise Walmart’s good service, and low prices. They value the jobs the company creates, and the tax revenue they generate. Some say they actualy do CREATE jobs rather than CONSOLIDATE them.
Detractors contend Walmart steals sales from local business-people, and that because they shut down local businesses, and move most of the profits offshore to the shareholders, the net effect on local economies is negative. This camp believes dominant foreign companies prevent local economic development, and remove opportunities in high paying professions, independent of foreign chains. Having a plethora of small, local indepedant stores is one of the better things about living in El Salvador.
For better or worse Walmart is now here in force, and with plenty of marketing muscle. The lines are long, so clearly they are wanted by many! In the meantime I’m heading to the market stalls for some fresh Mamones and Nispero! I’ll grab some pupusas and figure out how to get a cheap plastic set of porch furniture without them! Oh wait..I hate cheap plastic stuff, I’m headed to Izalco for some handmade wooden awesomeness from a craftsman, even if I have to save up for a little while!
For more on the debate check some data info and sights! There are more than a few more, its a hot topic. Whichever side you choose, your dollars are the votes that count!