I was recently involved in a discussion about the evils and the virtues of shopping at Walmart. One person said, "I just bought $5 sweatpants from Walmart today, I'm pretty darn happy." For me that sums up the problem with Walmart right there!
If you think about it, how can anyone expect to buy sweatpants for $5? We couldn't buy sweatpants for $5 twenty years ago! How is it possible now? Think of the people involved in making those pants (cutting, sewing, packaging, labeling), shipping them to the store, stocking the store and selling them. How much money did each of those people earn?
A lot of our economic problems have been caused by this mindset that we need to have EVERYTHING and have it NOW and have it as CHEAPLY as possible. Walmart has convinced us that we need $5 sweatpants! US companies can't provide them for that price (they have minimum wage standards to follow), so Walmart gets them from another country (China, India) and there goes another US manufacturing company out of business. Then people lose their jobs - not just those that work for that manufacturer, but support people that provided services for those people - local stores, restaurants, gas stations, etc. Unemployment goes up and the cycle continues. Who is the winner in this scenario? I don't think there is one unless it's the corporation of Walmart. They are laughing all the way to the bank.
I would rather pay $20. for a pair of sweatpants and live in a town where people can earn a living by doing an honest day's work. I would rather pay $20. for a pair of sweatpants and wear them for five years instead of getting them from Walmart and replacing them in three months because they fell apart. And I would rather buy only what I need (do we really need 6 pairs of sweatpants in every color of the rainbow to do our daily jog? or will one good, well-made pair suffice?) and pay a fair price for it and know that I am supporting our economy in the only way I know how to.