Sam Walton U.

Discussion
Jul 28, 2003
George Anderson

By George Anderson


Wal-Mart is the world’s largest retailer and, as such, has become the subject
of case studies in institutes of higher education across the country.


Eugene Fram, professor of marketing, Rochester Institute of Technology explained
why to The New York Times. “It’s the awe that General Motors used to
have, when people would say, ‘Not everybody is General Motors,’ Now you have
to say, ‘Not everybody is Wal-Mart.’ ”


Professor Fram’s focus on Wal-Mart is built around the company’s position of
a “channel commander.”


Edward Fox, director, J. C. Penney Center for Retail Excellence at S.M.U.,
said, “If I’ve learned anything about Wal-Mart, it’s that cost is king. They
have an almost single-minded focus on reducing costs. It’s imbued throughout
the organization. ”


Moderator’s Comment: What are the lessons of the Wal-Mart
experience?


Marshall Blonsky, professor of semiotics, the New School
and Parsons School of Design seems to believe the Wal-Mart lesson is consumers
will buy just about anything as long as its cheap.


“It proves something I have been trying to teach for years:
the indifferent equivalence of everything with everything else, for an audience
that has no concern for that difference, and no discernment of quality.” 


Professor Blonky called shopping at Wal-Mart “a heartless
experience.”
[George
Anderson – Moderator
]

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