Sunday, November 27, 2005


To address some comments that have been brought up, I decided to start a new post.

Anonymous said...
I'm not too sure, but I think you were using COSTCO as an example of a buisness that is somehow better than Wal-Mart. Truth is COSTCO is just as terrible at destroying local economies as Wal-mart. The vast majority of Americans are short sighted and fail to see the big picture. Low prices come at a very high long term cost. Anyway, how is COSTCO's big box any nicer to look at than the big W?

4:53 PM

blen gennington said...
it doesn't have that stupid smiley face on it?

6:26 PM

Anonymous said... What about the families that can't afford to buy elsewhere when Wal-Mart or Costco are their only choices? Politics don't mean squat when you are broke or pinching pennies and have kids to feed and clothe.

What's the average wage of bike store employees? What about commissions? Does that enter into the equation? What kind of benefits do they have?

shannonskerritt's response:
All I'm saying is that Costco has better treatment of their employees, as evidenced by higher wages and better employee benefits.
I'm not saying it's any prettier to look at.

I'm not too into the "destroying local cultures" argument. That argument has been used against market values and capitalism as early as the 18th century (check out Justus Moser, 1720-1794). My reasoning is that a locally owned, locally produced good has a higher market value than a low-cost substitute. Therefore, it's not in direct competition, but it actually becomes a different product. To illustrate, look at the number of people who shop at New Seasons (and Whole Foods and Trader Joe's, even though those aren't perfect examples) even though numerous cheaper options for food exist.

The whole thing about people who can't afford to shop at other places is a huge issue, one that is impossible to fully address in a blog. But I've always enjoyed a challenge (that's why I love cyclocross) so here goes.

A couple points:
1. There will always be poor people, and I don't believe people are entitled to every little thing they want. So if Ping Pong can't afford a DVD player because he bought a $1500 set of wheels, then whose fault is that? It's not up to a big box retailer to provide him a cheaper DVD alternative, it's up to him to prioritize where he wants to spend his money. Having children is a choice. Now I'm not equating having kids to owning a set of wheels, but you kind of get what I'm saying?
2. Government policy (especially tax policy) is very biased in favor of the rich, because they have the most influence (money). For example, sales taxes are very skewed in favor of the rich. Let's say there's a sales tax of 6%. Let's say there is a 3 person household that makes $50,000, and they buy $25,000 worth of stuff per year that they absolutely need to survive (food, clothes, that kind of stuff). That means they're paying 6% tax on half their income. But a household making $250,000 that only needs $25,000 in absolute necessities will only be charged 6% on 10% of their income. And that's just the sales tax. There are all kind of sales tax that benefit higher income people, such as estate taxes, capital gains taxes, etc.

What I'm trying to say is that the amount of money you have to spend is directly related to the choices that you make and to government policy. One you can directly change, the other you can indirectly change. Sure, there will be other influences, but I believe these are the two biggies. Does that necessitate me shopping at Walmart? No. Does that necessitate an hourly wage earner to shop at Walmart? I don't believe so, if certain choices are made like giving up a $1500 set of wheels.

I think most bike shop employees make enough to survive without resorting to Walmart. That may be because many of them are single and have very little debt. However, I know of at least a couple Bike Gallery employees that are supporting wives and kids on a single income. It's not easy, but they do it.

As for benefits, do you think that a locally owned, mom and pop style shop is more likely to give you benefits than a store like Walmart?

And finally, let's assume the average American household makes $50,000. I'd guess that number is high. So Walmart save them $2300 last year. That's 4.6%. That's like cutting over half the WA state sales tax off a household's spendings, or it's like paying 4.6% less income tax. Again, another nugget of gold from a much hated company.

I am snoring....
Fine. How about something like this:

Rode with Ping Pong and the Hopper yesterday. Drilled it up Thompson, and thought I put a good ten minutes into Ping Pong by the top, but it turns out he just flatted. Did the descent down Saltzman, over to old Germantown, where I drilled it to the top again. Then down Germantown and home. Getting some efforts in before nationals. I'm feeling good, leave on Tuesday for two UCI races this weekend and then Nationals the following weekend. I wonder what Tonkin's doing now?

Is that better?
I think I'll de over to COSTCO and see if they are hiring....
Yeah, but can you get a good vegan meal at CostCo or Walmart? Oh, crap, wrong blog!!!
you didn't address my comment. what's up with that, yo?
Here is what I did to prep for Nationals and the UCI races:

-4 trips up logie trail towing one old car tires.
-drink one (8 egg/2 shots of jack) shake
-eat two 24oz t-bone, seared on the outside, cold in the middle.
-ride to work and fix all y'all's bikes

-for some strength work, i like to ride the shop's old tandem up corbit a few times. I fill the baskets with a few 40s of beer. If I am feeling good I pick a bum up and put him on the back of the tandem too. There are no pedals so he just sits there and drinks my beer. I guess that is the price you pay for being awesome.
-drink one (8 egg/2 shots of jack) protein shake
-eat two 24oz t-bone stakes, seared on the outside, cold in the middle.

Anyways, see you on the podium Shannon, you pall Eric Tonkin
Isn't the point that you should shop at local stores instead of Walmart and Costco because the money you spend at a local store is more likely to stay in your own community, and hence make it, hopefully, a better place to live. What percentage of products does Walmart source locally? Answer: 0%. Both yer liberals and yer conservatives should be able to agree on this. Folks should help their neighbors, no? And support their communities, no? And did you know that Walmart relabels foreign products as made in the USA? Doesn't everyone want to live in betta place? Name a place Walmart hads improved besides Bensenville, AR?

And Ping Pong, maybe you might have an economics PhD from your native land, but in the United States capitalism isn't a form of government. Refer to one of your previous posts. Well, at least it isn't supposed to be.

Now who's up from some burritos?
True. But these days capital is so liquid that it flows from place to place like, well, liquid. Or water.

I'd argue that capitalism is so intertwined with our form of government that it must be considered a system of government.

I just ate a burrito, so I'm ok for at least another half hour.
"What's really frustrating to me is all the sexist shit that you get and then all the capitalistic shit, which is basically people being really competitve. It sucks, becuase there is enough to go around for everybody."
That is the most random comment. And I thought you were such a nice person.
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