Re: Growth of Walmart .
Even though I don't like what Walmart has become (a pipeline to Chinese products) a lot of good came out of it. I remember growing up that, if you worked oddball shifts, you went without sleep to get to the store or you drove for an hour to go grocery shopping where they'd be open to the late hour of 8:00PM. Customer service improved as well, even though customer service in Walmart these days is lackluster at best. That's also the best defense in a small shop, good customer service. Our retail industry has always been slow at changing and I hear the same gripes we heard in the auto industry in the 70's, how the Japanese had an unfair advantage. The auto industry adapted and survived, as will the small shops. Walmart cannot cater to the locals, otherwise I'd still be able to get rock salt in early April rather than seeing fertilizer and grass seed where the rock salt used to be. Upstate NY has been known to get snow in May.
Big box stores can't afford the customer service that the smaller stores can and, honestly, I tend to go to the smaller stores that are more specialized to my needs. The problem is not that Walmrt is killing the small stores, it's that people would rather by a cheap piece of junk and have it die in about a year rather than spend a few more bucks and have it last 5-10 years.