Medicine Hat Media

Super Walmart: Good or Bad?

It has been a few weeks now since the new Super Walmart opened in Medicine Hat, but is it a welcome change?

As the new Super Walmart was opened, the pre-existing Walmart was closed. The new store boasts a  complete grocery section and many expanded departments such as electronics, clothing, home decor, and more. McDonalds and Tim Hortons restaurants are also included in the new Supercenter. The grand opening featured over $15,000 in donations to local charities and singing of the Canadian National Anthem before the ribbon was cut to officially open the store. One would think Walmart is a caring corporation and a welcome addition to Medicine Hat, but what do the citizens think? And how does Walmart maintain such low prices?

Walmart Logo. Image courtesy of Walmart.

Walmart Logo. Image courtesy of Walmart.

While overhearing many people at work discussing the new store, most people seemed to have mixed feelings about what the store had to offer, but mostly they all agreed on the same thing: that the store, overall, was a nuisance. It seems that it is too big for most people to relish shopping at (despite the new Canadian Tire and current Superstore being of a comparable size overall). The concrete floor is a main dislike for people. Lineups are another common criticism. Apparently, much of the time the Interact machines do not work, which are not depicted before entering the checkout lanes, resulting in people just leaving the groceries and the store.

The only good thing it seems is the parking issue. In the previous Walmart, to get out of the store, you would have to often times drive in front of the building doors, where many pedestrians emerged from before walking across the road to get to their vehicles. Now there is a more spacious parking lot and two entrances and exits between the main facade.

With’s title saying: “Save money. Live Better” and the yellow smiley face flying around television commercials knocking prices down, one might wonder: How do they get the prices so low?

In some cases, for food products or non-clothing goods, Walmart basically sets a price on the goods for the manufacturers to either agree to or reject. For popular products, Walmart allows them to sell at that price in certain parts of the stores (bins in the middle of aisles, end caps, etc.) If the providers do not agree, they do not get the spot. In this case, it is all about numbers and how much the products move, which manufacturer’s desire. If the product does not sell in large quantities, it gets bumped back into more remote sections of the store. However, if a product is appealing to customers, it might earn a place right near the doorway.

Conversely, regarding clothing, a few years ago, as many people should remember, there was an outbreak of Child Labour laws. While it was widely broadcast and publicized and even headed by Kathie Lee Gifford, who beforehand did not know her name and photograph was being used for such purposes, not many people seemed aware of it. People either draw the line between “It is either slave/child labour or it is not.” But they do not look in depth to the matter.

Kathie Lee Gifford tag. Image courtesy of NLCNet.

Kathie Lee Gifford tag. Image courtesy of NLCNet.

Foreign workers in foreign factories do not have, as research suggests, comparable wages to our own in North America, so they work for very cheap wages and work long hours, often averaging up to 13 or 14 hours per day. This seems like slave labour when compared to our own standards, but because the cost of living in other countries vary, it is essential to work that much. It is not helped by the fact that in other countries, some corporations calculate wage based on one-one thousands of a second. It might not technically be slave labour, but more than technically, it is quite unfair to the workers to make like 9 cents for a jacket that takes 3.76 minutes to make.

What is more, many shirts and apparel before the outbreak, and some even now, might promote clothing with photographs of celebrities or statements such as: “A portion of the sale of this article of clothing will go to help some foundation” But how much of the portion? An eighth of a cent? As stated before, the company might pay 9 cents to a worker who made the shirt in a matter of minutes, materials to make them are fairly inexpensive as well when bought in bulk, and the rest probably goes into the pockets of shareholders. Ever wonder how Walmart has become the largest and wealthiest retailer in the world?

The grip of Walmart. Image courtesy of The Inkwell Bookstore Blog.

The grip of Walmart. Image courtesy of The Inkwell Bookstore Blog.

Of course I could go into a huge rant about Corporations controlling the world, but it is better explained in the Canadian created Documentary entitled “The Corporation.” Fortunately, you can see the full length film online for free. The film explores what really goes on behind the scenes of corporations that the masses do not know about, what many people do not want to know about. Ignorance is bliss, as they say. Remember, Walmart is a corporation, their products and supplies all come relatively from the same places, no matter what Walmart around the world you buy it from.

I personally do not shop at Walmart, and not just because of everything stated above, but because of the fact that it is inconvenient. I do not like to wait in lines for forever or have low-grade food provided by the cheapest manufacturer. I would rather shop somewhere like Sobey’s, which is locally owned and operated. Their business depends on healthy relationships with their customers, and in return, they provide excellent groceries.

Kathie Lee Gifford against children exploited by Walmart

The Corporation Film: Part 1 | Part 2

Walmart Grand Opening in Medicine Hat

The High Cost of Low Price

Walmart Website

Wal-Mart worker dies after shoppers knock him down for post-Thanksgiving Black Friday deals.

User Comments

9 Responses to “Super Walmart: Good or Bad?”

  1. November 28th, 2008 at 3:53 PM

    Dusty says:

    Mcdonalds and Tim Hortons are included, plus many many other stores, there is more offered than just what’s in the Wal-Mart departments. The cement floor also exists in Cosco’s, just a reflection of the size of the store and also cuts down on maintenance. The store is also broken down into the right side being general groceries, so if that’s what you want then you aren’t forced to carry through the rest of it.

    “Lineups are another big dislike for people.” Look, it’s bloody Christmas, it’s a new store, and it is Wal-Mart, after all. The line ups ARE GOING TO BE very long, not to mention they can’t get enough staff to run the place efficiently enough to keep up with the season. WM has a long history of ridiculous lines altogether, let alone at Christmas, it has always been that way. Also, if it is such a huge nuisance for people to shop at, then why are the lines still so long? Obviously it’s not that bad.

    For the moment I also find that the grocery section in Wal-Mart is incredibly satisfactory, there is a large selection and they are all up to pleasant standards(the one time I was there). There has been a lot of complains with places like Superstore (which I was very fond of) by families from Ralston, as well as my own. The groceries are either all completely far from ripe, or they’re all rotten. Problems exist in buying pre-multiple packages such as berries or potatoes and having one in the center that is pure mold, ruining the entire point of buying it at all.

    I also want to mention on how neat it is that the freezer section of WM has automated lights, they only turn on when they detect somebody’s there, which probably does a bit of good. That’s all on that.

    Having been a former employee of WM, there is one recommendation I would like to see put into practice, being a better communication system between employees. It wouldn’t take that much to get a headsets would it? To be fair, one of the reasons that the line ups take a very long time is because the average customer apparently has never worked at a till before, meaning they don’t know that products need UPC codes to be scanned. Typically people may notice their product is missing a HUGE sticker or is out of wrapping, missing the UPC. When it gets to the tills the cashier has to wait for the department associate to find a similar item to scan. Now, the store is much bigger and there’s all that much more noise, plus the associate could be on break, in the washroom, helping a customer, there’s a number of reasons why that person could miss the announcement. A system such as wearing a headset could really help make communication more efficient.

    For all that it matters, I never found a different between the staff at Sobeys and Wal-Mart, I’ve had good conversations with the staff at WM as opposed to Sobeys. The other thing is a general consideration for others, obviously work is a lot harder at WM than Sobeys, that staff is more stressed. Also, WM does treat their employees worse, which is why it’s all the more important to be patient and tolerant with WM staff. It’s not unusual for a single person to take care of around three departments.

  2. November 28th, 2008 at 5:22 PM

    Sean says:

    Most of my actual dealings with Walmart staff have been meh at best. They are pretty much apathetic teenagers who don’t know or care about helping customers. At least at Sobeys, the teens are overall kept in places like stock (so they learn where things are) or cash registers (and do not get asked), while the bigger sections are maintained by people with more experience in a specific field (cutting meat, baking, food preparation. Or that is what my usual perception of it is.

    I do not dislike Walmart overall, it is an okay place to shop, it is just that overall most people do not know why the prices are so low, where the products come from, and in either case, I like supporting local establishments.

    Hey Dusty, you should write for Medicine Hat Media since you seem to have a lot to to say. ;]

  3. May 24th, 2009 at 7:39 PM

    ebony says:

    the food is NOT low grade food. the people who are complaining about that should use their eyes a whole hell of a lot better and look at the brands. its waaaay better than of the superstore brand or safeway. the lines are a bit long but all they need to do is have more workers working for the tills. everyone ive asked for help and have gotten great help from the employees. why do all you old people critisize us teenagers. you think your better? not one bit. smarter? hell no. so shut ur mouths about “us teeenagers” you want us to put a label on you? no i didnt think so, so dont do it to us…… if u really need the employees help THAT much, u should probably go home and think about waht u neeeded, shouldnt u of known that BEFORE u went to the store?

  4. May 24th, 2009 at 7:41 PM

    ebony says:

    one more thing.. complaining about concrete floors? god people think before u complain.. be happy there is a store which is very cheap and u can go there for almost everything u need at one place. stop being such god damn complainers. BE HAPPPPPPYYY.

  5. May 24th, 2009 at 9:01 PM

    Sean says:


    The first thing you need to keep in mind is that this article was written both from my own experiences and my own perceptions, as well as what I hear from people around me regarding the subject matter.

    1. “It’s way better than Superstore Brand or Safeway Brand” – This isn’t really justification enough. Can you explain why?

    2. “Why do all you old people criticize us teenagers?” – Did you look at the “About” section of this website? Do Vaughn and I look like old people?

    Since writing this article; however, I have shopped at Walmart here and there. But I usually go there without any preconceived intention of getting help and usually do self checkout to avoid lines or idle conversation.

    Thanks for your comment.

    Also complaining about complaining is also a form of complaining. Dichotomy!

  6. May 24th, 2009 at 9:38 PM

    Vaughn says:

    I don’t mind the concrete floors at all actually. I quite like them. Also their produce section is very well maintained and designed.

    The “Great Value” brand even after they re-designed and re-focused their image is still “nothing special”. I’m more a fan of Superstore’s PC brand especially with all the high-quality and specialty items they seem to be releasing lately. Quality wise though, Great Value has never disappointed me either though.

    Based on my profile picture, I think I might look older because of my huge beard – Dusty just pointed that out.

  7. May 25th, 2009 at 3:17 PM

    Dusty says:

    Actually, every time I go to Superstore I see fully rotten-moldy-fungus-growing fruits and vegetables. Whenever visiting Wal-Mart everything usually seems fresh and stored far better.

  8. March 24th, 2010 at 9:42 AM

    derek says:

    Not a big fan of Walmart, but recently they have started an initiative to force every manufacturer to make a green evaluation on every product that Walmart sells. Eventually the reports will be displayed by every product in the store so customers can make an evaluation on how big the footprint of the product they are about to purchase is. This is not something that just any store chain could initiate. I think there is a lot of spin on the news about it and the process seems flawed, but it’s a start and I commend them for starting it.

  9. March 24th, 2010 at 9:51 AM

    Sean says:

    Derek: The problem is most people don’t really care about garbage or pollution or footprints on the Earth, so long as they can save a dime. I buy groceries from Walmart on occasion, bathroom stuffs, or get oil changes from there sometimes, but that’s about it.

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