|When a huge
retailer comes to a small town, local stores close down. Customers are
drawn to superstores like Tesco, Walmart, Asda et al. by their aggressive
marketing techniques, their loss-leading promotions and by the impression
of convenience. The money that goes to these large retailers gets sucked
out of the local economy, going instead to a distant central office, making
the local economy unstable and dependent on forces outside it's control.
London Greenpeace has recently produced for public distribution a fully researched leaflet about 'green' consumerism focusing on the Body Shop because of its ethical claims. This new campaign and leaflet is called "What's Wrong With The Body Shop? - a criticism of 'green' consumerism" and was kicked off with a picket outside a Body Shop in Central London on 21st March 1998. The leaflet and campaign is intended to stimulate discussion and debate, which London Greenpeace welcomes.
It is intended as an educational leaflet (rather than boycott leaflet), showing that consumerism ('green' or otherwise) has a detrimental effect on the environment, society, and the world's poor. Nobody can make the world a better place by shopping and in fact the world's problems will only be tackled by curbing consumerism - one of the fundamental causes of world poverty, environmental destruction and social alienation.
Another example, 95% of Tesco's stock comes from central warehouses which are supplied by large-scale producers. Over 44,000 food shops, mainly small grocers and coops closed between 1976 and 1989, and while Tesco increased its share of the food market by more than 100%, the number of people it employed increased by less than 70%. [Corporate Watch 'What's Wrong With Tesco]
In Gig Harbor USA, the vast majority of citizens were adamantly opposed to the coming of Wal-Mart. Their petition drive included over 11,000 signatures from people in town and the surrounding areas. The population of Gig Harbor itself is just over 4,000. Even the local weekly newspaper has taken a firm stance against Wal-Mart coming to their town. None of this seems to mean much to Wal-Mart. The corporate giant has pegged the Gig Harbor area as ripe for one of its stores (most certainly hoping to draw many customers from nearby Tacoma).
And so the people of Gig Harbor are left with two choices: to acquiesce, capitulate, give in, and allow Wal-Mart to rumble in with their 148,000-square foot complex and do what it will to the local economy and community fabric... or to go into battle against the biggest, richest, most powerful retailer in the world.
Retail companies in the McSpotlight: