Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Wal-Mart: Rolling back an image

OK, so I'm no fan of Wal-Mart.

The stores are eyesores, the parking lots eat agricultural land, their locations often encourage sprawl, the company has a spotty track record with its workers, and the shops have a nasty habit of putting strain on homegrown businesses. And I highly doubt the need to expand the one Tracy's already got.

That said, the company has its good side, as evidenced by Monday's gift of a $3,000 corporate grant to Freiler School after students there collected 11,000 pounds of plastic bags for recycling. (Of course, Wal-Mart helped create the need for such projects by sending customers off with good-laden plastic bags, but that's another tangent.)

Also, Wal-Mart was named 2007 Business of the Year in Tracy, in part because of its annual "Shop with a Cop" event and other charity programs.

So let it not be said that Wal-Mart doesn't care about the communities it settles in. But don't forget that the bottom line is ultimately more important.

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