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Re:Membership/Branch Downward trend in TSA

Apr 25, 1998 10:40 AM
by Bart Lidofsky

Kirsten wrote:
> In my opinion, Sam Walton is not a name to be used to prove any point
> positive. His great "successes" have ruined the lives of many small
> family owned businesses in this country and I have not set foot in one
> of his stores in 7 years.

 There is fair competition, and unfair competition. The former promotes
evolution, the latter works against it. Sam Walton was a hard
competitor, but he was a fair one. To differentiate, a fair competitor
works to build the best business s/he can, and lets the customer choose
whether or not to use the business. An unfair competitor specifically
acts to put his/her competitors out of business. For example, Barnes &
Noble, an unfair competitor, arranges with publishers to keep new and
awaited books out of the hands of its competitors so that B&N can sell
them exclusively for their high-selling period. They will give
extra-deep discounts in areas where competition is strong, losing money,
and then raise their prices when the competition goes out of business.
Walmart never did either of these practices. Many small businesses have
survived against Walmart, and did so be evolving; concentrating on their
own strengths that Walmart cannot deliver. Walmart has no history of
taking direct action against these successful competitors.

 The small family-owned businesses put out of business by Wal-mart have
been largely owned by people who felt that, once the business was up and
running, the Universe owed them an easy living. They refused to take
evolutionary steps, because if they just did business as usual (or cut
back on expenses), then they could just blame the competition if they
failed. If they tried to evolve, and then failed, then they would have
to blame themselves. Most people have a fear of evolving, and therfore
take the former, ultimately self-destructive path.

 Note that I don't know what Sam Walton's heirs have done. The
temptation to move to unfair competition, especially if your resources
are large, is extremely tempting, and they may not have resisted such

 Bart Lidofsky

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