NPR’s “All Things Considered” piece on Wal-mart opening 50 new stores in urban areas and offering seminars to small businesses on competing with Wal-mart. It will be very interesting to see how this is received.
I suspect that it may be perceived as disingenuous since Wal-mart wants the revenue of those mom-and-pop stores (oh come on Wal-mart, admit it!). What I see playing out is Wal-mart, when getting flack for putting these smaller stores out of business saying “but we taught you how to compete with us!”.
Look, I get that the point of business is to make money (I don’t buy into the “evil:” moniker). And I believe that what Wal-mart is offering is an attempt at greater acceptance (read: better PR) in the markets it is entering. If it works then it’s smart. But I also think that Wal-mart may be under-estimating the sophistication of some of those small business owners (I hope). I’d be willing to bet that they (small business owners) know enough to go to these events but not to take too much advice from the people that are trying to take their customers. In this case, scepticism is good.
I have to wonder if free lunch will be served at these seminars.