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Letter: Wal-Mart is not worth the pain

Wal-Mart provides jobs and low prices to a lot of people in our communities. CBS Sunday Morning reported that Wal-Mart currently receives 15 cents of every consumer dollar. Wal-Mart is the largest corporation in the world. Wal-Mart seeks to dominate our own communities by building supercenters in Montevideo, Willmar and Litchfield. Wal-Mart Supercenters already exist in Hutchinson and Marshall.

Are our communities going to welcome Wal-Mart's plan to take over more and more of our local businesses? It is the season of peace on earth, good will to all. It is time for us as consumers to tell Wal-Mart "enough!" Let's ask ourselves, "Who benefits by the dollars we spend?" Do we want to further line the pockets of the Walton family billionaires or do we want to spread the wealth? Wal-Mart's Walton family now has more than 700,000 times more wealth than the median U.S. household. Such great inequalities and concentrations of wealth and power pose a danger to our democratic system.

Some churches are asking members to pressure Wal-Mart to adopt new standards for corporate social responsibility and to treat workers and communities with equity and dignity. Those concerned may write to CEO President H. Lee Scott Jr., Wal-Mart Stores Inc., 702 S.W. Eighth St., Bentonville, Ark., 72716-8611.

At what point do we as consumers say that low prices are too costly to our communities and to the poorly paid laborers around the world? What choices will we have when Wal-Mart has a monopoly and has driven out all other business competition? When we as consumers no longer have choices in where to shop or who to work for, will we trust Wal-Mart to pay fair wages and to keep prices low?

Whose birthday do we celebrate this holiday season? Do we celebrate the birth of the Prince of Peace or do we sacrifice to the national religion of consumerism?

Vicki Poier

Montevideo

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