Friday, November 20, 2009

Disappearing Choices

Has anyone been inside of a Wal-Mart lately? The shelves are lined with white boxes and bags. You can actually see the "choices" disappearing from the shelves.
There has long been an illusion of choice based on duopolies (sometimes both owned by the same larger company) such as Pepsi vs Coke, General Mills vs Kellogg's, etc, but ever since they switched their store brand packaging to all white you notice just how much on the store shelves is produced by the store owner and how little they stock of other companies products.
This is very concerning as I see it because there was a deception that was hidden and now they are not trying to hide it anymore. This means either they believe that the consumer does not notice or does not care that there is no competition or difference in quality and value between these products. There are several items in the store now that you can only get in store brand and since there is a WalMart brand everything now I wonder how long it will be before the store brand is the only brand you will be able to buy.
This type of consolidation of corporations is the last thing our struggling economy needs. While it seems as if they are offering lower prices now, it will not remain that way when there is no longer any competition on their shelves.

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