Student Perspective: Walmart Opens Despite Controversy

By Kristy L.

Enter a busy parking lot that is almost completely full. Shoppers are rushing in and out of the store with shopping carts and children in tow. Inside, there are aisles and aisles of everything in the world imaginable. There’s something fore everyone. Tools for Dad. Grocery items for Mom. Nerf toys and basketballs for your brother. iTunes gift cards or dolls for your sister. Every single section is its own little store. What is this place called? Walmart.

It’s the paradise of shoppers everywhere. Low-priced, quick, and convenient. What more can you wish for? Walmart was originally founded in Arkansas in 1962 by Sam Walton. Today it is the world’s third largest public corporation. Until recently, the nearest WalMart was about half an hour away.

The recent opening of the local Walmart has been a relief to many families struggling in the recession because of it’s low cost goods, but there has been some opposition against the opening of the store. It is all part of the struggle between small local stores and large nation-wide chain stores. When Walmarts come into a town, it usually takes away business from local stores that need the money to survive in this economy.

The new store, which is located in what was formerly a Mervyn’s, sells goods for lower prices than most retailers, which draws more customers. The problem, according to Internet sources, is that many of the items sold there are made in sweatshops in less wealthy countries that employ children for only a few cents a day. They have to sit in windowless, stuffy buildings all day manufacturing. Remember, these are only kids that should be outside playing without a care in the world. This is why many in Torrance opposed the opening of the new store on Hawthorne.

Despite any oppositions, there are some upsides to the opening. When a new store opens, Walmart makes a financial donation to a local non-profit group. Checks were made out to Torrance-Lomita Meals on Wheels and Arnold Elementary School. Jobs are also being created in Torrance because the local Walmart has hired many “associates”.

2006 was the last time a Walmart was built in LA county. That was when the Super Center opened in Rosemead.  In 2003, Torrance rejected the plans to build a Walmart on Skypark Drive because of its reputation of paying low wages and offering low benefits.

Now, two years after the official plans for the store on Hawthorne near Toys R Us, Staples, and Del Amo, were announced, it is finally open. The store opened officially on September 12th with a grand opening featuring a ribbon cutting ceremony, product samplings, and character appearances. “We are proud to be opening during the year Wal-Mart celebrates the 50th anniversary of the first store opening and the city of Torrance celebrates it centennial,” store manager Tony Amirikhass told the Daily Breeze.

Make sure to visit the new Walmart sometime soon. While you’re there, think about it. Is Walmart your new go-to store?  Or do you still prefer your normal grocery store? Either way, this really is the year of big happenings for Torrance.For more information about Walmart, click on .

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