The Wal-Mart Effect (Part I)

The Evil Empire

The Evil Empire

My next few posts will speculate on the effect Wal-Mart might have on my little B&M needlepoint startup company in Stuart, Florida.

Let’s first have some introductory, sassy fun with this, before getting down to business. (Please do note that Part I is meant to be somewhat edgy and satirical. If you are uncomfortable with satire, you may wish to skip to Parts II & III.)

[Part II will cover in some detail the willingness of Wal-Mart and other retailers to offer needlepoint and embroidery yarn at rock bottom prices. I will also suggest a strategy that the typically more nimble, individual LNS owner might consider in response.

Part III closes with a discussion of the pressures that online retailers of needlepoint canvases, including Wal-Mart and others, exert on the prospective startup LNS owner. Again, I will suggest some solutions — in this case, a broader response that may serve to promote the continued overall  economic well-being of the needlepoint industry.]

I’ll come out the gate with an elitist (although I’m actually a bona fide member of the oppressed working class!), hold-my-nose description of the in-store merchandise available at the local Wal-Mart Superstore (which is only a short drive way from my store’s location).

This is to hide my paranoia about my high-end customers wearing disguises and shopping there to pick up DMC needlepoint threads on the cheap.

J&P Coats Peg Display

J&P Coats Peg Display

Much as I might enjoy doing so, I simply do not have the time to yuk it up with some snarky takedown comments about the fact that a very young Hillary Clinton served on its board from 1986 to 1992 — even as the retailing behemoth was gearing up its all out assault on labor unions, once the very heart and soul of the Democratic party’s base.

Nor will I rake any current board members over the coals, such as laying down odds on the likelihood that Marissa Mayer, the embattled  $72 million President and CEO of Yahoo!, has ever set foot anywhere within a 10-mile radius of the mega discount retailer.

I won’t get into the enormous backlash engendered by the Leader of the Free World’s recent stop at a Wal-Mart store in Mountain View, California, despite his first term campaign promise that he would not ever, ever shop there.

Ditto the successful rejection by New York City of the company’s attempt to infest Brooklyn’s commercial retail space.

DMC BoxAnd I’ll even spare you a sarcastic description of what it’s like to make that loooooooooooooooong walk to the back of the cavernous store and see skeins of DMC 117 laying pitifully in rows of plastic display trays (as opposed to, say, retro DMC wooden display boxes) with different dye lots all mixed together.

Or mention the dearth of sales assistants (never mind a needlepoint-knowledgeable one) to talk to about which skeins might work best with the canvas you are stitching.

Or the soul-destroying wait at the checkout counter, right behind the screaming children and unshaven, pot-bellied bubbas in ratty Dolphins baseball caps loading up on the brewsky.

You know, Wal-Mart.

If you haven’t experienced this sort of thing, trust me, you probably won’t ever want to.

Just drop by Needlepoint Land instead.


© Erin McGrath and, 2012 – 2016


About Erin

Owner of Needlepoint Land, LLC. Professional in the field for more than 15 years, during which I have managed and/or worked with various high-end needlepoint shops. I enjoy teaching both beginners and advanced stitchers, and have created numerous stitch guides, with speciality thread selections, for in-store customers and private clients. I maintain contact with an extensive network of needlepoint vendors, custom artists, and, most importantly, reliable, high-quality finishers. I look forward to hearing your comments on my blog!

6 responses »

  1. Great advice, I don’t think “Mega Evil” as a friend of mine calls it really competes with LNS, but every now and then I like to stir the pot so to speak. Thanks again for commenting, Anne.

  2. I agree totally with you about Walmart, it’s just that America has become so polarized about politics and politicians that you will offend someone no matter what you say. I hate Walmart.

  3. Sorry if the post struck you as off-putting. It was meant to be satirical. You can’t win ’em all! Less funny is the rampant destruction that Wal-Mart has engendered in the US economy, including the fallout on local job markets and independent SMB retailers, not to mention the drastic lowering of the quality of goods that were once made in the USA and were the envy of the world. Wal-Mart forces suppliers to offshore in order for them to compete mostly on the basis of price alone. Quality is typically not a concern. However, by destroying the economic stability of the demographic it purports to serve, the company is now paying the proverbial piper, as sales are now declining due to its target market finding itself unable to shop to the lowering of living standards. This three part series has been of interest to the many stitchers who are wondering what it might be like to actually open their own store. Please do stay tuned for Part II where I touch on the effect of big box retailers on the business strategy of the incipient needlepoint point shop owner. And thank you for your comment.

  4. I am not a Walmart shopper per say, but I found your blog unbecoming and not very funny as I expect you thought you were trying to put across to your readers.

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