I’ve noticed that a lot of people like to complain about Wal-Mart and their business practices, yet they’ll often follow those grievances with “but I really don’t have anywhere else to go” as an excuse to shop there when it’s convenient. Sure, Wal-Mart is often really convenient when you need to buy bread, cheese, bullets, bass worms and a made in China Duck Dynasty t-shirt off the $5 clearance rack. I’ll even admit I’ve broken down and gone there because it’s just too far out of my way to buy a spool of fishing line anywhere else when I’m rushing to go fishing. However, especially when it comes to groceries, many of us have options that don’t involve giving our money to the disgustingly rich Walton heirs – and so here’s a list of places you can start giving your money to instead of Wal-Mart.
“WinCo is continuing this record of success, now operating 94 Employee Owned Stores in eight states (Washington, Idaho, California, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Arizona and Texas) with nearly 15,000 employees and continues to grow by opening new stores and adding new members to the company every year.”
94 stores isn’t a lot, but this company is slowly expanding and constantly receives requests from people in locations around the country to build a store in their town.
5. Trader Joe’s: I’ve been in a lot of grocery stores and I’ve never seen employees as happy and cheerful as the people at Trader Joe’s. The average salary is much higher than Wal-Mart and it shows both in the cleanliness of the store as well as the friendliness of the employees. Also, if you’re opposed to GMOs, Trader Joe’s has a policy of not selling products containing GMOs under their label. Trader Joe’s has more locations than WinCo currently and even if you don’t care about ethical practices, who can pass up a decent bottle of wine for only $2.99?
4. Costco: Costco has been referred to as the “Anti-Walmart” due to both their notoriously high employee pay which is almost unheard of in the and their CEO’s support of raising the minimum wage. And where else can you get a good hot dog and a drink for only $1.50?
3. Wegman’s: Currently, Wegmans has 83 stores and employs over 44,000 people in New York, Massachusetts, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia and New Jersey. Their commitment to the community statement is indicative of what kind of company they are:
Wegmans is a major corporate contributor in communities where stores are located. In addition to corporate giving, every store has a budget for community support. Giving is focused in these five areas:
- Food for the needy
- Strengthening neighborhoods
- Helping young people succeed
- Healthy eating and activity
- Support for the United Way as an effective way to fund programs that make a difference
Wegmans has awarded $90 million in scholarships to 28,400 employees since the company inaugurated the Wegmans Scholarship Program in 1984. About 4,000 employees have active scholarships each year while they attend colleges and universities across the country.
2. Your local family owned grocery store: In many rural communities, the mom and pop shops have mostly gone the way of the buffalo. Local stores may cost a little more, but the money is put right back into the community instead of into Wal-Mart’s coffers.
1. Your local farmer’s market: The very best bet for fresh meat, eggs and produce is your local farmer’s market. With most of your food these days, you don’t see where it actually comes from. Do you trust a company’s word that the chickens your eggs came from were treated in an ethical way? With local foods, you can meet the dairy farmer and possibly even the cow your milk came from. With the growing popularity of locally sourced food, farmer’s markets have exploded in numbers since the year 2000.
Of course, we certainly aren’t going to change the world simply by just changing our buying habits but it is still an important step in creating a better future for our children, and the rest of humanity.
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