Politics from the Palouse to Puget Sound

Monday, April 10, 2006

Siempre Precios Bajos. Siempre.

Yes, Monterrey has a Wal-Mart Supercenter. I passed two of them on the way into downtown. There is a large Wal-Mart distribution center adjacent to Del Norte airport in the suburb of Apodaca.

Wal-Mart first came to Mexico in 1991. Today, only the U.S. has more stores than Mexico's 796 units. With over $15 billion in 2005 sales and 124,000 employees,Wal-Mart de México is the country's largest retailer and grocery store chain.

There was no fight when Wal-Mart came to Monterrey. In fact, average Mexicans wonder why Americans make such a fuss over Wal-Mart.

Why? Because they appreciate the jobs, the convenience, the selection and the low prices that Wal-Mart brings. A developing country like Mexico can't afford the cultural elitism and NIMBYism that pampered gringos enjoy. Plus, as Wal-Mart does wherever it opens, modifications were made to suit local tastes, e.g. carrying Mexican products and advertising Mexican style. For example, in Mexico, any grocery store that did not offer extremely fresh, good vegetables would not be in business very long.

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