Slashdot ran yet another article on outsourcing today, this one about how Tech Firms Defend Moving Jobs Overseas. It had the usual comments one's come to expect from such stories. It's been quite interesting watching the attitudes of the folks on Slashdot over the past few years. I started reading the site around the time of the RedHat IPO when everyone was cocky and folks useed to brag about getting cars as signing bonuses. Then the beginning of the downturn when the general sentiment was that only those who couldn't hack it were getting fired. Then the feeling that the job loss was more commonplace started to spread and the xenophobic phase began with railings againsg H1Bs. Now it seems every other poster is either out of work or just got a job after being out of work for a couple of months. The same folks who used to laugh at the problems the RIAA had dealing with the fact that "their business model was obsolete in a digital world" now seek protectionalist government policies to deal with the fact that their IT careers are obsolete in a global economy.   

Anyway, I digress. I found an interesting link in one of the posts to an article on FastCompany entitled The Wal-Mart You Don't Know. It begins

A gallon-sized jar of whole pickles is something to behold. The jar is the size of a small aquarium. The fat green pickles, floating in swampy juice, look reptilian, their shapes exaggerated by the glass. It weighs 12 pounds, too big to carry with one hand. The gallon jar of pickles is a display of abundance and excess; it is entrancing, and also vaguely unsettling. This is the product that Wal-Mart fell in love with: Vlasic's gallon jar of pickles.

Wal-Mart priced it at $2.97--a year's supply of pickles for less than $3! "They were using it as a 'statement' item," says Pat Hunn, who calls himself the "mad scientist" of Vlasic's gallon jar. "Wal-Mart was putting it before consumers, saying, This represents what Wal-Mart's about. You can buy a stinkin' gallon of pickles for $2.97. And it's the nation's number-one brand."

Therein lies the basic conundrum of doing business with the world's largest retailer. By selling a gallon of kosher dills for less than most grocers sell a quart, Wal-Mart may have provided a ser-vice for its customers. But what did it do for Vlasic? The pickle maker had spent decades convincing customers that they should pay a premium for its brand. Now Wal-Mart was practically giving them away. And the fevered buying spree that resulted distorted every aspect of Vlasic's operations, from farm field to factory to financial statement.

and has this somewhere in the middle

Wal-Mart has also lulled shoppers into ignoring the difference between the price of something and the cost. Its unending focus on price underscores something that Americans are only starting to realize about globalization: Ever-cheaper prices have consequences. Says Steve Dobbins, president of thread maker Carolina Mills: "We want clean air, clear water, good living conditions, the best health care in the world--yet we aren't willing to pay for anything manufactured under those restrictions."

which is particularly interesting given the various points I've seen raised about outsourcing in the IT field. The US is definitely headed for interesting times.


Monday, January 12, 2004 4:32:05 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
a few months ago, my wife and i decided to never shop there again

we just cannot support a company that sings of their patriotism but seeks to undermine much of the people of this country. their values were strong while sam was alive, but now they are singly focused on their bottom line, at the expense of almost everything else.
John Morales
Comments are closed.