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The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

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Comm students present revealing Wal-Mart documentary

By Clara Freedman

Cori Hanson, a junior in communication, said she recognizes that Wal-Mart is unethical in many ways, but she still plans to shop there because it’s affordable.

Hanson shared her views about the mega-store during an open discussion held by the Communication Graduate Student Association after it showed Robert Greenwald’s film, “Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price,” in LNCO on Nov. 17.

David Vergobbi, professor of communication, led a discussion after the film on how Wal-Mart impacts society.

“(The film) did make me realize that Wal-Mart is just money-hungry, self-centered, greedy and selfish,” Hanson said.

The U’s screening, which was attended by more than 200 U students, staff and local community members, was just one of thousands of public and private screenings of the documentary that occurred nationwide last week.

Jake Fawson, a member of CGSA, ordered the documentary’s DVD and a screening kit through the Internet after hearing about it in a CGSA meeting.

“Just the standpoint of it not having a theatrical release was an intriguing idea to me,” Fawson said.

“The screening was a nice opportunity for members of the U community to interact with the public community,” communication graduate student Aubrey Arnell said. “It was so exciting to be involved in democracy in action.”

The CGSA wanted to prompt a public discussion about the impact of Wal-Mart on local communities because communities complain that the mega-store puts local stores out of business, Fawson said.

The film argues that when Wal-Mart enters a town, retail prices and property values drop. Local businesses are forced to close down because they cannot compete with the lower prices and wider varieties.

Wal-Mart is able to establish itself in many communities with the help of government subsidies, while local businesses receive nothing.

The film also argues that Wal-Mart is able to flood markets with cheaper products because it uses factories in China that overwork and underpay employees.

Hanson said that “the movie was very sensational and biased.”

Several members of the audience admitted that they will still probably shop at Wal-Mart because of the cheaper prices, Vergobbi said.

The point of the event was to get people thinking, he said.

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