Monday, December 6, 2004

Wal-Mart and cultural mores

Some good examples of what we talk about when we talk about cultural mores, from an article in the New York Times on Wal-Mart's expansion into other countries:

[A]n early miss was Indonesia, where Wal-Mart began trying to build a business in 1996. Indonesians turned up their noses at the brightly lighted, highly organized stores . . . and because no haggling was permitted, considered them overpriced. A year later, Wal-Mart packed up and left.

In Argentina and Brazil, an apparent ignorance of local preferences regarding cuts of beef alienated many potential customers . . . . And in Germany, shoppers gave a cold shoulder to the greeters that Wal-Mart uses to lend a friendly atmosphere to its sprawling American stores. "It was viewed as too friendly and disruptive, invading their space."
Another example of a cultural shift: Wal-Mart is permitting its employees in China to organize unions.

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