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Extravoice
2010-Mar-19, 08:03 PM
I recall having a lunchtime conversation with two co-workers ten years ago. One complained that there was too much advertising, while the other said that there was too little (he always played the devil's advocate, often quite successfully). The first co-worker said he was annoyed by advertising, while the second said that advertising dollars lowered the cost of goods and services where the advertising was placed. He even proposed that the government accept advertising to offset the cost of printing money ("This dollar bill was brought to you by <company-name>").

I recently visited the doctor, and everything in the exam room from the foot pad on the scale, to the tissue box, to the blood-pressure cuff had advertising on them. Yesterday at the airport, I spotted advertising in an unlikely place. Ads for a bank were posted on the outside of the jetways.

So I ask, is there too much advertising, or too little advertising in this world?

Argos
2010-Mar-19, 08:23 PM
I donīt care much about advertising [though i do get annoyed by ad breaks on the TV]. I think it is inherent to our way of life, which is a good thing. Advertising is one of the pillars of an independent press.

Iīve voted 'donīt care' [btw, what do you think, as I notice you didnīt vote in your own poll :)]

HenrikOlsen
2010-Mar-19, 08:41 PM
... while the second said that advertising dollars lowered the cost of goods and services where the advertising was placed.
A lowering paid for by the consumers of the product advertised.
Which with targeted advertisements is very likely the same people who are getting cheaper services.

rommel543
2010-Mar-19, 09:03 PM
Advertising is a double edged sword the way I consider it. Yes if I put advertising on my website it helps pay for it, and the people that are advertising the product get their name out. At the same time you have products that cost 2 to 3 times more because the company that is selling it has a costly aggressive ad campaign.

I don't mind advertising in some areas, but it's getting ridiculous on the web and tv. I pay for Sirius satellite radio specifically because there are no ads.

Fazor
2010-Mar-19, 09:12 PM
I selected "too much" but not because it's annoying (though certainly can be!) but because we're bombarded by so much of it that I think it really destroys the effectiveness.

But it's funny you should start this thread. I had an observation earlier that I was going to write about but didn't have the time. I had the NCAA men's tourney video stream going, and any time it would go to commercials the commercials would break up and be choppy. It took me a minute to figure out why; the on the side of the webpage were all these java-scripted (I think it's Java, anyway) ads that correspond to the video ad. But because each commercial was only 30 seconds or so, and my connection and system are slow, trying to load and display the banner ads *and* video at the same time disrupted the ad.

The games, however, stream just fine (with few and minor hickups every few minutes).

I was thinking "Ha! Get greedy and try to "super advertise" and now people like me on slow connections or old machines couldn't see/hear your ads if we wanted to!"

mike alexander
2010-Mar-19, 09:12 PM
Advertising, as in letting people know you have a product or service for sale, is essential for getting the word out in most cases.

Advertising, as in the misleading, raree-show, product as fantasy sex surrogate, can go hang.

Extravoice
2010-Mar-20, 12:00 AM
I voted that there is too much advertising, although I am not opposed to it in general. It's just overdone. I consider the items cited in my original post as examples.

I also wish the SciFi SyFy channel would run fewer commercials, but understand that they can't command as many dollars per minute as some other channels.

SkepticJ
2010-Mar-20, 01:21 AM
There is too much, and it's often badly done.

Advertising is essential in a capitalist society, but when it's done to the point of irritation, it looses its effectiveness.

I won't buy most products I see obtrusively advertised because:

1. It likely means it's a crappy product, in that it doesn't just get sold by word of mouth.

2. It's a crappy product, so no one will tell their friends about it.

3. It doesn't sell itself because it's a crappy product.

Seriously, though, some of the best products I use aren't advertised.

I don't understand why many things are advertised. Coca-Cola, Pepsi, McDonalds, Walmart etc. being prime examples.

I know you freaking exist! Everyone who isn't an animist, Amazonian tribesman in the middle of Bum[bleep] Brazil knows you exist. Leave me alone, save yourself a whole lot of money.

kleindoofy
2010-Mar-20, 01:29 AM
Before answering, I want to take a short pause for this important consumer information: Do the test, drink Coke!

So, where was I?

Ah yes, advertising.

I tend to avoid products that advertise. I feel I'm being taken advantage of when I buy one.

This post was brought to you by Wheaties, the breakfast of champions.

kleindoofy
2010-Mar-20, 01:36 AM
... I don't understand why many things are advertised. Coca-Cola, Pepsi, McDonalds, Walmart etc. being prime examples.

I know you freaking exist! Everyone who isn't an animist, Amazonian tribesman in the middle of Bum[bleep] Brazil knows you exist. Leave me alone, save yourself a whole lot of money.
But that's the whole point, and it shows their advertising is working.

Coca-Cola does what is called "presence advertising." It's ubiquitous, therefore it's seen as being important.

The point of many their ads (billboards, logos all over the place, etc.) is not that you get up and go get a Coke. They train you mentally to expect to be able to get Coke where ever you go and to want it.

Gillianren
2010-Mar-20, 02:56 AM
Advertising, as in letting people know you have a product or service for sale, is essential for getting the word out in most cases.

Advertising, as in the misleading, raree-show, product as fantasy sex surrogate, can go hang.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/If-by-whiskey

Personally, I think pop-up ads are a tool of Satan that create animosity among all but idiots, and I think commercials aren't as entertaining as they should be. Jack-in-the-Box, a fast food chain, has a great ad campaign--it's been running for about twenty years now, and they're still funny. I've seen a few commercials that were just visually striking. Most, yes, make me want to avoid products.

SkepticJ
2010-Mar-20, 02:57 AM
If by "working" that means making me like them less, then yes, their marketing is working.

I drink Coca-Cola in spite of their incessant advertising.

If another company made something that tasted exactly like it, and was as ubiquitous in stores as it is, I'd buy it instead if they didn't run nauseating ads in movie theaters etc.

"Presence advertising" may be how marketing shills sell their services to corporations, but like snake oil, just because it's around doesn't mean it works.

TheHalcyonYear
2010-Mar-20, 05:15 AM
Well, I doubt that we will see a reduction in the amount of advertising any time soon. There are any number of companies, both large and small, that are convinced that they have the data to support the contention that their advertising budgets increase net profits beyond the cost of the advertising. In other words, the money they make with advertising is more than the cost of the advertising.

In our capitalistic society, we also place a premium on competition. This means that it is not enough for one to make known a product or service, it is necessary to convince people that one's product or service is preferable to that offered by others offering a similar product or service. As a result there is a lot of advertising specifically designed to present a product or service as superior to some alternative even in cases where there is little difference between the two.

J Riff
2010-Mar-20, 06:53 AM
about 1984 they started putting ads on the boards at NHL hockey games, making it more difficult to see the puck. For this reason alone, it should be banned.

HenrikOlsen
2010-Mar-20, 12:12 PM
Advertising is essential in a capitalist society, ...
Not really it would work quite well without any, but with the existence of some advertising by competitors, the rational strategy for a company is to advertise more/better than them, leading to an advertisement arms race that only stops when customers stop buying because too much of the price is used for ads compared to product.


I don't understand why many things are advertised. Coca-Cola, Pepsi, McDonalds, Walmart etc. being prime examples.
These are all either in heavy competition with nearly identical other brands that are indistinguishable except for the name or aggressively defending a monopoly.

Delvo
2010-Mar-20, 02:28 PM
about 1984 they started putting ads on the boards at NHL hockey games, making it more difficult to see the puck. For this reason alone, it should be banned.Yes, in addition to the ads being irritating and likely ineffective as others mentioned above, I was about to add another: that they're just clutter, getting in the way. That makes it harder to find what you're looking for, and less likely that you'll notice what you aren't looking for but really should notice. We've all had the experience of being told to look at something and pointed in its direction but still being unable to find it amid the other visual junk in its area.

At the drug store I work at, we have a new sale every week, so every week, we have to take down last week's stickers on every item that was on sale and put up the new week's stickers on every item that's going on sale now. And there are two other sets of similar stickers that need to be changed at four-week or one-month intervals or something like that: rebate offers and "temporary price reductions" (which sounds like another way to say "sale" but is programmed differently in the cash-register computers and such). Sometimes two or all three types of offer apply to the same item, so one sticker gets put on top of another. Often there are a lot of similar or related items next to each other on the shelf that all get stickers so there's just a little continuous wall of stickers all saying the same thing. There are so many, making the shelves so plastered in these stickers, that not only do they fail to stand out from the background like they're presumably supposed to but BECOME the background instead, but they also tend to cast shadows and block the view of the items on the shelves below themselves... making it harder to find those items, confirm what they are, tell the differences between them if they're similar items, see how many of each are left, and straighten them so they look neatly lined up on the shelves. So they not only don't get noticed but actually make customers less likely to see other information that both the customers and the company would want the customers to see.

Here's an example of the effects of living in a world of excessive ad clutter just getting in the way. When I ordered my PC monitor online, I waited for a while and got no monitor and no email about it being shipped, so I contacted the online retailer to ask about it. The reply I got said that those monitors wouldn't be available until a certain date in the future, and that this was announced on the company's page about the monitor in huge red letters so you couldn't miss it. I checked and saw that the message was indeed there on the page in huge red letters, which I had missed before. I had missed it because I had gotten so used to ignoring things with that kind of graphical appearance, because that kind of thing is how ads are done. So ads had caused me to miss valuable information, even when they weren't there.

Argos
2010-Mar-20, 02:38 PM
I know you freaking exist! Everyone who isn't an animist, Amazonian tribesman in the middle of Bum[bleep] Brazil knows you exist.

You should have chosen another example. There arenīt animists in Brazil anymore. Everybody gets TV.

HenrikOlsen
2010-Mar-20, 04:03 PM
Why should having a TV prevent anyone from being an animist?

mike alexander
2010-Mar-20, 05:21 PM
Why should having a TV prevent anyone from being an animist?

After seeing old cartoons they all converted to Animaniacs. Hail the trinity of Yakko, Wacko and Dot.

mike alexander
2010-Mar-20, 05:50 PM
Advertising is that section of human ability capable of bringing reasonable humans to blows over which bottle of water tastes better.

TheHalcyonYear
2010-Mar-20, 10:11 PM
Not really it would work quite well without any, but with the existence of some advertising by competitors, the rational strategy for a company is to advertise more/better than them, leading to an advertisement arms race that only stops when customers stop buying because too much of the price is used for ads compared to product.

Actually, if one looks around the world, Americans pay some of the lowest prices in the world. This is because the combination of advertising and competition. If one looks at price increases they are usually related to the cost of manufacturing, labor, energy, transportation.



These are all either in heavy competition with nearly identical other brands that are indistinguishable except for the name or aggressively defending a monopoly.
Advertising is often used to defend market share for brands where there is little to distinguish between alternatives. However, there is little or no evidence that this results in an increase in price. In fact there is a great deal of evidence that new brands often break into established markets through competitive pricing. As for monopolies, there are few of those in this country.

sarongsong
2010-Mar-21, 04:55 AM
...As for monopolies, there are few of those in this country.That's the idea! http://www.bautforum.com/images/icons/icon10.gif

mugaliens
2010-Mar-21, 06:08 AM
The National Advertising Reform Act of 2012

Purpose: The National Advertising Reform Act of 2012 has three primary goals. The first goal is to reduce, if not eliminate, the needless wast of precious natural resources such as paper and fuels used to generate electricity in support of outrageous and outlanding attempts by marketers to garner an unfair share of everyone's business. The second goal is is to level the playing field between corporations with huge advertising budgets funded by consumers and smaller firms who may be producing a better product or service. The third goal is to eliminate the unpleasant experience of both Americans and foreign nationsl with respect to the unsightly eye clutter along our highways, the unpleasant experience of cleaning out our over-stuffed mail boxes on a daily basis to retrieve that one weekly letter, and the unpleasant experience of having to fast-foward our Tivos between commercials.

Methodology 1: This act would make it legal for corporations to advertise in just two places: On their own websites, and in a searcheable National Advertising Database. There are no restrictions on a company's websites. The NAD would contain an entry for each and every product or service of a company. Entries would be limited to one 100x80 pixel corporate logo or product image, as well as a very small and strictly controlled template attached to each item.

Methodology 2: Create a national "opt-out" federal database, whereby if any marketer sends mail of any kind, including electronic (e-mail, pop-ups, online ads on their own or second/third/x-party websites), USPS, UPS, FedEx, DHS, etc, to the individual opting out, the individual will be entitled to an immediate $10,000 fine for each and every occurrence payable within 30 days from the act. If the individual has not received payment in full by the 31st day, the offending organization will be fined $100,000 per day thereafter.

I dunno - do you have a better idea?

I, for one, am tired of praying matises crawling across Yahoo! while I'm trying to log on, or of one ridiculously nerdy, goggle-eyed white-collar employee dribbling green *something" out of his mouth in some touched-in-the-head marketer's idea of what he thinks might sell his product or service.

TheHalcyonYear
2010-Mar-21, 08:06 AM
Good luck mugaliens. I think you are going to have the entire business community against you.

HenrikOlsen
2010-Mar-21, 10:03 AM
As for monopolies, there are few of those in this country.
And Walmart, which you mentioned in the post I commented on, is one of them.

Bluevision
2010-Mar-21, 03:06 PM
Methodology 2: Create a national "opt-out" federal database, whereby if any marketer sends mail of any kind, including electronic (e-mail, pop-ups, online ads on their own or second/third/x-party websites), USPS, UPS, FedEx, DHS, etc, to the individual opting out, the individual will be entitled to an immediate $10,000 fine for each and every occurrence payable within 30 days from the act. If the individual has not received payment in full by the 31st day, the offending organization will be fined $100,000 per day thereafter.I like this idea. A lot.

The thing I don't get about advertisements is that they don't motivate me to do anything, and I don't know anyone who seems to be affected by them at all either. They're just an annoyance between soccer and hockey goals, plot twists in my favorite TV shows and needless filler inside everything else (which I'll admit is probably needless filler to my life anyways.)

PraedSt
2010-Mar-21, 03:22 PM
I voted "I don't care".

Isn't advertising protected under the right to free speech?

SkepticJ
2010-Mar-21, 05:26 PM
It is, and should be.

However, I wouldn't object to it being reined in some.

The First Amendment doesn't give you the right to stand just off someone's property and irritate them with a bullhorn.

SeanF
2010-Mar-21, 05:44 PM
Methodology 1: This act would make it legal for corporations to advertise in just two places: On their own websites, and in a searcheable National Advertising Database. There are no restrictions on a company's websites. The NAD would contain an entry for each and every product or service of a company. Entries would be limited to one 100x80 pixel corporate logo or product image, as well as a very small and strictly controlled template attached to each item.
Congratulations on making television and Internet access considerably more expensive for the end-user. :)

Besides, this still entails telling private citizens what they can or cannot put on their own website. Just because I'm not an owner of Company X is no reason I can't put advertising for Company X on my website, is it?


Methodology 2: Create a national "opt-out" federal database, whereby if any marketer sends mail of any kind, including electronic (e-mail, pop-ups, online ads on their own or second/third/x-party websites), USPS, UPS, FedEx, DHS, etc, to the individual opting out, the individual will be entitled to an immediate $10,000 fine for each and every occurrence payable within 30 days from the act. If the individual has not received payment in full by the 31st day, the offending organization will be fined $100,000 per day thereafter.
I think there have been attempts to make junk mail illegal, but they've not been upheld in court. I could be wrong, though.


I dunno - do you have a better idea?
The status quo? ;)

HenrikOlsen
2010-Mar-21, 07:45 PM
Isn't advertising protected under the right to free speech?
Partly (http://www.lawpublish.com/amend1.html), the right is not as unfettered as that of real people.

In order to be protected it must "concern lawful activity and not be misleading." And it can still be regulated if it's shown that "the asserted governmental interest is substantial, [ ] the regulation directly advances the governmental interest asserted, and [if] it is not more extensive than is necessary to serve that interest."1


1) U.S. Supreme Court decision in Central Hudson Gas & Electric Corp. v. Public Service Com. (http://www.lawpublish.com/central-hudson-gas-electric-corp.html), 447 U.S. 557, 563, 65 L. Ed. 2d 341, 100 S. Ct. 2343 (1980).
The case was the result of a ban on all advertisements promoting electricity because fuel shortages meant "the interconnected utility system in New York State does not have sufficient fuel stocks or sources of supply to continue furnishing all customer demands for the 1973-1974 winter."

Occam
2010-Mar-21, 08:34 PM
Personally, I am so sick of advertising that I deliberately avoid it whenever I can. I simply don't watch 'live' TV anymore, instead recording it to watch later (should there actually be anything worth watching in the first place). I can no longer listen to the radio without become irritated beyond all measure. There are certain retail outfits in New Zealand whose advertising is so personally irritating that I actually boycott the shops themselves. I use Opera's wonderful content blocker for web pages and if that doesn't work I go elsewhere. Maybe I'm a radical in this regard but I so despise unsolicited advertising being shoved in my face from every quarter, that I can no longer bear it.

TheHalcyonYear
2010-Mar-21, 08:37 PM
And Walmart, which you mentioned in the post I commented on, is one of them.
This is not true.
A monopoly is defined by dictionary.com as:

exclusive control of a commodity or service in a particular market, or a control that makes possible the manipulation of prices.
Walmart in no way fits the definition of a monopoly. The products that are sold there are available at a variety of other stores. Walmart has been successful through its mass marketing techniques which in many cases allow them to sell the same products at lower prices than other stores.

This is a much different situation from the monopolistic control that Standard Oil had in 1904 when it controlled 91% of the refined oil that flowed in the United States and 85% of final sales.

Walmart may have incurred the dislike of many in the U.S., but it doesn't come anywhere close to a fit the economic definition of a monopoly.

kleindoofy
2010-Mar-21, 09:06 PM
... In order to be protected it must "concern lawful activity and not be misleading." And it can still be regulated if it's shown that "the asserted governmental interest is substantial, [ ] the regulation directly advances the governmental interest asserted, and [if] it is not more extensive than is necessary to serve that interest." ...
I remember back in the early 1970's when the first major antitrust suits against the Bell System (Ma Bell) were being formed. At the time, Bell still had a de facto monopoly, if not indeed de jure.

One of the antitrust accusations was that Bell was making profits far above and beyond what their monopoly status justified.

So what did they do? They started running extremely expensive TV ads. That's right, a monopoly ran TV ads - something which they had not done before that. The cost of the ads reduced Bell's profits enough to weaken part of the antitrust case. Plus, it gave them the chance to claim "we're doing this all for you."

History has shown us that it didn't help them in the long run.

(Quoted from memory and subject to error.)

TheHalcyonYear
2010-Mar-21, 09:57 PM
Bell Systems is a good example of a monopolistic company. There was little or no alternative to Bell for a long time if one wanted to make a phone call. However, if one doesn't want to show at Walmart, there are a variety of establishments where one may acquire either the exact same or equivalent products. As a result, Walmart does not fit the definition of a monopoly.

Moose
2010-Mar-21, 11:22 PM
In my parents' home town, a small city of 8,000 people, the only place you can get recent video games is Walmart. The nearest alternative is an hour's drive away in a city of 14,000 people. It's a Walmart. The next nearest is two hours away, a Walmart. But there's choice, at least, at the EB two hours and fifteen seconds away.

The nearest to me is a Walmart. The next nearest is a Staples (overpriced, token selection and a token bargain bin). An hour ten minutes away across the border, there's a Walmart and a mom-and-pop music store that carries a decent selection of games. An hour-twenty minutes away, there's a Walmart and an EB (IIRC) just a few doors past it.

So yeah, in my region at least, I can choose any Walmart I want to.

cjl
2010-Mar-22, 02:27 AM
Or you could purchase online...

TheHalcyonYear
2010-Mar-22, 02:31 AM
In my parents' home town, a small city of 8,000 people, the only place you can get recent video games is Walmart. The nearest alternative is an hour's drive away in a city of 14,000 people. It's a Walmart. The next nearest is two hours away, a Walmart. But there's choice, at least, at the EB two hours and fifteen seconds away.

The nearest to me is a Walmart. The next nearest is a Staples (overpriced, token selection and a token bargain bin). An hour ten minutes away across the border, there's a Walmart and a mom-and-pop music store that carries a decent selection of games. An hour-twenty minutes away, there's a Walmart and an EB (IIRC) just a few doors past it.

So yeah, in my region at least, I can choose any Walmart I want to.
That may well be, but Walmart does not fit the economic definition of a monopoly.

Gillianren
2010-Mar-22, 03:43 AM
Or you could purchase online...

Personally, I like supporting local stores. (Actually, one of 'em ships the thing I buy from them, but it's easier just to go downtown.) When I lived in Port Angeles, Washington, practically the only thing you could buy from local stores was books--Wal-Mart has lousy book selection, and we had two good bookstores, neither of them chain. Of course, there were a lot of things you couldn't do in Port Angeles; shopping at not-Wal-Mart was just one of them.

kleindoofy
2010-Mar-22, 04:07 AM
The condition described by Moose may be a de facto monopoly, but is hardly a de jure monopoly. If somebody else wanted to open up a shop and sell video games on the side, they probably would be able to, unless Wallmart had some kind of regional exclusivity protection granted by the distributor.


Personally, I like supporting local stores. ...
You'd be surprised how many small stores provide good online services. They may not be local, but online is not always synonymous with conglomerate.

For people without local shops, e.g. book shops, Amazon is not the only alternative. There are many normal, i.e. small, bookshops that sell online as well as in locally the shop itself. Of course, there are the bad seeds out there whom I wouldn't want to trust with my credit card information. But supporting the small businesses helps to slow down the spread of Walmart & Co.

TheHalcyonYear
2010-Mar-22, 05:12 AM
The condition described by Moose may be a de facto monopoly, but is hardly a de jure monopoly. If somebody else wanted to open up a shop and sell video games on the side, they probably would be able to, unless Wallmart had some kind of regional exclusivity protection granted by the distributor.


You'd be surprised how many small stores provide good online services. They may not be local, but online is not always synonymous with conglomerate.

For people without local shops, e.g. book shops, Amazon is not the only alternative. There are many normal, i.e. small, bookshops that sell online as well as in locally the shop itself. Of course, there are the bad seeds out there whom I wouldn't want to trust with my credit card information. But supporting the small businesses helps to slow down the spread of Walmart & Co.
It would be de facto monopoly if there was evidence showing that this allowed Walmart to unilaterally increase prices as a result of a lack of competition. I wait with interest the evidence that indicates that this occurring.

TheHalcyonYear
2010-Mar-22, 05:15 AM
Personally, I like supporting local stores.
One of the ways that Walmart was able to draw customers away from local stores was through the use of a supply chain that allowed them to lower prices below those of the local stores.

I always like the way people moan that Walmart drove the local stores out of business. No one forced people to abandon local stores, people don't like Walmart, but they shop there for the lower prices. If they don't like Walmart, don't shop there.

Moose
2010-Mar-22, 09:04 AM
That may well be, but Walmart does not fit the economic definition of a monopoly.

I'm not really interested in arguing this further, but you're moving the goalposts somewhat. You didn't originally posit that the legal definition of a monopoly mattered, nor did you originally posit that "sudden increase of price" mattered. I'm hard pressed to see how either semantical objection is relevant.

You (and Kleindoofy) argued that it was okay because there was choice. To the (very limited) extent that I'm interested by this discussion, I'm content to simply demonstrate to you that you're overestimating the availability of choice in rural (or semi-rural) areas. That's fine, rural areas are what they are, but your thinking needs more nuance.

Walmart may or may not fall within an absolutist definition of monopoly in all markets and regions, I neither know nor care. My point is that the distinction is entirely lost on me as I consider my limited options for obtaining Mass Effect 2.

kleindoofy
2010-Mar-22, 12:24 PM
... You (and Kleindoofy) argued that it was okay because there was choice. ...
Huh???

I did no such thing.

All I said was that although a Walmart monopoly may exist de facto in your area, it is most probably not de jure.

Perhaps I have to explain my terminology.

De facto means "in reality," i.e. how things are, as (possibly) opposed to what theory, rules, or the law dictate.

De jure means "according to law," i.e. according to the theory of how things should be, be those theories legal, moral, or other.

Walmart has a de facto monopoly in your (i.e. your parents') area, simply because no other retailer is there. I however somehow doubt that that monopoly is legally imposed or uttery impossible to break.

Stating the facts is hardly the same as having "argued that it was okay." In fact, anybody who knows me personally knows how anti-monopolistic I am.

SeanF
2010-Mar-22, 02:04 PM
In my parents' home town, a small city of 8,000 people, the only place you can get recent video games is Walmart.
Just out of curiosity - would a town of 8000 support multiple videogame stores in the absence of Walmart?

Argos
2010-Mar-22, 04:28 PM
Why should having a TV prevent anyone from being an animist?

As I said, there ainīt animists in my country. The example given was meant to characterize my country as a sort of Lost World.

1) Pick another country as example of Lost World.

2) Come on, Henrik, stop picking every comment I make, in every section of the board, to make remarks, as if I were some kind of stupid fella. Lets interact on a higher level.

crosscountry
2010-Mar-22, 04:40 PM
I recall having a lunchtime conversation with two co-workers ten years ago. One complained that there was too much advertising, while the other said that there was too little (he always played the devil's advocate, often quite successfully). The first co-worker said he was annoyed by advertising, while the second said that advertising dollars lowered the cost of goods and services where the advertising was placed. He even proposed that the government accept advertising to offset the cost of printing money ("This dollar bill was brought to you by <company-name>").

I recently visited the doctor, and everything in the exam room from the foot pad on the scale, to the tissue box, to the blood-pressure cuff had advertising on them. Yesterday at the airport, I spotted advertising in an unlikely place. Ads for a bank were posted on the outside of the jetways.

So I ask, is there too much advertising, or too little advertising in this world?


I perfect world would have no commercials.

- my buddy Mo said that. I tend to agree

crosscountry
2010-Mar-22, 04:43 PM
One of the ways that Walmart was able to draw customers away from local stores was through the use of a supply chain that allowed them to lower prices below those of the local stores.

I always like the way people moan that Walmart drove the local stores out of business. No one forced people to abandon local stores, people don't like Walmart, but they shop there for the lower prices. If they don't like Walmart, don't shop there.

it's been more than a year since I've been in one. And before that was several years.

Larry Jacks
2010-Mar-22, 04:55 PM
IMO, there is entirely too much advertising. It seems some advertising people believe that any blank surface must have an ad on it. I've seen advertising posted above urinals in men's restrooms, for goodness sakes. It's beginning to remind me of some of those city scenes from BladeRunner.

Originally Posted by Moose
In my parents' home town, a small city of 8,000 people, the only place you can get recent video games is Walmart. The nearest alternative is an hour's drive away in a city of 14,000 people. It's a Walmart. The next nearest is two hours away, a Walmart. But there's choice, at least, at the EB two hours and fifteen seconds away.

The nearest to me is a Walmart. The next nearest is a Staples (overpriced, token selection and a token bargain bin). An hour ten minutes away across the border, there's a Walmart and a mom-and-pop music store that carries a decent selection of games. An hour-twenty minutes away, there's a Walmart and an EB (IIRC) just a few doors past it.

So yeah, in my region at least, I can choose any Walmart I want to.

Then you might consider moving to somewhere with more shopping options. For example, where I live, there are dozens of restaurants, retail stores (including those specializing in video games), grocery stores, gas stations, etc. within a 5 mile radius of my house. I live at the northern edge of a city of about 400,000 people so it's hardly a surprise there are more shopping options here. I've lived in rural areas or small towns for about 15 years of my life. When I lived in these areas (some less than 1000 people), there were few shopping options. For example, when I lived in Genoa, Nebraska (pop. 990), I had to drive over 20 miles to Columbus (pop. ~ 18K when I was there) to buy just about anything. If it wasn't available in Columbus, I could drive another 80 miles or so to reach Omaha. There are advantages for living in small towns but shopping opportunities isn't one of them.

Gillianren
2010-Mar-22, 04:59 PM
I perfect world would have no commercials.

- my buddy Mo said that. I tend to agree

Who pays for producing TV shows?

crosscountry
2010-Mar-22, 05:03 PM
Who pays for producing TV shows?

I don't watch TV. So, your guess is probably better than mine.


Why don't watchers of TV pay for it? I bet we would have a lot fewer couch potatoes in the world.

I like this idea even more.

TheHalcyonYear
2010-Mar-22, 05:31 PM
I'm not really interested in arguing this further, but you're moving the goalposts somewhat. You didn't originally posit that the legal definition of a monopoly mattered, nor did you originally posit that "sudden increase of price" mattered. I'm hard pressed to see how either semantical objection is relevant.

You (and Kleindoofy) argued that it was okay because there was choice. To the (very limited) extent that I'm interested by this discussion, I'm content to simply demonstrate to you that you're overestimating the availability of choice in rural (or semi-rural) areas. That's fine, rural areas are what they are, but your thinking needs more nuance.

Walmart may or may not fall within an absolutist definition of monopoly in all markets and regions, I neither know nor care. My point is that the distinction is entirely lost on me as I consider my limited options for obtaining Mass Effect 2.
Look Moose, I posted the definition of a monopoly when I began this. No goal posts have moved. I suggest learning a bit of economics if you feel that the game has changed.

Gillianren
2010-Mar-22, 05:43 PM
I don't watch TV. So, your guess is probably better than mine.

In the Old Days, a single sponsor paid for each and every program. This turned out to be economically unfeasible. So today, commercials pay for TV. Whether you watch it or not, there are a lot of valuable programs out there--or, vexingly, programs which could be valuable if they were better done. Honestly, having news programs paid for by multiple sponsors is much better for objectivity than the old system, and if that means regular commercial breaks, it's still better than worrying about whether or not the news is going to be objective about the sponsor.


Why don't watchers of TV pay for it? I bet we would have a lot fewer couch potatoes in the world.

I like this idea even more.

Well, of course--you don't pay for it that way. But you know, if you don't watch TV--and I find few things more tiresome than the smug attitude of certain non-TV watchers, unto once having had to deal with people who looked down on something I knew and they didn't just because I'd heard it recently on TV--why do you care about TV commercials?

crosscountry
2010-Mar-22, 05:54 PM
In the Old Days, a single sponsor paid for each and every program. This turned out to be economically unfeasible. So today, commercials pay for TV. Whether you watch it or not, there are a lot of valuable programs out there--or, vexingly, programs which could be valuable if they were better done. Honestly, having news programs paid for by multiple sponsors is much better for objectivity than the old system, and if that means regular commercial breaks, it's still better than worrying about whether or not the news is going to be objective about the sponsor.



Well, of course--you don't pay for it that way. But you know, if you don't watch TV--and I find few things more tiresome than the smug attitude of certain non-TV watchers, unto once having had to deal with people who looked down on something I knew and they didn't just because I'd heard it recently on TV--why do you care about TV commercials?


I was providing a quote that I appreciate.

I feel that way about billboards as well.



and I meant a system like cable, where everyone pays for the programming they use. I bet some channels would go out of business in a week. Others would flourish. People would watch less tv, and the entire world would be better.

HenrikOlsen
2010-Mar-22, 06:13 PM
The condition described by Moose may be a de facto monopoly, but is hardly a de jure monopoly. If somebody else wanted to open up a shop and sell video games on the side, they probably would be able to, unless Wallmart had some kind of regional exclusivity protection granted by the distributor.
Walmart has a policy of using profits in other places to artificially run below loss prices in areas with competition until they're driven it out.

If someone opens a shop, Walmart lowers the local price until it's so low the other shop dies. They can also stop buying from distributors that deliver to their competitors.

That's a de facto monopoly. And it can't be broken because no one else is big enough to open competing shops in all areas at the same time, selling their entire range of products.

It's an unfortunate fact that the monopoly is the stable solution to unregulated free-market capitalism.

Gillianren
2010-Mar-22, 06:40 PM
I was providing a quote that I appreciate.

I feel that way about billboards as well.

As did Lady Bird Johnson, hence highway beautification. (To be fair, it started long before her, but she was a driving force.) Neither of us, so far as I know, lived in the era of serious billboard advertising.


and I meant a system like cable, where everyone pays for the programming they use. I bet some channels would go out of business in a week. Others would flourish. People would watch less tv, and the entire world would be better.

Yeah, except maybe the TV which went out of business would be the good programming, the desirable. And maybe those of us who only have cable because it comes with the apartment wouldn't be able to pay for their programming--I can't even afford to be a Viewer Like Me, much less pay for Discovery, Comedy Central, and the Food Network--the three channels I regularly watch--as well. And maybe TV would cater even more to the lowest common denominator on the assumption that it would generate more income than highbrow but low-interest programming. In short, this plan would make the "vast wasteland" an even bigger problem, and I doubt it would actually reduce television viewership as much as you think.

Moose
2010-Mar-22, 06:52 PM
I suggest learning a bit of economics if you feel that the game has changed.

I will if you learn a bit about Sophism (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sophism).

Moose
2010-Mar-22, 06:57 PM
Then you might consider moving to somewhere with more shopping options.

I will, because moving is clearly the optimal solution here and will have no adverse ramifications to my life.

TheHalcyonYear
2010-Mar-22, 06:58 PM
I will if you learn a bit about Sophism (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sophism).
Yeah, I like how the moderators can slam posters but posters have to be on their best behavior.

I posted the definition of monopoly when I began this. It is an accepted economic definition. If you cannot understand it, or don't want to take the time to look it up on Wikipedia.com that's up to you, but don't lay blame on me.

Moose
2010-Mar-22, 07:03 PM
Speaking just short of having my mod hat on, I'm becoming increasingly unhappy by some of the more disingenuous behavior I'm noting in this thread. Without naming names or implying anything based on my immediately previous replies, I would suggest that participants in this thread carefully consider their posting styles before official notice has to be taken. Consider this friendly advice for the time being.

Moose
2010-Mar-22, 07:08 PM
I posted the definition of monopoly when I began this. It is an accepted economic definition. If you cannot understand it, or don't want to take the time to look it up on Wikipedia.com that's up to you, but don't lay blame on me.

TheHalcyonYear, I'll point out that the slam you're perceiving is exactly the same behavior you've been displaying lately, in more than just this thread. You might consider this very carefully.

Yes, I'm fully aware of the definition of a monopoly, both as it applies to the US and to Canada. Yes, I'm fully aware of the definitions of de facto and de jure.

And I'm telling you that none of these definitions matter to your claim that "there are a variety of establishments where one may acquire either the exact same or equivalent products". This, as I have trivially demonstrated, is not always true. Not in every region, not in every market.

TheHalcyonYear
2010-Mar-22, 07:24 PM
Speaking just short of having my mod hat on, I'm becoming increasingly unhappy by some of the more disingenuous behavior I'm noting in this thread. Without naming names or implying anything based on my immediately previous replies, I would suggest that participants in this thread carefully consider their posting styles before official notice has to be taken. Consider this friendly advice for the time being.
Agreed. I am especially unhappy with the ad hominem argument (no names mentioned) against me. A monopoly is a specific economic term that is well defined in any number of economic texts as well as on Wikipedia.com. If someone chooses to take issue with the definition that would seem fair. However, attacking the credibility of an individual who is arguing the nature of the term would appear to be a violation of BAUT rules.

TheHalcyonYear
2010-Mar-22, 07:29 PM
TheHalcyonYear, I'll point out that the slam you're perceiving is exactly the same behavior you've been displaying lately, in more than just this thread. You might consider this very carefully.

You have accused me of Sophism which I am not guilty of.



Yes, I'm fully aware of the definition of a monopoly, both as it applies to the US and to Canada. Yes, I'm fully aware of the definitions of de facto and de jure.

And I'm telling you that none of these definitions matter to your claim that "there are a variety of establishments where one may acquire either the exact same or equivalent products". This, as I have trivially demonstrated, is not always true. Not in every region, not in every market.
You have done none of these things.

A monopoly is a market structure in which a single supplier produces and sells the product.
Walmart does not fit this definition.

Bluevision
2010-Mar-22, 09:52 PM
IMO, there is entirely too much advertising. It seems some advertising people believe that any blank surface must have an ad on it. I've seen advertising posted above urinals in men's restrooms, for goodness sakes. It's beginning to remind me of some of those city scenes from BladeRunner.I'm actually okay with advertising above urinals. One of the big ups is that someone's gonna have to keep the urinals/washroom tidy or else there'll be less advertising use.


Then you might consider moving to somewhere with more shopping options. For example, where I live, there are dozens of restaurants, retail stores (including those specializing in video games), grocery stores, gas stations, etc. within a 5 mile radius of my house. I live at the northern edge of a city of about 400,000 people so it's hardly a surprise there are more shopping options here. I've lived in rural areas or small towns for about 15 years of my life. When I lived in these areas (some less than 1000 people), there were few shopping options. For example, when I lived in Genoa, Nebraska (pop. 990), I had to drive over 20 miles to Columbus (pop. ~ 18K when I was there) to buy just about anything. If it wasn't available in Columbus, I could drive another 80 miles or so to reach Omaha. There are advantages for living in small towns but shopping opportunities isn't one of them.The big problem though is that Wal-Mart ends up kicking out all the local competition. In bigger areas, the densities of scale between general shopping and Wal-Mart's efficiency needs allow for more room for other stores to operate, some of them local and others just other large chains.
The problem is that Wal-Mart's management system inevitably sucks the money out of those small towns and brings it into the higher workings of the company. Smaller chains suffer from this less, and locally owned stores mean all the profits stay in the area of service. Otherwise, you get maybe a dozen people who are paid decently at best, working at a store that serves a vast majority of the shopping in the area and all the profits go straight to a silhouetted man sitting in front of a room-sized plasma TV showing a counter of company profits, as he sips his tea and sends out orders for more complexes to be built in new areas so he can build more in new areas and so on and so forth.

EDIT: Against the original claim, there are plenty of reasons to live in small towns, and shouldn't you be allowed more than a hulking behemoth of a store giving you everything you need? I'm okay with more people living in cities, but people who choose to stay in towns or rural areas should have more of a choice over their shopping, don't you think? Anyways, way back when, before the multinational corporation bonanza was realized, the friendly little Ma and Pa shops were one of the big draws of smaller towns.


Who pays for producing TV shows?Government culture funding programs :)

Actually, another thing I hate about commercials is that a pretty large amount of the time, I already know what the advertiser is. Except for the really local TV and magazines, the ads are given to big time corporations simply because they can pay better. This is another problem that I think needs to be addressed with advertising before it becomes a good system.

HenrikOlsen
2010-Mar-22, 09:59 PM
And I'm telling you that none of these definitions matter to your claim that "there are a variety of establishments where one may acquire either the exact same or equivalent products". This, as I have trivially demonstrated, is not always true. Not in every region, not in every market.
You have done none of these things.
Oh?

In my parents' home town, a small city of 8,000 people, the only place you can get recent video games is Walmart. The nearest alternative is an hour's drive away in a city of 14,000 people. It's a Walmart. The next nearest is two hours away, a Walmart. But there's choice, at least, at the EB two hours and fifteen seconds away.

The nearest to me is a Walmart. The next nearest is a Staples (overpriced, token selection and a token bargain bin). An hour ten minutes away across the border, there's a Walmart and a mom-and-pop music store that carries a decent selection of games. An hour-twenty minutes away, there's a Walmart and an EB (IIRC) just a few doors past it.

So yeah, in my region at least, I can choose any Walmart I want to.
So what was that, if not a demonstration that trivially showed it?

Moose
2010-Mar-22, 10:18 PM
Correction upon further reflection. The last Walmart and EB I mentioned (Grand Falls) are about forty minutes (give or take five) further than I'd originally estimated. I don't go there much and forgot to add up the St Leonard to Grand Falls leg of the trip. So make that an even two hours from where I live.

The Backroad Astronomer
2010-Mar-22, 10:32 PM
Well Moose I do have a Walmart about ten minutes away depending on bridge traffic but that is in the States and if you get to much you get charged at the border as well. I usually head to Fredericton for Walmart and FutureShop but that is an hour and a half away. I avoid Saint John which is closer because I don't know it well.

The Backroad Astronomer
2010-Mar-22, 10:36 PM
The big problem though is that Wal-Mart ends up kicking out all the local competition. In bigger areas, the densities of scale between general shopping and Wal-Mart's efficiency needs allow for more room for other stores to operate, some of them local and others just other large chains.
There are someplaces where small mom and pop stores just can't make enough money to stay open while a store that has a lower overhead like Walmart does better.

Moose
2010-Mar-22, 10:54 PM
Well Moose I do have a Walmart about ten minutes away depending on bridge traffic but that is in the States and if you get to much you get charged at the border as well. I usually head to Fredericton for Walmart and FutureShop but that is an hour and a half away. I avoid Saint John which is closer because I don't know it well.

Heh. I avoid Saint John because it's Saint John.

...Kidding ...mostly.

Seriously, I just don't have all that much reason to go there (four and a half hours from here), so I have no idea where the stores are. I can find the hockey rink easily enough (because the highway kind of ends there rather abruptly), and from there the downtown shops... on foot.

If I'm going to drive that far, I just go to Moncton.

The Backroad Astronomer
2010-Mar-22, 10:58 PM
The real problem with Saint John is it a number a smaller coastal towns with curvy streets put together and then there is the toll bridge, take one wrong turn and your in completely lost. Also there is no Chapters there.

Bluevision
2010-Mar-22, 11:01 PM
[B]There are someplaces where small mom and pop stores just can't make enough money to stay open while a store that has a lower overhead like Walmart does better.Though if ma and pop can't make enough money, there's going to be a pretty minimal chance that Wal Mart is going to locate there anyways.


If I'm going to drive that far, I just go to Moncton.Good Idea :D

The Backroad Astronomer
2010-Mar-22, 11:09 PM
Though if ma and pop can't make enough money, there's going to be a pretty minimal chance that Wal Mart is going to locate there anyways.

Walmart works here because they really have to towns of about 4000-5000 people plus the outlying areas. Neither alone can not support let's say a dedicated book store or movie gallery but both can.

Moose
2010-Mar-22, 11:14 PM
Though if ma and pop can't make enough money, there's going to be a pretty minimal chance that Wal Mart is going to locate there anyways.

Not really, Walmart competes over regions, not towns, and their combined warehouse space can service many markets on the same overhead. Including markets too small to support specialized Mom-and-Pops.

To answer an earlier question, the only dedicated video game stores I'm aware of in the North of New Brunswick are the pair of EBs that have been there less than five years and are attempting to cover three or four counties each.

I'm aware of exactly two actual Mom-and-Pop bookstores in the entire North of New Brunswick, that is to say anywhere north of Fredericton or Moncton, over the past 30 years. Both were in Bathurst. The first closed about twenty years ago. The second folded last year. I don't know when they opened, but they weren't open concurrently. There's still a used bookstore (Bathurst again), but I couldn't tell you how they're surviving.

The North half of NB isn't a fun place for geeky bookworm kids.

The Backroad Astronomer
2010-Mar-22, 11:22 PM
The North half of NB isn't a fun place for geeky bookworm kids.
Neither is southwest corner, I know that there was bookstore in St Andrews for a while but shut down a while ago. There was a second bookstore here but that shut down a couple of years ago. There are plenty of places for magazines and some of the more popular books but not much outside the top sellers. There have been a couple of bookstores in Calais Me, but those shutdown too. With a low population density and high unemployment rates it is hard to keep such businesses a float. Even the local Walmart the book selection is poor but the can offset the few book purchases with people buying food and clothes.

SeanF
2010-Mar-22, 11:35 PM
To answer an earlier question, the only dedicated video game stores I'm aware of in the North of New Brunswick are the pair of EBs that have been there less than five years and are attempting to cover three or four counties each.
Well, it doesn't really answer my question, which was in regards to what would happen if Walmart were not available.

I suspect that, in the absence of Walmart, your available videogame selection would be no better - and quite probably worse - than it is now. And either way, you wouldnt be selecting from multiple competing retailers, but from somebody with a (de facto) monopoly in the area.

Am I wrong?

kleindoofy
2010-Mar-22, 11:48 PM
Speaking of Walmart & Co., small book shops, and advertising, think back to the "movie" You've Got Mail.

I placed "movie" in quotations for a good reason. That "movie" is one big advertizement for the blessings of big business, not only AOL.

Don't believe me? Go watch it again.

The woman portrayed by Meg Ryan runs a small, personal book shop. She dates the man who has opened up a chain franchise book store, without knowing who he is.

Her shop is shown as dark, troublesome, narrow, somehow nice, but potentially "evil."

There is a long scene without any dialogue showing the first time she (Meg Ryan) enters the chain store. It's as if she had walked into a cross between Heaven, Dinseyland, Hogwarts, and Charlie's Chocolate Factory. It's one long advertisement. That scene is even shot totally differently than the rest of the film. Long shots of childrens' corners, happy people reading, laughing, bright lights, wide spaces.

She subsequently realizes that her shop is the wrong way to do things and closes up.

Gee, why did I lose my respect for Meg Ryan after seeing that film?

TheHalcyonYear
2010-Mar-23, 01:59 AM
Oh?

So what was that, if not a demonstration that trivially showed it?
That demonstrates that Moose does not have a convenient way to shop at alternative stores in his area. This does NOT come close to demonstrating the economic definition of a monopoly.

a monopoly (from Greek monos / μονος (alone or single) + polein / πωλειν (to sell)) exists when a specific individual or an enterprise has sufficient control over a particular product or service to determine significantly the terms on which other individuals shall have access to it.


A monopoly is a market structure in which a single supplier produces and sells the product. A monopoly must be distinguished from monopsony, in which there is only one buyer of a product or service.

From these definitions one can say that Walmart might be accused of attempting to impose a monopsony, but even here the results of legal action have been mixed. In the court cases to date, the courts have sided with Walmart and stated that it is not engaged in the predatory practices that might lead to this sort of situation.

Walmart does not really have the ability to impose a monopoly because it does not attempt to control the means of production which is an important part of becoming a monopoly.

As a far as imposing a monopsony, Moose, if he wishes, can go on the internet and have many of the products he wishes to purchase and have them mailed to him. This makes it difficult for Walmart to control prices.

One can call Walmart's position monopolistic, you can call it "a banana" if one wishes, but calling something doesn't make it so.

As I said, I await evidence that Walmart is able to control prices. So far the courts have said that they don't.

Chuck
2010-Mar-23, 03:26 AM
To deal with Walmart, the people of a community could subsidize the mom and pop stores and have them lower their prices even more, causing Walmart to lower its prices even more in its attempt to drive them out of business. Then everyone can shop at Walmart at great savings to recover their subsidies.

Moose
2010-Mar-23, 10:10 AM
Well, it doesn't really answer my question, which was in regards to what would happen if Walmart were not available.

Actually, I did. If the Walmarts suddenly disappeared, my closest (physical) option to here would be an hour away, across the border. From my parents' home, it would be two hours, as it would from here if I didn't want to deal with customs.

Online, depending on how they're shipping (UPS is the least convenient option in my current circumstances, because they outsource the delivery. That makes for some... logistics...), I'd have to take time I can't afford off from school to receive the package on a random day at a random time. Canada Post is easier because they can simply put a small package into my mailbox or invoke their deal with the local hardware store to hold it for me.

Moose
2010-Mar-23, 10:26 AM
Walmart does not really have the ability to impose a monopoly because it does not attempt to control the means of production which is an important part of becoming a monopoly.

Walmart has had a policy of demanding yearly price reductions from their suppliers under threat of blacklisting the supplier. (Walmart is big enough to make that stick.)

One article (http://www.fastcompany.com/magazine/77/walmart.html) found after ten seconds of searching.


As I said, I await evidence that Walmart is able to control prices. So far the courts have said that they don't.

I want to avoid getting political, but I was following the Microsoft anti-trust trials around 1999-2000, having gotten rulings that Microsoft was a monopoly in the browser and OS markets, _and_ was illegally leveraging its browser within that market, the new Justice Department decided to (effectively) abandon the case during sentencing.

If the Justice Department was involved in the cases you mentioned (I have no idea, I wasn't following those), then I have no real reason to believe the prosecution was motivated.

Were these private actions?

Now I have to get back to work. Possible pop-quiz this afternoon.

SeanF
2010-Mar-23, 02:01 PM
Actually, I did. If the Walmarts suddenly disappeared, my closest (physical) option to here would be an hour away, across the border.
But, presumably, if the Walmarts disappeared, somebody else would come in to fill the gap in the market(s). I mean, you're accusing Walmart of actively keeping competition out, aren't you? So, if Walmart did not exist, that competition would be doing business there.

Delvo
2010-Mar-23, 04:16 PM
As I said, there ainīt animists in my country.You've managed to drive 100% of the indigenous cultures extinct, no matter how far from the big cities? Congratulations.

Larry Jacks
2010-Mar-23, 07:05 PM
Against the original claim, there are plenty of reasons to live in small towns, and shouldn't you be allowed more than a hulking behemoth of a store giving you everything you need? I'm okay with more people living in cities, but people who choose to stay in towns or rural areas should have more of a choice over their shopping, don't you think? Anyways, way back when, before the multinational corporation bonanza was realized, the friendly little Ma and Pa shops were one of the big draws of smaller towns.

Some towns have not allowed a Wal Mart to be built. Almost without exception, this is done to "protect local businesses" who're more likely to have political connections in those towns. Invariably, it ends up costing the people who live there more to buy the same items than they could've bought at a Wal Mart. The Wal Mart company is so large and has such an efficient distribution network that they can often sell items retail cheaper than a Mom-n-Pop store can buy the same item wholesale.

The trick to surviving against a Wal Mart is to not compete directly against them. The local Wal Marts began selling groceries 10-15 years ago. Several local grocery stores tried to compete head-on against Wal Mart and ended up going out of business. The other stores get smart and decided to compete on quality instead of price. They adjusted their selection to include higher quality meat (not hard to do, Wal Mart meat isn't very good) and produce as well as baked goods. Their target is to be between the low price point of Wal Mart and the high price point of a Whole Foods. Within 5 miles of my home, there is a Wal Mart selling groceries. There is also a Target, a Whole Foods, an Albertson's, two King Soopers, and at least one other organic food store. All are doing fine.

PraedSt
2010-Mar-23, 07:33 PM
I think big retail companies such as Walmart tend towards monopsonistic behaviour rather than monopolistic behaviour: they squeeze suppliers in preference to customers. Result: happy shoppers and angry unions.

PraedSt
2010-Mar-23, 07:37 PM
You've managed to drive 100% of the indigenous cultures extinct, no matter how far from the big cities? Congratulations.

Your country has probably done the same. Most have.

Ivan Viehoff
2010-Mar-23, 07:38 PM
I was almost the first person to vote for something other than "too much " or "don't care". As an economist, my initial gut instinct was to say that there is the right amount of advertising. People advertise as much as it is worth advertising.

But actually, on just a few moments reflection, I realised that there is too much advertising.

The reason that there is too much advertising is that the advertisers do not bear the full cost of delivering it to us. Rather, they succeed in stealing our resources in delivering advertisements to us: the use of our media, our attention and our time they obtain from us, for free, and not always with our consent. They also sometimes steal our enjoyment of a billboard-free view. That is why the government sets up (at least in this country) special systems to allow me to opt out of junk mail and junk phone calls that otherwise steal from me. In the case of a free television channel, that stretches a 45 min show to 60 mins with advertising (in Britain we used to have a maximum of 6 mins advertising per hour, but it was quietly relaxed), there is a degree of consent. It is where there is lack of consent that it is an issue.

The other issue is honesty in advertising. If you are allowed to get away with dishonesty, then you will advertise more than you otherwise would have done. Given that the regulation of honesty in advertising is imperfect, and advertisers get away with more than they should on average, that tends to increase the financial attractivenes of advertising.

PraedSt
2010-Mar-23, 07:56 PM
The reason that there is too much advertising is that the advertisers do not bear the full cost of delivering it to us. Rather, they succeed in stealing our resources in delivering advertisements to us: the use of our media, our attention and our time they obtain from us, for free, and not always with our consent. They also sometimes steal our enjoyment of a billboard-free view. That is why the government sets up (at least in this country) special systems to allow me to opt out of junk mail and junk phone calls that otherwise steal from me. In the case of a free television channel, that stretches a 45 min show to 60 mins with advertising (in Britain we used to have a maximum of 6 mins advertising per hour, but it was quietly relaxed), there is a degree of consent. It is where there is lack of consent that it is an issue.

Wouldn't the fact that we have subscription based alternatives mean that your gut was right all along?

Ivan Viehoff
2010-Mar-24, 09:10 AM
Wouldn't the fact that we have subscription based alternatives mean that your gut was right all along?
In the case of television, there is indeed a degree of consent involved in choosing to watch an advertising funded channel as opposed to a subscription channel. Which is why I think that market is gradually sorting itself out, and less of an issue than other ones. Though the range of choices in television is not yet so much that you can choose to watch the same thing with or without advertising, and where there is such a choice the price differential is often not especially reasonable.

But there are plenty of other arenas for advertising where there is less consent involved: these are the ones that really annoy us: junk mail, unsolicited telephone calls, spam, billboards.

Moose
2010-Mar-24, 10:41 AM
But, presumably, if the Walmarts disappeared, somebody else would come in to fill the gap in the market(s). I mean, you're accusing Walmart of actively keeping competition out, aren't you? So, if Walmart did not exist, that competition would be doing business there.

I wasn't making that point, but their business practices would tend to make entering the market non-feasible, so yes, I guess, after a fashion. Walmart isn't going out of their way to mess with the Mom-and-Pops. They never have. They never will. Townships are spooked enough as it is. Flexing muscle at small businesses would 1) shine a huge unwanted lantern on them, politically - people will defend small businesses - and 2) they don't have to go out of their way to kill off the Mom-and-Pops. They just have to undercut them, exist, and let the "invisible hands" do the strangling.

My biggest objections with Walmart practices are centered around their behavior toward their employees and especially their behavior toward their suppliers. (I can elaborate, but that's another fight I'm not inclined to get into if I can avoid it.) Other than their occasional PR-related charity work, I can't point to a single thing Walmart does that isn't a net drain on the economy. And that's rare. Even Microsoft has helped far more than they hurt.

But again, that wasn't my point in commenting in this thread. My point was and remains entirely self-contained in my original statement that "simply going to a competitor for identical/equivalent products", like "simply move if you don't like it", and just about every argument that invokes the "invisible hands" (including my own), are empty or near-empty rhetorical arguments that fall apart trivially upon contact with the big picture.

Like thermodynamics, an economy isn't a closed system and you can't make valid inferences by treating it that way. People who get into economy discussions on message boards often forget this (if they've ever known it.) The real world isn't made up of sound bites from an Economy 101 lecture. It's too big for that. My horse in this race is here and nowhere else.

Moose
2010-Mar-24, 10:48 AM
In the case of television, there is indeed a degree of consent involved in choosing to watch an advertising funded channel as opposed to a subscription channel.

Sorry to be fussy, but I'd like to emphasize that unless you mean "rabbit ears", all channels are subscription-based. My father pays about $70/month in subscription fees for advertised channels.

I think it's important to distinguish between channels whose revenue streams are based on advertising _and_ subscriptions, and the small minority of channels that rely on subscription alone.

Moose
2010-Mar-24, 11:03 AM
But actually, on just a few moments reflection, I realised that there is too much advertising.

I can't fault your reasoning here although I'm not trying very hard. Cost-shifting is the entirety of the spammer model. Conventional advertisers merely hide it better.

I'd like to add something based on my immediately previous post (on cable-subscriptions) that is more relevant to this post. My oversimplied (tree-level) understanding of economics suggests that cable isn't at all subsidized by advertising. Does anybody really think that the advertising stream is actually reducing the price of the subscription stream?

Oh, granted, if we banned advertising this minute, the price of subscriptions would go up and the ban would be blamed for it, but that's a pretext. Econo-101-Capitalism states pretty prominently that you charge "what the market will bear". (If I had a dime for every time I've had that chanted at me by hobbyists...)

If people will accept a subscription of X/month and advertisers will pay Y/ad, you charge X+Y and not a penny less. The rest is PR.

Argos
2010-Mar-24, 12:10 PM
You've managed to drive 100% of the indigenous cultures extinct, no matter how far from the big cities? Congratulations.

Iīm sorry if reality hurts you. But donīt blame it on me.

SeanF
2010-Mar-24, 02:07 PM
I wasn't making that point, but their business practices would tend to make entering the market non-feasible, so yes, I guess, after a fashion. Walmart isn't going out of their way to mess with the Mom-and-Pops. They never have. They never will. Townships are spooked enough as it is. Flexing muscle at small businesses would 1) shine a huge unwanted lantern on them, politically - people will defend small businesses - and 2) they don't have to go out of their way to kill off the Mom-and-Pops. They just have to undercut them, exist, and let the "invisible hands" do the strangling.
Fair enough. The original comment of yours that prompted my entry into the discussion was this one:


Walmart may or may not fall within an absolutist definition of monopoly in all markets and regions, I neither know nor care. My point is that the distinction is entirely lost on me as I consider my limited options for obtaining Mass Effect 2.
My suspicion is that Walmart has absolutely nothing to do with your limited options for obtaining Mass Effect 2 - or, more accurately, Walmart is in no way the cause of your limited options. I think that is a simple result of the fact that you live in a town which does not have a large enough population to support multiple videogame retailers.


I'd like to add something based on my immediately previous post (on cable-subscriptions) that is more relevant to this post. My oversimplied (tree-level) understanding of economics suggests that cable isn't at all subsidized by advertising. Does anybody really think that the advertising stream is actually reducing the price of the subscription stream?

Oh, granted, if we banned advertising this minute, the price of subscriptions would go up and the ban would be blamed for it, but that's a pretext. Econo-101-Capitalism states pretty prominently that you charge "what the market will bear". (If I had a dime for every time I've had that chanted at me by hobbyists...)

If people will accept a subscription of X/month and advertisers will pay Y/ad, you charge X+Y and not a penny less. The rest is PR.
Got to quibble with this a bit, too. I think that people, in general, would be willing to pay a higher subscription fee for advertising-free content. So, if advertising were banned, the "market" for the content would "bear" a higher subscription fee. That's not an excuse, it's perfectly valid.

BTW (and IMHO), there's nothing wrong with the idea that you charge "what the market will bear* and not a penny less." That's how good businesses do right by their shareholders, get investment and R&D capital to make their products better, and build reserves to draw on when there is a market downturn.

*"What the market will bear" in this case doesn't mean "as much as possible." Generally speaking, a higher price means more profit per transaction while a lower price means more transactions. The idea is to hit that "sweet spot" that maximizes total profit, and that needs to take into account things like PR, too.

Moose
2010-Mar-24, 02:26 PM
BTW (and IMHO), there's nothing wrong with the idea that you charge "what the market will bear* and not a penny less." That's how good businesses do right by their shareholders, get investment and R&D capital to make their products better, and build reserves to draw on when there is a market downturn.

Yeah, and many conveniently forget (or don't care about) the causes of market downturns. What we're practicing now isn't capitalism. It's mercantilism. Mercantilism isn't sustainable.

And don't be so sure about that, Sean, video gaming was very much a niche market until 1998 or so. But even then, I had no trouble picking up computer games and cartridges for my 2600 throughout the 80s. Radio Shack and K-Mart both carried a fair collection by 80s standards. Even our Woolworths had some.

The Source (né Radio Shack) only does cellphones now. Woolworths closed within a year of Walmart's opening. Zellers (né K-Mart) has a token shelf, but nothing recent. It's the same with the Staples and Zellers in Bathurst. They're not even trying to match Walmart on recent stuff.

If Walmart wasn't here, someone else would be picking up the slack. It would still be a market with few options. Which is my point: what is true for urban markets isn't necessarily going to be true for rural or semi-rural markets. And so sweeping generalizations about urban markets aren't very useful in the real world. That's all I'm really saying.

Larry Jacks
2010-Mar-24, 02:35 PM
Living in a small town has some advantages but there are always disadvantages. You'll have fewer options for shopping in general and for specialty items in particular. You'll have fewer options for medical care. You'll have fewer options for restaurants and entertainment, too. Those are a given when you choose to live in a small town.

How many of those Mom-n-Pop specialty stores were impacted by Internet shopping outlets such as Amazon.com? I'd wager quite a few. Internet shopping is a great leveler for those living in small towns. You can get any game you want via an online outlet, probably at a lower price than those small specialty shops or even Wal Mart charges. Odds are you won't even have to pay sales tax, either, making the online price even more competitive.

rommel543
2010-Mar-24, 03:20 PM
You've managed to drive 100% of the indigenous cultures extinct, no matter how far from the big cities? Congratulations.

This reminds me of an article I read years ago. It stated something to the effect that 300 years ago the European settlers and explorers came to this country. Like all though history the stronger force won over the weaker. This was even present in the native culture, not just European. The stronger tribe or clan took over lands, animals, hunting rights, possessions, even women from the smaller and weaker. This was hundreds of years ago. Most of the people living here came after.

As for the current state of affairs. We have a large native population in Winnipeg. Most are regular every day people going to work, successful or un-successful like everyone else doing the day to day. The small visible minority that is the less than desirable, harassing people downtown, etc had just as many chance as everyone else. I have friends that grew up in the poor section of the city, who's parents were drinking every night. Their father beat the heck out of them, their mother spent the welfare and status payment cheques on beer and smokes. Some of those friends are making more than me and all are happily married with children. Almost every single one of them are proud of their native culture. Do they speak their native language? No. But I have hindi, filipino and oriental friends that don't speak their original native language either, but still celebrate their culture. My ancestors were French, Dutch, German, Scottish and Native (Cree). I don't speak any of those languages.

People used to be cut off and sheltered in their own corner of the world allowing for separate cultures to emerge and develop. Even when those cultures were, in our current view, relatively close to one another. Now this is not the case. You can reach out and virtually touch some one ANYWHERE on earth. Cultures are blending, merging, dieing out, and being recreated all the time. It's the cultures that are unable to, or unwilling to change that are dieing out. It's comments like "You've managed to drive 100% of the indigenous cultures extinct" that cause people to not accept change because it causes them to get defensive about their way of life instead of accepting the ways of others.

Incidentally I saw a dream catcher the other day made with computer parts integrated into it......

Ok I'm done..
http://8077043382487162118-a-woodfield-ca-s-sites.googlegroups.com/a/woodfield.ca/storeage/Home/imagestorage/soap-box_ani.gif?attachauth=ANoY7comSwGYIdtNoXpedHJQ5t7 Zvs2hUq0dtzkCWycdU5eJgtM_sbJI8BFRf8pdjhTcoNA8Tjt9T YXZWhHKylDQu232b430OiJq2JuBISnwgK8Ux7S_dAWcLlePiqe n9iUsLliHsbjw_Vapt0SLwA22qHOV87EVWoQXjq_7LT9XuSYhr OFfHKLosFJ4M9sHBoIHrw-KGJtncSQOCkG5_1SXTAuQp09QIw_NLmj87ty6FRlCBSy3IMw%3 D&attredirects=0</soap box mode>

HenrikOlsen
2010-Mar-24, 08:40 PM
Wouldn't the fact that we have subscription based alternatives mean that your gut was right all along?
It would only be a real choice if is was possible to pay more and get the same channel without advertising.

That option doesn't, to the best of my knowledge, exist except if what you pay for is a tivo or something similar.

Moose
2010-Mar-25, 12:15 AM
Just need to correct something else. I drove over to the non-Walmart in Presque-Isle tonight. (The one "across the border from me".) The music/game store closed two months ago, apparently mere weeks after the only non-big-box book store in northern Maine and northern NB closed. (I'd hit the bookstore for its closing sale. Found some halfway decent astronomy texts among other stuff.)

I found out from the information desk that the FYE was a chain store (I didn't know that) and it apparently closed nationwide.

The mall was advertising extended hours, and it still looked closed. The parking lot was just about empty.

SkepticJ
2010-Mar-25, 02:13 AM
What I think is weird is that cable and satellite are mostly channels which fill a third to a half of their airtime with commercials--not counting the early-morning misinfomercials.

I can understand free, antenna-based stations running commercials--they have to pay for it somehow--but I'm paying over fifty dollars a month for satellite.

I DVR most of what I watch now, and skip over the commercials, but I shouldn't have to. I'm paying to have commercials shoved on me!

Movie theaters. Ads before the movies, and product-placement in the movies themselves. I'm paying nine to thirteen bucks for a couple hours of entertainment and they still have to double-dip?

DVDs that force you to watch some of the adverts on them before the movie will play. . . and the motion picture industry complains that people pirate films. :rolleyes:

What if other things in life were like that?

You have to watch two minutes of commercials before you can use the internet; then you're interrupted every fifteen minutes for a couple more minutes of commercials.

You get in your car, turn the key, and you have to endure ads before your car will let you drive it.

I better not give them any more ideas. . .

blueshift
2010-Mar-25, 02:30 AM
I voted that too much exists. Advertising plays a role when someone is just starting out a new business and has to make an announcement of their availability to the public. It also plays a role when a new product or service is coming out but a lot is simply unnnecessary. BMW doesn't need to advertise. Everybody already knows what they make and what the quality is. Walmart needs to because everything in there is plain cheap. What is annoying is the person that greets me on the way into the bank or Walmart or anywhere with a special "hello and welcome to ...." I don't need phony smiles from someone who wants to empty out my wallet. If I want help I'll ask for it. I feel money is being wasted that could be directed somewhere else. I don't buy anything because of advertisement. I know what I need.

The Chicago Cubs don't really need to advertise as much as they do with all their annoying apparell. Do they really think they'll go out of business if their logos aren't plastered all over the place ad nauseum? The fans are addicted to sports. They complain of high salaries and then go and empty their wallets out to sit in a place where the stench of urine (Wrigley Field in particular) has saturated the concrete for over 70 years and parking there is the worst.

kleindoofy
2010-Mar-25, 02:57 AM
A lot of extreme discounters are like hothouse flowers. They run on such a small price margin, that they can only exist if everything goes just right.

I read one study that said some extreme discounters that are, let's say, open from 9am to 10pm don't start turning a profit until around 8.30pm, or later, in statistical terms. Even a minor setback can put them out of business.

I don't know what Walmart's margin is, but margins can often be read off of salary policies. I.e., if the employees are on the really low end of the salary/benefit scale, then the price margin is probably small.

Companies like that can disappear quicker than one might think.

Extravoice
2010-Mar-25, 12:16 PM
A lot of extreme discounters are like hothouse flowers. They run on such a small price margin, that they can only exist if everything goes just right.

On the topic of slim sales margins (I know this is drifting OT), I heard a radio report that McDonalds franchise owners were unhappy about putting the double cheeseburger on the dollar menu because they weren't making money on it. In response, corporate HQ invented the "McDouble". It is the same thing with only one slice of cheese. Apparently that was okay with the franchise owners. Now, that sounds like mighty slim margins!

CTCMASS
2010-May-19, 12:16 AM
The little people are ruled by Madison Av....steeped in social engineering. How much stuff do you have????

It uses the tactics of Edward Bernays....Father of Spin. The evil little Freudian (Freud's cousin, actually) traitor...turn on mankind... Regarded the masses as "stupid"....he helped make them that way!!! Consumerism has become our nation's pastime. The GDP depends on consuming not producing. How did this little man live to be 101?? ...musta made a pact with the devil.

He preferred the word "propaganda" but was forced to use the words "puplic relations".

Watch the BBC "Century of Self" on how this troll manipulated/s the masses.

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=6718420906413643126#

neilzero
2010-May-19, 05:38 AM
Government could improve the usefulness of advertising, but there would be horrible side effects, even if government did this optimally. Worse, government rarely does anything well. So we are stuck with the mostly half truth, and false inference of modern advertising. Those of us who give preference to brand names we never heard advertised are in a very small minority.
My thinking is companies that rarely advertise, may spend the advertising dollars trying to make their product better, safer or less costly. Little companies deserve a break as they help prevent monopolies which can be very inconsiderate of their customers. Neil