Walmart and Goodwill


For the City as Text event, my honors group visited the Menomonie Wal-Mart and Goodwill. In both of the establishments we went on tours of the facility. At Wal-Mart, we learned about some of the produce coming from local farmers, and how the product selection and availability is based on consumer purchases, so the products in the store are community driven. At Goodwill, we learned about the donations and how Goodwill sorts, determines if the items meet certain standards and then prices the items. This is also mostly a community-driven selection because it is based on what people donate and the few items that are purchased by Goodwill.

Wal-Mart and Goodwill are both establishments that help give the area a sense of community. Wal-Mart achieves this through being customer-driven. Their products are stocked based on how much and how often the community members purchase each product. Goodwill also achieves a sense of community through their customers, but in a different way. They help community members to help each other through reusing items such as clothing and shoes, so instead of each person in the community always purchasing brand-new clothing or other items, they share. Those that donate help those that can’t afford new items or are on a smaller budget for clothing or shoes to afford good clothing.

During my time at Stout, I will use both Wal Mart and Goodwill. Wal Mart is a great place to purchase fresh produce that may be from local farmers. Also, they have pretty much everything from groceries and electronics to auto-care and clothing. Their prices are reasonable, too. Goodwill is perfect to find cheaper prices for clothing. After going on a tour and learning about how Goodwill sorts, selects, and prices their items, I am confident that the items I purchase there are of pretty good quality.

The Wal Mart and Goodwill stores in Menomonie, WI are both somewhat different from the same stores in my hometown of Rochester, MN. In Wal-Mart, the people are much friendlier, and the store itself is kept in better condition and cleaner. The Rochester Wal-Mart’s have a very similar selection of products to the Menomonie store, but that is really the only similarity. Goodwill in Menomonie is quite a bit smaller than the Rochester location. Both locations have a similar selection of items, but Rochester is able to sell some larger items like bookcases.

Wal-Mart and Goodwill are both establishments in the Menomonie, WI community that help foster a sense of community, help college students such as myself, and are similar and different from other cities and towns.

Becky G.

Wal-Mart and Goodwill are both very large contributors to the community of Menomonie and the University of Wisconsin-Stout. Wal-Mart is one of the larger contributors to the community by providing one of the only places in Menomonie to conveniently shop for a variety of items. Goodwill also is a large contributor to the community by providing inexpensive and slightly used items for the community that may not be able to afford brand new purchases.

I can see myself using these two areas quite frequently Wal-Mart gives the Stout student a “one-stop-shop” to find almost anything they need. For example, I bought an Ethernet cord, push pins, apples, and WHEY Protein, all in the same trip! I can also see myself using Goodwill for items like clothing, holiday items, and anything else I might need. It is always interesting to shop and Goodwill, because their inventory is always changing.

The Menomonie Wal-Mart and Goodwill are not that different in the way they are run and operated from where I am from (Minneapolis). But there are is one main difference, the variety of places to shop and purchase items. In Minneapolis I am used to being able to purchase a variety of items at a variety of stores, such as K-mart, Rainbow, Target, Kohls, etc. Menomonie is different because of its smaller variety of places to shop.

Stephen E.

Today in the City to Text experience, our group went to Wal-Mart and Goodwill, and got a very nice tour of each from employees at the establishments.

Nowadays, whether it’s good or bad, big retail stores are huge parts of any well-established community. They provide goods and services at affordable prices to the middle class, and are really a big reason that the communities operate. Wal-Mart is the biggest retail chain in America, and one can be found in just about any city in this country. Unlike some chains, they actively interact with locals by buying a lot of produce from local farmers. Since Menomonie is a college town, Wal-Mart is used perhaps even more than it usually would be. The low prices will attract every college student with a car, which makes it a huge part of the community just because it’s where everyone in the community gets their stuff. Goodwill is another part of the community, but it is for a different aspect of it. Their prices are even lower than Wal-Mart’s, which is of course on purpose. Goodwill supports and unites the poorer section of the community, a section most college students are a part of. The more fortunate donate to the less fortunate, and as the name says, it indeed creates good will between the different parts of the community.

Wal-Mart and Goodwill will be the main sources of where I’ll buy the stuff that I need for college. They are both going to get a lot of business from me in the next few years.

I come from Hudson, Wisconsin, and my town has both Wal-Mart and Goodwill. This Wal-Mart is bigger than the one in Hudson; it has a deli and a Subway inside of it. Otherwise, they’re largely the same, as it’s a retail chain; they try not to make them too different. Our Goodwill in Hudson is bigger and newer than this one though. This Goodwill seems limited by their physical constraints of the older building, but they got a great thing going over there.

Nate D.

Both Wal-Mart and Goodwill contribute greatly to the community in various ways. Wal-Mart prides themselves in the fact that they are customer driven. They receive calls and suggestions from the community and use those to shape the store to better fit the community. They also try their hardest to keep local farmers included in their largely supplied produce. Goodwill has a similar process but is much more reliant on the involvement of the community. Their entire inventory comes from the community and they put it back out there at low prices for others to reuse. Both Wal-Mart and Goodwill will be go-to shops for me both because they are convenient and they offer essentials at affordable prices. These things are key for both me and many other college students. I am from the Twin Cities where Wal-Mart isn’t as common as some other chains. So this will be a new experience for me. Goodwill too is different for me back home. It feels a lot more corporate than it does here. I really got the feeling that the people who work at Goodwill here in Menomonie really love what they do and understand the full extent of what they are doing.

Molly F.

For the City as Text experience, our group visited Wal-Mart and Goodwill. I consider myself very familiar with both of these locations, but this outing gave me a slightly deeper appreciation for each.

Wal-Mart contributes to the sense of community by listening to customer feedback, which strengthens the relationship they have with consumers. They also buy a small portion of their produce from local venders, and even donate their expired (but still edible) food to pig farmers and local food pantries. Doing so reaches out to a variety of community members and begins to break the “big business” stereotype. I see myself buying food, toiletries and household and office objects like eating and writing utensils at Wal-Mart in the future. Even though Wal-Mart is a very large chain, it is still different from the one I am familiar with. Menomonie’s Wal-Mart seems busier than Platteville’s Wal-Mart (my home town) and also seems to be better staffed; most of the registers were being run instead of only two or three. There was also a wider product selection.

Goodwill contributes to the community in a slightly different way; in their building there is a break room that serves as a meeting room, quiet room, and is also available to employees for religious purposes. On a larger scale, Goodwill reaches out to the community by donating all shoes that aren’t in good enough shape to be sold (but still wearable) to third world countries. I see myself shopping at Goodwill for costumes, second hand books, and, like Wal-Mart, cheap household appliances. Goodwill is also different from the one that I am familiar with in that it is physically smaller and gets most of its sales from clothing purchases. In addition, it has a fairly decent second hand book section.

Because both of these businesses are in my hometown, I thought I knew both of them like the back of my hand. However, City as Text proved to me the saying (no matter how overused) to be true: Don’t judge a book by its cover.

Laura D.

Wal-Mart is a retail store that specializes with providing us with a variety of products from apparel, to home goods and even food. Families are able to find all that they need in one location for affordable prices. It is a convenient place for the community to buy everything that they need in the same location. As a student, I could see myself going to Wal-Mart in order to buy basic needs for college life, and even anything else I may desire. Since they also sell food in their store, I can stock up on some food to have in my dorm for late nights. It is definitely my go-to store if I desire to save money as a broke college student. Wal-Mart is definitely a familiar store that I’m sure we have all been to at least once. In my hometown’s local Wal-Mart, the store’s format is only slightly different, but has a familiar and easy-to-navigate format. This makes shopping at Wal-Mart easier, for it will relatively look the same no matter where it’s located. I did, however, notice some UW Stout merchandise in the apparel area and a huge banner welcoming students back to Stout. My local Wal-Mart does not associate with any colleges, so it really exemplifies the relations Stout’s Wal-Mart has to its community. You can definitely see the local people filling up the aisles of this megastore.

Jessica F.

Wal-Mart is used not only as a retail market, but a grocery market as well. It is a supermarket, selling people goods from all over the area, and creating a more intertwined community between local farmers and international corporations. I will definitely buy things that I cannot purchase at grocery stores here, though Aldi is very close by. The Wal-Mart that I grew up with had a smaller selection, and was not geared towards college students.

The Goodwill takes in donations from the community and the community buys from the Goodwill for cheap. Yet the difference here with the Goodwill I grew up with is a much smaller selection. Menomonie’s Goodwill has no furniture or the like and has pieces that are not donated from the community. In any case I see myself coming to this Goodwill for cheap entertainment and clothes.

Blaine D.

During City as Text, I traveled with group three to two contrasting businesses in Menomonie. The businesses were Goodwill and Wal Mart. After receiving tours at both locations we discovered how their differences and similarities. Mainly, our group discovered how these businesses contribute to the community. Upon receiving the tour at Wal Mart I was taught that their main focus is to be a community driven company. One example is found in the produce section. To fill the produce shelves after their main shipments they use local approved farmers’ produce. Wal mart is a main shopping center for the people of Menomonie and supplies many products and jobs. After taking a short walk to Goodwill our group discovered how they are involved in Menomonie. When touring Goodwill we were allowed access to the back room to see the behind the scenes operation. Goodwill starts and ends with donations from the local community. The donations are brought to different areas to be sorted, priced, stored, and put on the floor. A goal of the company is to provide one stop shopping at affordable prices for people of all socioeconomic backgrounds. Goodwill provides affordable products for all people of the community and has a use for all donations. It was beneficial to see how two different companies both have their unique ways of contributing to the community.

As I traveled on this journey I could see how I would utilize both businesses and how they compared to where I grew up. The main use of the two places for me will be shopping at both. They are beneficial to me because as a college student they are both affordable businesses that strive to give back to the community. Wal Mart will be a good location to find the products I need quickly. Goodwill to me is a unique store to find treasures that are not sold in typical stores. As I walked through both businesses I could see that they do not vary much from my hometown. Where I grew up Goodwill and Wal Mart are located about the same distance from each other as they are in Menomonie. Along with location the layouts are about the same for each store the only difference is the size of the two businesses. I will probably use these businesses more than I did when I lived at home though. This comes along with living on your own at college and needing more products. Traveling to these contrasting businesses during City as Text was a great welcome to Menomonie and beneficial to my future years here.

Lindsay P.

Wal-Mart contributes to the community by providing many different products and fresh food to Menomonie residents. Another way that Wal-Mart contributes to the community is that they often provide local produce if these local farmers are approved by the Wal-Mart Corporation. Also, Wal-Mart’s customers often influence the items available in store. During my time at Stout, I see myself visiting Wal-Mart to purchase fresh fruits or vegetables as well as any essentials I many have forgotten for my dorm.

The Goodwill in Menomonie arranges their products very similarly to the Goodwill in Chippewa Falls where I live. All of the clothing items are arranged by color and located in the left side of the store. Housewares, electronics and other items are located to the right of the store. During my time at Stout, I see myself visiting Goodwill for any miscellaneous items such as books or clothing for a great price. Everyone knows college students are always looking for a good deal!

Danielle F.

My honors group visited Wal-Mart and Goodwill located in Menomonie, Wisconsin for the City as Text activity. From this experience I was able to view the two separate venues in a new way. With the ability to ask questions such as “where does your produce come from?” and “how do you keep track of inventory?” I was able to discover new idea about two locations that have been in my life for as long as can be.

The Wal-Mart and Goodwill organizations have a unique way of making the community involved. The Menomonie Wal-Mart claims to use a wide variety of local/small farmer produce. If this is true, the fruits and vegetables sold at the store are much more likely to be fresh and healthy for the community. It also helps the local farmers stay in business. The Goodwill organization relies almost entirely on the donated goods of local townspeople. When a specific item goes low in stock at the warehouse, the local Goodwill must rely solely on donated products. This is a great way for the community members to recycle the items they no longer need or use.

Throughout my future years at Stout, I see myself utilizing these two organizations to the fullest. Each will serve as my one to two stop shopping place for groceries and other essential items that cannot wait until my arrival home on the weekends. I believe students at Stout that live much farther away would use these locations much more than me.

Because I have lived thirty-minutes away from Menomonie my whole life, being the Durand High School graduate that I am, I don’t see much difference to what I’m used to seeing in these organizations. This is what I’m used to seeing. I may look at them a little differently now that I have seen the behind-the-scenes process of one organization (Goodwill) and heard a new-outlook for the other (Wal-Mart).  Overall this was a very positive experience for me.

Cassandra F.

The community of Menomonie holds many businesses and sites that all somehow give back to the community. I visited Wal-Mart and Goodwill and found out that both of these businesses provide many opportunities for the community. Both places provide services for the community that makes Menomonie a great place to live.

Wal-Mart seems to try hard to accommodate the needs of the people in Menomonie. Wal-Mart provides items that are used often in the community with much easier access than some other places. Wal-Mart also use produce from local farmers who are certified by Wal-Mart to provide local items to community members and help keep consumer money in the community. They also provide sheets at the ends of the aisles to help customers find the items they need without having to search all over the store. This is especially helpful to college students like me who have never have used the Menomonie Wal-Mart.

Goodwill also contributes a great deal to the city of Menomonie. Goodwill provides a place for the people of Menomonie to drop off their new or used household items that they no longer need or want. This service helps the community by the fact that all these unwanted items do not end up in the local landfill which makes the quality of living here in Menomonie better. They then take these items and sell them at a discounted price to the community. This service helps people on a small budget get the things that they need without the fear of spending too much.

The city of Menomonie has many businesses and organizations that make the city a much better place to be. The services these two businesses we visited help make the community better and more united. Without these places, the city would be much different.

Morgan E.

Wal-Mart was the first place my group went for City as Text. There were only a few differences compared to my city’s Wal-Mart. One of which was that the entertainment/electronics area was much larger. Another was that there was a list that tells what isle an item is in, so you can find your products easier. Out of the things we learned, I think that Wal-Mart contributes to the community by being customer driven, by bringing in items customers want, and by selling produce grown by local farmers.

Goodwill was where we went next. Being as this was my first time in a Goodwill store, I can’t really say if anything is different than my city. However I can say that I can see myself going to Goodwill to find clothes or maybe a Halloween costume! Goodwill also contributes to the community by taking donations and sending things to places that need them

Brandi E.


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