There is an essay in Time entitled "Who I’m Hurting By Shopping At Walmart" by Alana Semuels, the magazine's economic correspondent, which focuses on the increasing and crushing power of Walmart, as well as the dollar store chains that are spreading around the country like wildfire.
"Every week, I go onto Walmart’s website and order a bunch of groceries to be delivered to my house and then feel a little bit guilty," she writes. "Walmart is a multi-billion dollar corporation with headquarters more than 1,000 miles from my home; the money I spend there goes to shareholders and executives who live far away, instead of to my local grocery store … By shopping at Walmart, I am likely contributing to the demise of the independently-owned grocery store, which is disappearing across the country."
Semuels goes on:
"FTC Commissioner Alvaro Bedoya has embarked on a listening tour around the country, meeting with independent grocery stores and pharmacy operators and talking about how Robinson-Patman enforcement could help them thrive. The FTC has reportedly opened a preliminary investigation recently into whether pricing practices at Coca-Cola and PepsiCo violated Robinson-Patman, but has not yet brought a formal action."
But that may be coming, if the FTC decides that large companies have an unfair advantage over the small, and that Walmart's pricing policies - and ability to pressure manufacturers - violates existing law.
You can read the entire piece here.
And, one final excerpt from the Time piece:
"That government officials are standing up for independent businesses represents a sea change in how we think about what’s good and bad for the American shopper. For decades, the FTC and Justice Department have focused antitrust enforcement on protecting consumers from monopolies that can drive up prices, and concluding that if a shopper is getting a good deal and prices are low, there’s no reason for the government to step in. Enforcing Robinson-Patman would mean the government will focus less on whether I’m getting a good deal on groceries and more on whether the fabric of my community - and others that look very different from it - are better off with the status quo."