12/15/2005 - As shoppers flock to the stores for holiday gifts, some express mixed feelings about the nation's largest retailer. Nearly every American lives near enough a Wal-Mart to shop there, and 84% say they have done so in the past year. Praise for the retailer's low prices, wide selection and convenience flow freely, and 81% of those with a Wal-Mart nearby say it is a good place to shop.
Somewhat less glowing, however, are judgments about Wal-Mart's effect on communities and the nation as a whole, and a third of the public (34%) rates it a bad place to work. Overall, 69% of those familiar with Wal-Mart have a favorable opinion of the company. Still, 31% have an unfavorable view, which is a considerably higher negative rating than is accorded to many other major corporations.
Whatever their feelings about Wal-Mart and other major retailers, the public is largely unconcerned about how they are greeted as they enter stores and businesses this season. By a substantial 60%-23% margin the public does prefer "Merry Christmas" to non-religious welcomes such as "Season's Greetings." But given the choice, a 45% plurality says it does not matter much either way. A great majority of Americans (83%) say displays of Christmas symbols should be allowed in public places. But fewer than half (44%) approve of Christmas symbols being displayed alone, without Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and other holiday symbols.
Read the full report Wal-Mart a Good Place to Shop But Some Critics Too on the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press Web site.