1. Learn Vocabulary - Learn some new vocabulary before you start the lesson.
2. Read and Prepare - Read the introduction and prepare to hear the audio.
We’ve long been hearing about US companies who depend on foreign labor to manufacture their goods. Nike was under fire for its Asian sweatshops and a quick look at labels in any Gap store reveals the clothing’s long trip from places like Viet Nam and Bangladesh to malls in Chicago and LA.
But another result of the “global economy” is the spread of large corporations all over the world. From McDonald’s to Starbucks, US corporations are serving burgers and lattes in Asia, Latin America and India.
In addition to fast food chains, giant stores like Costco and Wal-Mart are also setting up shop in the global marketplace. These huge companies often draw consumers away from locally based businesses.
In India, for example, western-style grocery stores are affecting the livelihood of vegetable sellers. Some farmers can actually get more money by selling directly to these big stores. But small local markets can’t compete, and therefore lose business.
Listen to Kevin and Amanda chat about the phenomenon of corporate chains going global.
3. Watch - Watch the video without reading the dialog.
English, baby! English Lesson Video
1. Listen and Read - Listen to the audio and read the dialog at the same time.
2. Study - Read the dialog again to see how the vocab words are used.
Kevin: So I’m embarrassed to admit but when I was working in Japan I actually joined a Costco so I could get granola and peanut butter.
Amanda: And you’re embarrassed to admit this because…
Kevin: Well, you know, ‘cause it’s, it’s a big chain that doesn’t… it’s not as bad as Wal-Mart, it’s actually much better than Wal-Mart, but it doesn’t support local businesses that much.
Kevin: And I’ve noticed like the… in many countries now that the, like, these mega-chains are just, they’re incredibly popular whereas here, you know, the farmers’ market has resurged and become popular again. In a lot of countries, mega… you know, box supermarkets are becoming popular.
Amanda: So why do you think these mega-box retailers and chains are attractive to the customers or the public?
Kevin: Well, I think for…
Amanda: What draws them away?
Kevin: Well, I think for one, in a lot of places, there’s never been, like, a one-stop shop.
Amanda: So convenience.
Kevin: Yeah. Or people perceive it as convenient but…
Kevin: That everything is under one roof. You know, it appears to be easier.
Amanda: So do you think overall the pricing is also lower in these big-box…
Kevin: No, I…
Amanda: ... destinations, or not necessarily?
Kevin: I think there are certain ticket items, like, on the ends of aisles that are, but generally…
Kevin: It’s probably more expensive.
Kevin: Mm hm.
Amanda: OK. So like you said, it’s for the perceived convenience but not necessarily to save a dollar.
Kevin: And not… Correct. And not benefiting the community.
Kevin tells Amanda that when he lived in Japan, he went to Costco to buy granola and peanut butter. In general though, he prefers to support local business.
Kevin thinks that the big chains are attractive because they offer one-stop shopping. But he doesn’t think the prices are much cheaper.
In the US, stores like Home Depot and Wal-Mart are often called “box stores” because they actually look like giant boxes surrounded by parking lots.
Kevin is concerned that big corporations will hurt local businesses, not only in the US, but around the world.
Do you shop at big stores like Costco or Wal-Mart?