Wal-Mart (NYSE: WMT) logoWal-Mart (NYSE: WMT) instituted a new customer slogan this year: "Save Money. Live Better." Although it was intended to reinforce the retailer's position that it helps families in an age of increasing prices and general inflationary pressure, much of the public didn't get the memo, apparently.

Keep in mind that it's hard to completely trust anything by either the retailer or its watchdog groups like Wal-Mart Watch, the latter released a survey that concluded only 4% of people believe that Wal-Mart saves the average American family $2,500 annually. The same report says that customers may indeed be paying less, but Wal-Mart is not the only company that can help them pad those wallets and fill those purses.

Of course, Wal-Mart Watch says that the study that backs Wal-Mart's "$2,500" claim credits just the retailer's existence with saving the customer that much. Perhaps that's through pricing competition in the area and inflation control more than Wal-Mart customers specifically saving that much by shopping at Wal-Mart? That could certainly be inferred here.

Regardless, does the mere existence of Wal-Mart control the complete, surrounding retail ecosystem, causing prices to remain ultra-competitive? Probably so -- and Wal-Mart's "Save Money. Live Better" might just be a statement of fact rather than a corporate pitch. Either way, there's probably some good truth in there.

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