Saturday, July 12, 2008

What the F*** is the Big Deal About WalMart???

I just had a visitor come to my front door with a petition in hand asking for signatures to put a proposition on the November ballot regarding WalMart. Some back story. Not too far from me is an empty K-Mart building (with a huge parking lot that is nearly empty except for the Trader Joe's customers - nothing wrong with T-Jo's, I just shopped there earlier today while my clothes were going through the dry cycle at the local laundromat).

WalMart has been interested in moving into the location, possibly expand the building somewhat. Of course, the NIMBYs (Not In My Back Yard) have to have their shrill voices heard yet again. I swear, this town at times seems to have it's priorities all frelled up. They also at times show themselves to be a bunch of frelling hypocrites.

Some years ago, there was an empty Montgomery Ward building across the street from the mall. Home Depot was interested in taking over the building. The townspeople bitched and moaned, eventually chasing away Home Depot. What did Home Depot do? They moved into a new location a mile away in the town next door. They're doing quite well there. What happened to the Montgomery Ward building? It became a Lowe's (a Home Depot clone). NO ONE bitched and moaned about Lowe's moving in.

There is a Target (a WalMart and K-Mart clone) store just several blocks from said mall. Target has been very successful. The mall has gone through extensive remodeling and expansion. Robinsons-May closed down as one of the anchor stores at one end of the mall. Target took over and rebuilt the Robinsons-May and turned it into a two-story Super-Target (just like the Super-WalMarts). They're also keeping the original Target open (the one just a few blocks away). NO ONE bitched and moaned about the Super-Target opening up in town, and so close to an existing Target.

Downtown used to have several local, independent coffee shops: Daily Grind, Cafe Voltaire, Caffe Bella, Kelly's Coffee, Coastal Coffee. All of these coffee shops were wonderful and added character to the downtown area. They're all closed. NO ONE came out to support them. Now, there's just two coffee shops in that area: One is a little place near the far end of the main drag (and it's just a "storefront counter" to a retail establishment). The other is Starbucks. Funny, but NO ONE bitched and moaned about Starbucks opening up downtown. They also never bitched & moaned when (in a mid-town shopping center) they opened up a Starbucks... and then also opened up a Starbucks inside the supermarket... just 50 feet away from the other just-opened Starbucks.

NO ONE seems to care that Starbucks sells overpriced bitter swill, but they'll cry their crocodile tears about WalMart selling Chinese-made goods on the cheap (funny, I seem to see those same Chinese-made goods in K-Mart, Target, Sears, the Gap, the local supermarket, even the little Mom-&-Pop shops selling trinkets to willing residents and tourists). I should know. Just a couple weeks ago I walked into a WalMart (in the the town next door) for the first time to buy the new Jouney CD - only available at WalMart. While I was there I took a walk around the store. I saw the same exact window fan that I bought just two weeks earlier at Sears for $21.99 (Target had the exact same fan for $24.99) being sold at WalMart for $11.99. Yeah, I was pissed... pissed that I could've saved ten more bucks.

Look. I am not a fan of large corporations taking over locations here and there. But corporations (in general) are not all evil. You wouldn't be able to have your cars, airplanes, computers, iPods, cell phones, TVs, medicines, etc. without them. Of course, I'd prefer that there were more Mom-&-Pop type places to buy and sell goods and services. But let's be friggin' reasonable people. And be friggin' consistent. Some common sense and perspective please.

With this weak economy, this area needs jobs... ANY jobs. This area also needs housing... AFFORDABLE housing (something that the people of this town continuously bitch & moan about, yet every time there is a development up for proposal it is always shouted & shut down by these same NIMBY idiots). The area could also use a place were people can buy things inexpensively, especially with the current state of the economy and with gas prices at over $4.50 per gallon. NONE of these things will happen with empty buildings and vacant lots. (Spoken by someone who not too many years ago was unemployed for exactly 500 days, at a time immediately after 9/11. Someone who also rents a shitty apartment, and has all but given up hope of ever owning a home in Southern California - where in just the last decade housing prices more than tripled. Yeah, that person I'm talking about is me).

I expressed these views to the poor lady who just came to my door, and who had NO answers to my questions of hypocrisy. Needless to say, I didn't sign the petition. I doubt, though, that she got the point. Nor will any of her comrades with their knickers in a perpetual knot.

*steps off the soapbox*

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This is a GREAT post.