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ExtraMSG

No to Wal-Mart Supercenter

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People wonder why minority communities have a hard time getting cheap groceries? Here you go...

Voters in Inglewood, a racially diverse working-class suburb of Los Angeles, have soundly rejected a ballot initiative to permit the building of a 60-acre Wal-Mart shopping complex exempt from virtually all state and local regulation.

...

Opponents cheered their victory, depicting it as a triumph of David over Goliath. Wal-Mart, with annual sales of more than $250 billion and more than 1.3 million employees, is the world's largest retailer. Inglewood is a city of about 113,000 people, roughly half black and half Latino. An estimated 10,000 households are headed by union members.

http://www.nytimes.com/2004/04/08/national...&partner=GOOGLE

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The Inglewood vote against Wal-Mart, 60 percent to 40 percent, was a victory for a coalition of unions, churches and community groups who said the development would have driven local retailers out of business and gutted the city's legal, environmental and planning powers.

i don't think it's fair to tie a rejection of walmart in with not being able to "get cheap groceries" in the hood, as it were.

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I've never been a fan of Walmart, but this article made me dislike them even more. Wal-Mart Wants Your Job It doesn't paint the prettiest picture of Wal-Mart, and I don't know how accurate it is, but I wouldn't want them in my neighborhood either.

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Just so you know, my desk here at work is 4 miles from where Wal Mart wanted to put that store in Inglewood....The point is that they wanted to come in and put a giant discount store, with a supermarket inside...on a busy street (prairie ave), next to the forum and hollywood park race track....They wanted to do this without any studies on traffic andother issues...plus it would have put most of the other businesses near the area out of business!


Moo, Cluck, Oink.....they all taste good!

The Hungry Detective

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...The point is that they wanted to come in and put a giant discount store, with a supermarket inside... on a busy street next to the forum and hollywood park race track... They wanted to do this without any studies on traffic and other issues... plus it would have put most of the other businesses near the area out of business!

*plus* it would set a precedent for them to put up ugly big-box stores all over the country (hemisphere?), wherever they feel like it, with little or no consultation/input.

aren't they enough of a category-killer, bully behemoth already?


"The cure for anything is salt water: sweat, tears, or the ocean."

--Isak Dinesen

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Thank goodness.

There is absolutely no reason, on gd's green earth, for any kind of store that size.

Lunacy. :wacko:


the tall drink of water...

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And if it had gone in, the jobs pay so little that the workers could only afford the "cheap" groceries with the assistance of food stamps.

edited for spilling..er, spelling


Edited by lala (log)

“"When you wake up in the morning, Pooh," said Piglet at last, "what's the first thing you say to yourself?"

"What's for breakfast?" said Pooh. "What do you say, Piglet?"

"I say, I wonder what's going to happen exciting today?" said Piglet.

Pooh nodded thoughtfully.

"It's the same thing," he said.”

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If they want jobs they should probably get their applications in early at the recently proposed government-(ie taxpayer) bond financed buggy whip factory.

Which, incidently, wasn't voted on.

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Three cheers to the community for winning that fight. Super behemoths do not help the local economy and discourage competition. When they become the only show in town the consumers are at their mercy.

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Austin won a Walmart fight recently: managed to keep one out of our environmentally sensitive area in the southern part of the city.

However, just read that they are BACK, and ready to fight for that spot again.

Walmart and Starbucks...

If we'd all just support our local businesses , these guys wouldn't be mushrooming all over the place.

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Thank goodness.

There is absolutely no reason, on gd's green earth, for any kind of store that size.

Unless it's an IKEA store ... :raz:

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And here's my serious (but not necessarily well-thought out...it's a visceral one) response ...

I have to confess--ExtraMSG, your comment about "cheap groceries" annoyed me. A lot of discussion has taken place here (i.e., on eGullet) about the effect that wide-scale food distribution methods and the animal husbandry and the agricultural practices required to support that distribution model have on the food supply. Genetically-modified crops, BSE, avian flu epidemics...I could go on.

WalMart's marketing method is part and parcel of that entire system. And that's just the food-related effect. What about the environmental ones (as Chris pointed out with his comment about traffic and its impact on the community)? What about the economic ones (with behemoths like WalMart driving local businesses into bankruptcy because they simply cannot compete)?

At some point, we all just have to say no. Good for Inglewood for being among the first to do so.

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Same issue is being addresed in Chicago. Walmart wants to put up stores in two blighted /poor communities. Union forces say No and local aldermen say Yes-for the jobs and 'more'. Mayor Daley did not like the idea at first but now seems to be caving. Hope he reads e-gullet.


What disease did cured ham actually have?

Megan sandwich: White bread, Miracle Whip and Italian submarine dressing. {Megan is 4 y.o.}

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Same issue is being addresed in Chicago. Walmart wants to put up stores in two blighted /poor communities...

...and of course those in poor communities have no computers, so they can't read helpful, informative stuff like this: Wal-mart Watch...


"The cure for anything is salt water: sweat, tears, or the ocean."

--Isak Dinesen

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By now the issue of Wal-Mart in Inglewood sounds like part of a very serious issue that promises to become increasingly important. My view is that so far discussions have been simplistic, even dangerously so.

The issue does apply to food, of course, relevant to Wal-Mart, sources of food, how food is produced, etc.

I can't solve the whole problem here, and my remarks are being written so quickly that they cannot be considered mature, but I will claim that the issue is serious and does need deeper discussion.

Looking at much of the 20th Century, I concluded that flat out the worst danger to the health and welfare of people and to life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness was nonsense economic ideas. I hope that in the 21st Century we do better, but so far I have seen only dangers and no progress toward solutions.

As I learned in college and graduate school, one of the problems is the academic profession of 'economics'. I heard from some relatively well qualified professors of economics, and a summary view of their work was that, with astounding academic arrogance, it was not intended to directly address the current real US economy or any real economy and, instead, was a theoretical study within a closed self-perputating community mostly without real data or contact with experience of the theoretical properties of hypothesized simplistic mathematical models that may have some points of contact with some aspects of some real economies if we very much oversimplify. In particular, using the results of academic economics for policy for real economies is dangerous nonsense, much worse than common sense applied to real data on the real economy. For the sake of economic policy, having all the 'economists' placed end to end is essential.

Thus, I believe that we are forced to return to common sense and real data.

To illustrate one of the problems, I propose a simple 'thought experiment': Suppose someone invents a robot that can be manufactured in quantity for $300 each and that will do nearly any job a human can do, often better than a human could do. Now, what are the humans going to do? That is, first cut, almost immediately, essentially all the humans are out of work. We will be able to invent solutions, and, net, the robots should be a blessing, but until we have some solutions the robots would be a terrible curse, and so far we have not touched on solutions.

This thought experiment is for something extreme and distant. Still, smaller versions of this problem are on the way now. Of course, we could claim that this thought experiment is not really new and is fundamentally the same as thought by Luddites that wanted to smash the machines early in the industrial revolution. In time, the industrial revolution was a blessing. Also the industrial revolution came forward slowly enough that not everyone was thrown out of work at the same time -- that is, societies and economies had time to adjust. Still, likely there were some terrible pains. So, first-cut, such increases in 'productivity' can be a blessing, but the pains can be awful unless the changes come slowly with some moderating influences.

Two things can be mentioned for Wal-Mart: One of the reasons they can sell for less is their distribution system. Basically they are better organized from factory to retail store and, thus, save effort and money in inventory and handling. Here they are making some genuine productivity increases that would be as welcome even if they had employees highly knowledgeable in French wines and were well paid helping customers select. Another reason they can sell for less is that they pay their entry level people so poorly. But, how can they do that? Well, one way is to throw the local sole proprietor merchants out of business and then hire them as employees, but we have to suspect that really in most communities unfortunately the situation is such that there really is a ready pool of labor ready to work at Wal-Mart's wages. That is, in this case, the labor situation is already a sad story, and Wal-Mart is providing slightly better jobs for some people that are not doing well now.

I'm not jumping to praise Wal-Mart: There really is something wrong, a loss, with a big ugly store. And there really is a big issue for a community such as Inglewood: The Wal-Mart site will require that Inglewood make changes in roads, bridges, traffic lights, fire, police, water, sewer, electric power, etc. Such changes could in principle cost the community more in total than savings from Wal-Mart's cheaper prices. In practice, a community should add the total costs and total benefits before deciding. Or, it may be that Inglewood had a long range community development plan, was executing it and investing in it, and now suddenly the plan gets tossed into the trash, new unplanned spending is required, and much of the old spending gets 'written off' or 'depreciated prematurely'. E.g., maybe from old traffic patterns the city installed $100,000 of traffic lights and with Wal-Mart the old $100,000 of lights are no longer needed but some new traffic lights for $300,000 will be needed -- that's, net, $400,000 in cost, not just $300,000. There can be considerable waste here, and the costs would need to be added before a decision.

Essentially, as for traffic lights, also for people: It may be that one of the sole proprietor merchants driven out of business is a classic local butcher that is really good at selecting standing rib roasts, tying rolled pork loin roasts, making beautiful racks of lamb, stocking artesian made sausages, etc. So, this person has years of training invested. They get driven out of business, and their years of training get thrown away -- the merchant loses, and so does the town. So, the merchant's training goes the way of the $100,000 traffic lights. We are willing to discard unneeded traffic lights but not people. So, the costs of what we will do for this merchant need to be considered.

Or, if we are too simplistic in our approach, then as a society we can (1) make some plans, (2) based on those plans make a huge investment in research, education, training, people, infrastructure, (3) for some sudden 1% savings throw out the old plans, throw away the old investments, make new plans, make new investments, and (4) repeat this over and over. Soon we get tired of throwing away huge investments for each case of 1% savings. Then we become unwilling to make plans or investments unless we can be guaranteed that there will be no changes until the investments have had a chance to pay off; in this case we become severely myopic, and that also brings some terrible costs. The issue, the problem, is not change versus no change: Instead, the issue, the problem, is planning for no change and then getting rapid change in contradiction to the assumptions of our planning.

Broadly, if we change the assumptions only a little, then the best decisions can change enormously even though the savings are small. If large changes in decisions are costly, then these costs need to be considered; else, we are proceeding with wasteful nonsense.

This stuff also happens in business: At one time, it was possible to install telephone equipment, pay for it with 20 year bonds, and have the equipment still in place and doing well 40 years later. Then a lot of bonds were sold, a lot of telecommunications equipment got installed, and, surprise, the value of the installed equipment fell by about 90% soon after installation. Much of an industry went bankrupt. The people that bought the bonds were expecting that the equipment would hold its value for decades and instead the value fell after just a few years. The situation has been so severe in the US free enterprise system that the US telecommunications industry is in such bad financial shape that it will have serious difficulty selling bonds to have US telecommunications keep up with Japan, South Korea, or Canada.

Broadly, I would advise: In considering change, we need to add all the costs and all the benefits. Some of the costs may involve writing off to zero value a lot of physical assets and intellectual capital.

If we do not consider all the costs, then we will suffer another effect: People will not invest where their investment is likely to get 'written off' far too soon; the result will be less beneficial change than we want or can have. E.g., fathers are already telling their children to avoid careers that may be subject to foreign competition and to go for careers that have geographical barriers to entry: E.g., it can be smarter to be a licensed electrician that has no competition more than 50 miles away than a Ph.D. in electrical engineering that can be employed by only a few large organizations that are in world-wide competition. In part the result will be a country where mostly people rush to careers with geographical barriers to entry and where, as a country, our competitiveness declines and what we have to pay for imports rises.

It would be good to hear how some other countries handle some of these issues. E.g., it can look like farmers in Switzerland using quite old production techniques on some really horrible farm land actually manage to have a decently good living. Also, it may be that some of the Scandinavian countries, also with poor land, manage to have a standard of living generally competitive with and sometimes better than that of the US.

In simple terms, when we are told that the way to prosperity and a higher standard of living is putting up big ugly buildings, we should have pause.

In terms of food, if we are so 'productive', then we have to ask why Italy makes such good dry grating cheeses and why our grating cheese taste like sawdust? Sure: Before the US artesian cheese factories could become solidly established, refrigerated transport permitted a few companies to get nationwide market dominance in the cheese business; these companies didn't much know or care about anything better than sawdust; and their customers didn't much know, either. When we see such products, we should have pause.


What would be the right food and wine to go with

R. Strauss's 'Ein Heldenleben'?

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Okay, I'm going to add a few things, but I have a migraine, so if I wander at times, I'm very sorry.

project,

1. you're very right about the way economics is approached academically. but the treatment of it in political economy courses is a little more realistic and that's generally the approach i take.

2. you're also right in that we're in an evolving time in history as far as changing the types of careers out there and what will be expected of people in the future. in the us, we're changing from a labor-based economy to a service-based economy. the jobs to look at now are ones that have to be done in person, like nursing, versus ones that can be outsourced or sent overseas, such as factory work. what's particularly unfortunate is what's happening to older people who don't have the training to work in this new economy nor really enough time left in their careers for retraining to be worthwhile. but for most people, either choosing a career that is in-person, service-based or committing to a lifelong education (courses to update knowledge, etc) or a combination of both will be necessary.

3. as far as europe, on the all, they've chosen to enter the 21st century with industries that emphasize creating high-quality, upper-end products from manufacturing and farming industries (look at their foods, cars, wines, etc) and continuing to build their reputation as purveyors of these versus the lower-end cheaper products coming out of asia, central and south america. the general thought of the american consumer seems to be if it was made in china i got a deal, if it was made in germany i got quality. the union/guild system is also part and parcel of the political systems over there in ways that i'm in too much pain to explain clearly now. the us, on the other hand, is becoming a nation, for better or worse, of consumers and importers, whose jobs mainly come from managing or working white collar at multi-national headquarters, selling said products at a wholesale or retail level, or working in service--anything from repairing databases to teaching to working in a restaurant.

wal-mart factors in to this shift in the us economy in all the afformentioned ways.

that being said, i can't work up the hate for wal-mart that a lot of the (i think) city-dwellers on this board can. i can certainly see why wal-mart is less desirable in an urban area, but let me tell you in a rural area, it's a godsend. going to wal-mart is an event, an extreme convenience making trips to town much easier and usually not as controversial--mostly attributing to the fact there's plenty of space, the jobs are welcome, and since people and businesses are more spread out, there are fewer driven out of business, maybe just the ones in the immediate area if those. you're not going to go all the way to wal-mart just for milk if it's 10, 20, 30 miles away--you'll still go to the little store down the street for milk or the basics you need every few days--but you'll also make that trip to wal-mart for clothes, scented candles, bulk items, etc. people who live in these places did all their shopping last generation from the sears catalogue--it's a different world.

that being said, now that i live in a more urban area, i still go to wal-mart about once a month. they have the best deal on my soap, puppy suppilies, etc. but i more frequently patronize other places for groceries because the quality is higher and the staff is more knowledgable.

also, as an example of survival, my dad has owned a home-center lumberyard for 20 years. in 1997, lowes opened in our community. some of the other small yards didn't survive, but dad doubled his business. why? he switched his focus from retail to contractor sales. (selling to the people who build neighborhoods, etc.) he knew that even though he belonged to a buying group, he couldn't compete with lowes' showroom for retail, so he changed his game and touted the knowledgability of his staff and exclusive products he carried. home depot just opened too, and he's doing just fine. the lesson? maybe the sausage maker or artisanal bread maker should increase their business selling to mid-level restaurants and catering companies. in business, getting competition in the neighborhood is life.

also, one question, i've noticed a lot of people on e-Gullet LOVE costo. what's the difference between wal-mart and costo in terms of effect on community? maybe you guys don't like costo, but to me, it seem pretty similar....

SML


"When I grow up, I'm going to Bovine University!" --Ralph Wiggum

"I don't support the black arts: magic, fortune telling and oriental cookery." --Flanders

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also, one question, i've noticed a lot of people on e-Gullet LOVE costo. what's the difference between wal-mart and costo in terms of effect on community? maybe you guys don't like costo, but to me, it seem pretty similar....

SML

Costco is a warehouse store rather than a discount store; requires a membership to enter. Walmart--you just need to be ambulatory in some fashion. Costco doesn't necessarily carry more than one brand of anything, or they carry one brand and Kirkland version (their brand). They don't have as wide a selection of items as Walmart would, or as low prices. Some of the furniture I have seen there has been, um, rather dramatic, not seen anywhere else (leopard-spot fabric on a fainting couch, that sort of thing). Recliners-one style. Refrigerators, stoves, one color, one style.

At Costco, size of food items or household cleaners, etc., are usually much bigger than you get in a discount store, or they are shrinkwrapped together, 8 or 10 or 12 cans or bottles (depending on what it is), or 180 ounces of dishwasher liquid in a bottle as opposed to 96 in grocery or Walmart stores. It's usually a case of, they have what's on the floor, and it usually costs much less than discount, drug or department stores, but not always. So you might pay $9.99 for two 40-ounce bottles of shampoo when at Walmart one 20-ounce bottle could cost you about $3. 12 cans of tuna for $9. Whatever you buy at Costco, prepare to have a LOT of it on hand. You need LOTS of storage if you shop at Costco much. Walmart might have lower prices but you won't be living with the stuff for months.

If it's been reported that Costco gives food stamp info to employees when they are hired, I missed it. This HAS been reported of Walmart. They will hire retirees and people who might have trouble getting taken on elsewhere. If you are old and tired, you can work at walmart. If you are old and tired, Costco might consider that the work would be too strenuous for you.

The Crowd:

In the Walmarts I go to, there is usually a crying child or two as well as numerous kids running around being kids; long long lines at the checkout even for a few items. The customers tend to be poorer; sometimes they are ill-mannered and out for themselves, sometimes they are what you call decent working class people. Some of them keep after their children to behave, some seem to overlook most all misbehavior. Sometimes they are what you would call products of economically-advantaged backgrounds obviously stretching those entry-level-job dollars, except that now they go to Target. All races, many classes at Walmart.

In the Costco's I go to the children are not usually at the crying stage yet, but they may be tired and a bit whiny. Their parents tend to keep after them to behave. The people tend to be either upper-middle classers getting bargains, middle-middle classers ganging up on someone's Costco card, or all sorts immigrants buying for a crowd (DC area, and Reston, VA area). You don't see many obviously poor people but you do see people with a lot of money to spend at one time. Until one gets the hang of it, it's hard to get out without spending less than $100. Elyse has mentioned somewhere that she can, I have spent $23 dollars on one trip in one month. You just have to not pick up every bargain.

Possible cheap shot: Costco has not, to my knowledge, had video footage from a surveillance camera used to trace a missing child. Not Walmart's fault that someone with evil intent might go there, but you don't have to be the sort that thinks ahead to consequences to go there.

At Costco you have to sort of be thinking ahead--like, where are you gonna put all this stuff when you finally unload the SUV! You pony up $45 to be a member and then you need to either buy a lot or shop there a lot to make back the cost plus savings, unless you don't care that much about it. As mentioned you may need to have the kind of income where you can take a big hit on food which will be eaten in a short time.

I don't think Costco necessarily puts a lot of other businesses out of business. Their employees may seem rather rushed on Saturdays at 3 pm but usually are rather pleasant. Walmart--it's iffy. Some of them come to work tired.

The produce at Costco is very fresh, the meat can be good, although much depends on how "choicey" you are. They have all kinds of ready-to-heat stuff, all kinds of prepared food in the freezer case. Plus they sell cakes that are VERY good (well, okay, they have Crisco icing on top and buttercream between layers but the cake part is good too.). They sell rather large cheesecakes and a very good pumpkin cheesecake, in season. They sell very good bread, and cookies and muffins that (ahem) go very fast at bake sales! They have the "wonder bread" style stuff available, and Roman Meal too but they also have more robust bakery-style bread. Oh, and huge bags of chips, and lots of beer and wine. Walmart in our area doesn't do beer and wine.

Okay, maybe 36 eggs for 3.97 is still too many eggs. At Walmart last time I looked, 18 eggs for 1.97. Plus the rather worn and frazzled look of clerks and customers alike, all the time. Usually Costco-ites don't frazzle much till closing time, or on Saturday afternoon.

I don't know a whole lot about Super Walmart, my Florida relatives shopped there a year ago but on my last visit they had taken against Walmart for some reason. Prices were low (the main reason) and there was a great variety of stuff. It was sort of like Target with a grocery tacked on. Then, this past winter, Walmart was on the s**t list.

Had a friend who used to go to Super Wal Mart in Winchester, VA and loved it. Super cheap prices for the same stuff you get around metro DC. Of course gasoline was $.25 a gallon cheaper out there too, soo...

Gee. Maybe I love Costco too much.....

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As someone said earlier, Wal-Mart has already prompted a number of substantive posts on a range of issues -- economic, environmental, etc. I object to the largest private employer in the US, and the largest retailer in the world, increasing their net profit at tax-payer expense. Many full-time Wal-Mart employees qualify for government aid -- and no, that's not because public assistance funds are so generous that they're feeding middle-class children. It's called corporate welfare.

We do not permit corporations to fatten themselves without regard to citizens' well-being. The abolition of child labor, the eight-hour work-day, etc. are limits on the free market. Corporations, moreover, have shown no tendency to safeguard individuals without being legally obligated to do so.

Barbara Ehrenreich's Book, Nickel and Dimed, is an excellent source of information.

Ingrid


My fantasy? Easy -- the Simpsons versus the Flanders on Hell's Kitchen.

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Barbara Ehrenreich's Book, Nickel and Dimed, is an excellent source of information.

I second the recommendation of Ehrenreich's book. She went 'undercover' and gained first-hand insight into the plight of America's working poor.

Squeat

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I have also heard Ehrenreich refer to chicken gravy as a beverage. Clearly, her thinking is first-rate.


My fantasy? Easy -- the Simpsons versus the Flanders on Hell's Kitchen.

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Sprawl-Mart is deservedly--albeit belatedly--getting spanked in the 'burbs too.

http://www.news-journalonline.com/newsjour...ast03041304.htm

The Army Corps of Engineers refused to grant the company's 2002 request to fill and excavate nearly 9 acres of wetlands because Wal-Mart failed to show how it would help preserve the environmentally sensitive land, Corps biologist and project manager Richard Legere said Monday. Water from the wetlands feeds into both the Turnbull and Spruce Creek systems.
Members of Corridor 44 Civic Association, who have been fighting the 211,000-square-foot super store for the past three years, were thrilled to hear of the denial. Both Corridor 44 and Volusia County lost legal battles against Wal-Mart in 2003.

In this part of Central Florida's east coast we already have Wal-Marts, Super Wal-Marts and Sam's Clubs (the Costco wannabe) within ten miles of each other.

I've refused to shop at any of them for over a decade. I won't suffer management based on minimal service, cheap help that doesn't, and cheesy quality goods for the sake of the bottom line on the price tag.

Shit that is on sale is still shit.

PJ


"Epater les bourgeois."

--Lester Bangs via Bruce Sterling

(Dori Bangs)

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the biggest difference in terms of costco vs. walmart from a political standpoint is how they treat their employees: well. as opposed to using many different tricks to cheat them (you hear about people being fired for complaining or attempting to organize a union, people promised benefits but keept just under the number of hours needed or fired after so many weeks, hours shaved from timecards, etc.). so in a sense, the low prices are at the expense of the workers, your neighbors. (not to mention how the products are sometimes made.)

don't think costco has had as many environmental fights, though they don't always get along with their immediate neighbors due to traffic issues.


Edited by mb7o (log)

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Essentially, as for traffic lights, also for people: It may be that one of the sole proprietor merchants driven out of business is a classic local butcher that is really good at selecting standing rib roasts, tying rolled pork loin roasts, making beautiful racks of lamb, stocking artesian made sausages, etc. So, this person has years of training invested. They get driven out of business, and their years of training get thrown away -- the merchant loses, and so does the town.

I've been staying out of this discussion but I have to take issue with this statement. Do you really believe that people who routinely purchase such food items as those referenced are going to stop buying from a quality local butcher and start getting their meat at the Wal-Mart Super Center when it opens? That's just ludicrous. Independent butchers have been disappearing for decades by virtue of competition from large grocery store meat departments. The same phenomenon has occurred with other product categories but I prefer to keep the discussion focused more or less on food. The peopel who are truly artisans and maintain a toight focus on the quality of their offerings will always have a niche but they're not selling "beautiful racks of lamb" and the like to the average working class or lower middle class family who shops at Wal Mart to save money

The implication that cashiers at Wal Mart might well be people who were once the owners or proprietors of local business but who can now do no better than getting a job running a cash register at Wal Mart? Also laughable. The floks who once ran small local business that are now gone may be doing other things but not working as cashiers. Yes, many small sole proprietors are driven out of business but in many communities, such as the one where I live, such small businesses long ago faced their real test against chains stores in general, long before Wal Mart became the titan that they are now.

The loss of neighborhood stores, "downtown" shopping and the trend towards larger and larger chain stores is a social, economic and cultural trend in which Wal Mart is just one player. I think it's their particular brand of politics that pisses people off more than anything. It would almost appear that they look for an environmentally sensitive area and then intentionally choose to build on it just to piss people off. It's really not that simple. They have a cost formula for acquiring square footage for stores and parking. Marshy lands that have long been considered marginal for building and less desirable than other land because they're tougher to build on tend to be priced lower than other properties.

In many cases these specific tracts of land tend to be in ideal locations on terms of traffic patterns and access to growing suburban development. Do you realize that there are absolutely no Wal Marts in North Jersey? That area has the highest overall population density per square mile of any area in the country (I exclude dense city areas such as Manhattan from this discussion). The land costs too much and the large enough tracts are difficult to find. I doubt that Wal Mart will ever appear there.

I lived in Ithaca NY for four years back in the '90's. Ithaca successfully warded off two separate attempts by Wal Mart to build a store in the community. Despite their failure to become entrenched there, a few of the small local businesses that were held up as examples of places that might not survive if Wal Mart opened (a downtown men's clothing store and a small downtown Woolworth's) closed anyway becuase people's shopping habits have changed.

Since that time, Ithaca has now become home to a Lowe's store, Home Depot, Target, an enormously expanded Wegmans grocery store, and a few other big box places. The reaility is that the fight against Wal Mart in that progressive and fairly liberal community was really about politics - not about traffic and impact on other merchants.

I personally have no issue with that. I have an intense disdain for the sort of ramrod push it through at any cost initiatives that places like Wal Mart undertake but I feel obliged to point out that they are only one of many.

Also - have you ever check out the food selection at a Wal Mart Super Center? It sucks! They focus on a limited selection of key staple items in a very narrow choice of brands - I have yet to find anythign of interest there in the few times that I've browsed through one.

Oh well.... have to go.... I'm off to my local farmers market to buy better produce cheaper than I can get it at Wal Mart or a grocery store :laugh:

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I've been staying out of this discussion but I have to take issue with this statement. Do you really believe that people who routinely purchase such food items as those referenced are going to stop buying from a quality local butcher and start getting their meat at the Wal-Mart Super Center when it opens? That's just ludicrous. Independent butchers have been disappearing for decades by virtue of competition from large grocery store meat departments. The same phenomenon has occurred with other product categories but I prefer to keep the discussion focused more or less on food. The peopel who are truly artisans and maintain a toight focus on the quality of their offerings will always have a niche but they're not selling "beautiful racks of lamb" and the like to the average working class or lower middle class family who shops at Wal Mart to save money

The implication that cashiers at Wal Mart might well be people who were once the owners or proprietors of local business but who can now do no better than getting a job running a cash register at Wal Mart? Also laughable. The floks who once ran small local business that are now gone may be doing other things but not working as cashiers. Yes, many small sole proprietors are driven out of business but in many communities, such as the one where I live, such small businesses long ago faced their real test against chains stores in general, long before Wal Mart became the titan that they are now.

The loss of neighborhood stores, "downtown" shopping and the trend towards larger and larger chain stores is a social, economic and cultural trend in which Wal Mart is just one player. I think it's their particular brand of politics that pisses people off more than anything. It would almost appear that they look for an environmentally sensitive area and then intentionally choose to build on it just to piss people off. It's really not that simple. They have a cost formula for acquiring square footage for stores and parking. Marshy lands that have long been considered marginal for building and less desirable than other land because they're tougher to build on tend to be priced lower than other properties.

In many cases these specific tracts of land tend to be in ideal locations on terms of traffic patterns and access to growing suburban development. Do you realize that there are absolutely no Wal Marts in North Jersey? That area has the highest overall population density per square mile of any area in the country (I exclude dense city areas such as Manhattan from this discussion). The land costs too much and the large enough tracts are difficult to find. I doubt that Wal Mart will ever appear there.

I lived in Ithaca NY for four years back in the '90's. Ithaca successfully warded off two separate attempts by Wal Mart to build a store in the community. Despite their failure to become entrenched there, a few of the small local businesses that were held up as examples of places that might not survive if Wal Mart opened (a downtown men's clothing store and a small downtown Woolworth's) closed anyway becuase people's shopping habits have changed.

Since that time, Ithaca has now become home to a Lowe's store, Home Depot, Target, an enormously expanded Wegmans grocery store, and a few other big box places. The reaility is that the fight against Wal Mart in that progressive and fairly liberal community was really about politics - not about traffic and impact on other merchants.

I personally have no issue with that. I have an intense disdain for the sort of ramrod push it through at any cost initiatives that places like Wal Mart undertake but I feel obliged to point out that they are only one of many.

Also - have you ever check out the food selection at a Wal Mart Super Center? It sucks! They focus on a limited selection of key staple items in a very narrow choice of brands - I have yet to find anythign of interest there in the few times that I've browsed through one.

Oh well.... have to go.... I'm off to my local farmers market to buy better produce cheaper than I can get it at Wal Mart or a grocery store :laugh:

Owen,

You might want to try to hit the decaf for the rest of the morning, buddy. :wink::laugh:

On the other hand, what is it that the hip kids say these days?

Word! to Owen. His remarks (especially as they realate to the deep South and the manner in which Wal Mart selects most of their store locations) are exactly on target.

There has been a recent and much publicized exception to their suburban building in New Orleans though. Wal Mart will be building a Supercenter (the first one in Orleans parish) on the site of the old St Thomas Housing Project in the Tchopitoulas Corridor-very near the convention center) and many fought hard and long to keep it out. Oddly, it appeared to me (I did not have a dog in this hunt, so I am just an observer) that the people who did not want it around were the people who could afford to, and had the ability to, head out to the burbs to discount shop and that the people who supported WalMart were the ones that saw themselves as potential discount shoppers. If you google a bit on New Orleans+Wal Mart+St Thomas you should be able to find lots of interesting reading on this specific subject and the subject of who shops at Wal Mart and why.

The construction has started, so the argument at this point is pretty much moot, but it was an interesting fight.


Brooks Hamaker, aka "Mayhaw Man"

There's a train everyday, leaving either way...

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In my neighborhood, which is in Central NJ, there was a huge controversy over WalMart building a store. So instead, they simply moved into a vacant, former department store. No permits needed, and no public mention of this transaction before they actually opened their doors. This was super sly. They also installed a McDonalds as their cafe operator. So now in Franklin Township, Hunterdon County, we have a WalMart and a McD, and this is simply wrong.

Recently they did the same thing just 5 miles down the road. How many WalMarts does our population need? My town has only 2,000 people, though I guess they draw from other communities. I refuse to go there, as they buy flowers from the largest water aquifier drainer in the country, located 1/4 mile from my house, on a "preserved farmland" that houses the fifth largest greenhouse in the country, all for containerized mums. Oops, don't get me started.

Owen, I was up in Ithaca last week, and what has happened there is truly shocking. So, I guess, goes the way of the country, but I was aghast. I grew up in this town, and cannot believe this. And I think there is a new Walmart, but I may be wrong, since all of these stores, with their eye-noise, all look the same.

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