Saturday, October 6, 2007

War with Wal-Mart, Pt. 2

From the South Park episode titled Something Wall-mart this way comes, Comedy Central network.

I opened my door yesterday to retrieve a red sheet of paper, asking me to please get involved. The angry-red sheet of paper demanded to know:


Obviously, all about Wal-Mart. More petitions, more carrying-on, more gnashing of teeth.

I wish we could stop them, but I just wanted to tell the zealous distributor of red-sheet diatribes, that if a bunch of millionaires can't stop them, what makes you think we can? The Greenville News reports:

Wal-Mart Stores says an "upscale" Supercenter will likely take more than a year to open at Pelham Road and The Parkway, where county land records show the company paid $7 million for 16 acres of hotly disputed land.

The land sale follows nine months of legal and political wrangling over a prime slice of property already zoned for commercial use in which some nearby residents say their vocal opposition group was eventually bullied into silence.

An attorney for Greenville-based OBS Land Co. sent a letter to the Pelham Corridor Property Owners Alliance earlier this year that said he could take legal action if the group continued to interfere with OBS' contract to sell the land, according to copies obtained by The Greenville News.
Upscale! Is that supposed to make us feel better? Hey, don't worry, it's UPSCALE! And what the hell is that, anyway? It's still a Wal-Mart isn't it? Does an "upscale" Wal-Mart charge regular prices instead of Wal-Mart prices? I doubt that!

The fact is: Wal-Mart can and will do whatever they want. They are running the joint.

Profits are more important to Wal-Mart than your excellent, rational talking points:

TRAFFIC - Traffic will infiltrate our quiet neighborhood and it will be nearly impossible to enter or exit the complex as we fight all the new Wal-Mart traffic.

NOISE, TRASH, LIGHTS - Think about the loudspeakers and trucks backing up at all hours of the day and night.

CRIME - Big development + 24-hour operations = DRAMATIC INCREASE IN CRIME. Criminals will be able to walk into our neighborhood from the Wal-Mart.

POLLUTION - Think about the smell from the trash. In addition, they will drain their dirty water into the creek which runs through our complex.

While I certainly appreciate the effort, this red sheet just depressed me, as I realized all of these things are true, and my sanity is NOT going to be preserved. Nor is my neighborhood.

Of course, I will sign your petition, go to your meeting, pass out the NO WAL-MART! car magnets and what-all. But I just don't think it will do any good.

Has anyone EVER stopped them?

Mood: despondent.


bryce said...

you aren't exagerating either. it will suck majorly.

i think goverments have stopped walmart in the past but not regular people.,

antiprincess said...

I don't know, daisy. I seem to remember watching this anti-walmart documentary recently. I seem to remember there was a community in California which stopped one, a coupla others here or there. you know, I'll go look it up right now.

antiprincess said...

here honey, start here.

antiprincess said...

ok - according to this site:

some 120 communities in the US and Canada have stopped a walmart from invading their communities.

of course, go and see for yourself and decide whether their information is reliable.

but there you go.

I think at least some progress might be made if we all started using the CEO's name as a swear word - for example

"Lee Scott! it's cold outside!" or "it's Lee-Scott-HOT outside!" or "just who the Lee Scott do you think you are?" or "oh, Lee Scott you, you Lee Scotting Lee Scott!"

or, you know, get creative. make up your own.

alphabitch said...

Your mama's Lee Scotting Lee Scott!

I hope your little tiny Lee Scott falls right off if you're lying to me, Lee Scott.

I'll put it in the mail as soon as your check clears, Lee Scott-wad!

antiprincess said...

leescottwad. now that has real potential.

Elizabeth McClung said...

"Criminals will be able to walk into our neighborhood from the Wal-Mart."

I guess I never made the big leap that Walmart was the destination shopping of choice for criminals who then decide to take a "vacation stroll" and criminalize the area? Or are we talking about the white collar crime that managers might perpetrate?

DBB said...

I can understand congestion and traffic being a concern. But crime? That seems a bit of a stretch.

Most of it seems rather overblown - a Walmart, a Target, and a few other big stores was built just a few miles down the main road from where I live about five or so years ago (I've been here almost ten years). I really haven't seen any problems. If anything, the local economy is benefiting, there are some more jobs in the area (when unemployment is the highest in the nation here), there are more options for shopping, cheaper prices (according to my wife who will actually go to four stores to get the best price on something - I'm too lazy to do that).

And really, how do you propose to keep someone from selling their land for a legal use, just because you don't like it? What if you want, say, to put in a fence in your yard or build a swimming pool in your backyard, and your neighbors, who paid nothing for your land, tell you you can't do it because they don't like it. At what point can people actually do what they want with their own property? Ok, that's probably too big a discussion for a comment - and could bring in all sorts of issues, like pollution, etc... so I'll quit when I'm behind...

DaisyDeadhead said...

DBB, I don't propose that we can stop them. I said as much, didn't I?

I think capitalism is a blight, most of the time. I am a hippie socialist type, with southern anarchist tendencies that keep me honest. You, however, are an atheist libertarian we-love-money Cato Institute type of guy, yes? Well, of COURSE you like Wal-mart. This isn't rocket science, DBB.

I'll be blogging about my zip code in a minute, so stay tuned. We have very little unemployment here, so that's no reason. It's all about greed, greed, Leescottwad greed!

I guess I never made the big leap that Walmart was the destination shopping of choice for criminals who then decide to take a "vacation stroll" and criminalize the area? Or are we talking about the white collar crime that managers might perpetrate?

Elizabeth, you are Canadian, so I will explain: when some poor Mexican* steals a bra or an iPod from Wal-Mart, they bring out the helicopters and hounds. It turns into a big hunt right out of THE FUGITIVE, and since this often occurs at night, the helicopters are very dramatic: they hover low and are very loud, and the lights sweep back forth, just like in THE RUNNING MAN. Thus, when people say they don't like crime, they often mean this advanced RUNNING MAN production that accompanies it, which is extremely creepy, disorienting and disturbing. And besides that, it is as likely that they will grab ANY Mexican they find, as it is that they will locate the particular Mexican who has actually pinched the iPod.

White-collar? No helicopters are deployed for white-collar crime. They will spend 80,000 dollars in helicopter maintenance and gasoline, to catch one Mexican stealing a $10.99 bra, while ignoring the white-collar criminal who is capable of stealing thousands of dollars at a shot. In this country, people of different classes are regarded very differently, and the poor are relentlessly prosecuted, while Phil Spector goes out for a nice dinner with his wife.

*I give this example deliberately, because they can bring out MORE law enforcement (from INS) if it IS a Mexican. John Law loves spectacles, uniforms, fancy equipment, bad attitude... all of that patriarchal pageantry...

antiprincess said...

there are more options for shopping,

well, not always. part of the problem with having a wal-mart in your community is that mere mortal businesses can't compete and fail, leaving desolate downtowns full of abandoned storefronts.

so mostly, you wind up shopping at walmart because they can be the only game in town.

and the folks who used to work there? yeah, maybe they get jobs at walmart. not-quite-fulltime jobs at lower wages, with no insurance, with no respect for their years of retail experience - or maybe they don't get walmart jobs at all, depending.

It's not that walmart itself is evil (well, it is, but that's not the point I'm trying to make). it's the ubiquity of walmart that's evil. it's not enough to have a walmart in my community. they want a walmart in every single community, so that no local businesses anywhere even have a shot.

I'm not so enamored of Target or Kmart either, fwiw.

as to whether one can dictate what his neighbors do with their own property - that's a good point, but I think (and this is just a guess, mind) the rules are different with commercial property.

it sounds like the anti-walmart organization in Daisy's community is putting the focus on the wrong syllable, hammering home the idea that walmart attracts the "wrong element". which is bullshit and classist and racist. why not oppose it because of its completely amoral attitudes towards people?

antiprincess said...

DBB, I don't propose that we can stop them. I said as much, didn't I?

but honey, maybe y'all can.

I'm-a email you right now.

DaisyDeadhead said...

DBB, there is also the matter of my own job, which might be in question if, you know, Wal-Mart puts us out of business.

DBB said...

Libertarian leaning I may be, but I'm not exactly a huge Walmart fan. The only thing I ever buy there is pictures (developing) and the frames to go with them (because I'm too lazy to go to another store). I much prefer to shop at Meijer. My wife prefers Target and Walmart, but she's much more a capitalist than I am.

I find Walmart's anti-union tactics fascist. I think their pay and benefits are disgraceful.
Maybe that is the difference between a libertarian and a capitalist, if there is one - the capitalist seems to focus on the few who get rich off the backs of the many, the libertarian thinks everyone needs a cut in the economy, including the workers. After all, if you pay your workers squat, who the heck will buy your products?

I'm sorry to hear about your job situation. I lost two jobs to outsourcing and essentially abandoned that profession to become a lawyer instead.

In my local area, the Walmart added, not subtracted, from employment mostly because there really weren't many small stores to put out of business. My area is semi-rural (or was) so there was simply a whole lot of empty land. And the main employers in town were and are GM and the State.

antiprincess said...

My area is semi-rural (or was) so there was simply a whole lot of empty land.

anyone do an environmental impact study before they built the walmart?

Anonymous said...

"CRIME - Big development + 24-hour operations = DRAMATIC INCREASE IN CRIME. Criminals will be able to walk into our neighborhood from the Wal-Mart."

And this is Code for: them damn darkies are going to be RIGHT.OUTSIDE.YOUR.HOMES!!!!eeeee

Q Grrl

DaisyDeadhead said...

Actually Q, I think it's code for the Mexicans, as I said to Elizabeth.

I live in an apartment complex that is very-well-integrated, as it is. And I can assure you African-American residents are as concerned about Wal-Mart as I am, including one of the property managers.

Welcome! I've been hoping you'd show up here, since I've often enjoyed your comments over at Margins.

Anonymous said...

Hey, just saw your response. Yeah, where I live (Durham, NC) the racial tensions are huge between the Black and Hispanic communities. We've got so many gangs you start to ignore it, ya' know?

and yeah, I read here periodically. I'm an equal opportunity feminist. :P

q Grrl