This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on June 17, 2005 1:32 PM. The previous post in this blog was In our referral log. The next post in this blog is Where do I apply?. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

E-mail, Feeds, 'n' Stuff

Friday, June 17, 2005

Here comes Wal-Mart

A Wal-Mart is going in in Sellwood, on McLoughlin Boulevard in southeast Portland, down where the old Goodwill store used to be. The rumors are true: The property owner, Howard Dietrich of Nelson Development, has signed a lease with Wal-Mart. Already Commissioner Sam Adams has said he doesn't want it there, and Metro Councillor Robert Liberty took time off from his busy schedule to say he's against it, too.

I don't like Wal-Mart, but I also don't like Portland's reputation as being inhospitable to business. And since I can't imagine there's any way that the city is actually going to stop this corporate behemoth from locating on McLoughlin -- it's a state highway, for crying out loud -- I'm wondering whether having our public officials posture around about it isn't doing more harm than good. Particularly Commissioner Adams, who's making a name for himself by being so business-friendly -- apparently only certain businesses qualify for his friendship.

I think he and Liberty ought to settle for making them build a bioswale back behind the building. As Mick and Keith will be reminding us in person this fall, you can't always get what you want.

Comments (41)

Why the gratuitous "I don't like Wal-Mart" comment? It just throws fuel on some extremely unseemly fires being lit by blowhards like Liberty and Adams.

What the anti-Wal-Mart crowd are not saying (but what they mean) is that depsite the massive benefits Wal-Mart provides for many, many people in no position to sacrifice income for the sake of someone else's aesthetic preferences, those aesthetic costs simply outweigh those economic benefits. Never mind that the benefits of the no-Wal-Mart-world accrue to the naysayers and their ilk and the costs fall entirely on the relatively poor.

At least that would be honest (although, I believe, abhorent), and perhaps, if properly understood, we could start to ask the Wal-Mart opposition why they dont couple their anti-Wal-Mart actions with transfer programs to repay the cost of a Wal-Mart-less world to the folks who actually bear that cost.

Me, I rarely shop at Wal-Mart (in part because they're too far away from my house in SE PDX), and I find them subjectively ugly and unpleasant, but I would never be so sanctimonious as to suggest that my personal aesthetic preferences should impinge on someone else's ability to buy cheap groceries and clothes for their family.

Ah, the modern political elite: always helping out the less fortunate by making the world conform to their benighted vision . . . even if it kills the less fortunate in the process.

Is it o.k. to force them to build a bioswale, at least?

Your way of describing the pro v. con sides of the Wal-Mart dispute is simplistic at best. It's just as likely that people who oppose the presence of Wal-Mart in their city are driven by a desire to not have their city endorse such a morally corrupt company. People opposed to a new Wal-Mart might also have thought beyond a simple "money in pockets" analysis and might feel that having a Wal-Mart in town makes the town as a whole worse off than it was before. For example, some workers will certainly pick up a few minimum wage dollars for their pockets (while being employed at a low enough hourly level that they're not eligible for health or other benefits). Will the number of those workers and their associated income balance out the loss of local businesses and the people those businesses employed?

Walmart does not destroy communities nor put local shops out of business. If a small business has to close because of Walmart, it's because that business failed to be competitive and adapt to new competition.

Apple Music is a perfect example. Locally-owned Apple Music used to be the main music store in Portland. Then the national-chain Guitar Center came in, touting massive selections and low prices, and opened huge stores in the Portland area. Instead of Apple closing up shop, they shifted their focus to a more service-oriented and specialty instrument music selection. Not only has Apple thrived, they've expanded.

No one is forced to work at Walmart, either. Walmart pays a wage and many find it attractive. If Walmart pays less than say Fred Meyer, then Freddie's would become *more* attractive to job seekers. Therefore, Walmart would lose employees and prospects.

What many anti-Walmart activists are really about is limiting choice. Walmart has done a great job of attracting shoppers, people shop at Walmart because they *choose* to do so.

Walmart adds choice and competition to the market place -- it's an example of capitalism at its finest. Sam Adams et al want to limit choice and put restrictions on the free market. This is a bad thing for consumers, employees and the economy.

Oh, and in 2004, Wal-Mart paid $14.7 million in state and local taxes in Oregon

Does this mean the Acropolis will soon be picketed?

There's little available by way of rational response to the characterization of Wal-Mart as "a morally corrupt company." What does that mean? How does a company have a capcity to be either moral or corrupt? By what standard? And according to what evidence?

At any rate, I'm pretty sure that what you and others call "morals" I call aesthetics. I completely understand that some people are offended at the notion of something as reprehensible as a successful corporation opening its doors in town (especially when that town is Portland, OR), but such people shouldn't be making policy choices that affect the very real economic circumstances of people they, apparently, have litte regard for.

As for your assertion that, perhaps, Wal-Mart makes communities generally worse off economically, this is a perfectly sensible argument to have. But a) it does not actually drive most of the anti-Wal-Marters who fear for their pristine suburban landscapes and their mortal souls rather than the wallets of Wal-Mart's shoppers and employees, and b) it's almost surely a losing argument anyway.

The assertion that Wal-Mart makes workers worse off is possibly true, but extremely unlikely. Long before Wal-Mart has any effect on other businesses (i.e., long before it opens for business) it has already employed hundreds of workers. By their voluntary assent. I am sure that every single one of these workers believes that working at Wal-Mart is better than the available alternatives, or else they wouldn't work there. So we know they are made better off. Those who lose their jobs because Wal-Mart puts Carl's Craft Corner out of business are probably harmed in the short run (although it depends on what, if any, alternative employment they find and, importantly, how much further their budget stretches because they can shop at Wal-Mart). But don't forget that Carl was formerly using up capital in, it turns out (because Wal-Mart does it better, or else Carl would still be in business) an inefficient way. That capital will be used elsewhere, used better, and, mirabile dictu, it will undoubtedly create some jobs. Neither I nor anyone else knows precisely the magnitude of these effects, but we've known at least since the 18th century that more productive uses of capital are generally wealth-creating.

Moreover, if gains to consumers overall from Wal-Mart outweigh net losses to workers, then Wal-Mart is still desirable. There may be winners and losers, and perhaps (as I suggested before) we should look into ways to compensate the losers, but we should still have the store. What is more, since the workers we're talking about are most assuredly also consumers, any negative effect will be ameliorated to some extent.

The only argumet against such market-induced reallocation of capital is an aesthetic one (or "moral" one, but I fail to see how impoverishment is a morally-superior choice). And politicians putting aesthetics (or, again, morals) ahead of economic welfare is something most people in Portland oppose (at least when their preferences line up against those of the politicians. Hmmmmmmm). It is simply no different than conservatives pushing against abortion and drug use (to take but two examples): it's moral imperialism, the real-world consequences of which are not born by the moral imperialists.

The Acropolis's employees have their own endowments.

Wow, I was getting ready to post a Walmart defense against the usual Portland leftist suspects, only to find several excellently-written ones already posted.

There clearly is no serious political argument against keeping Walmart out. If you don't like it, don't shop there. Obviously somebody does shop there.

As for the "aesthetic" issues, Walmart is symptomatic of the big box problem. But did anyone else catch the recent Oregonian article about Walmart changing their stripes to fit in here? They appear to be willing to bend on design issues to get their stores here.

I think the hardcore left goes home early on Friday. 8c)

The "progressives" who love the inordinately high taxes and cost of living their city puts on its lower classes owe them at least a Walmart.

According to http://www.blueoregon.com/2005/05/earth_to_walmar.html Wal-Mart "paid" Oregon $14.7 million state and local taxes by "collecting" it in the form of sales tax.

Walmart does not destroy communities nor put local shops out of business. If a small business has to close because of Walmart, it's because that business failed to be competitive and adapt to new competition.

Unreal. The honchos at Wal-Mart p.r. couldn't have come up with a suck-up shilling line any better than that one. Congrats, Chris.

Here's a contest: Name an actual small business that Wal-Mart is going to hurt in Sellwood. Mainly, it's going to hurt Fred Meyer and Safeway, which, in case we haven't noticed, are just as bad. Don't picture the corner grocer, folks -- he or she left Portland long ago.

Can Sellwood handle the traffic? I can see McLoughlin blvd *sorta* handling the traffic increase. But I can't see the bridge handling an increase at all.

If the Council Kid truly was serous about stopping this Wal-Mart (ha!) he would have argued the building permit on merit of traffic.

"Don't picture the corner grocer, folks -- he or she left Portland long ago."

Along with a lot of business', citizens, public school students, tax dollars, jobs, . . .

There already is a Wal-Mart in SE Portland, in the Eastgate shopping center.

The local neighborhood association has been making big efforts to turn SE Tacoma St, the cross-street involved, into a more pedestrian friendly street. A Wal-Mart would run counter that neighborhood priority. I thought conservatives were supposed to favor local autonomy?

Tacoma Street connects the Sellwood Bridge, already bearing more traffic than it really can and falling apart, to a bridge over 99E that feeds up into a really narrow little connector to a three way intersection with Johnson Creek Blvd and a street that runs down into Milwaukie. Wal-Mart will create traffic nightmares in all directions except perhaps McLoughlin. Even there, it is hard to imagine that it won't significantly increase rush hour problems.

I wonder if there is there any connection between this plan and Bechtel's recent unsolicited bid to rebuild the Sellwood Bridge?

Jack, I don't think this is necessarily a done deal. The location in question is in the Johnson Creek Watershed and the proposal must entail a massive expansion of asphalted surface for parking somewhere. That would be bad idea, and I expect may form a ground for regulatory opposition.

Geoff, quality of life is more than aesthetic, although quite why values other than money deserve derision is not clear. Massively increasing traffic into an essentially residential area creates a number of threats to health and public safety.

Tell me, do you live where you live and make your consumption choices primarily to benefit the lower income folks? Or do you make choices according to what you like? I'd give long odds its the latter. Why is a liberal having aesthetic preferences any more elitist than your doing so?

Sellwood used to have several smaller supermarkets, a Kienows & another where New Seasons now is whose former name is escaping me. They were driven out of business by the narrowed margins that Fred Meyer's economies of scale afforded F.M.

The fractionally lower prices at F.M. at SE 82nd & Johnson Creek were enough to draw away part of the local commerce. Some of those choosing to go there may have been low income, but given Sellwood's very mixed income character, some probably were not.

Those people who chose that price benefit over local shopping gained something they valued, I suppose. A lot of other people who preferred local shopping, including elderly folks and family people who preferred not to have to back up the kids and trek out to SE 82nd or up to the overpriced Safeway on Woodstock (which gets away with that because of locality convenience) lost out. Those folks were no less real people and no more elitist than the ones who chose to go out to Freddie's.

A Wal-Mart at McLoughlin or Tacoma would benefit some of those folks who lost out in terms of shopping access. It will do so probably at cost to other things people like about living in the area -- neighborhood scaele, quality of life and character. Those are not elitist values and the folks who live in Sellwood are not elite or elitists (I live across McLoughlin and up the hill a ways in Woodstock neighborhood).

Don't pretend that no one gets hurt by markets. Markets are pretty good a directing investment to where it will get its highest return, but are inefficient at promoting other values in life. There are some, you know, and should be.

Investors getting the highest return on investment should not be allowed to be the only value defining everyone's lives. Saying that it should is the real elitism in power in our country, the real political corrrectness. Conservative elitists like to trash and deride people in Portland who won't get in line with their orthodoxy.

More upper income people are conservative than liberal and conservative economic policy is directed primarily toward their benefit. I.e. it's elitist. Those conservatives drink as much latté and chablis as wealthier liberals. Some also drive Lexus and Cadillac SUVs. Luxury sport utility vehicle? Tell me about elitism.

Ordinary people shouldn't have to choose between affording life and having a decent quality of life. Doctrinaire free marketers want to restrict aesthetics (having beauty in your life) to the wealthy and force the rest of us to breathe exhaust fumes.

Most everybody wants Wal-Mart. They didn't get to be the nation's #1 retailer because nobody wanted them. They got that way precisely because most people wanted them. Me, the only one I've ever been in is the one in Hood River, and I've been in that one numerous times. I spend a lot of time in the Gorge, and the Hood River Wal-Mart has many things in one place that are hard to find in The Gorge, and at a good price too. Other than that I don't particularly like going there, mainly because it attracts huge throngs of people. But, then, Wal-Marts always seem to attract huge throngs of people. That's why they keep opening up new ones.

It's when people stop going to Wal-Marts --voting against Wal-Mart with their feet and their wallets-- that's when they'll stop building them. Really not very complicated.

I say to Wal-Mart, just go ahead and build it, because it won't be long before the naysayers all shut up and get used to it being there, and then shortly thereafter you won't even be able to find anyone who'll admit to having been opposed to it. Oh, say, about 5 years or so.

Kinda like the Hollywood Fred Meyer store, about 10 or so years ago. The "neighborhood activists" fought that being built tooth and nail. But since 1997 everybody loves the place, and now those same activists would riot if FM even thought about shutting it down.

Some interesting tidbits from walmartfacts.com:

Number of Oregon employees as of 3/15/2005 = 9,822

Average FT hourly wage = $10.09 + performance bonuses

Wal*Mart contribution to employee profit sharing and 401(k) plan = 4% of eligible pay

Amount spent in 2004 with 678 Oregon suppliers of goods and services = $624 million

Number of Oregon jobs that expenditure supported = 31,564

2004 state and local taxes paid = $14.7 million (contrary to the earlier post, as far as I know we don't have a sales tax in Oregon, so I assume this is property/income tax). I wonder how many teachers and PERS recipients that paid for? Hmm?

The traffic arguments are interesting. Are we now going to tell people who own property on McLoughlin that they can't build anything that would increase traffic on the bridge or on Tacoma? I'm sure that if it wanted to, the city could "becalm" the bej*sus out of Tacoma. But it wouldn't stop people from driving through it to get from the bridge to McLoughlin. I think the folks on Tacoma had better resign themselves to the traffic that they signed up for when they settled there. Wider corner curbs and a couple more traffic signals are about all they can realistically expect under the circumstances.

Or maybe the $14.7 million in Oregon state and local tax was from the Wood Village store and they were just getting a jump on the Wood Village sales tax.

Well, it isn't just the people on Tacoma. The traffic politics go back a ways & partly have to do with the issue of rising traffic from Clackamas County to downtown PDX and where a new bridge should be located and various arguments about Eastside mass transit. But that increased traffic started spilling over into various parallel streets.

And it also has to do with people trying to get control of their neighborhood by increasing the viability of foot traffic to Tacoma businesses and linking the areas south of Tacoma better to the rest of Sellwood.

Actually I think that folks along Johnson Creek Boulevard between McLoughlin and SE 45th, along the Portland-Milwaukie border, may be worst affected, because they will be the most obvious route through from SE 82nd or I-205. J. Creek Blvd is already overloaded with more commuter traffic than it can handle.

Some of this is just the bizarreness of Portland's road structure, which reflects the lack of any kind of real planning before the now thoroughly mythified McCall era.

I don't think that when people moved to Tacoma or that part of Sellwood, or Johnson Creek Blvd. for that matter, they really did "sign up" for endless traffic expansion that they just had to accept. The national metastatization of Wal-Mart is a relatively new phenomenon. Despite passage of Measure 37 I think most Oregonians expect to be able to have some kind of influence over what happens in their neighborhood.

Another aspect to this is that about a mile or so south of the proposed site in Milwaukie there is a whole stretch of ghost town failed-strip commercial land right off of 99E, which from a neighborhood point of view might be a much better location if there's going to be a Wal-Mart on that stretch of McLoughlin. Of course it may not be available.

If the Wal-Mart does go in, it will be interesting to see who is right about its effects. Will it drive neighborhood businesses down? Or will traffic going to Wal-Mart have a spill-over benefit to businesses along Tacoma, or perhaps more likely those along SE 17th to the south? Or both? It might compete with J. Creek Fred Meyer because of the J. Creek Boulevard connection. Maybe the Woodstock Safeway would get hit harder because their prices tend not to be so hot. But maybe other Woodstock businesses would benefit if traffic from 82nd & I-205 increases. The tricky bit there is that you can get *on* to McLoughlin going south at the Bybee Bridge coming from the east, but you can't get *off* northbound McLoughlin to head back east by the same route, due to the municpal golf course there, and probably the political pull of Eastmoreland.

I wonder what Wal-Mart thinks of light rail? The location is pretty close to where proponents of an inner eastside light rail want it to run. There might be some amusing contrarian politics if Wal-Mart decided that supporting light rail would bring more traffic their way.

I don't know diddly about Johnson Creek Blvd. I am pretty familiar with Tacoma, to which my "sign up" comment was addressed. Compared to, say, what's been done to the poor folks on Lair Hill, the traffic on Tacoma is a trifle.

Take light rail to Wal-Mart? That seems farfetched. Too much to carry home.

In the summer of 1967 I lived in Milwaukie and worked in Beaverton. In those days during the morning and afternoon rush hours it was stop-and-go traffic, and sometimes gridlock, all the way down 17th to Tacoma, on Tacoma across the Sellwood Bridge, and all the way up Taylors Ferry Hill to SW Terwilliger. In the 70s, when 217 and I-205 were built and became an alternative route, that congestion eased. The point is, taking the long view, traffic on Tacoma is actually less now than it used to be at least at rush hour. I will concede that it does seem to be more congested at non-peak hours than it used to be.

Actually, what I don't understand is why the Portland City Council has anything to say about this at all. It's in Clackamas County / Milwaukie, isn't it? The County line runs more or less along Ochoco west of McLoughlin (except for a little notch that runs north which may also explain the Acropolis...)

Chris: having aesthetic preferences and imposing your preferences on others at great cost to them are very different, it seems to me. I live where I do because I perfer it (obviously). But I don't go around telling anyone else they must live where I do, or in a house that looks like mine. It is the pinnacle of hubris to believe that one's own preferences are so superior to others that they should be imposed on others against their own sense of their best interest. I know -- politics is all about compromise. But, as is so often the case when it comes to Portlanders talking about business, the foes of Wal-Mart (for the most part) believe that they have the moral high ground -- that their position is so inherently correct (and the alternatives so pernicious) that the debate is over before it starts (hence another commenter's characterization of Wal-Mart as "morally corrupt").

By the way -- you write "Ordinary people shouldn't have to choose between affording life and having a decent quality of life." Wouldnt it be nice? Wouldnt it be nice if our collective wants didnt far outstrip our collective resources? No scheme of rationing is perfect, of course, but no rationing system yet devised beats the market. The Nirvana fallacy that says that because markets aren't perfect, we must substitute government is, well, a fallacy. Just ask yourself whether you like the political choices being made in Washington today. In the absence of infinite resources, you seem to want to force ordinary people to enjoy a little quality of life at the expense of affording life, whether they like it or not. I think that's a shame.

If it's in Sellwood, it's in Portland. The other report about this that I've seen/heard says Sellwood too.

"Here's a contest: Name an actual small business that Wal-Mart is going to hurt in Sellwood."

Off the top of my head? Moreland Hardware, Branches, Sellwood Cycle Repair, Khan's Furniture, KISS Books. As well as the women's clothing and jewelry shops that I don't visit, plus New Seasons, Safeway, and QFC. Also the small furniture shops on Milwuakie by Linn / Sherrett St.'s, the shops in Woodstock, and the shops in North Milwuakie.

Everyone here who says that Wal-Mart is a better competitor than these small local businesses is absolutely correct. Maybe it's not obvious there are already two Wal-Mart's 10 minutes down Johnson Creek Blvd on SE 82nd. Look at how many local businesses are thriving there.

Keep: Acropolis. Kick: Wal-Mart.

Sellwood Cycle Repair is going to be hurt? How's that?

I also question the women's clothing and jewelry stores. Have you ever been in a Wal-Mart and looked at the other customers? Do they seem the types who frequent the shops you're talking about?

And surely you can't cite what happens at Safeway and QFC. Those are not local businesses.

Jack, your observations about difficulties of shopping via mass transit presumably apply as well to the bus corridor idea that some have suggested as preferable to light rail.

You may well be right. The implication being that Wal-Mart serves consumers who drive, I would observe that this undercuts the argument that it serves those most in need of low prices.

Really? Do you understand the concept of a "beater" car?

I don't like Wal-Mart... went into one once and will never go into one again. Nor do I like Costco, Home Depot, et al. But in terms of whether a Wal-Mart has a significant impact on businesses in urban areas, I'm not so sure. A Wal-Mart "anchors" the Eastport Plaza shopping center. It would be interesting to find out how the smaller shops in the plaza are doing despite the Wal-Mart, and how much turnover of the commercial space there is.

The "progressives" who love the inordinately high taxes and cost of living their city puts on its lower classes owe them at least a Walmart.


I just got a mental image of Sam Adams dressed as Marie Antionette pondering the plight of Portland's peasants:

"Let them shop at Whole Foods..."

I think we understand the concept of a "Beater Car". Mainly though, do you understand the concept of "$2.50 a gallon"? How about car insurance and maintenance? Cars are not cheap. Poor people only have them because we have developed ourselves into a "car required" society.

Other businesses that will be impacted: Woodstock Tru-Value, Several pet stores in Woodstock, Brooklyn Pharmacy, an eye-clinic I can't remember the name of on Milwaukie Ave...

This store will greatly and negatively impact Brooklyn, Woodstock, Sellwood / Westmoreland, Eastmoreland, and Ardenwald - and of course northwest Milwaukie.

Traffic will be increased also along Milwaukie and 17th north/southbound between Powell and Sellwood. Not to mention the on/off ramps from 99E to Tacoma...

How perfect -- "me, myself and i" adopts a monicker tailor-made to the egotistical position he adopts. "This store will greatly and negatively impact . . . " Really? When you say "negatively impact" do you mean harm your delicate sensibilities or do you mean inflict real economic or social damage on a community in which you doubtless do not live? You have no idea what the real impact on the really-impacted will be. You dont know whether Wal-Mart's presence will be an economic boon to the area. You dont know whether it will attract new money and development. You dont know whether it will alter the makeup of stores in the area in a way beneficial to its residents. I'd wager you just dont like Wal-Mart because it's a successful business, essentially, which means the profit motive rather than the do-gooder motive (although, as an aside, I would add that the profit motive has done way more good than the do-gooder motive throughout human history). Because it doesn't build stores with certified-non-rainforest-harvested lumber and bioswales out front; because its preferred colors aren't sage and weathered brick; because it doesn't cultivate retro charm. I love all of those things, too. But for the love of god -- can't we let the people who can't afford retro charm have a frickin' discount store? Corral your anti-capitalist high horses!

Good questions: "There's little available by way of rational response to the characterization of Wal-Mart as "a morally corrupt company." What does that mean? How does a company have a capcity to be either moral or corrupt? By what standard? And according to what evidence?"\

I'll leave you with a few standards/evidence:

1) Video cameras in restrooms
Smith v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.

2) Sex discrimination under the Pregnancy Discrimination Act
Mauldin v. Wal-Mart Stores

3) Sex discrimination in advancement and wages
Dukes v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.

4) Employment of illegal immigrants at stores in 21 states.
"Wal-Mart to Pay U.S. $11 Million in Lawsuit on Illegal Workers"

Way to go, Jud! Woot! Woot! I'm a Wal-Mart ho' too, but truth to tell, the big racks of US flag decals -- made in China, every last one of 'em -- do not make me feel all happy-patriotic. I'm no economist, but I've heard of this thing called the "US trade imbalance." It's when all we do in America is import cheap plastic crap from China, but the Chinese don't important much of anything from us (except garbage...literally..our fastest growing export).

From what I've read, Wal-Mart's anti-competitive practices -- thank you, Chinese workers -- have made it the tail that wags the dog of the US economy. Wal-Mart is so big, every time they roll over and scratch their bootie, it sends ripples across the entire national wage-product-and-price structure. This phenomenon actually has a name -- "Wal-Martization."

Yes, Portland really NEEDS more Walmartians. Where else would we get all the plastic garbage that we then export to China? Let's stop picking on Wal-Mart. They're oppressed.

No one's talked about externalities in this animated thread. Yes, people shop at Wal-Mart because of their low prices. That's understandable. But Wal-Mart's prices are low, in part, because it is able to lay some of its costs off on others: Chinese workers with low wages and limited freedom; U.S. workers with low wages and no benefits; customers who sacrifice their privacy in the changing rooms; and neighborhoods that must cope with increased traffic and pollution. Some of these externalized costs will come back to burden the very customers who were seduced by the low prices. Others will not. And they will be met with varying degrees of concern. (Right now, I'm a little concerned about a China with the economic power and the dollar balance to acquire substantial amounts of the world's petroleum reserves.) All of these things may be fodder for lively debate. The point is, if the prices don't cover all the costs, and the retailer doesn't bear all the costs it incurs, that's not really capitalism, at least not the kind we want or need.

Having just spent several months in suburban Chicago, my observation is that Wal Mart has done nothing but spur competition in that area.

As the NW suburbs are the epitome of urban sprawl, I have to note there are 2 Wal Marts about 5 miles apart. In between, there is every conceivable form of retail, some (Office Depot) with similiar multiple locations.

While I can see that a Wal Mart may have more impact in a small town, in an populated area the impact is no greater than a Target or similiar store.

The traffic argument is pretty bogus. Too many people want to shop there, so we can't have it? TAlk about elitism!

I think the solution is to allow all big businesses to move into Portland and give whatever small businesses they supplant the right to have a corner of the store/plant/factory/coliseum they are supplanted by to sell their wares.

Adams is certainly positioning himself as anti-Walmart but not necessarily anti-big business.

Certainly it could be construed or perceived that way, but there needs to be more than one big business Adams is against for that position to be seriously considered by us pseudo-intellectuals.

Now if he was against WalMart AND Home Depot, then you'd have a case.

For now, I'd just categorize him as pro-Katz and anti-browbeating.

Jack, seeing you to be a person of integrity and thus ready to reconsider judgements in light of new evidence, and believing you have a daughter growing up, perhaps this article offers an exception within the rule, (as I'd agree): "...Fred Meyer and Safeway, which, in case we haven't noticed, are just as bad," in that Wal-Mart presents a qualitative difference of an imposed fundamental moralism among big box retailers.

Wal-Mart Has No Plan B
By Liza Featherstone, Women's eNews. Posted June 30, 2005.

Wal-Mart continues to keep Plan B, the "morning-after pill," off its shelves. The megastore's policy, catering to its rural base, complicates its pursuit of new markets.

The political battle over the "morning after pill" is raging, with proposed legislation in 15 states that would protect a pharmacist's right to refuse to fill prescriptions on "moral" grounds.

Wal-Mart has already laid down its own law. America's largest retailer and one of its largest pharmacies doesn't stock emergency contraception at all. ...

Clicky Web Analytics