WalMart Wars
October 17, 2003 6:08 PM   Subscribe

Welcome to The WalMart Wars. It appears that a backlash is underway in a number of communities against the retail giant. Do they have a cause for concern or is this just a bad case of NIMBY?
posted by EmoChild (19 comments total)
I don't ship at Wallmart but I do shop at other national chains such as Giant, Safeway, Home Depot, etc.. while not as big individually they are bigger as a group. Wallmart is target because of its conspicuous size but the arguments are the same for all the companies. Or is Wallmart diffrent from its competitors? If so does it need regulation ala Microsoft?
posted by stbalbach at 6:24 PM on October 17, 2003

What, does search not go back as far as two days?
posted by sageleaf at 6:35 PM on October 17, 2003

[doubletake] Whoa. Deja vu.

[handsignal] Switch, Apoc.

[All hell shortly breaks out]
posted by five fresh fish at 7:29 PM on October 17, 2003

Hey, what if like, there was an article in the NYT about Bush asking Schwartzenegger for some money to open up a Wal-Mart in Iraq that sold discount Nike shoes? Would Metafilter collapse into itself and cease to exist?
posted by Stan Chin at 7:34 PM on October 17, 2003

Metafilter is becoming a monoculture.
posted by alms at 7:43 PM on October 17, 2003

A backlash is underway. Is there cause for concern or is this just a bad case of DRMOE?*

Don't Read Metafilter Often Enough
posted by soyjoy at 7:53 PM on October 17, 2003

Which aisle are the monoponies on again?
posted by trondant at 8:33 PM on October 17, 2003

>Or is Wallmart diffrent from its competitors?

Long answer here.

Walmart is in a position of dominence which it abuses. Many magazines have to have their covers approved by Walmarts own moralists before publication. Walmart demands changes in music and videogame content. They have poor wages, their stores are usually below the standards of kmart, and are seen by many as "McRetail." What they are good at is using this to get uber-low prices and possbile illegally hurting existing competition.
posted by skallas at 8:35 PM on October 17, 2003

wordspy is pretty cool, by the way. Thanks, for that at least.
posted by cortex at 9:02 PM on October 17, 2003

Okemos, MI tried for a long time to fight a walmart going into their community. Walmart eventually won, why? Because a lot of people wanted it there. Heck, I think the issue almost got a lot of the city council recalled because they were so out of touch with the community. Now, keep in mind Okemos is not a low end community, and yet the people still wanted the store (not that I can entirely blame them, some of the small specialty shops the council was trying to protect were ridiculously priced). That said, it's still kind of weird to pull into the parking lot and see Lexus, BMW and Mercedes cars. (There's something depressing about pulling into a Walmart and having a car that's less expensive than half the cars there, although that's not a problem at the one on the other side of lansing).
posted by piper28 at 9:50 PM on October 17, 2003

It's useless to fight. Accept your overlords. Repent and be joyful that the walmart gods have chosen to visit you. Soon behind them will be the lesser, albeit still mighty, gods of Applebees and The Gap.

Be at peace with it. Welcome the overlords and become one with us all.

Don't fight it. It just makes it harder.
posted by damnitkage at 11:34 PM on October 17, 2003

Recently there was a wealthy suburb of Chicago that stopped a Walmart going up in it's shopping district, mainly becasue it would encourage the Hispanic immigrants who clean their homes and tend their yards to linger in the community on evenings & weekends.
posted by Jos Bleau at 6:45 AM on October 18, 2003

Amazingly enough, some cities are welcoming Wal Mart because it replaces vacant department stores, especially in minority communities, that no one else wants.
posted by calwatch at 7:34 AM on October 18, 2003

Just as interesting is the NIMBY argument, as relates to eminent domain. For years now, small businesses have been victims of government-sponsored "redevelopments".

In other words, local governments would use their power of eminent domain to force small businesses to sell their land so that big businesses could move in.

Only recently have people put their collective feet down and said "NO!" to their own city councils and county governments doing this, and yet, not to "redevelopments", but only to single chain stores, like Wal-Mart and Starbucks.

So several big businesses are okay in my backyard, but not just one?

Ironically, these businesses are saying that it's not *legal* to zone against "chain stores or franchises" in an otherwise business district. That they have a "right" to move in there and force out their competition.

This, I think, will become the big issue in the future, from towns and cities that want to keep that "small town" feel, either in the whole town or in its downtown area.
posted by kablam at 11:13 AM on October 18, 2003

kablam, what you say is happening just south of here in San Jose, with small businesses (and their landlord) suing over an eminent domain action on the Tropicana shopping center and the recent redevelopment of what is now Santana Row. East Palo Alto (talk about a bad name for a municipality) is getting into it with a block of auto shops they want to push out on the east side.
posted by billsaysthis at 2:17 PM on October 18, 2003

It's very common. Just recently, locally, an auto-repair shop won against a city redevelopment scheme, which surprised everyone.

I wonder if it can be lumped together with all the arguments surrounding Homeowner's Associations and their restrictive CCRs, and the other businesses that are on the "outs", such as adult oriented, crematoriums/cemeterys, even public schools and those "mega-church" religious-oriented residential areas?

Oh, yeah, and taxpayer-funded stadiums.
posted by kablam at 5:02 PM on October 18, 2003

as relates to eminent domain. For years now, small businesses have been victims of government-sponsored "redevelopment".

The eminent domain thing has been bothering me a lot lately. Here in St. Louis it gets used a lot on behalf of private entities, and that just doesn't seem right to me. I wish someone would have the money/don quixote complex/pro bono counsel to fight one of these orders. However, usually eminent domain is used as a way to wipe out a poorer area or business and bring in the money.

Some examples from here:
my favorite bar from college is gone. The private university got the city to use eminent domain to make them sell. There is an empty field there now, they really needed that one.

There is a "subdivision" being put in the middle of the city near the botanical garden. Some people that currently live there in perfectly good houses wish to keep them. Also, the landlords with property in that area that are forced to sell will only be compensated for the current market value of the property. Not for the money they make from leasing it, nor for what the building would be worth surrounded by new development. Seems like a lot of deprivation of property just so the new subdivision will have a homogenous look.

A small township on my drive to work voted to sell pretty much the whole thing to WalMart. The people that wanted to move voted for it and beat out the people that didn't. So, everyone in the community had to sell to WalMart like it or not. Most of them were probably happy about it, but should anyone be forced to sell to a private entity?

I have a recollection of seeing a human interest story on TV as a youth. This story involved a skyscraper being built around the one house of someone that wouldn't sell. I thought that was the American Way, not getting your buddies in government to steal from other citizens to benefit you?
posted by jester69 at 7:01 AM on October 19, 2003

FYI: Most like the Bugs Bunny cartoon "Homeless Hare".
posted by kablam at 10:47 AM on October 19, 2003

NY Times has a good on-topic article on WalMart's plans for entering the Cali supermarket market and how that's driving the current labor unrest in SoCal and elsewhere.

PS: I like Bugs Bunny much better than eminent domain.
posted by billsaysthis at 1:51 PM on October 19, 2003

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