Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Is Wal*Mart (Walmart*?) Evil?

You may have noticed that Wal*Mart--or Walmart*--has changed its logo. Not a bad logo.

I’m not sure about the hatred against Wal*Mart. Often Wal*Mart is the only company to take a blighted property and clean it up. Sounds good for the tax base and the environment.

If local shops close because of Wal*Mart, likely the shops were struggling before Wal*Mart came. In Mukwonago, Wisconsin, the Wal*Mart SuperCenter (WMSC) is blamed for the closing of a local grocer. But I was in that grocery store months before the WMSC opened and walking through the produce section I was mortified to find browning and wilting produce. Hey, that store didn’t take care of its business when it had a chance.

The Pick ‘N Save in Burlington, Wisconsin, went on the attack. The owner would buy produce at the WMSC in Burlington and display it next to his produce to show his customers the higher quality he had. Makes sense. If Wal*Mart dictates what it pays for your produce, you’ll keep the best for a better price you can get for it. (Most farmers bring produce in when its ordered, so Wal*Mart or Pick ‘N Save, et. al., aren’t in the fields or farms actually choosing.)

The Chicago Tribune has been reporting that Chicago city politicians are likewise against Wal*Mart—to the detriment of the poor! In fact the Trib has a term, “food desert,” I believe, to describe areas where people have to travel more than an hour to get fresh produce and other staples in life. It is, in the Trib’s eyes, a public health issue. Wal*Mart would serve those blighted areas—if the politicians didn’t have their noses out of joint. (http://www.chicagotribune.com/business/chicago-walmart-editorial,0,3508291.story)

I think it’s ludicrous for Cudahy, Wisconsin, especially the mayor, to oppose Wal*Mart given the entirety of the development proposed. I guess they would rather have an empty field to serve as a reminder of their failure with a failed project called the IcePort.

If aesthetics were an issue, check out the Wal*Mart in Pewaukee on Capitol Drive. One would never know that there is a Wal*Mart there as it blends in architecturally with the development on the east side of Pewaukee, Wisconsin.

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