I don't give a flying fuck about Walmart any more than I do about any other ginormous retailer. Sasha weeps of a tragedy in that the proposed Wallyworld outlet will glass over a shithole shopping center that happens to contain her favorite bagel joint. Fuck that, it can move across the street to the abandoned former Hooters.
Comments hilarity ensued, all in good fun, and it took blogquaintance Richard (who is, I posit, as literary and thoughtful as I am snarky and reductionist--and if you think I'm overdrawing my credit for snarky and reductionist, then please do me the favor of extending him my overdraft and then some for literary and thoughtful) to crystalize my point; from the perspective of the loosely affiliated community over at BFF's place, what's the difference between Target and Wallyworld? Richard--like Ilse--frequents Target. I surmise that this is, in part, because Richard has a youngish child. From a complicity perspective, Target is a lesser evil for those of us who have to cover little growing humans in textiles--and I think we can all admit that this level of complicity is probably preferable to alternatives like, say, the Division of Child Welfare. I suspect that many of us will admit that it's even preferable to draping our wee folk in homespun.
The point extends, as it did in BFF's comments; unless you're living a life completely withdrawn from our consumerist culture--including your diet--you're not free of complicity in this nightmare. I suspect few of us in that circle are so completely withdrawn. I know Sasha isn't--one of her plaints about the proposed WallyWorld is that it'll increase traffic on her secret back escape hatch into...a nearby Target.
I'm not trying to throw unreasonable stones here. At rock bottom, "I fucking hate Walmart" is good enough, isn't it? I myself dislike asparagus and Exxon and the Dallas Cowboys while buying into all manner of related corporatey goodness. But let's get real. On the merits, Walmart is no particularly worse than any other big box (I'll concede its hostility to unions, though I'll ask if Target, since we seem to have defaulted to them as the comparison, is a UFCW bastion).
The YFWP story points up some proposed legislation by my local county's governing body:
But after the Aspen Hill announcement, five County Council members sponsored a bill that would require some big-box retail stores to sign, or make a good-faith effort to complete, a public-benefits contract with community groups. After its introduction last Tuesday, the legislation drew ire from developers, big retailers and chambers of commerce.
The bill, which has not been passed, would affect both Wal-Marts because they would be more than 75,000 square feet.
Well. I wonder what the fuck that means. Oh, look:
"If these big box retailers want to move in, they have to sign a binding agreement with the community, and the community has a major say in what that store looks like," [Council President] Ervin said.So...ginormous superstores already in place are exempt? Wow. Cuz, uhm, there are a boatload of big boxes round hereabouts that easily exceed that 75,000-foot mark. Ervin, a notorious sack of crap, also seems to be using the issue to drive a wedge between two sizeable unions. One of them is a UFCW local. The other is a UFCW local consisting of county government employees--a constituency that Ervin, as noted in my linked post, despises, reviles, and shits on at every opportunity. I sort of think the proposal is reflexive obstruction. On the other hand, I'm not all that sure how much it matters--I reckon Wallyworld is probably capable of conjuring up enough of some shitstorm of corporate responsibility to outsmart the likes of Valerie Ervin.
Community input could include whether employees are hired from within the county and whether the business uses green technology.
Oh, right, the point: Sasha supports this legislation. I'll pass on levying (in detail) the guilt by association, at least here.
A final note: No word yet on what poor Hans Riemer thinks of this. But maybe he'll see his name in Google reader (the point, in fact, of this paragraph), blanch when he sees my blog's name next to it, and let us know. That is, if he thinks anything shareable yet (he's a clever lad, our Hans, and one of my favorite things about him is that he typically shuts the fuck up a whole lot and lets other councilmembers duke it out in the pages of the Gazette). Full disclosure: I once ordered a glass of water for Hans at lunch when he was off taking a phone call. I'm told that doesn't mean I have to register as a lobbyist.