op-ed: Walmart’s bounty

I wanted this one to be a “presented without comment” but I just can’t. I caught sight of this editorial in today’s Examiner after looking for details on their cover story about Metro track work shutdowns–there were no details, by the way–and even though I knew better than to read an op-ed in the Examiner, I did. (emphasis mine)

If you wonder why D.C. residents spent $41 million at Wal-Mart last year–despite the fact that there is no Wal-Mart in D.C., and no Wal-Mart within a 45-minute drive of downtown until recently–there you have it. There is a better world out there, and some of us would like to experience it without going to suburban Hell.

The crux of the article is that the NIMBY crowd says no to Walmart to maintain the ambiance* of their area, but that the writer lives in a part of DC (Georgia Avenue “corridor”) that has little to no ambiance. I won’t debate that, but like I said when I found out that CoHi residents were wanting a second Whole Foodswithin walking distance” a few years back. It isn’t that I’m against city improvements, but trying to turn the city into the suburbs is foolish. Just move to the damn suburbs! Most people know the lay of the land when they move to DC. It doesn’t have mini/strip-malls, it has more take-out shops and liquor stores than big box chains and you usually have a choice of one grocery store while relying on the nearby CVS or convenience store for those last-minute items. Anyone who drives or walks through DC neighborhoods while looking for housing can tell that.

2006 Mother Goose and Grimm comic showing Paul Revere warning of an impending Walmart

So if that’s what you want where you live… live where that stuff is. Don’t move into the nearby city and then moan that you have to hop in your car and drive an hour to get what you consider necessities. If they’re so necessary, live near ’em in the first place!

But as much as I thought the “better world” line was priceless, the hook of the final paragraph seals it:

But I won’t be losing any sleep over [ruining the ambience at the proposed Walmart location]–not as long as everyone can get the right kind of Tide, a big bag of tortilla chips, decent beer, and a throw rug in a single trip.

Give me Walmart’s bounty over ‘neighborhood ambience’

I respect that the writer is an actual DC resident–most who write about what DC should or shouldn’t have don’t even live here**–but it sounds like he’d be a lot happier living in the ‘burbs. Personally, I would rather see DC become friendlier to small businesses and encourage their development and growth in the city, but that’s just as unlikely to happen as an unopposed Walmart. Still, at least I’m reminded why I only read The Examiner every now and then: for the laughs. :mrgreen:

They spell it ‘ambience,’ I spell it ‘ambiance’… let’s call the whole thing pretentious! πŸ˜‰

** Because they… wait for it… moved to the suburbs!

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3 Responses

  1. Gilahi says:

    You have to admit that it’s pretty novel for someone to be complaining that there’s NOT a WalMart nearby. Still, if the writer believes that a “better world” necessitates a nearby WalMart, then I have to believe that a nearby McDonald’s would make his or her world downright Utopian.

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