House of Bummers

mojo mojo@KOPOWER.COM
Sat Nov 30 00:53:32 EST 1996

Y'know, I can still buy the right kinda screws, 'cause I've looked around.
There's still two hardware stores here doing really well, in a town of
8,000. And some of their material is cheaper. The paint at various places is
vastly superior. What Wal-Mart does is MAKE people think they have
everything cheaper, when actually they don't. They target certain items and
make people think that. Now that Wal-Mart's been around here for years,
people have figured it out. They have a lot of business, but regional chain
Fred's still gets a booming biz and so do lots of other non-chain stores.
Plus, the novelty of it wears off after a time. In WM's defense, they came
up with the idea of selling computer supplies here before anyone else did,
and local folks surely knew of the demand.
   The main problem with Wal-Mart is their incessant taunting of local
officials -- y'know, we're gonna leave if you don't give us this or that,
thus treatening to kill off jobs and have city officials in fear of not
being reelected. We're going to move here, we're going to move there here in
town. Said they were going to build near the home where I grew up, a
super-Wal Mart, my father made sure to have the city mark off part of the
land between the one they had an option on and his neighborhood  as a sound
barrier. Guess what? They were only kidding around, fishing to see what they
could get in a bag of goodies from the city (tax breaks, sewer lines, etc.),
and they didn't get anything. Fine with me.
   Anyway, it wouldn't surprise me if HOB, being a big corporate enterprise,
ends up doing the same sort of thing in certain cities. So there is an
analogy there. Y'know, we get all these advantages other clubs don't have,
get all this stuff paid for.
   Wal-Mart's attitude, however, has become to hack some folks off. Fifteen
years from now, it may be a totally different story with them. Don't think
HOB will last forever either. (Sears, once thought to be almighty, fell.)
Not that I -- having visited the one in New Orleans -- think HOB will ever
become as powerful as some think it will.

"Things are more like they are now than they ever were before."
   --Former U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower

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