Wal-Mart dropped me a line today, asking me to attend a public meeting tomorrow evening to express my support for a new SuperCenter on 70th St., just west of Main St. in Milwaukee.
The postcard Wal-Mart sent was, as my mother would say, enough to gag a maggot.
"A new store would bring new jobs to the community, and also deliver Wal-Mart's low-priced shopping convenience to our customers in the neighborhood. Our commitment as a good neighbor means a new store designed to embrace the character of the neighborhood."
Wal-Mart, first of all, should know that "and also" is kind of redundant, but maybe the postcard was produced by slave labor in China, along with so many of the chain's other products.
Yes, a Wal-Mart would bring new jobs, but those bottom-shelf jobs would supress wages across the retail market and destroy other jobs in businesses that cannot compete with Wal-Mart's cost-cutting and market dominance. Suppliers go broke simply trying to keep Wal-Mart happy.
Then there is just the simple fact that Wal-Mart is a bad landlord. Its overly-large parking lots are often filled with litter, which tends to migrate to local streets and yards. In recent debates about abandoned shopping carts cluttering up city neighborhoods, Wal-Mart was identified as the largest source of the stray carts. Wal-Mart doesn't care about neighborhoods; it cares about profits.
Since Wal-Mart folks also said on the card that the proposed store would be "along the abandoned railroad tracks," I'm wondering if that is the part of "the character of the neighborhood" the proposed SuperCenter would embrace. Besides, have you ever seen a Wal-Mart that looked like anything other than every other Wal-Mart?
Wal-Mart closes its card with this plea:
If you're unable to attend, please take a moment to call Alderman Michael Murphy at (414) 286-2221 and ask him to support new jobs for our community and low-price, shopping convenience!
I have a better idea. Call Ald. Murphy, or e-mail him at email@example.com. Tell him to say "Hell, no" to Wal-Mart.
For those who are interested in attending, the meeting will be at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, July 26 at Burbank Elementary, 6035 W. Adler St.