“Wal-Mart does not suit the clientele we have in the city of Boston. I don’t need employers like that in our city.”
~ Tom Menino, Boston Mayor
Non-union Wal-Mart is having a tough go of it trying to implement its new growth strategy of penetrating the underserved inner-city markets. They are running into political opposition in strong union enclaves. The latest battleground is Boston, where Mayor Tom Menino wants to save inner city families from everyday low prices. As Michael Graham editorializes in the Boston Globe:
I’d love to hear the mayor explain to Boston’s blue-collar families why it’s better for them to stay unemployed than to let Wal-Mart come to town and hire them. I’d also like to hear the mayor explain to struggling families why the falling food prices that arrive with every Wal-Mart are a bad thing. Why they can’t enjoy the 20 percent to 30 percent drop in the cost of necessities that communities often experience when Wal-Mart arrives.
In 2008, when food costs surged, Wal-Mart dramatically cut its prices. In 2009, when unemployment spiked, Wal-Mart added more than 22,000 workers. Those mean-spirited bastards!
If Wal-Mart opens in Boston, poor people will win. They will have access to new jobs, cheaper food and increased economic choices. But since when has helping poor people been Menino’s priority? In 2008 he turned down CVS’s request to open “minute clinics” here, providing cheap health care in some of Boston’s neediest communities. Why did Menino oppose it?
“Allowing retailers to make money off of sick people is wrong,” Menino told CVS — a company whose entire business is selling medicine to sick people.
Maybe Boston's Mayor should pay closer attention to what happened in Chicago when a Wal-Mart opened there. The neighborhood became safer. It attracted 22 new stores and businesses to the area. It created hundreds of new jobs at Wal-Mart, and also helped to generate a net increase of hundreds of new jobs in the neighborhood at other stores and businesses-- not to mention the money it saved its customers.
Grouch: I do not live in the inner city, but my community fits the Wal-Mart rural store model. They were the first major store to come to our underserved community and soon other stores followed such as Home Depot, Kohls, Walgreens and numerous national restaurant franchises. Would these stores have come without Wal-mart being there? I doubt it. Wal-mart proved we were a viable retail community. The other benefits we've received are lower prices not only at the Wal-mart, but the other stores that much compete with them. In addition Wal-mart provides numerous employment opportunities for our high school and college aged kids as well as senior citizens. The business that have grown up around Wal-mart provide additional opportunities. I'm glad we have Wal-mart in town and look forward to even lower prices in the future.
HT: Carpe Diem