Sign of the End of Days? WalMart seeks to open in Boston

The Herald reports the megachain is looking to open one OR MORE baby WalMarts (only 42,000 square feet) inside the city limits. They've already been meeting with the BRA and Mike Ross, among others, in pre-hearing meetings, but not to head off any public controversy about how they will destroy neighborhood shopping districts for miles around but to convince city officials that Bostonians would give their first born to shop at a WalMart.

Ed. wager: How much would anybody bet that their first store will be nowhere near Hyde Park?

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All they have to do is build

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All they have to do is build luxury condos on top and the BRA will slobber over the contracts so much they won't be able to sign them without a waterproof pen.

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And!

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If they put it right on the Common, imagine all the cost savings for not having to keep the park up any more!

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Not actually a bad idea

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You know what WOULD be cool? If Target or Wal-Mart built a scaled-down urban store right downtown. They could sell only things that can be carried home. There's a Target in downtown Minneapolis that's smaller and right on a walkable downtown street, and it's pretty awesome. I think there are other urban Targets too. Don't think Wal-Mart has done this yet.

It could get some of the "flee the city at 4:59 p.m." crowd hanging around a bit and shopping in the city, and possibly bring in some of the Dorchester/Hyde Park/etc. crowd who hop in the car and go to the burbs for all their shopping/entertainment.

(If it were Wal-Mart who opened this sort of thing, I think they'd need to rebrand a little though to be successful with consumers like myself. I'm pretty anti Wal-Mart largely because of the business model of building giant warehousey stores with sprawling parking lots out front and paying no attention to promoting walkable and sustainable neighborhoods. I would have no problem shopping sometimes at a business owned by Wal-Mart if it were a branch of Wal-Mart that was opening downtown/walkable stores, since I'd be supporting business figures for something I agreed with a bit more, instead of just Wal-Mart. I'd have no problem adding to their overall profits if there were also figures breaking down how regular Wal-Mart is doing versus, uh, Small-Mart. And yes, I fully admit there being some brand/image elitism here; I would not become a Wal-Mart shopper, but would become a Small-Mart shopper provided they called it something cooler. And got rid of the giant signs about falling prices.)

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Tahh-git

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And there's one just over the border in Revere behind Suffolk Downs.

Yes, I think there are enough Targets.

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For the record

I don't object to either store setting up shop in Boston, whether it's Wallmart's first, or Target's second. I actually find it kind of annoying that Boston residents have to go out to the burbs for this kind of stuff. But I have a personal preference for Target, so....

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Um

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What's with the white-trash possessives? The sign does not say "Target's" on it.

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OHHH

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I'm so used to annoying illiterate people that I can't even parse punctuation correctly anymore! ;o)

(I think "Wallmart" threw me off and made me expect others...)

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No. Just no.

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I really hope the BRA has more sense than this, but I doubt it. Do we really need this? Why not support local shopping areas instead of letting this behemoth come in.

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choice

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Why not let everyone decide for themselves where they want to shop?

I don't really care about shopping at Wal-mart myself, but I don't see why they shouldn't have the ability to build here like any other major retailer. We already have Target, what's the big difference?

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It doesn't work that way

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It doesn't work that way because of externalities. Small stores contribute to vibrant and walkable communities and raise real estate values for neighboring stores. They create more "social profit" than they capture, so they're at a competitive disadvantage compared to Wal-Mart.

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Big-Box versus Big-Box

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I see what you are trying to say, but we already have big box stores in Boston and this one would be smaller than many of those. So, again, what's the difference between Target and Best Buy; and Wal-Mart?

Why is Boston discriminating against this store?

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A few differences

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Well, one big difference would be Best Buy.

They're pretty much only electronics (and some home appliance). They're not quite the same "squash all local retailer" type place as a Wal-Mart or Target.

As far as Wal-Mart v. Target, it's a MUCH smaller difference. Targets usually get better marks for cleanliness, friendliness, and customer service in general. But one thing that breaks it for me is that Wal-Mart frequently only sells censored music and other media or refuses to sell the item at all. I haven't heard of many things being banned from sales in a Target...if anything.

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Target bans Salvation Army bellringers

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And my late mother-in-law--who credits the Sallies with her not freezing to death or dying of starvation as a child--was absolutely bullshit about that.

But to your other point...squash WHAT local retailers?

Say I need a tube of toothpaste, a bag of cat litter, some paper towels, and a package of shoelaces. What "local" (meaning, I assume, non-chain mom-and-pop stores) retailers can I go to in the city of Boston where I can buy even two of those items at the same time?

The local retailers were squashed long before Target and Wal-Mart got to town.

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Another reason to shop at Target

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The City of Boston should also not allow Salvation Army bellringers, since Salvation Army violates Boston nondiscrimination laws. They shouldn't let religious institutions violate laws in regards to employment etc. except as pertains strictly to their religious practice, as in, hiring requirements for clergy and such.

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They're a religious organization...

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that told gays to take it walking at the height of the AIDS epidemic. Plus, they're not selling anything, they're taking. Considering Target's already extensive list of charitable partners, the Salvation Army shouldn't be surprised that their prejudiced posteriors were kicked off target's property.

"Say I need a tube of toothpaste, a bag of cat litter, some paper towels, and a package of shoelaces." Wow, do you ever step out to the world beyond your apartment. Living in JP, I can rattle off a handful of such places in my neighborhood alone. If I think of the South End, Back Bay or Beacon, there are plenty of places on Tremont, Newubury and Charles Street to do such things. You just have to sniff them out, which I understand can be difficult for a suburbanite acclimated to "center" (i.e. mall or strip mall) shopping to comprehend.

"The local retailers were squashed long before Target and Wal-Mart got to town." Maybe this is true in Dedham or Natick, but that's certainly not the case here.

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And yeah

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You can get all that stuff at most hardware stores, pharmacies, grocery stores. Had the original commenter wanted to make a point about big-box stores, you gotta at least toss in some camping supplies, office supplies, housewares, clothing... ;o)

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Levels of localness

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I'd also rather see certain chains than others. Chains like Trader Joe's or Whole Foods follow more of a community-minded ethical business model than Target or Wal-Mart (and yes, I know, not direct competitors in terms of range of goods sold). They tend to open in existing buildings without modifying them heavily, get involved in donating to and promoting neighborhood events, and have a corporate culture that encourages people to work there long-term and get to know their neighborhood and their customers. They also tend more toward developing/sustaining walkable and transit-oriented areas.

In terms of threatening local business, the one-stop-shopping model itself is what threatens local business. These places thrive because there are people who'd rather buy all their things at one place and don't care about customer service or expertise. I personally would rather buy a bike at a local bike shop where the people work there for years at a time because they're avid cyclists and believe in providing bikes for the community. I also think that such a place is more beneficial to the community than a big-box store where people can buy bikes, but there's no expertise or customer service because people aren't working there because of their strong commitment to providing all sorts of cheap goods to the community.

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I'd go to....

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My local, independently owned drugstore to buy the toothpaste, and then across the street to my local, independently owned hardware store to buy the kitty litter and the paper towels. They might have the shoelaces, too, or I could go next door to the local, independently owned shoe repair place. Total distance walked and would be less than from the car to the front door of Wal-mart; total time in cashier lines would be less. Price would be higher, but then again I'd run into at least two neighbors I know and enjoy saying hello to them.

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Yeah, that's another thing

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Politics aside, Target just appeals to me in general because of the hipper image and marketing, but the fundieness of Wal-Mart turns me off as well. The censoring isn't even them choosing to only sell high-quality music/books with positive/empowering/inclusive messages, as many local bookstores do and which I'm fine with -- it's backasswards fundie censoring, where dirty words regardless of context are not OK, violence and objectification of women are OK, discrimination against most groups is OK, any reference to anyone who is not a fundamentalist Christian is a perceived attack on Christianity, etc.

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That may be true, but...

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... people (like me) who believe in walkable, liveable neighborhoods can put our money where our mouth is, and shop at local neighborhood stores. Others may not hold those values, and instead can pursue the lowest possible price by going to Walmart, ignoring the externalities.

It always bothers me to hear "Wal-mart killed Main Street," or "Wal-mart put our wonderful local independent drug store out of business." Wal-mart did no such thing. It is the people who chose to shop at Wal-mart rather than on Main Street that killed Main street, not Wal-mart.

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Good for you, Sparkles

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But here in my walkable, liveable neighborhood in Allston, we have three drugstores: a Rite Aid, a CVS, and a Walgreens. So much for local and independently owned. Same for the hardware stores. There *is* a shoe repair shop, and it's possible he sells shoelaces, so I'll give you that one.

Thanks for playing, though.

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Are you a shut-in?

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If not, how did you miss your independent hardware store on Harvard between Brighton and Cambridge or your little corner shops like Linden Suprette and Sunshine, all of which sell the most basic of toiletries.

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Model Hardware--which is a

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Model Hardware--which is a great store that I do shop at regularly, thanks--does count as a locally-owned business, but its affiliation with Ace precludes it being fully independent. Ace Hardware stores are locked into a specific national distribution system for many of its products, and therefore can't switch suppliers if another distributor is offering a better or cheaper product. Locally-owned, yes. Independent, not entirely. (I don't know if the same is true of Aborn's relationship with True Value, I don't shop there nearly as much.)

I've seen the "most basic of toiletries" for sale at Linden Suprette and Sunshine. Most basic is right. Sure, I could buy a bar of soap there, but then I'd have to go to one of the chain drugstores to buy something to treat the rash I'd break out in after I use it.

All I'm saying is that it's already pretty fucking hard to support local and independently-owned businesses here in good ol' walkable and liveable Allston, long before a Wal-Mart opens anywhere around here. I repeat: Wal-Mart is a symptom, not the disease.

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It's tough . . .

. . . to support local businesses now . . . because there are just fewer of them in everything. Basically- I try to buy coffee at local coffee houses and a few small grocery shops- and my barbershop. Now- even big hardware stores like Home Depot and Lowes are advertising the services of their in house "contractors". That can't be good for local independent tradesmen. Ehhh- pretty soon everything in this country will be owned by corporations with tax shelter HQ's in Delaware.

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Ace and True Value hardware stores are local businesses

These are brand names of buying cooperatives that many local hardware stores belong to. The national branding helps the stores' marketing efforts, and provides some uniformity of product lines, but the stores are still locally owned and operated.

Here in Porter Square we have an excellent Ace store called Tags.

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Good to know that . . .

. . . cause I do go to the True Value on Salem Street in the North End quite a bit.

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How about letting local

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How about letting local people decide for themselves?

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"Local people"

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I love that it's only anons from Bentonville making assertions about Boston's "local people."

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In other words, you molest sheep

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As long as we're using "other words" whose meaning has no bearing on what was just said.

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My work here is done

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Now off to pry myself out of these skinny jeans, torrent the new Fleet Foxes album and go to City Feed to have a really invovled conversation with a seemingly disinterested barista just to show I'm a regular there and totally know her. I've got snow tires on my fixie and I'm ready to roll.

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Local Shopping

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What local shopping?

My point is that in many towns, local shopping went bye-bye with the advent of the malls and very few people shop local. People shop at Wal-Mart because the stores are cheap and affordable and if you are on a shoe string budget (or not), you shop at Wal-Mart.

Funny, we hardly bat an eye when Starbucks locates all over the place like a cancer but when Wal Mart wants to build, look out. What is that all about?

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Reputation

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Walmart had gained a reputation of undercutting its local competition by offering prices on items that were significantly lower than what the local mom and pop stores could compete against. Eventually those stores would go out of business and once all the local competition is defeated, Walmart brings their prices up to what the avg. pricing is at the rest of their locations.

People feared that Starbucks would have done the same, but Starbucks also went through the big bloat phase. They couldn't maintain their growth with their actual revenue, so they've shrunk in the past few years.

Another angle though, which isn't popular by any means, is to look at the typical demographics that shop at either stores. Who would be the typical shopper at a Walmart vs. the one who'd shop at Starbucks? I think, unfortunately, there is a bit of underlying classism that we're afraid to acknowledge openly in our society.

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Not entirely earned reputation

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My father was a district manager for another discount store chain in the south and southwest in the 1970s and '80s, just as Wal-Mart was just starting its expansion out of Arkansas. That reputation that "Wal-Mart kills downtowns" is largely unearned, because in the majority of cities and towns that Wal-Mart moved into during this period, the downtown shopping areas were already dead or dying long before--and by long before, I mean years and sometimes decades--Wal-Mart moved into the area. Downtown shopping areas started going into decline in the 1960s and early '70s, a downturn sharply accelerated by the early 1970s recession. Wal-Mart did not start expanding outside of its regional base until the 1980s.

I am by no means a Wal-Mart apologist, but when it it comes to collapse of downtown merchants, Wal-Mart is a symptom, not the disease.

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I think the Wal-Mart of today ....

... is rather different than the early Wal-Mart. For instance, Sam Walton placed a big emphasis on "made in America" (and on employee co-ownership) -- not exactly characteristics of the company these days.

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Only an urban legend

The idea of Walmart raising prices once the competition has been wiped out is a common critique but has no basis in fact. Their whole business model is to be as relentlessly cheap as possible.

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I present as evidence

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...the United States Postal Service, a branch of the U.S. government, has just delivered all these giant price tags ending in .83 and .47 to Wal-Mart.

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Let me translate from English to knuckledragger

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"What local shopping?"

Hey, that sounds like a personal, suburban problem. Here in Boston, over in Gloucester, out in Northampton and elsewhere in this state of ours, local business is doing just fine. I'm sorry that DedhamNatickistan is overrun with box stores, strip malls and "lifestyle centers," but that was the path they chose. They offered up their town centers to the gods of commerce and paid dearly for it.

Here in our town and Cambridge, however, the Dunks and D&D share space with Jp Licks, City Feed, Espresso Royale, 1369, Darwin's, Tosca's and other shops just fine. Folks who live near Centre and South Streets in JP, Tremont Street in the South End, Coolidge Corner in Brookline, the Fenway, Inman Square, Central Square, Harvard Square, Davis Square, Union Square, etc. have an abundance of local shopping -- despite incursions by chains.

We hardly bat an eye at Starbucks -- far more cancerous -- Dunk's because both at one time or another got too big for their own good and had to contract. Also, because our local shops do a pretty good job of hanging with them on both price and quality. In other words, they're able to coexist. Target, also, keeps its breadth of items reined in and manages to coexist. Wal Mart doesn't do coexistence, which is why they're getting a pretty harsh welcome on this board.

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Have you ever been outside

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Have you ever been outside the people's republik? It doesn't sound like it.

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Ooh! Am I a "socialist?"

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Talk that sweet talk about lib-ruls, "real" jobs and "real" 'mer-cuh. Unattributed talking points thinly disguised as personally ideology really turn me on.

P.S. You're "from" Boston like I'm from Wasilla. I'm guessing the last time your family lived in Boston, your forbears were still scraping the Auld Sod from their shoes.

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I bet Menino puts them in the Filenes site

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Menino has been begging to get Target into the Filenes site, which is the same type of big box chain as Wal-Mart. Both are big conservative donors and although the branding at each company targets slightly different people, the majority of the products, the neighborhood destroying quality, and low wage jobs are similar.

It always confused me why people didn't care if Target came in and put all the local businesses out of business when WalMart is seen differently. I think its a class thing, that walmart is seen as hillbily and target is seen as Ikea-light. End result is the same.

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What-ev

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Although I would probably never shop at Walmart, we already have many big box stores littered around, and within, the City like Target, Home Depo, Best Buy, Staples, the Dollar Store, etc. and it has not killed off local small businesses in areas where people cater to them. That is to say, it has not killed them off anymore than the advent of the shopping mall in the 1960s already had before the big box stores arrived.

I think the stores that are probably more worried about this are the other big box retailers and super market chains. You can bet that Target is dusting off its lease at South Bay right now to make sure there is an exclusivity clause somewhere in there. I think the fact is that if you live in a part of the city that currently has a robust small business community, its probably because the people in your neighborhood like those businesses and are dedicated to going there, as they certainly have plenty of other options already. Walmart isn't so different from the other options that it is going to make those people change their habits.

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A large walmart store in a

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A large walmart store in a mall would shut down target best buy stop and shop and every thing else in a 10 mile range. in a years time. and if thier profits dont add up. they have no qualms about shutting the store down and moving on like a circus. they get the town to give them tax breaks ect when the stuff hits the fan there gone. one day they will build a complete store in china complete with workers and stock. put it on a barge in boston harbor or international waters and you will have to convert your money to yen and take a ferry out to shop. walmart is china and china is walmart. we bailed out general motors and they have a big foot print in china.dont be suprised if they relocate there to get from under the unions

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Comparing Target and Walmart

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I have never shopped at a Walmart store. Do they offer anything besides the lowest prices? Are their prices comparable or even lower than Target?

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Comparable, yes

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Besides low prices, they offer "one stop shopping". A "normal" Wal-Mart usually has groceries, electronics, clothing, housewares, auto supplies, a pharmacy, and a little bit of everything else.

Compared to a Target, their prices, selection, and product range are pretty much neck-and-neck. Wal-Mart tends to beat Target in food sales though. Here's a good article from last year's Time Magazine comparing the two.

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I think...

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that the Wal-Mart/Target comparison is kind of like the Whole-Foods/Stopandshop comparison.

Just anecdotally from having been in both stores (though only in Wal-Mart 2 or 3 times, and Target fairly often), I think they have comparable prices in terms of brand-name identical items, but I think Wal-Mart stocks more ridiculously cheap bottom-of-the-line items. I remember seeing stuff at Wal-Mart like 57-cent piece-of-crap coffee mugs, which Target generally doesn't do. Clothes too; Target seems to have a basic minimum standard, and actually sells a lot of expensiveish brand-name clothes, but Wal-Mart was almost all store brand or unheard-of-brand cheaper than cheap clothes.

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Quincy's not good enough?

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I think it's less than a mile from the Red Line in Quincy and the 225 bus runs right past the place anyways.

If people in Boston were clamoring for an accessible Wal-Mart, then the one in Quincy would be out of stock daily. I'm betting it's not.

Where would this thing go? South Bay somewhere? Allston? (heh, I'd almost wish they'd want to move into Allston so I could hear Berkeley's head explode from my house)

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"(heh, I'd almost wish they'd

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"(heh, I'd almost wish they'd want to move into Allston so I could hear Berkeley's head explode from my house)"

LOL!!!

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Roslindalian

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There are actually a number of vacant or underutilized industrial properties around the City that the City has been trying to get developed into comemrcial retail for a while (including one in Hyde Park). Think of what South Bay used to be (vacant Sears freight station and vacant meat processing plant). Transformation of one of these properties into a commercial, income and job generating, location would probably be an overall boon. However, if they are seeking to put one of these in one of the existing business districts, I think they are going to have a fight on their hands. That just seems impracical anyway.

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+1 for the Berkeley

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+1 for the Berkeley reference.

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Honestly...

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I suspect Berkeley and his group would support a Wal-Mart in Allston. I'm completely serious. His rationale for the group's opposition to the pizza place on Western Ave was that they didn't want more restaurants in the neighborhood, but that they wanted retail.

I bet you that if Wal-Mart bought a tract at Western Ave and the Birmingham Parkway and built a store there, they wouldn't have one peep of opposition from the ABA.

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Dinner at Stone Hearth?

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They want retail, sure, but at the cost of traffic? Berkeley gave Lowe's the stink-eye in 2007 over traffic. He battered Stone Hearth with the "chain pizza joint" and "treating us like Homer Simpson" broad brushes. Wal-Mart would be FAR worse than a Lowe's on the traffic impact level. It is the chain-iest chain that ever chained a chain. And I think People of Wal-Mart will give you an idea of the kinds of Homer Simpson that shop there.

Besides, the only place in Allston that they'd get the kind of space they want would be part of Harvard's parcels. I don't think the Galactic Empire teaming up with Mordor would create an equivalently evil group in Berkeley's mind as Harvard and Wal-Mart becoming best friends.

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not psyched about it but...

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...it would create jobs. Maybe they can build it next to the Hi-Lo/Whole Foods in JP ;)

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"jobs"

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Create the kind of not-quite-fulltime jobs that swell the rolls of the food stamp program. That's the main reason I would never shop at Wallmart

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Seriously, anon from Arkansas

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Do you have any idea what the wage of those "jobs" is or the benefits plans? There are stacks of documentation showing Wal Mart's inability to provide a living wage and the burden it places on already overburdened and underfunded public programs. I'm shocked Bentonville wasn't holding pep rallies for single-payer universal health care, as it would have taken them off the hook completely and made their approach look all the more legitimate.

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I didn't know indentured

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I didn't know indentured servitude was still allowed. People apply to work at WalMart. If they don't like the pay or benefits they can quit or not apply. Some people are just happy to have a job. Not everyone can work in the ivory tower you peer down at everyone from.

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"Are there no workhouses?"

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Oh that ivory, ivory tower where more than half of America works. Tell us again how unless you're digging ditches or smelting ore, you're not working. 'Cause everyone can empathize with that.

People apply to work at Wal-Mart because of a dearth of other options, not because it's one of a tremendous amount of choices for them. They join because the same society that ridicules them into guilt for being on the dole for some reason has no problem with them being both on the dole and at a job that provides them little compensation and no benefits. They could make twice as much working at a Shaw's with better benefits.

Working at Wal-Mart in the 2000's is like working at McDonald's in the 80s and early 90s -- a last resort for those with nowhere else to go. It's a pretty shitty choice, and the reason we folks "in the ivory towers" work hard to get into good schools and hone the gifts we've been given and work even harder to do our jobs well and avoid layoffs. People who go through vocational training do much the same -- attending great schools like Ohio Diesel and taking on a ton of hours that they're well compensated for.

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Response to Ed. wager

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Be careful what you wish for or they'll end up putting it on top of Millennium Park so all of Hyde Park can bask in its giant neon blue-and-white glow! Mwhahahahaha!

Seriously, though, don't jinx yourself.

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A betting man, eh?

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We're not going to see a WalMart in Hyde Park or West Roxbury.

Hyde Park's obvious: Look who lives there. West Roxbury because they know how to vote there.

Roslindale Square is out, both because of size (42k may be small for GigantoMart, but it's huge for that area) and because some of the mayor's bestest friends live there (there's a reason there's a Staples on Washington Street and not a CVS; just drive around to Corinth Street to see why).

I could see it on American Legion Highway by the Stop & Shop (with the radio on), and it would be sort of appropriate there, given there used to be a Bradlee's there, but I need to stop giving them hints :-).

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Not that I'd want to see it, but ....

... would a Mini-Wal-Mart fit in the Ferdinand Building in Dudley Square? These days you can build a multi-level big box store or supermarket with shopping-cart escalators.

(And what is it about Hyde Park that you think makes its population especially resistant to shopping at Wal-Mart?)

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Bite my cruller

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Oh, wait, they don't make those anymore, right?

I suspect the fancy-shmancy Readville store has more to do with the TMM factor than liberals. But you can have your fancy-shmancy clapboard stuff; I'll take the mural about the sea captain inventing donut holes in the Dunk's on Hyde Park Avenue any day. And I voted for Kerry, so there.

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I just find it amusing that

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I just find it amusing that they made the DD's in Wolcott Sq. go to the gold on green signage so it wouldn't affect the otherwise bucolic village atmosphere with the construction equipment yard and the oil tank removal company on that block.

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It adds a festive air to the square

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All the better to keep in mind as you enter the Tunnel of Doom and exit out the other side into the post-apocalyptic industrial stretch along Hyde Park Avenue.

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Liberals hate Dunkin' Donuts?

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I thought people who liked the taste of coffee hated Dunkin Donuts?

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Uh, yeah

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Yeah, their coffee sucks and the place is fugly, but if not liberals, who is supporting all those 237849723894837 Dunkies in a really really liberal state?

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Even in a really liberal

Even in a really liberal state, there's still plenty of non-liberals. But, I think in this case, the problem is more that we are using the wrong terminology. It is not liberals, for there's large swaths of liberals who patronizes Dunkin Donuts or even loves it. The two best way to put it is the Starbucks crowd or the hipsters/yuppies. Even then, it doesn't perfectly fit, but it is a lot better description than liberals.

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I love coffee . . .

. . . and I think Dunk's is pretty good. I like their blend in the morning mostly.

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WalMart Betting Pool

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Liberty Plaza (Central Square) in East Boston. A.J. Wright just closed and the Shaw's has been anemic ever since the Market Basket opened up its own zipcode in Chelsea (seriously, you could drive two Smartcars down the aisles side by side and not knock over the Cheerios). My first time there I actually saw the manager (or assistant manager) of the Shaw's in there with a baseball hat pulled down over his head and his cart heaped with stuff.

Dudley Square could be an option...in the BRA's mind at least.

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It was a joke, but whatever

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You people who haven't been to the top of Millennium Park, from which you can see Hyde Park, wouldn't know the diff.

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Que?

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1) It's Millennium (two n's). I know so because I've seen the green sign, in person even!

2) I don't work for Harvard. I didn't go to school at Harvard. I did catch the 86 bus there for a while when my company was located in Kendall Square.

3) You could see a Wal-Mart from the Pru or Hancock building if it were on top of Millennium Park! That doesn't mean I think it's located in Copley Square.

Thanks for playing, though.

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Darn

Mini Walmarts are almost twice as big as the empty Star Market in Somerville. Oh well.

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Why would any thinking person

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be opposed to this?

The horror- opening a store with good prices that would create jobs, tax revenues... those bastids!

Lose the 'tude, anti-WalMart snobs.

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Jobs + tax revenues = net loss for communities

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Look at the studies. The net effect of a Walmart is often a loss of income to the surrounding community, between the public assistance the employees need, the other businesses going out of business, and the concessions Walmart extracts from desperate local governments.

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Where?

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Where are these studies? I'm curious to see them and who authored them.

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NC State review

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Here's a 2-page review from NC State that links to 2 studies on WalMart's effect on job creation/loss and relative salary loss.

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Why the hate?

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Your linked article notes that net fiscal impacts to a community are likely to be postive (Table 1). Besides some indirect economic impacts, it seems to be fairly positive or inconclusive.

I'm still not seeing why Wal-Mart is so bad and other big-box retailers are good (or less bad).

I don't think Wal-Mart is looking to move into the Back Bay or Beacon Hill, so I don't see how the addition of another big-box retailer is going to harm aesthetics or any other part of the community's culture.

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Walmart's dark side

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Watch this, I haven't stepped foot in a Walmart since I did. It clearly explains why people are so anti-Walmart in a very entertaining way:

http://www.walmartmovie.com/

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'thinking person,' listen up!

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Research before you type. Wal-Mart gets many many years of BIG tax breaks when they move into a community. Do they pay wages that anyone can live off of? NO. Are there prices that much cheaper no and often Target and amazon.com (when you get free shipping which isn't too hard if you buy in bulk) are much cheaper.

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Why wouldn't they?

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Assume that these "good prices" means local customers no longer shop at other stores where prices were higher for the same goods. That also means that they are going to pay less in sales tax. That means lower tax revenue. In fact, the only way sales tax revenue would go up would be by drawing in more customers than would have shopped for those same products within your commercial zones anyways. Why would anyone outside of Boston go downtown to get to a Wal-Mart? They already have a Wal-Mart north (Lynn), south (Quincy), and west (Framingham) of the city.

These "good prices" also come at a cost to the undiscerning customer. The products are usually inferior to their more expensive counterparts. Not only is it a "worse" product in terms of quality, but also usually in longevity too. If you spend $10 on that $20 shirt, but you have to replace it twice as fast, you haven't really saved anything at all.

"Creating jobs" is great in theory but it depends on the kind of job created. Part-time labor means someone isn't getting paid enough to live off of it and it usually means they get no employer health care. At the same time, these jobs are likely coming at the expense of other local retail. That's a negative effect on the job level and flattens any positives. Also, unlike non-union companies, like Toyota, where employees get packages competitive with their GM union counterparts, Wal-Mart is more anti-union because it would force them to do better for their employees. Instead, they do poorly by their non-management workforce...and use that as a way to save money to further cut pricing ("yay, this TV is dirt cheap...wait, did that employee just give me tuberculosis?").

Finally, Wal-Marts often draw in a lot of customers. That's extra traffic and other public utility cost. They also use meetings like the ones they're having now with officials to make it seem like cake and pie for them to come here. Then, as Stevil likes to rail against, they get sweetheart deals for the cost of moving in. They get tax discounts and matching efforts from the city to reconfigure whole roadways. That's all cost that comes out of all this "tax revenue" they're generating.

There's also ancillary costs mentioned in the review I linked to in another post. Local companies hire local tax attorneys and other needed consultants to help run their businesses. Wal-Mart does all of that in Arkansas. As they run other companies out of business, these other service industries suffer locally as well.

So, that's just a few reasons why a thinking person would be opposed to a Wal-Mart. The better question is were you thinking deeply at all?

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All that you mention above

All that you mention above can be true about any number of companies you probably shop at every week (e.g. Amazon).

If you don't like wal-mart, fine, don't shop there. But, why do you get to decide for me? Rich asked to question above and no one has really answered it. What is the difference between wal-mart and target? I don't see a difference....

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Well? Which is it?

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@Kaz, it's fine to talk about Wal-Mart's lower prices generating less sales tax revenue for the state. But then you go on to point out the inferior quality of Wal-Mart's products, saying "If you spend $10 on that $20 shirt, but you have to replace it twice as fast, you haven't really saved anything at all."

That may be true, but you've just undercut your first point about less tax revenue. You can't have both arguments on the table.

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Split the difference

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Not every $10 shirt dissolves like paper mache in the rain.

Not every purchase leads to tax losses compared to the comparable product bought elsewhere.

However, over time enough of both situations occur to lead to an ultimate loss in the tax base and loss of quality to the consumer. That's economic observation by people who study these things, not just conjecture by me.

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amazon

Kaz, I find your tax base arguement to be a bit disingenuous. At least Wal-Mart produces some sort of tax base for the city and state, whereas Amazon and many internet retailers produce zero tax revenues for the city and state.

Where are your pitchforks for Amazon and the like?

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Apples and pears

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You also could have said that New Hampshire charges no sales tax, so where are my cries for closing the border to NH so people are forced to shop in MA, right?

There are plenty of ways to get around paying into the sales tax base. Why would be interested in poking another hole in it just because the first leaks already exist? Each one is also a different flavor of that generic problem of losing sales taxes and each has its own solutions and levels of ire. However, buying from Wal-Mart and buying from any other physical retailer and showing the loss of tax base is the same flavor. I listed it because it's an often unconsidered potential cost on the system that joins all of the other costs of bringing in a Wal-Mart. Amazon and other online outlets are something that's only going to be solved by adjusting the tax code through legislation. It's a completely different discussion.

I'm personally not totally convinced that a Wal-Mart inside Boston would significantly alter the sales tax base. However, I think it deserves mentioning and consideration that it *could*. I think it's more likely to harm it than help it, even though I'm sure every Wal-Mart lobbyist will try to woo our politicians with sales figures from all of their stores that have succeeded in taking over other markets. Of course, most of those include new outside buyers coming to the exampled Wal-Mart who didn't shop in the area previously. That just won't be the case here. Wal-Marts are already established in all 3 cardinal directions and driving into the city just for a Wal-Mart run isn't going to appeal to anyone.

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Sam's Schlub

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"a store with good prices that would create jobs, tax revenues"

This was the inscription on the Walton family Christmas card this year. Hearing a myth like this makes it much easier to believe in Santa Claus.

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I guess the rumored Target

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I guess the rumored Target next to the Triology in fenway could just as easily be a walmart.

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South Bay Target and WalMart Plants

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The Target at South Bay has city approvals to expand into the former auto service section closest to Southamton St, which was left fallow since the Kmart left.
They are expanding their grocery dept, which is already quite large.

I go to the Quincy WalMart during the spring/summer for their cheap garden/plant section and have been to the Brockton & Raynham (SUPER-CENTER!)stores for the same reason.

Unfortunately, not all the stores devote the same level of care to the plants, if at all! You gotta get there just after they've come in and then later on, have a good eye for what can be salvaged from the 50% off selection of dying material.

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Fenway, did you say FENWAY?

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Now that would ROCK!!!!

(and might explain why they are talking to Mike Ross - a somewhat curious part of the story.

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Ross

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Could be Fenway or could be they started talking to him when he was still council president. Or [cue creepy music] it could be because he's thinking of putting it in the other old building on the Common.

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put in roslindale Ma where

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put in roslindale Ma where the new stop shop is located

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The last time I checked ...

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no one is forced to shop @ Wal-Mart. Perhaps there is a reason many consumers do so; namely, their lower prices, and their wide selection of low-to-moderate priced items, prices and items which are often not provided by the mom-and-pop shops some here seem determined to limit city consumers to (see also: the Hi-Lo/Whole Foods debate.)

Why are some opposed to choice? You who wish to patronize the mom-and-pops, do so. If there are enuf of you they will be able to withstand the competiton of Wal-Mart.

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At what cost?

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Why do they choose to do so? Because they're either too poor, stupid, or uncaring to consider the ramifications of doing so.

Why do you think Wal-Mart would be such a boon for the city?

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What an arrogant, condescending

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comment. Of course- people need the likes of you to "save them" from themselves, as if they lack the capacity to decide where and how best to shop, spend their hard-earned money, etc...

The ramifications? As I wrote previously: prices, selection, relative quality. What do you have against people exercising their freedom to choose?

Wal-Mart would be another choice for consumers, one with ample selection and competitive prices. Those are boons. You are more-than-free to shop elsewhere. But who are you and your ilk to attempt to deny consumers the right to shop locally at one of the most successful- and affordable- retailers in the world?

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That comment was awful, but...

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you, sir, are a complete shill. "Choice for consumers" my eye. Wal-Mart tends to leave no choice for consumers once it comes into town but, in Boston's case, it would be a "choice" of the quality goods we already have access to or cheap (note, not inexpensive as Wal-Mart did a bang-up job both raising prices and "streamlining SKUs" or eliminating brands in 2010) crap.

You're presenting consumers the "choice" of a business that eliminates choice both in its communities and in its aisles.

Go bang out another press release, you Bentonville flack. Sorry you couldn't make money as an obit writer.

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So you people need

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to make choices for all? You people- not the market, not consumers, but you, with your self-perceived enlightened and informed views, must "protect" others from making what you perceive as the "wrong" choices? Understand- people CHOOSE to shop at Wal-Mart, Target, Whole Foods, wherever... or not. NO ONE is forced to do so. You elitists and authoritarians don't agree with their choices? Too damn bad.

Not a shill at all, JPSouth, just someone who has confidence in his fellow citizens to make decisions on their own. You should try it, instead of attempting to force your values upon all. You'd have made a great commissar (since you- childishly- feel the need to make personal insults.)

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"You people"

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And there's your problem. This is basically a town full of "you people" and, instead of showing any evidence of Wal-Mart's merit and convince the other side that wall mart is a good idea, you shout at them as being "elitists" and "authoritarians" while ignoring evidence of Wal-Mart's reduction of "choice":

http://blogs.forrester.com/augie_ray/10-03-22-roi_...

"Not a shill at all": That's funny. I've poke around the Internets and noticed that when there's hubbub about Wal-Mart coming into a major city, a poster named "RJ" tends to spring up. This poster sometimes goes by the full name RJ Murphy, who just happens to be a buyer at Wal-Mart. Given that your last few comments sounded like press release boilerplate, it didn't seem far-fetched that you and he would be one in the same.

"Self-perceived enlightened and informed views." Yes, doing research and backing up one's argument is just so tedious. Why not just yell talking points, set up straw men and make reductive arguments based only on the rage you're feeling at the time? It's so much simpler and doesn't waste so much time and energy being "constructive." It's the debate methodology and worldview that a company loyalist -- or shill -- spends a lifetime cultivating.

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Imagine that...

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more than one "RJ" on the entire Internet- whoda thunk it?!
Tool.

You and your ilk still cannot get it through your heads that people DO NOT need you or anyone else to make their choices for them, to "save them" from themselves from making consumer choices that do not fit with your agenda. Again- no one is forced to shop @ Wal-Mart, Target, Whole foods, or anywhere else. Why are you so opposed to consumers making their own choices based upon THEIR self-interest, not yours, or whomever you purport to speak for?

As for shills... which labor union do you shill for?

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Again

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You waste dozens of characters throwing around ad hominems like "tool" and "your ilk," but don't make one reasoned argument or shred of evidence for this Wal-Mart besides a "choice" Wal-Mart doesn't present -- because, as the links above note, they eliminate brands, raise prices and aren't the low-priced retail altruists you describe.

Anything that goes in the spaces Wal-Mart seeks presents a "choice." A landfill would give consumers another "choice" about where to put their garbage. A sewage treatment plant would give residents another means of processing their excrement. A strip club would give bargoers another choice for late-night entertainment spending. All are subject to neighborhood oversight.

As much as you think "we" are trying to "save" people, "you" are trying to "force" people into accepting a business in their neighborhood that A) Underpays and underinsures its workers and creates burden that the entire public -- not just those who "choose" to shop at Wal-Mart -- will have to bear B) Won't carry the brands they want because they're "streamlining selection" and "aiding" choice, as if consumers are chimps that need help shopping and C) No longer have the "low low" prices they once claimed thanks to a market that's turned against them.

Union? Who's shilling for a union? Someone considering a beneath-the-barrel Wal-Mart job would be better served applying at FedEx, where the pay is stellar, the benefits are above reproach and the management is as union-resistant as they come. This isn't about unions, this is about a bad business with an irresponsible and outdated model meeting resistance from a populace that knows better. "We" live here too, "we" have a say thanks largely to our civic process and "we" can stop any operation that we feel would be a detriment to our community. You may not think "we" are offering you a choice, but "we" -- Mr. Murphy -- won't have an objectionable business forced upon "us" by the likes of you.

Your argument is wafer thin and devoid of both proof and value. However, if I was being paid for being a corporate comments-field warrior, I'd be keeping this up as well. Let's see if we can get this topic to 200 comments and get you a nice vacation house near the hot springs.

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Nah...

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you're the master of the ad hominem attack. You wrongly assume that anyone who doesn't see your side re. this must be a "shill." And you attempt- but fail- to obfuscate the issue with your silly analogies to landfills, sewage plants, and strip joints. No one is proposing opening a landfill, sewage plant, or strip joint to compete against locally existing ones. Apples and oranges, sport.

Meanwhile, continue to show us how misguided others are and that we need you to save people from their own choices. No force on my part; I'm perfectly willing to allow people to locally shop wherever they choose, Wal-Mart or wherever. I wouldn't seek to deny consumers another alternative and letting them decide where to shop. Too bad you can't say the same.

Freedom to choose- try it, you might like it.

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Right to choose?

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That may be the first time anyone's put Wal-Mart and "right to choose" in the same thought. This is the same store that bans music it doesn't like and didn't carry emergency contraception until this state forced it into doing so five years ago. Wal-Mart offers the same amount of "choice" as a Comcast -- err, "Xfinity" -- coverage area.

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It's because you are a shill, Mr. Murphy

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You work for Wal-Mart. You go on boards to support the company blindly. You're a shill.

No, nobody's proposing any of those things, but they're proposing something just as objectionable: A retailer that doesn't pay a working wage or provide adequate medical coverage, eliminates brands consumers love, raises "rollback" prices while the consumer isn't looking and ultimately drags down any person or municipality associated with it. Please keep telling Bostonians -- who already have the "choice" to support such a feeble organization by going to Quincy -- how great a "choice" Wal-Mart is while completely ignoring its obvious detriment to the community.

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Shill or no shill you lose

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JP - You might not like what they do and RJ may indeed be a shill - but they have a right to open a store wherever they want and it's not government's job to stand in their way. Don't like it, make laws like Vermont or Japan so it's almost impossible to open a big store. Better yet - open a store concept yourself that attracts even more customers than Walmart. Good luck with that. (seriously, given that all kinds of stores compete very successfuly with Walmart - and don't behave any better in terms of wages, prices or benefits and a host of other issues your whole argument is pretty weak).

Personally I'll be shopping there regularly if they open in Fenway - and they won't be taking biz from any local retailers - the stuff I'll buy there I buy at Target now - unless of course I can't get to Target - then I buy it at CVS.

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Uh...

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the government's job is to enforce the will of the electorate. If that electorate doesn't want a Wal-Mart in its neighborhood or city, it is the government's job to deny that business the privilege of operating within their district.

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Indeed.

Society doesn't exist to serve corporations- they exist to serve us and must comport to the values of the communities they operate in and if they can't- then they have no "right" to do business in that community.

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As much as I'm with you, Steve

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It won't happen. Sam Walton himself always said that Wal-Mart shouldn't build where it isn't wanted. Boston has never struck me as a place that "wanted" a Wal-Mart, which is why I truck it out to Lynn and Quincy. As frustrated as this made me, I just accept that there are some places Wal-Mart will just never be. This piece in the Globe drove that home.

Just one of the costs of sharing a democracy with certain people. The JP guy's argument would be much weaker if he were the only one making it. The unions already jumped on it. Ugh.

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That's fine

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If it's Wal-Mart making the decision - but not if it's some self-serving keeper of retail sanctity politician.

clark above is wrong on two fronts - a) government's role is to make, enforce and interpret laws that apply equally to everyone - Target and Wal-Mart included. As long as they both obey the laws - they are allowed to do business here. b) As for enforcing the will of the people - your will or my will? That's why rule "A" applies.

Politicians don't get to pick what businesses are allowed in and not - this isn't some backwater banana republic even though we occasionally do our best to make it so (granted - not sure how many banana trees you'll get to grow in a snow bank).

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Keep at it sport...

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next you (and you other aliases) will be saying that I also work for Whole Foods because I opined that they should be allowed to open in JP.

Come with some better stuff, small fry. And while you're at it, try and have a little faith in your fellow citizens to make their own choices, where to shop and where to work, not have them dictated by you. As for going to Quincy- you do realize that some folks might not have the transportation to get out there? And why should they have to? Why would you deny them the opportunity to shop- and have jobs- locally? What is your problem?

And it's worth asking- why do you have such a hard-on for the Wal-Mart/Sam's Club company? Were you fired by them? Talk about shills.

You are dismissed.

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Another Bentonville paycheck well earned

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Without one link, quotation or shred of evidence to back it up. I thought maybe there'd be some resources or some solid reasoning behind this argument of yours other than the company line. Guess there just wasn't enough space under the bridge.

The region produces batches of Marshmallow Fluff with more substance. My fellow citizens seem to have just as many questions about this as I do and seem as opposed to it as I am. If a neighborhood lobbies for a Wal-Mart, I'll listen to it's argument, but right now we're discussing a business nobody asked for sniffing hydrants in a place where nobody wants it.

As for your last little vulgar remark, Wal-Mart is the topic at hand and you work for them, so why would I discuss anything else here? Wanna talk snow? Take it to another thread. I think your bit of innuendo should be directed at another poster.

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To RJ Murphy

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Does the Walton family like a nice, long cuddle or the rough stuff? I just figure since you're in bed with them, you'd have the best perspective. P.S. Don't consumers here already have the "choice" of hitting WalMart.com or going to Quincy?

Have fun in Wally World...

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Seriously, man

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I tend to agree with you a lot and still don't feel great about Wal-Mart, but a comment like that's not going to make it with anyone.

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Slow down Yoko...

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It might have been a bit obnoxious, but sadly not far off the mark. One thing no one seems interested in talking about is exactly WHY WalMart is able to offer such fabulously low prices (until they kill the competition and then raise their prices). This inability to explore the why's of things in our society is what leads to horrible outcomes which people look at all aghast and say "how did this happen?" "WHO'S RESPONSIBLE FOR THIS?" and "but why do they hate us?"

Local stores deal with middlemen, who deal with distributors, who deal with producers, who deal with unions and/or workers...or at least it used to be that way. Each one of those transactions costs the end consumer but also provides jobs to all those people in the middle, who then go one to pay taxes and consume things. Now through the miracles of vertical integration corporations like WalMart are all of those things. The global race to the bottom for cheap labor and non-existent environmental regulations provides us with outrageously cheap (in all senses of the word) clothing, home goods, electronics, whatever. A small chunk of those savings go to the consumer and the vast majority go to the owners of the corporations who bank the money and avoid paying taxes.

Thanks to the savings on your fruit-of-the-looms, kitchen gadgets, etc., we have no manufacturing in this country to speak of. Politicians are so desperate to find ANYTHING a U.S. worker with a high school education can do that they'll roll out casinos as if they are the panacea for our economic woes. We try to jumpstart solar panel companies in MA with over $50 million in tax breaks and they STILL can't compete with the Chinese factories.

We have sold out our economic future in exchange for some short-term savings on a bunch of cheap shit that no one needs and that will be crap in no time and you'll have to buy again anyways.

So referring to the U.S. consumer (we're not citizens anymore) as cheap, ignorant, stupid or uncaring, I really don't think is that much of a stretch. Too bad it hurts people's feelings.

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It's not the content I'm disputing

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It's the context. What you say is true, but that won't exactly help the cause when the people you're trying to convince are the same demographic you're deriding.

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The funny thing is . . .

. . . that Walmart's "business model" exists because of political favoritism. Walmart can pump millions into political campaigns- anonymously now as well- to ensure, protect, and expand their interests- but somehow it is intolerable oppression for people to oppose their monopoly march? Give me a break. If the Walton's lived here I might be more amenable to their organization- but they don't- and they don't care about Massachusetts or Boston. They care about their bottom line- which is fine- nothing wrong with that- but please stop with libertarian pie in the sky non sense that assumes some fantasy market equal and fair level playing field. There isn't one and never has been. Could the Ayn Rand Austrian school of economic whatevers- just go away- stop it? You are irrelevant and I don't want to hear it anymore.

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wal-mart

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I'm moving to Boston from Little Rock, AR and the last thing I want to see is another Wal-Mart. I prefer Target anyway so if that means going to South Bay or Watertown over a Wal-Mart in the middle of the city that is fine with me. Wal-Mart in Boston is like Dunks in Arkansas, they don't mix

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Welcome.

Hope you like Boston. Kinda funny- but saw a big white caddy with an Arkansas plate yesterday in downtown Boston.

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Wal-Mart is a horrible employer

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They make their sales clerks in Texas pay for each plastic baggy they give customers (who's to say they won't do it here?), their pay is slightly above minimum wage, they purposely hold workers hours below the minimum to qualify for company healh plans (MA taxes us for not having health insurance), and they constantly make the list of MA companies with the fifty plus employees using MassHealth. I'll be at every public meeting to speak out against a WalMart in Boston.

Besides, anyone truly wanting to shop at Walmart can always go to Quincy, or shop online at warlmart.com.

http://www.mass.gov/Eeohhs2/docs/dhcfp/r/pubs/09/5...

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