Today I received a mailing from the Friends of Wal-Mart.Â They were letting me know how wonderful and amazing it will be when Wal-Mart opens their new location in the Heights on the ugly, unused property at the intersection of Yale and Kohler.Â Inside this 8.5 X 11 flyer, they go into detail about how a Wal-Mart will help Houston residents inside the loop.
Let us cover these points one by one.
Point: The store will take an unused property and make it useful.
Counterpoint: None, really.Â Although I suspect that part of the reason it isnâ€™t being used is that Walmart has been planning this store for a long time and, because of the amount of space such a store needs, theyâ€™ve been reserving the property themselves, i.e. itâ€™s been unused because theyâ€™ve been sitting on it.
Point: The store will be the first Wal-Mart inside the loop.
Counterpoint: Though technically true, a giant Samâ€™s Club opened within the past year, and Samâ€™s Club is owned by Wal-Mart.
Point: The store will bring much-needed affordable grocery and pharmacy services to families who live in the heart of Houston, as well as clothing and housewares.
Counterpoint: Who are these families Wal-Mart is talking about?Â We have dozens of grocery stores inside the loop, at all levels of pricing.Â There are upscale Krogerâ€™s, Randallâ€™s, and Fiestas.Â Walgreens provide good and cheap pharmacy services, not to mention the CVSs scattered around town.Â We already have two Targets and a Bed, Bath, and Beyond to provide clothing and housewares.Â Where, exactly, did Wal-Mart get its information from?
Point: The store will blend in with the surrounding community.
Counterpoint: A Wal-Mart will never blend into the surrounding community unless there is no real community.Â A superstore takes up so much real estate that it essentially creates a whole in any community, which is why Wal-Marts are usually located in, or on the way to, suburbs, where thereâ€™s a wealth of open space.
Point: The store will provide the convenience of low-cost groceries, pharmacy services, and basic necessities within a few miles of the homes of nearby residents.
Counterpoint: Okay, now youâ€™re just repeating yourself.Â You already said this, and I already said that those services â€“ low-cost ones, at that â€“ are already conveniently place for everyone inside the loop.
Point: Well how about tax revenue, then.Â The average Wal-Mart in Houston generates $870,000 in sales tax.Â What do you have to say to that?
Counterpoint: The way youâ€™re going to be providing that sales tax is by taking it from other retailers who are already established in our community.Â The only way youâ€™d be bringing in revenue would be if you were attracting money from outside of the city.Â Here, youâ€™re just planning on taking a cut from a limited market.
Point: And weâ€™ll be providing three hundred jobs.
Counterpoint: And inevitably taking them away from those same retailers once you put them under.
Point: The new Wal-Mart is the ideal development to serve all of our communities.
Counterpoint: Youâ€™re not even listening, are you?
Point: The ideal development is always listening.
Counterpoint: Just like youâ€™re not listening to the Houston woman (Nitra Gipson) whom you falsely accused of theft and now refuse to admit your mistake.Â Itâ€™s all right here.
Point: The ideal development is never wrong.
Counterpoint: The mailer is a masterpiece of propaganda.Â It positions Wal-Mart as a selfless benefactor, when itâ€™s known and documented that the company is no friend to small business or to its employees.Â Who are these â€œFriends of Walmartâ€ anyway?Â Theyâ€™re you, Wal-Mart.Â Admit it.
Point: The ideal development admits nothing.
Counterpoint: Iâ€™ll admit for you that the fact that youâ€™re even sending out such mailings means that youâ€™re having second thoughts.Â I know you wonâ€™t admit that no one wants you here, and it must hurt to be so undesired (and undesirable).Â And I know that youâ€™ve invested a lot of time and money into moving in to our community.Â But save us all a lot of trouble, and admit you were wrong.Â No, you donâ€™t even have to admit it.Â Just, please, donâ€™t come around here no more.