Politics from the Palouse to Puget Sound

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Blinders and Buggy Whips

My reponse to Barbara Feil's letter that Scotty references below:

More power to ya Barb. Unfortunately, no one else seems to agree with you. Every year, they are taking $92 million in taxable revenue over to Moscow, Lewiston, Clarkston, and Spokane. That costs the city $720,000 a year in sales tax revenue. Why is that? Well, this ain’t Walton’s Mountain and ShopKo and Dissmores ain’t Ike Godsey’s General Store. There are PLENTY of other retail options within close driving distance that have much better selection and prices than what Pullman stores offer.

To wit, this morning I needed a set of headphones with a ¼” plug for my radio show. ShopKo was out, so they lost the sale. My money went to Wal-Mart and my tax dollars went to Idaho instead.

“If I want clothes, I go to Goodwill or Ken Vogels.” (Dr. Evil voice)Riiiigggghhhtt.

Regardless of your elitist tastes being opposed to “giant, ugly big-box stores” (Have you even seen the exterior plan? Wal-Mart will be the nicest store in Pullman), that’s where people want to shop. The days of horse and buggy are long gone. We can either get some big box stores in Pullman or we can all head over to Moscow with tin cups and ask for donations for our parks, streets, police and firefighters. Wal-Mart could easily bring (Dr. Evil voice again) One MILLLION dollars a year in tax revenues to Pullman.

Meanwhile, all those Pullman stores you mentioned have been competing with Wal-Mart in Moscow for the last fifteen years. At least if we turn Pullman into a shopping destination like Moscow, those Pullman merchants will be much better off than they are now.

Do you find it the least bit ironic that a fair amount of the Pullman businesses you mentioned are national chain stores (Safeway, Dissmores, Les Schwab, Shopko & Rite-Aid)? What is your interest in protecting their monopoly? Who cares if they fight it out for our business?

Speaking of shame, Safeway moved into a big new store a few years ago and their old store at Wheatland Mall is still a vacant eyesore. Where’s the shame over that?

I would suggest, Barbara, that you are the one wearing blinders. You can hide behind aesthetics and personal tastes, but the immutable laws of economics will not be ignored. You are free to keep on shopping at Ken Vogel Clothing (bad news, Goodwill is moving to Moscow, see what I mean about economics?), but if you don’t mind, the rest of us would like to keep Pullman from going under.

And by the way, you could be quite brief when listing the places to shop and eat in Pullman.


April E. Coggins said...

At the hearing yesterday, one of the anti-Wal-Martians said that we DON'T need a Wal-Mart because we will still continue to shop in Spokane. He gave the example of not being able to buy a mens suit or a car in Pullman. I'm sure that came as a shock to the car dealers and Ken Vogel.

Sarcastic Housewife #1 said...

Even better...Whitman County has one of the largest pheasant hunting areas yet you can't buy any shotgun shells in Pullman. You have to go to Wal-Mart in Moscow.

By the way, I'm surprised we haven't heard how Wal-Mart drove Burger King out of town unless I missed that notice.

April E. Coggins said...

Sarcastic Housewife #1:
PARD will refuse to acknowledge any of the current businesses that have/are closing until Wal-Mart is finally open. Then they will claim that any further business closings are the result of Wal-Mart. It won't matter if fifteen competitors open and two go out of business. It won't matter if a business sells to a competitor and the new owner shuts it down or bad management, a spend thrift owner, owner retirement, etc. are typical reasons for business closures. All these reasons and more will be ignored and PARD will blindly blame Wal-Mart.