Politics from the Palouse to Puget Sound

Sunday, January 15, 2006

"Suppose they opened a Wal-Mart, and no one came"

I don't agree very often with liberal Lewiston Tribune columnist Jim Fisher. For example, in a column in today's Tribune, he writes:
I don't like the way it exploits its workers, whom it has the nerve to call "associates," and I don't like the way it treats the surrounding community, which is often expected to provide benefits for those workers the company does not... Squeeze your product providers to sell to you at the lowest possible cost, such as by manufacturing in Lower Slobovia, and then squeeze your "associates" by paying them peanuts so that consumers can benefit from rock-bottom prices...If this is the market economy at its best, the market economy has a lot to answer for to civilization.
That's just a left-wing urban legend. Wal-Mart is just like any other retailer in that regard, better than some, worse than others. And Fisher states further:
I will never understand, for example, why residents of a town like Lewiston crowd the parking lot of the Wal-Mart here. Maybe I'm presumptuous, but I would bet most of the people who do that are working stiffs themselves. Yet every dollar they hand to Wal-Mart is more than a vote for the kind of business the company runs. It is a dollar kept out of the hands of better employers, often based here in town, with more humane business practices.
Apparently Fisher is among those intellectual elitists who think people actually care about "globalization" and "humane business practices" when they shop. Those "working stiffs" he refers to shop at Wal-Mart because a Global Insight study recently showed that Wal-Mart saves working families $2,329. All they care about is that Wal-Mart lets them experience more of the American Dream.
However, I give Fisher full credit for being realistic and not drinking the same Kool-Aid the PARDners have been handing out up here on the Palouse:
Where have those residents of the Palouse who are trying to stop Wal-Mart from building new superstores in Pullman and Moscow been? The region already made its choice about whether it wanted Wal-Mart or not.

It said it did.

Consumers voted with their feet, and their pocketbooks. The Wal-Mart near the state line on the Moscow-Pullman highway has been there for years. If people had chosen not to shop there, can anyone believe the company would want to replace that store with two bigger ones?
Fisher elobarates further:
But the fact remains that if most people in Pullman, Moscow or any other city really did not want Wal-Mart in their town, it wouldn't be there, or at least remain there. Trying to accomplish by city ordinance what could be, and should be, done by consumer choice strikes me as un-American.

At least we Americans say we want to be able to make our own decisions. We don't want government telling us we can't own guns, drink whiskey, smoke cheroots in the great outdoors, speak in tongues on Sunday morning, watch dirty movies, order fries with that, crawl in bed when and with whom we choose, write blogs, pierce our navels, tell the editor or even the president off (I hope that last one is still legal).

Asking government to legislate Wal-Mart out of town is the equivalent of pleading, "Stop me before I shop again."
Amen Jim. PARD, are you listening?

1 comment:

April E. Coggins said...

We all know that newspaper carriers and other personel in circulation are so much better compensated than Wal-Mart employees. NOT!!! Mr. Fisher should look at his own house before he starts judging others.