Economist Steven Peterson’s recent report about Wal-Mart, commissioned by the Moscow Chamber of Commerce, includes these significant findings: wages paid by Wal-Mart in Latah County exceed the average wages paid in both Latah and Whitman counties in general merchandise stores, supermarkets and those stores in overall retail trade. The Peterson report is available at the Moscow chamber cffice..
Thus, the charge by Pullman Alliance for Responsible Development that Wal-Mart drags down local wages is wrong. Generally, Wal-Mart’s wages exceed by at least 10 percent wages paid by other retail employers in our area. Yet, PARD has not lifted a finger to help those other employees.
The apparent sole goal of PARD is to prevent Wal-Mart, which will probably bring more than $50 million annual retail sales to Pullman, from entering our city
The Peterson report also informs us that 46 percent of Americans shop at Wal-Mart on a weekly basis.
Another report (prepared by Wal-Mart itself) found that 85 percent of Americans shop at least once a year at Wal-Mart. Of the remaining folks, we know that more than 2 million sit in prison cells; millions are small children; more millions are lucky enough to have a spouse do the shopping; and yes, some people just prefer to shop elsewhere.
The remaining nonshoppers include the local folks who formed PARD. Long ago, this newspaper reported “about 51 people” met to form an anti-Wal-Mart organization. During my survey that many shoppers entered the Moscow Wal-Mart every 10 minutes.
Some PARD supporters have even compared Wal-Mart and its customers to slumming. In reality, Wal-Mart is as American as apple pie. Ah, yes, that "overwhelming majority" of 51 we keep hearing so much about. And I wonder how many of that number are left. The transient lifestyle of a junior professor has taken it's toll: Leland Glenna, Tina Vona-Pergola, Jose Almillo, et. al. I even understand that Lu Laoshi himself is on a world tour now. Perhaps he's out looking for more people to call him a "hero."
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