Politics from the Palouse to Puget Sound

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

My Own Private Idaho

Camera shy "WSU Student" states on the Daily News website:
Can I add something to what you wrote? I emailed in about a week ago or so about this second Walmart in the area. It makes no sense. I live in the NE WSU apartments area. It's about 6 miles from there to the Moscow Walmart. A straight shot. It's about 2 miles from my apartment to where the new Walmart is supposed to be. Right through Pullman and all its traffic. That's a difference of only 4 miles. Plus, the thing this Forbes doesn't admit is that sales tax is lower in Idaho. I'm a student. I'm on a budget, as most of us are. There is no way a student like me living up here is going to drive across Pullman to pay more, with taxes, than driving from here to Moscow and not fighting traffic and stop lights. It just doesn't make sense.
The biggest allure of a Supercenter to students is discount GROCERIES. And the thing this Forbes DOES admit is that there is NO SALES TAX ON FOOD in Washington as opposed to Idaho. I think "students on a budget" will appreciate that fact, don't you? I think that is worth driving across Pullman "fighting traffic and stop lights" for. As far as sales tax on retail items go, there is a whopping 1.7% difference between Washington and Idaho. On a $100 purchase, you would save $1.70 at the Moscow Wal-Mart and spend $2.48 in gas to make the 15 mile round trip to Moscow with a vehicle getting the average of 20 MPG. Do the math.

Plus, a Supercenter is not merely "another Wal-Mart" It is a beast of a different color. Clearly these snobs have never been in one. Outside of food, a Supercenter has on average twice as many SKUs as the Wal-Mart in Moscow has. For exampe, the Pullman Supercenter will have an electronics section three times the size of the Moscow store. These offerings will bring in shoppers from a wide radius, much more than the "2 miles to my apartment."

But what would that matter to "WSU Student" anyway? He posted on an older thread:
And I like going to downtown Moscow because it is so much better than the sorry excuse for a downtown that Pullman claims to be.
Nothing like that "Cougar Pride," eh?

Then "WSU Student" writes:
It would be good to TRY to get a Target here. I mean REALLY try, not these mythical references from some time back when Reagan was alive or something that a few pot bellies wrote a letter to Target. I mean really put it together as a community to try to get a Target.
Here's a mindblower to "WSU Student" and all the other left-wing false dilemma crowd who say it's either Wal-Mart or Target. If you really, really want a Target so bad, what if you found out that efforts are underway to get Target in Pullman but that Target will come only AFTER Wal-Mart has been opened? What if your efforts to delay/stop Wal-mart are also delaying/stopping Target as well?

Then Chuck "Mr. Civil Discourse" Pezeshki chimes in:
I still don't get it. We have a Walmart 6 miles away. For some of us in Pullman, it's shorter and easier to get there than across to Safeway.

Why are you being deprived? How is not having a Walmart across from Safeway depriving you of Walmart goods?
Hmmmm. Let's see. What are we being deprived of? I'll let the No SuperWalMart-funded retail study from the CLUE Group answer that:
Pullman is experiencing sales leakages in almost all major retail categories, including a leakage of $4.0 million in groceries, $7.6 million in furniture/home furnishings, $9.6 million in apparel, and $1.3 million in pharmaceuticals/medical supplies (the only major retail category in which Pullman is experiencing a sales surplus is dining out).

While it is impossible to state with certainty without conducting consumer surveys where Pullman's residents currently shop for various things, it is highly likely, given Moscow's high per capita sales performance relative to Pullman's and the region's relatively isolated location, that Pullman residents often shop in Moscow for groceries and other consumer staples.

The 223,000 square foot Wal-Mart Supercenter that has been proposed to be built in Pullman will attract approximately $100 million in sales - roughly the equivalent of all current sales in major retail categories in Pullman - according to Wal-Mart's current national sales averages. This will have an enormous impact on retail activity in the region - in Pullman, in particular, but also in Moscow, as some sales currently being captured by Moscow businesses will almost certainly gravitate to the new Wal-Mart Supercenter. Grocery sales are particularly vulnerable, as the proposed Supercenter will likely capture approximately $35 million in area grocery sales.
Do you get it now? Does that "stir" you? It certainly "stirs" our local merchants. Do you "feel sorry" for them? It's a hell of a lot more than "cheap toothpaste" at stake. And yes, people will not only come from Pullman to shop at Wal-Mart, they will come from Moscow and all over the surrounding area.

Remember, Chuck, how you PhDs butter our bread? How do you expect Pullman to get a slice if you all go over to Moscow to shop? Don't you love the Wal-Mart haters "Buy Local" program? "Buy Moscow" is more like it. And didn't you serve on the Jefferson Elementary PTA? Just having the Wal-Mart building in Pullman means an extra $112,784 a year to the Pullman School District from property taxes. Lastly, Chuck, aren't you an environmentalist? Does your disdain for Wal-Mart extend so far that you recommend more car trips to Moscow versus a Pullman Wal-Mart that would be accessible to shoppers via walking, bike paths and public transportation? By my simple estimate, every less trip to Moscow to shop is 20.9 pounds less carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. We could conceivably save millions of pounds of carbon emissions a year by having a Wal-Mart in Pullman!

Here's another mindblower that "shifts the paradigm." What if Wal-Mart doesn't keep the store in Moscow open after the Pullman Supercenter opens? That is an extremely likely possibility, as Wal-Mart is attempting to convert all their discount stores to Supercenters. That pretty much blows all the "One Wal-Mart is Enough" arguments right out of the water. And please don't cry for Moscow, They had their fair shot to get a Supercenter and Queen Nancy and her moonbats ran it out of town, with PARD's assistance. By the way, thanks for that PARDners! If you had not helped create the No SuperWalMart group, Moscow may have gotten a Supercenter and Wal-Mart would be less interested in Pullman.

Chuck follows that with:
Pursuing things in the courts is also part of the checks and balances set up by our Founding Fathers. It is legal, and it is part of the process. The courts are a resort that I've used very successfully many times to change public policy, and there have been a few of my efforts that have resulted in change of national policy (don't you love how these guys love to toot their own horns in these comments? Pezeshki is "changing national policy" and Lupke is a "national expert on China and Chinese culture." *LOL* - tf)
That's right, Chuck, there is no such thing as frivilous lawsuit designed to delay and manipulate the legitimate process. That never happens in the land of the free and the home of the brave. A group like Wal-Mart Watch, for example, would never advocate something like this:
Appealing a Pro-Wal-Mart Rezoning

If you can appeal a rezoning, or a special permit decision in your state—do it. It will allow you to gain half a year to a year’s worth of delayduring which time, land deal can fall apart of expire, Wal-Mart can move on, etc. Delay always works to your benefit as a citizen’s group.
Chuck concludes:
My concerns have always been local-- how any community could build a huge, high-traffic retail facility next to their new hospital, to provide essentially replacement services, is beyond me. And so it remains.
Boy, it's a really good thing they didn't decide to put the hospital right by the main entrance to campus where 18,000 students and 6,000 faculty and staff go to school and work each day. Oh, wait a minute......

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