There is a Proposed Super Walmart Project Nearby. Should I Worry?


#1

Actually, this 24 hour Super Walmart would be built a couple of miles away, near the freeway exit that eventually takes you to my subdivision. Our city councilman has been aware of this proposal for a couple of years, but the residents of this area only recently learned of this plan.

And the plan is this; to tear down two or three shoddy apartment buildings that are hotbeds of criminal activity, also tear down an empty office building, a tacky motel, and possibly another retail establishment or two. The entire project requires 17 acres and will strain the intersection that feeds into the proposed Super Walmart.

Now, I live far away enough that I will probably not notice the effect of increased traffic. And I’m all for tearing down badly managed/maintained apartment complexes that have fallen into the habit of renting to criminals. The same with tacky motels and empty office buildings. Moreover, this would help residents in the rest of the apartments nearby, because they would have easy access to relatively cheap goods. In fact, I shop at the Super Walmart in Garland, so I wouldn’t have to drive as far if there was a Super Walmart only a couple of minutes away.

But… There are some significant downsides to this plan. First, there is a new CVS across the street from the proposed site, that would probably close. Likewise, from what I’ve seen, when a Walmart opens a new store, most of the other retail in the surrounding area withers away. I often see sort of unsightly businesses around Walmart, which is not a good thing. So I just don’t know if I should be thrilled that a Super Walmart is coming to my area (after all, look at the huge van I drive and look at the price of gas) or if I should stick a “For Sale” sign in my front yard.

Next, I wonder what this will ultimately do to the value of the homes in my subdivision and the neighborhoods even closer to the proposed Super Walmart. My neighborhood in Dallas, Lake Highlands, has a huge swath of apartment complexes that were once zoned for singles only or couples w/ no kids until a court decision made that illegal. So that has shifted demographics dramatically in the last 10 years. Now we even have section eight housing. In addition, Dallas has so many dead strip malls, so much underutilized retail space that was built in the 1980s in response to the perception that all people want to do in their free time is shop. We move here in 1989, after the real estate bubble popped.

Anyway, I guess I’m frustrated that this area which used to be a wonderful place for families, has changed so dramatically for the worse. Until ten or fifteen years ago, Lake Highlands was like its own town within a city. Now, its got all of the urban issues (not in huge doses, but just in higher numbers than we’re used to) that you find anywhere… meth labs in apartments, shootings at passing cars, and scary parking lots around stores that I felt comfortable shopping at day or night. This is solely due to the apartment population. In fact, my first thought about the Super Walmart was that since it will probably be viewed as a good thing by apartment residents, which would increase the demand for apartments in this area, it was bad for homeowners.

The subdivision that I live in hires off-duty police officers to patrol our neighborhood. I live in a beautiful neighborhood, and one of my dearest friends lives down the street! Most of the houses in my neighborhood are around the $300,000 level. There are a few half million to million dollar homes too, especially along the long two-forked creek that makes our subdivision so special.

Deep down, I wish we could move, or at least look into moving. My son’s boys high school and my daughter’s girls high school are in a different part of the city (about six miles away), which is a more expensive area in Dallas, but in an area where the real estate values are more stable. But of course, this is a terrible time to move, not only because I love my house, but because of mortgage rates and overall economic issues that might affect DH’s job security. Plus, we love our Parish/Catholic school our elementary aged children attend.

Just so you know, I’m no stranger to big cities and urban issues. I’ve lived in San Francisco and New York, where I did social work in the South Bronx. What do y’all think? And thank you for reading this lengthy post.


#2

This is a big issue in the Central Valley also, and I am as confused by it as you are…on the one hand, Walmart provides jobs. But what kind of jobs, at what level and at what price? The amount of income that the owners of Walmart reap from their endeavors is astronomical and I often think, would it be a horrific thing for you if your employees made a higher wage, received better health and retirement benefits and your profits were less?

Now, I believe very strongly in free enterprise but like JPII wrote so eloquently I believe people can profit while still being responsible citizens of the community. What I do not claim to be is such an expert on economics or urban planning that I can give complete input into the situation. My opinions are based more on a few facts and on ‘feelings’ and, I am intelligent enough to know that ‘feelings’ are useful but hardly a sturdy enough foundation upon which to base a firm opinion.

I think you would do yourself a lot of good to really study the situation from as detached a position as you could…what does the traffic study show? How many jobs would be brought in? What would be the prevailing wage? Does Walmart offer benefits to fulltime employees, and then only employ parttime workers in order to keep their costs down? Would other vendors and local businesses be adversely affected? What would the tax benefit be to your community? These are just some of the questions I can think of to ask, from a concerned citizen, Catholic business woman’s persective.

Does this help?


#3

EVERYONE should watch this PBS Frontline special online series.

Is Walmart Good for America?
This documentary gives excellent insight. Take the time and watch it.


#4

Thank you, Contemplative! You may have just given me some means to have some of my questions answered!


#5

[quote=LSK]Thank you, Contemplative! You may have just given me some means to have some of my questions answered!
[/quote]

Plus more…come back and share your thoughts.


#6

They built a WALLY WORLD (Wal-Mart) about 3/4 of a mile from where I work. The stores in our shipping center are slowly going out of business. The center across the street is mostly closed and a NEW Sam’s Club is being built.

Our employees are now being scheduled for 10 to 32 hours per week. We are loosing our full time status and thus our benefits (medical etc) and many of us are being forced to look some place else for work. I liked my job and this will be the fourth time another company or foreign competition has forced me to change jobs. No retirement (jobs not lasting long enough or with temp agencies) and I am now 58 years old. Just tooooo old to want to start again. I have two BAs and a Masters and still can’t find something that lasts in the area we live in.

But on the bright side I feel it must be GODs will for this to have happened and God will open something up. Just not sure what.


#7

I never shop at Wal-Mart. As KathleenElsie says in the below post, they destroy local businesses and the jobs the provide are of the lowest type. There are currently several class action law suits by employees/former employees against WM and I’ve heard all kinds of stories. But they are definitely anti-labor and the stuff they sell is all from China (I know, it’s hard to find something that isn’t from China). I’m willing to pay the extra to shop at local stores. Recently we needed a new fan and similiar items. We went to a family owned hardware store and the fan I bought was made in the USA. We’ve gotta help each other out. :thumbsup:


#8

Well I’ll go ahead and be the lone voice of dissent here (I guess…lol) – We have a super walmart less than a mile from my home – the roads don’t permit walking to it – I use it regularly and here is why – I can save money there, and that’s one of my priorities at this point in our lives; someday when I can afford to spend a little more, I will shop “mom and pop” – the second reason I shop there is b/c I always have kids with me, and I can get the air filter AND the milk in the same store, without having to drive half way across town to the hardware store, unload everyone and then stop at the store on the way home and unload/load everyone up again for milk…it’s incredibly convenient for this stage of my life with the little ones in tow; I can even get my son a haircut while we’re there…

As for home values (forgot this part before; tg for editing!) – mine has gone up almost $100K in the little over a year since we moved here…and in the past 5yrs, over 150K…so I don’t see it as detrimental to the neighborhood values – our development hasn’t seen any “less than desireable” type folks, and the area has thrived if anything.

I like the fact that for a long time, Walmart was the only place you could find VeggieTales videos…no one else wanted to carry such “wholesome” viewing – figuring it was a “non seller” compared to the more violent and obnoxious videos…and didn’t walmart refuse to stock the morning after pill? I watched the PBS special (or dateline, or whatever it was) and just wasn’t as fired up as others – to my mind, you could say the same about Target, or BabiesRUS or ToysRus or CompUSA, Best Buy…any of the big fat stores; They’re corporations, and they’re out to make money, period. I have to choose my battles and this one is not at the top of my list at this point in my life – maybe someday, but just not today

Flame away… ducking


#9

No flame. Just a fact of life any longer. Just sad that they are building them every 5 to 7 miles apart in our area and that the “powers that be” allow it.


#10

I detest Walmart and have refused to shop there for anything after having tried one out a couple times in AZ.
Their merchandise is cheaply made, their employees are (mostly) rude and the neighborhoods they are built in become “less than”. Also, the stores are messy, you can’t find an employee who knows anything about the products they sell, and their track record on employee treatment is abysmal.
I shop small local businesses whenever I can.
If a Walmart is being planned for your neighborhood, sell the house.


#11

I just finished watching the special that Contemplative suggested. You can watch it online. It was very, very informative. Basically, Walmart has changed the entire face of retail, as well as the relationship between manufacturing and retailing to such an extent that the entire economy of a region changes when a superWalmart comes to town.

There is also the question of supporting slave labor in China. Add that to the fact that China does not allow freedom of religion and persectutes the Holy Mother Church, imprisons our priests and other religious and you have a very pretty kettle of fish when it comes to supporting Walmart.

Contemplative, thank you…you have opened my eyes and given me an entirely new way to practive the teachings of my religion.


#12

I’ll join in as the second voice of dissent.

First, don’t sell your house. That’s just silly. In my area of the country at least, a Wal-Mart isn’t going to drive down property values. The most recent one was built about 6 years ago in one of the more affluent areas of the county.

As for local business, yes, they are going to be affected to an extent. But really, we already have Target, K-Mart, Lowes, Home Depot, and the like. Why aren’t we jumping on Home Depot for putting the small hardware stores out of business? Most small businesses have a nitch - something they do or sell that these larger retailers are not going to sell. I’ve always found this an odd argument, anyway. This is what business is about, providing better products, cheaper products, or both. Wal-mart may not provide better products (although the quality argument can only be made in relation to some things. a lot of what they carry are national brands, things like crayons, cookware, and makeup) but they provide cheaper products. Business are always looking at ways to do this. Would it be better to force americans to pay higher prices in the name of fairness? Fairness to whom?

So Wal-Mart employs unskilled workers at low wages. They apparently provide enough money and benefits to compete with the local businesses to get employees. They can’t provide wages significantly less than the local average or people wouldn’t work there. Unless, of course, those people couldn’t get jobs ANYWHERE. :hmmm: A job is better than no job. Wal-mart provides a lot of jobs.

Wal-mart sells products at reduced prices. Sometimes people need their goods at reduced prices. It enables them to save their money for other things. This is a good thing. You are directing your anger at Wal-mart, but if people didn’t shop there they would go out of business. Maybe you should direct your anger al wal-mart shoppers.


#13

[quote=koda] But they are definitely anti-labor and the stuff they sell is all from China (I know, it’s hard to find something that isn’t from China).
[/quote]

And thats the saddest part of the whole Walmart story, because originally when they first opened (at least in our neck of the woods) they always advertised so much about their stuff being made in the USA…


#14

It’s funny. Wal-Mart does sell some things at “reduced prices”, but there was recently a study done for “back to school” stuff that found that while school supplies were more expensive at Target, clothes were less expensive at Walmart, and vice versa. They’re going to make their money somewhere. The only way to save money in the long run is to watch the sales, and plan your trips (to save gas). I live rurally, and have to drive 20 minutes to get anything other than groceries (although a town only 6 miles away is getting an Osco soon). I’ve found that the best place to get school supply stuff is at Walgreens, discount clothes at Target (slightly more expensive, but last much longer), and if I need to combine trips I usually get “stuff” at Walgreens. Smaller stores, more knowlegeble employees, and a nicer environment.

I refuse to shop at Wal-mart in my town mainly because of the clientele. I was there with my baby (who is now 2!) once, and I counted four people with less than desirable hygiene who had to touch my child. She had some sickness in her first year of life (ear infections and the flu), so I started really watching that.

But it really depends on the area. If what is there currently is a hotbed of crime, wouldn’t the Wal-Mart be an improvement? It’s a gamble, as the crime could just move, either closer to your or farther away, but it might lower it, because one thing Wal-Mart is all about is security for it’s profits. They will employ rent-a-cops and security staff to keep the crime down, at least around their property, which might lift some burden off of the police force and allow them to patrol other areas more frequently and effectively.

As for competition, in many towns there is enough bad publicity about Wal-Mart that it takes a long time for some to shop there, and though some local businesses might suffer, the effect might not be as dramatic as you think. Around the Wal-Marts in NW and Central Missouri, there have actually been more businesses going in, not less.

Anyway, just my $.02


#15

I’m really not trying to be funny, but where are the 34 Walmarts in New Jersey? I live in Monmouth County and there are no Walmarts here. I know of one in Ocean County, (I think its in Brick, NJ) Honestly, I paid that store no mind, because I thought they were mostly in the South. The stores we have in the area are a K-Mart, Target, Sears and the more “up-scale” Kohl’s and Macy’s. But I did hear about the low pay for most employees and hiring and taking advantage of Illegals. From what I see here, hopefully they will stay out of my area.


#16

I know the people in my area are glad that Wal-Mart came in. If not they would still have empty fields.
What surprises me most on this post is how most of you people have bought the talking points of the Unions.
If you must know the reason the products are coming from China or South America now is because our fuel prices are so high, our labor cost are so high, our benefit prices are so high and our taxes are so high. Business leave to find better prices. That is why the Germans and the Japanese are sending their jobs here because compared to their cost our are lower.


#17

It’s Walmart policy to ban explicit lyrics but they have a whole array of books that promote wicca, witches and the like. Here is a link but if this doesn’t work just type wicca in the search engine at walmart.com and you will find 100 items related to wicca, mostly with “informative” books.

Like I said, it’s Walmart’s policy to ban explicit lyrics but they have all these how-to books on what basically is satanism.

Pio Andrew


#18

Here in Juneau Alaska I can’t wait for the wal-mart to open. Walmart bought a former k-mart building that has been lying unused for about two years now. The building as it stands is a major eye sore and a target for vandalism and junked vehicles. Ever since K-mart left the other major store has had no competition in the clothing department. Making clothing a very expensive item on many of us struggling young families. I know the wal-mart will raise my property values and even better I’ll be able to walk to the store :). It will be a great first job for my kids when they are old enough as they could walk to work and back. So if you don’t want yours maybe you could talk to the walmart execs and tell them that here in juneau we can hardly wait for the 2006 opening date.


#19

Walmart, the Chiness connection; I have watched that PBS show also. Beyond that, I am a professional in land development in Virginia. Jodi’s case, where a retailer moves into a run down area and revitalizes it, is about the only case that could be good for a community, marginally. The Big Box retail model does not respect localities, the land or people at all. It exploits the poor in your community for huge profits to a far off corporate machine. But then, that could be said for most chain retail stores, restaurants, or other businesses on Main Street America. Walmart has just done it better. Stopping Walmart will not change this. It is a reflection of the choices most American’s make. Go for the best deal, and close your eyes to the consequences. Many of us don’t even have choices anymore, as these are the only game in town. Even the small business turn out to be pushing the same products, or paying franchise money somewhere.


#20

Soccerdad:

Thanks for your post. And I do agree, that most people shop at Walmart without thinking of all of the consequences. The trash that’s for sale is sometimes unbelievable, you can tell certain stuff will be in the trash in short time. But people buy it anyway!

Like the poster above, I remember the time when Walmart advertised the fact that their merchandise was made in America. Which is why I initially shopped there, as opposed to Target. For years my husband and I refused to buy goods made in China. Although we are no longer as vigilant about the country of origin, I do try to avoid buying Chinese made goods if I can.

I heard from a neighbor that there is a state that has passed a law prohibiting Walmart from locating within it’s borders. Does anyone else know of that state?


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