The 800-lb Retail Gorilla’s Comin’ to Town (But Not If I Can Help It!)



Ugh, the sequel.

Did I say “Ugh!” already?

So, why the long face, Dan?

Well, I got home—all bright smiles and chipper—from a wonderful church party only to see the local newspaper trumpeting that Wal-Mart’s coming to town. Wal-Mart? Not in my hometown!Three stinkin’ miles straight down from us on our back country road.

Ugh. I could not be more depressed! 🙁

We moved out where we did to get away from all that consumer-driven sprawl and now it’s coming right down the road from us. Goodbye night sky. Sad to see ya go!

Honestly, how far do you have to run to get away from it all? I’m not kidding, this has got me seriously upset.

We already have a big Kroger in a town of 2,800 people. Why do we need a freakin’ Wal-Mart Superstore?

This has got me so mentally fried already that I forgot what I was going to blog about before I heard the news. Argh!

Hey, if anyone out there has successfully fought against Wal-Mart and kept them out, I want to talk with you! I’ve already watched them destroy one rural town I lived in. I won’t let it happen here in this peaceful, laid-back town. E-mail me at the address at top right.

I’ve already got enough things I’m fighting against. Now this. There’s no way I’m going to be able to sleep tonight.

🙁 🙁 🙁 🙁 🙁 🙁 🙁 🙁 🙁 🙁 🙁

Update: The Cincinnati Enquirer ran an article this morning saying that efforts are underway to put a $600 million casino complex just to the north of us.

Wonderful. Simply wonderful. 🙁

Ohio voters have consistently voted against casinos in the state, but the pro-casino crowd keeps chipping away at the opposition. The last vote barely kept them out. Another one won’t.

So let’s give everyone underpaying Wal-mart jobs, ship other local jobs to China, then take away what little the Wal-Mart workers make through casinos!

Lovely. Isn’t greed amazing?


Update! Please see (and link to this site): No Mount Orab Wal-Mart!

28 thoughts on “The 800-lb Retail Gorilla’s Comin’ to Town (But Not If I Can Help It!)

  1. Dave Block

    I’m no expert on fighting Wal-Mart, but I’m fully with you on this one. My family does not buy things at Wal-Mart, even if it means paying more. There are several in my area and I find the company to be a blight on our society — predatory pricing, brutal (and illegal) anti-union tactics, intentional slowness in alerting consumers about defective products, discrimination against women, failure to offer decent health plans for employees, driving down wages, relentless pressure on suppliers to lower prices regardless of the consequences (e.g. moving operations from the U.S. to China), threatening communities that don’t bow down to its zoning demands, disregard for international workers’ rights, etc. Of yeah, and killing the mom-and-pop stores that serve as the backbone of communities.
    We lost in my area. I really, really hope you win.

    • Dave,

      I’m pulling in experts. I’m not going down without a fight, but I have so many fights right now I don’t know what to do. 🙁

      We’ll see. Just this morning my neighbor and I were talking about kissing our night sky goodbye. I’m not going to let that happen. I hate sprawl and what it does to the land, water, and sky.

      This, of course, will mean that someone in town will take umbrage at my stand. It may make me the town pariah. But I’ve lived in a town elsewhere that was only a little bit larger than mine and Wal-Mart utterly destroyed it. Crushed all the mom & pop businesses and paid people worse. Caved the entire economy of that town. Turned the town into a blighted hole. I’m not going to let shortsighted town council members sell our town to the highest bidder.

      I’m no fan of Wal-Mart, but I don’t hate them. I can’t say I’ve never shopped at a Wal-Mart before. All I know is that they’re bad for small towns like mine, universally so. Heck, we’ve got two Wal-Marts twenty minutes from here! Why do we need one here in our little bit of heaven? There’s another one half an hour away in a town that saw much of their development dry up after the Super Wal-Mart went in! I can’t believe our town council can’t see how that other town dried up and turned into blight.

      • May be you can get some people from those other towns to help you document the problems that Walmart called in those areas. You’ve got to raise the awareness of the community and confront those who make the decisions with facts. Sorry I can’t be of more help. I live in the city where there is no night sky :-(.

  2. Renaissance Guy

    But people keep working there and shopping there. Imagine that!

    When you think about what class of people most of them are, it seems awfully elitist to oppose Wal-Mart.

    • Renaissance Guy,

      If you knew all the dirty tactics today’s Wal-Mart uses to oppress American companies and deplete local economies in small towns, you would understand.

      As far as being elitist, what would the banner of your blog look like if you plunked a Wal-Mart SuperCenter right into the middle of it? Not so idyllic anymore, huh? Just as you wouldn’t want your banner despoiled, I don’t want my nice rural town despoiled. I’ve already lived outside a town that got blighted by Wal-Mart. I don’t want to see that happen here. If that makes me elitist, then I guess I’m elitist. Considering there’s three Wal-Marts within a decent driving distance (half hour or less) of my town, why ruin another small town and contribute to ugly, consumeristic sprawl?

      No sir, I don’t like it!

  3. “We already have a big Kroger in a town of 2,800 people. Why do we need a freakin’ Wal-Mart Superstore?”

    Because the ever-declining value of the U.S. Dollar means China’s gotta get their money back from us somehow. Making us reliant on their economy while sustaining us with substandard goods… sounds like slavery to me. Wal-Mart’s just the pawn. (Quite an effective pawn, mind you, but still a pawn.)

    • Travis,

      I met Sam Walton in 1988. I was working just west of Kenosha, WI, when a new Wal-Mart went in. I’d never heard of Wal-Mart before, and a visit to the store showed it to be little more than a K-Mart that trumpeted the jobs it brought to American companies.

      A few weeks after it opened, I visited. Within minutes of me coming in, all hell broke loose and employees started running all over the store. When I stopped one to ask if there was a bomb threat or something, the guy said, “Worse, Sam Walton was spotted at the local airport and he’s on his way!” (Walton used to fly his little Cessna from store to store for drop-in visits.)

      I had no idea who Walton was, until the guy said that he was one of the richest men in America. A few minutes later, Walton walked in. He was short, wore khaki pants, a light blue sweater, topsiders, and a floppy fishing hat. The store employees practically got down on hands and knees before the guy. I couldn’t believe this was one of the richest men in America, but there he was. Not a thrilling sight.

      I say all that to remind folks that Sam Walton, as shrewd a businessman as he was, still kept jobs in the US. And his stores were once filled with banners telling what companies they purchased from in the US and how many employees had jobs because Wal-Mart gave them the business.

      Sam Walton wasn’t dead a year before all the “Made in the USA” banner dropped like flies. Soon, everything was made in China at the expense of American companies. That makes me mad. At that point, Wal-Mart became an economy destroyer rather than supporter. I’ll pay more if I can keep a job in the US.

      Kroger, once the largest grocer in the country until Wal-Mart SuperCenters started going in, is headquartered in Cincinnati 40 miles away. I know quite a few people who work at the tops of Kroger operations. I’ll support Kroger because they are a regional company who puts money back into the local economy.

      But Wal-Mart doesn’t do that. It just sucks money out. Having Wal-Mart in our town will only hurt our Kroger. I don’t want to see that happening, either. Local economies, rather than global (as epitomized by Wal-Mart), are the only hope for our country.

      Man, I am so not ready for this fight! 🙁

      • “Sam Walton wasn’t dead a year before all the “Made in the USA banner dropped like flies. Soon, everything was made in China at the expense of American companies.”

        I remember that. When Mr. Walton was running the show, it really was a “Proud to be an American” place to shop. Now it’s cheap and hurting everyone it touches.

        And I really meant what I said up there. I’ve seen signs in the rural communities near my own home–signs that Wal-Mart is working hard to be the only source for affordable goods. And then the famine comes, and like Joshua & the Pharaoh…

        • I do not remember ever hearing this about Wal-Mart. But it is the pattern followed by mom-and-pop operations that do expand after mom and pop die (to augment my comment below). Mom and pop die. Little Johnny and Susie or their corporate minions have different ideas once the bodies have reached room temperature. This happened, I heard, with Ukrop’s. The original family members who ran the corporation did not want to expand outside of Richmond. But once they were dead, branches were opened in burgs an hour’s drive away or more.

  4. In my observation, mom-and-pop stores die mostly because they refuse to expand. Wal-Mart was once a mom-and-pop operation. So was Kroger. We have a mom-and-pop corporation in Richmond, Virginia: Ukrop’s. If the Ukrop family had not branched out in our city (and now in three locations outside the Greater Richmond area), then yes, Wal-Mart and other chain grocers would have crushed Ukrop’s.

    Your town probably would be blighted in the future, anyway, as mom and pop die; as little Johnny and Susie refuse to take over the family business, move away to the Big City, and never return except perhaps to visit a few elderly holdouts from their extended family. Want mom-and-pop operations to survive? Pass on a multibranch franchise to the children rather than the keys to the corner store with the crowded aisles and 1950’s decor. Which would you rather run if you were a young up-and-comer?

    The mom-and-pop operations in your town can open branches in the nearby towns. What? They don’t want to? Oh…well, you may fend off Wal-Mart. But what will you do when Target, Home Depot, Lowe’s, Best Buy, CompUSA, Officemax, Food Lion, and numerous other big box retailers, fast food chains, dollar stores, etc., come for a slice of the motherhood and apple pie in your town?

    • Michael,

      All those expanded stores expanded a long, long time ago. That environment no longer exists and hasn’t for the last twenty or thirty years.

      I’m not as negative as you are about this. I think I can fight this. I already have forces moving. We’ll see.

  5. There was a chap in the UK who managed to delay construction of a road by a very long time by selling his garden in square inches on E-Bay, which vastly increased the amount of legal hassle the government had to go through to do the compulsory purchasing.

    Not sure how that ended though – whether they diverted the road or what. Or how relevant it is to your situation.

  6. Alan

    Other corporations have to follow Wal-Marts requests or they will lose business. In Wooster Ohio, Rubbermaid was big, had over 1000 employees. Rubbermaid had quality products. They refused to lower their standards to what Wal-Mart demanded. Wal-Mart dropped their products and went with a cheaper competitor (that paid $8.00 per hour). The direct result? Rubbermaid lost business, was sold, moved out of Wooster and over 1000 people lost their jobs. The only sign left of Rubbermaid is the unemployment. Every company that does business with Wal-Mart must lower their standards or face the same future.

    • Alan

      We also have a Wal-Mart 3 miles from our house. But that store isn’t big enough for them. They are constructing a “new, bigger Wal-Mart” on the opposite corner of that intersection. When it opens, we will have another big empty “box” to add to the blight on that road. There are already three big box stores within a mile of the current Wal-Mart that are empty and nobody wants.

      • Alan,

        We have four Wal-Marts within 20-40 minutes of us. We don’t need another.

        Cincinnati’s northern suburbs are known for being some of the worst sprawl in the nation. I don’t want that to push east, especially as people are now finally seeing how none of that helps in the long run. With slow food, organic, intentional communities and such starting to come back into vogue (thankfully), now is the wrong time for my family to lose all that because of poorly thought-out sprawl.

    • I went in a Wal-Mart today with my sweetheart. She needed two prescriptions filled for her son, which cost just over four dollars each, compared to sixty dollars or so for one prescription of the same type a month or more ago. She also needed two nine-volt batteries: one for her smoke detector, one for her two sons’ alarm clock so, if the power goes out in the middle of the night, they will still be awakened for school after she has left for work before the crack of dawn.

      My sweetheart is lower middle class. She cannot afford sixty-dollar prescriptions. We used to comparison shop for most of the things she needs. Eventually, we stopped bothering, because almost everything she needs can be found cheaper at Wal-Mart. It is not so much: “Give me what I want when I want it, and damn the consequences.” She needs what she needs as cheap as she can get it.

      I spied a Rubbermaid display in the kitchen section. The label read “Made in U.S.A.” (in English and Spanish), and its location was Huntersville, North Carolina.

  7. David Riggins

    This whole concept of “expand or die” is the basis for the failure of churches in the US. Bigger is not always better.

    Mom and Pop stores fail because consumers don’t care for anyone beyond themselves. The primary reason that Wal-Mart exists is that consumers want their desires met, regardless of the cost to others. Consumers in the US would rather pay less knowing their cheap product was made by slave labor in China, or by underpaid sweatshop workers in Pakistan, than pay more for goods made in a US factory.

    At issue is the wholly self-centered nature of the US consumer. That selfish attitude is reflected in greedy corporate cultures that are, in turn, made up of a higher tier of selfish consumers. Whether they are buying a shirt for 12.95 or spending millions on a birthday party in Greece, the issue is the same: I want what I want, and damn the consequences of my desire.

    If we want to stop Wal-Mart and places like it in their tracks, we only have to convince the American consumer to seek excellence, and to reject materialism. Life has to be redefined by the pleasure our life gives others, not by the pleasure we can give ourselves.

    • “Mom and Pop stores fail because consumers don’t care for anyone beyond themselves.”

      Or, to put it a slightly different way, Mom-and-Pop stores fail because the mom and pop don’t have a bond with their neighbor/customers sufficiently strong enough to overrule the savings offered by the box stores.

      In other words, the prostitute standing on the corner doesn’t kill marriages so much as she takes advantage of those that are already dying.

      The answer isn’t (solely) to fight Wal-Mart when they encroach on your turf; you need to develop a strong community that values neighbors above money.

      And that’s where the Church comes in. 🙂

  8. Hi Dan,

    I’m in complete sympathy with you on this one. I detest Walmart and refuse to shop there. WIth no less than 20% of China’s total exports landing on Walmart’s shelves, I can only hope all the toy, pet food, and product recalls hit them hard.

    While I do not have many fond memories of the town where my family did most of its business (We were farm folk.) and I went to high school, I would never have wished on it what Walmart has done to the town. Another of your readers says the reason the Mom and Pops go out of business is because they don’t expand. Well, the reason they don’t expand is because most of them are specialty shops in a community of 20,000 or less. A small hardware store that serves a farming community expanding to the size of a Lowe’s or Home Depot? That’s the door to Chapter 7 bankruptsy even before the Grand Opening” ribbons are cut. And what about the fabric shop, the shoe store, the video store, and the local pharmacy? What chance do they have to compete against Walmart?

    BTW, I have friends who used to run a small video store in “Smallville”, Illinois. They were driven out by a a large video store chain that essentially what Walmart does……..undercut the competition’s price until the all the Mom and Pops are driven out of business and then raise their prices. And on a much larger scale, this is exactly what’s going to happen if the foreign car business manages to kill off Ford, GM, and Chrysler. The foreign car companies who build here do just what Walmart does, they go into a small community where unions have no footing and where they don’t have to provide the employee benefits the bigger car companies are expected to provide. Cheap labor and cheap goods will be the death of the U.S. if we don’t wise up!

    • M.E.,

      My neighbor ran a small chain of local video stores. Movie Gallery moved in and told him that he could either sell out to them or they’d put him out of business. He sold out.

      Now Movie Gallery is in trouble and may close the store in our town.

      And that’s exactly how that kind of thing happens when local economies get sold down the river to global interests.

  9. Come on, Dire Dan, look on the bright side: With Wally Mart around you’ll have some nice place to work when you turn age 93; it would be great for supplementing your meagre Social Security retirement.

    So what if you can’t see the stars anymore because of all the lights in the Wal-Mart parking lot. Who cares about stars? This is America, the land of opportunity and the American Dream. Who needs the Heavens when all good Americans keep their eyes firmly glued to the Earth.

    Seriously, it makes me sad to hear this. They’re trying to do the same thing to our town, here in Land-In-Between.

  10. Laura Williams

    Oh, I sympathize, Dan. When Wal Mart arrived, it was the death knell of the small mall in our community. Now we have a ghost town of empty store fronts down our two main streets. And while I find individual employees who do care in that Wal Mart, the “vibe” of the store is cold and impersonal. My husband calls it the “evil place” and refuses to shop there.

  11. Yes! People HAVE successfully defeated WalMart for opening in their area, and I salute them! What Walmart is doing to our social landscape is deplorable.

    You can watch a documentary on Google Video called “WalMart: The High Cost of Low Prices” which documents the implications of WalMart expansion and also tells the stories of towns who successfully kept them out.

    The movie has an official website that has an “action” page to help those who find themselves in your situation and desire resources to help them fight the good fight. The URL is:


  12. Oops, I meant to say “successfully defeated Walmart and kept it from opening”

    Anyway, I really respect your active citizenship and godly stewardship of your area. God Bless!

  13. Wolfgang Amadeus

    Sounds to me, Dan, like not only will you have a Wal-wart store, a Casino- but all the qualifications for an Al-Qaida cell.

    Its my understanding that they thing those above things are evil…ah sigh.

    Silliness aside, I know what you are saying- I moved to get away from too much city and corruption too- and it just seemed to follow us out here..

    Johannes Wolfgang

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