Wal-Mart Opponents in New York Include Its Shoppers – NYTimes.com

Wal-Mart Opponents in New York Include Its Shoppers – NYTimes.com.

I wonder how many of those Wal-Mart shoppers opposed to the possibility of the company’s expansion into the city itself because of the effect on the mom-and-pop stores ever shop at those mom-and-pop stores. Or, do the stores merely have an “existence value” for those people, the way we like the idea of national parks but never visit them?

I wonder too-and this would take some research-how many of the potential WM locations are otherwise “food deserts”? What about the city dwellers who can’t drive out to the suburbs?

Tricky, isn’t it?


About poorlocavore

Welcome to one family's journey towards a smaller food-mile footprint on a small food budget. How do our choices affect the environment, and what influences our choices? Read on and find out what I'm learning.
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4 Responses to Wal-Mart Opponents in New York Include Its Shoppers – NYTimes.com

  1. I do not live in Manhattan, but my impression from people I have talked to is that they like the small groceries and specialty shops. They can often obtain specialty items they cannot find in a place like WM. In many cases, they know the owners and want to support them. There will be many, though, who will shop in a smaller-sized WM store in the city. I think it is worth an experimental small WM store to see how it fares.

    • poorlocavore says:

      I hope that’s the case, and there’s a large enough baseline of support from the everyday traffic. I suspect that the large urban grocery store is anomalous these days; my impression is that the trend has been the reverse for some time. I’ll have to look into that.

  2. Momof5 says:

    Your question about food deserts made me suddenly wonder about whether people who live in them know they do. I lived in Brooklyn for a year right after college, so most of my cluelessness can likely be attributed to youth, but at the time it didn’t occur to me that there was anything strange about scrounging around in bodegas for something for dinner. The vaunted food coop was in my neighborhood, and though I joined and put in my volunteer time, the food never seemed particularly fresh or interesting to me.

    When I married and moved to California at the end of that year – coincidentally into the same neighborhood where I’d been born, though my family had moved away before I was four – my first trip to the grocery story felt like coming home. On the one hand I was so overwhelmed by the choices that I thought I might stand there in the dairy aisle and cry, but on the other, a huge produce section full of astonishingly fresh items (it was June in the Bay Area; most of the stuff was probably just picked that morning!), gave me a sense of security that I hadn’t realized I had been without. Is that because massive suburban supermarkets are in fact fact comforting, or just because that’s what I’d always known?

    No doubt: it’s much trickier than it seems.

    • poorlocavore says:

      You make an interesting point. Often, “normal” is defined by what we experience day-to-day, rather than what is statistically typical. My impression, though, is that many do-if not by name, then by their own experience. I recall an NPR story about food deserts that mentioned a Walgreen’s in Chicago that was carrying groceries and fresh produce due to lack of other neighborhood options. I’ve also heard accounts of people needing to take hour-long bus rides to get to a proper grocery store.

      As for the homecoming, I suspect it was both. The supermarket provides a sense of convenient abundance, which one internalizes and considers normal. I”m sure you appreciated it more than most that day, having been away so long.

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