Sunday, March 18, 2007

Western Shawnee Wal-Mart

It's about 9:45PM on Sunday 3/18/07 and I just composed a lettr to the editor of the Shawnee Dispatch. Not sure if it will get published there, so I am going to publish it here:

As a Shawnee resident that lives in a different part of the city I'm not sure, at this point, whether this is a good project or not.

What I am intrigued by though was the video on various metro TV stations last week. The video of the protesters. The video that showed them using preschoolers to protest. Preschoolers with memorized chants.
Yes, little Buffy, Muffy and Barbie were chanting protests that their parents had taught them. And they were smiling and their eyes were wide with glee. See, like all good little puppies they felt good that they were pleasing their masters, and they knew they'd be rewarded. Even if the rewards were only verbal, as in "good girl, good girl". Personally, I feel this is exploitation of the children.

Now, let's look at another aspect of this situation. Wal-Mart does quite a bit of demographic research before opening a new store. They want to know that the odds are on their side for profits before they make the commitment to build. They research the neighborhood, incomes, buying habits, competition etc etc etc.

A previous letter writer (Martin Gilmore on 3/13/07) said in part".......not just another suburban strip mall that drives in transient shoppers, and drives out families" I wonder about that. Would Wal-Mart be looking for transient shoppers? Or are they confident that the neighborhood and housing within close proximity can support their store? How far away does Mr Martin expect these transient shoppers to travel to come to his neighborhood? Isn't it possible that the areas he feels the "transients" will come from already have their own Wal-Marts? Maybe it's just a case of the folks in western Shawnee not wanting others to know that they too shop at Wal-Mart. It is so déclassé you know. It won't be so obvious if they travel to the one on Shawnee Mission Parkway