Erickson's Thriftway Market is closing after 50 years of operation in downtown Redmond, and management is blaming it on the new Wal-Mart "Superstore" that opened on the edge of town in September. The news prompted some musings from Duncan McGeary, Pegasus Books proprietor, blogger and philosopher.
"There is a kind of feeling floating around that those of us who are anti-Wal-Mart, anti-big-corporate store come to town and crush the competition, have a do-gooder political agenda that defies the facts.
"I submit to you that it is the opposite. The Wal-Mart defenders are denying the facts. The facts are, mega-stores crush the competition.
"There are hard-working locals losing their jobs, why do you deny it? Sure Wal-Mart may have created 30 jobs to take the place of the 30 lost jobs at Erickson's. But the money at the top is going to Arkansas, folks. And the two owners of the Gibbs Bakery are also self-employed. So the grandfather and grandmother Gibbs lose their bakery - so what, I can get my cottage cheese .50 cheaper at Wal-Mart?"
And The EYE is left wondering whether even that 50-cent saving might not be an illusion. With the price of gas creeping toward $4 a gallon, how much does it cost to drive across town and back to pick up cottage cheese at Wal-Mart instead of at a neighborhood store? Likewise for having to drive out to Home Depot to get a pound of nails because all the local hardware stores have been driven out of business.
And that's not even taking into account the value of the time wasted in traffic.
McGeary goes on to say the dominance of the mega-box stores is here to stay and there's nothing we can do about it. Maybe so -- but we don't have to be happy about it.