Who Hijacked Our Country

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Something Good About Wal-Mart

Yes, I know Wal-Mart is ruining the American landscape. They’ve sucked the life out of small-town America by gobbling up all the Mom and Pop stores and siphoning most shoppers away from the town. The town I live in now has a very vibrant and lively downtown. There’s a Wal-Mart two miles away which hasn’t impacted the downtown area, and we’re all determined to keep it that way.

But, there’s one very humane thing that most Wal-Marts do. They allow vehicles to park overnight in their parking lot.

This article tells about RV campers who utilize Wal-Mart parking lots on their motor trips. (Local RV campground owners are less than thrilled about it.)

But this policy of Wal-Mart affected my family in a more personal way. We had a close relative (now deceased) who was homeless. This was in Sonoma County, California, which is gentrifying and sterilizing as fast as it can. Ten years ago Santa Rosa Avenue was full of cheap motels with weekly and monthly rates. In the past few years they’ve all been torn down or converted to upscale inns and bed & breakfasts.

Lots of people (such as our relative) get caught in the middle when a region suddenly decides it wants to be Beverly Hills. Rents skyrocket and become unaffordable to lots of residents. These displaced residents are now labeled as “undesirables” for not being upscale enough for the area’s new image. The Powers That Be want these “undesirables” to just vanish. Disappear! Go somewhere, anywhere, just leave and quit blighting our new paradise of vineyards, starter castles and luxury hotels.

(This was true of the Santa Rosa and Russian River areas; I can’t speak first-hand for anyplace else.)

Our relative had a van that he lived in; this was his absolute last choice after being unable to afford any motel or apartment in the area. It was difficult finding places where he could park and sleep without being harassed and/or arrested. Thank you Wal-Mart.

There were some commuter park & ride lots where he could sleep, but not legally. Overnight campers wouldn’t usually get hassled if they kept a low profile at the park & ride lots, but “usually” isn’t very comforting if you just want some sleep.

The Wal-Mart in Windsor, CA is where he stayed most of the time. The other Wal-Mart in the area, in Rohnert Park, didn’t allow overnight parking (I think it was because of a city ordinance).

So, for all the bad publicity that Wal-Mart gets — and most of it is probably deserved — we will always remember and appreciate their humane policy of letting people park overnight in their lot. It made a huge difference in some people’s lives. Thank you Wal-Mart.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's very nice for Wal-mart to do this as they hardly pay a living wage and this is how many of their employees may wind up living.


July 6, 2005 at 8:15 PM  
Blogger Ken Grandlund said...

Careful with the praise Tom, for they may not realize the favor they are doing.
Could be they are getting ready to sell RV's and travel trailers to their underpaid employees at cost plus 10%, but will force them to live on site...free of course, except for the dumping fees.

July 6, 2005 at 9:42 PM  
Blogger Gun-Toting Liberal said...

You know, and just about everybody does, that I bash Wal-Mart as bad as the next blogger; maybe even worse. Again, and again, and again. In fact, I might even go as far as to say my anti-Wal-Mart posts on BuyBlue.org might have had something to do with the liberals jumping on the bandwagon. Within a week, "Liberals hate Wal-Mart" was all over the MSM. I might be wrong, but I might not be. Dig through the archives at BuyBlue.org and decide for yourselves.

But something has been troubling me, and I've not even blogged on it yet, because I do not have enough solid info. Senator Hillary Clinton was once on the board of directors of Wal-Mart. While I do not worship the good Senator from New Yawk, I've been leaning toward her because of her stance on the "pourous borders" issue for 08. But then, THIS.

I cannot seem to find out more about what her INTENTION was, being on the BoD of Wal-Mart. Was she trying to make things better for the "common man"/"woman"? If so, a person who is FOR that, and against terrorists just walking across our borders is MY candidate for Prez, 08. Or was she trying to make Wally World richer, on the backs of hard working, underpaid, "not-enough-hours to get healthcare bennies", blue collar workers?

If NOT, we have a huge problem here. Anybody have the scoop? The truth is what I want. Rhetoric is NOT what I want. I don't play "party line" poly-tix, if you haven't guessed yet, but I *do* know I'm sick and tired of corporate bastards such as Wal-Mart and 90% of what they stand for in the end. If Hillary is a part of that; NEXT! If NOT, I'd like to see her vindicated.

July 6, 2005 at 11:15 PM  
Blogger I.M. Dedd said...

Is the phrase "that's the least you could do" resonating with anyone here?

July 7, 2005 at 3:46 AM  
Blogger Unadulterated Underdog said...

I ask you to send your prayers to the victims of the London terrorist attacks today. Pray for a better tommorrow my friend. God bless.

July 7, 2005 at 5:42 AM  
Anonymous Tom Harper said...

Erik: Maybe that’s their motive. It would be a nice short commute, if nothing else.

Ken: You never know; maybe that’s their motive. They sell everything else, I guess they could fit RVs in too.

Gun-toting Liberal: I don’t think Hillary has a chance in ‘08. Too many swing/moderate voters are turned off by her. The most important thing is to get those wingnuts out of the White House. I wouldn’t even care if it was a moderate Republican with celebrity power -- Guiliani or Schwarzennegger. Whatever it takes to bring back some sanity, Democrat or Republican.

I.M. Dedd: Sure, it’s the least they could do. But they’re still the only ones who do it, as far as I know.

OK Democrat: That’s a terrible thing all right. The worst attack on London since World War II.

July 7, 2005 at 10:30 AM  
Blogger Brother Kenya said...

Tom, wow, this is my neck of the woods! (I'm in Petaluma.) I have to say, Santa Rosa hasn't done a terrific job of becoming Beverly Hills, so the hassling of less fortunate folks seems like a double whammy, in a way. The county is definitely in a gentrifying transition, though, and I have a feeling that things are going to get worse for homeless people, poorer people, and those who happen to be in the way of development. With the new eminent domain ruling, God only knows how close to home it'll come.

July 7, 2005 at 1:27 PM  
Blogger hardigan said...

hate to post off top(again), but it looks like the ghouls at Fox are already feeding on the corpses of the bombing victims.


Put up a post about this Tom, it really is an outrage

July 7, 2005 at 2:08 PM  
Blogger Nariel said...

I have posted an In Memoriam at Ancient Eyes for the London Victims.

May we all remember to light a candle tonight for those that have died and those that have a long road of recovery ahead.


July 7, 2005 at 2:33 PM  
Anonymous Bee said...

IM Dedd...yeah, that though crossed my mind. Don't be mistaken, Tom, Wal-Mart is only doing it in hopes that the people in the parking lot will wander in to buy toilet paper or cheetos.

Also, Ken's right - don't advertise it! If they find out they're being decent, even with ulterior motives, they'll put attack dogs and security guards to roust the parking lotters.

Seriously, though, Wal-Mart is evil, but even evil can't help but slip up occasionally...

July 7, 2005 at 3:52 PM  
Anonymous Tom Harper said...

Brother Kenya: Santa Rosa seems to combine seediness and gentrification better than anyplace I’ve ever seen. It’s sure happening in Petaluma, but at least it doesn’t have any neighborhoods comparable to Indian Village (that I know of). But I’m sure the problem will get worse before it gets better. The Board of Supervisors is working hand in glove with developers and the wine industry; nobody else matters.

Hardigan, Nariel: I just put up a new post about today’s bombing. It’s not in very good taste, but I’m really pissed and I needed to vent.

Bee: Yeah, they probably get some business from homeless campers coming in to buy stuff.

July 7, 2005 at 6:23 PM  
Blogger Brad said...

Wal-Mart's the 9th biggest contributor to the Republican Party. Free parking is not enough to convince me they're remotely okay.

But, yeah, it is kinda cool.

July 8, 2005 at 12:25 AM  
Anonymous Tom Harper said...

Brad: Yeah, it's one small gesture they're making. It still doesn't mean I want one in the neighborhood though.

July 8, 2005 at 7:32 PM  
Blogger Toad734 said...

It just makes for a shorter commute for their employees.

July 14, 2005 at 2:00 PM  

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