December 5, 2007

DO YOU WANT TO PAY FOR FOOD OR BAGGERS?:

The Wal-Mart Myth (PATRICK McILHERAN, December 5, 2007, NY Sun)

"I am not a fan of Wal-Mart," Mayor Ryan McCue said — it feels too downscale. He's hoping that Cudahy can become an adorable little place on the commuter rail line that may someday run south from Milwaukee. Low-cost, 24-hour groceries apparently don't fit that. There are seven Wal-Mart supercenters within 40 miles of Milwaukee. Every one is in a ZIP code where the median household income is markedly higher than Cudahy's — 38% on average. Near them are other thriving retailers, including precious Main Street shops of the kind Cudahy wants. It seems convenient bargains might not repel time-pressed, affluent dual-income families inclined also to patronize boutiques but, instead, appeal to them. Who knew? [...]

Really, the Cudahy Wal-Mart argument is all about unionized groceries. Supercenters take Wal-Mart beyond the nonunion discount department store sector, where the chain's wages and benefits are typical, and into competition with unionized supermarkets.

It's tough for grocery unions to explain to customers why unionized help is worth higher prices. So instead, unions say Wal-Mart is déclassé and its Chinese imports are a dead loss.

Posted by Orrin Judd at December 5, 2007 11:08 AM
Comments

Mr. McCue apparently sees no irony that the top of mind response to the name of Cudahy is luncheon meats...

Posted by: Rick T. at December 5, 2007 4:59 PM
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