WSJ: Safeway, Supervalu Training Unions to Battle Wal-Mart

|

It's an unsurprising story, but the Wall Street Journal digs into the financing of the anti-Wal-Mart movement and finds that rival supermarkets—like Supervalu, Safeway, and Ahold NV—have been stoking and underwriting community outrage:

Robert Brownson long believed that his proposed development here, with its 200,000-square-foot Wal-Mart Supercenter, was being held hostage by nearby homeowners.

He had seen them protesting at city hall, and they had filed a lawsuit to stop the project.

What he didn't know was that the locals were getting a lot of help. A grocery chain with nine stores in the area had hired Saint Consulting Group to secretly run the antidevelopment campaign. Saint is a specialist at fighting proposed Wal-Marts, and it uses tactics it describes as "black arts."…

Safeway, a national chain based in Pleasanton, Calif., retained Saint to thwart Wal-Mart Supercenters in more than 30 towns in California, Oregon, Washington and Hawaii in recent years, according to a Saint project list and interviews with former employees. Former Saint employees say much of the work consisted of training Safeway's unionized workers to fight land-use battles, including how to speak at public hearings.

A few years back, I wrote about the history of big box panics.

NEXT: Revolt Against the Public Sector

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. Nice to see you guys ramping up the class warfare. I know how much it pains you guys to see people rise up.

    1. Huh? Your first trollish sentence contradicts your second. If you’re accusing reason of ramping up class warfare then it would follow that they like to see people rise up. Or, if you’re accusing them of not liking to see people rise up, then they would not be going around ramping up class warfare.

      1. That’s because you only have one outdated, defunct definition of class warfare.

        1. Actually I think it’s the paternalistic, reactionary definition of “warfare”. You know, the one that requires strife and conflict. It’s so bourgeois.

        2. The “rich people suck” style of class warfare has been in vogue for many years, Oh no. In fact, we now have a president who bases his economic policy on that version.

    2. Dipshit, it’s other corporations waging fake class warfare against one another. You don’t benefit.

    3. Shut up, union stooge Commie.

    4. LoL.

      Wal-Mart is teh Devil, but Safeway is teh Jesus!

      Got it.

  2. What he didn’t know was that the locals were getting a lot of help. A grocery chain with nine stores in the area had hired Saint Consulting Group to secretly run the antidevelopment campaign.

    Corporate capital fights corporate capital so that corporate capital does not take over . . . corporate capital. The useful idiots (i.e. leftists) in the middle of it all. News at 11.

    1. Never underestimate the stupidity of a leftist; just when you think a right-winger is dumber, the leftist will usually come from behind and make the right-winger look almost not retarded in comparison.

      1. Just wait ’till we get another immigration thread.

        1. Booyah! Hugh with the smackdown.

  3. Remember: Don’t feed trolls.

    1. It’s just so tempting though.

    2. Just for the record, I can think of two or three people who came here as what I thought were trolls originally and are now part of the commentariat. Honestly, I think there are a lot of people who come here ’cause they think they know what we’re about, and leave kinda scratchin’ their heads…

      And part of that is because of the engagement. It’s kinda funny to have been here long enough to remember when Republican trolls used to come here to denounce us as latte swilling liberals and also to be here when the Obamabots show up to denounce us as free-wheeling fascists for what happened under the Bush regime.

      And seriously, I bet that guy up there isn’t a troll at heart, at least not in the truest sense…

      I bet he really thinks that organizing to keep inexpensive produce out of the hands of cash strapped working people really is somehow in defense of the little guy.

      I don’t know. There’s gotta be a line somewhere between the troll on the one hand and a propaganda victim on the other. ’cause we’ve all been propaganda victims at some point. None of us always knew everything we know now, and some of the stupid things I used to believe, I used to be pretty emphatic about.

      So there’s hope for everybody. Except VikingMoose.

      1. I’ll bite dude, I’m a “reformed” republican or whatever term is kosher nowadays. I only vote for third parties now in some vain attempt that they’ll grow. In the last election, I voted for Babar, and will probably again if he runs in 2012. I preferred Mary Ruwart, basically, if they prove to me that they’re trust worthy then i’ll vote for them. That goes for Greens and other independents also.

        But here’s the thing, I don’t think workers or unions are the problem in this country, and Reason’s class warfare pieces are just bullshit. The class warfare for the past few years (decades?) has been from a firmly procorporate/investor stand point. Seriously, when you turn on the tv do you hear workers of the world unite. The memo has been for people to work harder for less. People are human beings, not consumers, and vacation time, sick time, breaks, lunches are things humans want, except for freaks like me who tend to not use them. I’m not insulted by the safety net either. With employer entitlement the way it is, I’m glad the safety net is there.

        I just don’t think being in a union is equivalent to being a lazy bum. That’s just pure emotion based logic.

        As i mentioned in another post, Hank Reardon’s workers were unionized and well paid. She also mentioned a fair interest rate, but people don’t like to mention those Ayn Rand lines.

        1. submit then proofread

        2. In the last election, I voted for Babar, and will probably again if he runs in 2012.

          Babar is just a puppet king, and it’ the French who are pulling his strings. I don’t care how educated and “well-spoken” he is. Elephantland for Elephants!

        3. What you’ve just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this thread is now dumber for having read it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.

          1. Word to your mother

          2. that’s because seeing anything that even hints at worker’s rights makes you ball up into a little baby bitch. Whambulance is that way

            1. Your epic put down has made us all quiver in fear. All run before the whining former Republican who doesn’t understand what “class warfare” means!

              1. Go take a pill King of the one liners.

                1. Even epic-er! It’s like being insulted by Dane Cook!

                  1. Jeebus, that was low Epi. Hilarious (I busted a gut), but low.

                    1. “I’ve seen plagues that had better opening nights lines than this Dane Cook.”

                    2. Who is this Dane Cook, and why he offering me better lines. I share my lines.

                      Jealous?

                    3. I hear that sometimes Dane will even share your lines without asking you…

        4. I guess I’ll bite too. I’m not sure what being pro or anti union has to do with this article. It says that the anti-Walmart movement is being funded by Walmart’s competitors who just happen to have unionized labor forces.

          That said, I guess we’re now talking about unions. I’m not opposed to workers organizing themselves into a union as long as they don’t try to use the government to force employers to hire them or force me to buy from them.

          In a free market, any group or workers who want to come together because they think they can get a better deal as group should be allowed to do so. Similarly, any individual worker who wants to stand alone and try to undercut the group should also be allowed to do so.

          Back in the 90’s I taught for a college that added a graduate program. The first summer, they offered us something on the lower end of the market rate to teach new summer classes in that program. The second summer they said that we’d already taught the courses once so it should easier the second time and they cut the pay in half. The faculty got together to talk about what “we” were going to do about it. I said “I won’t teach that class for that money but I’m pretty sure that some of you will. Therefore ‘we’ aren’t going to come to an agreement. Do whatever you think is best for you”. Then I walked out and never taught in the summer program again. About half the people in that room did continue teaching. The program never took off the way it might have, but it has attracted enough students and faculty to survive.

          That’s the free market win-win. I’m happy that my name is no longer associated with the program and the administrators who run it are happy that it generates a positive cash flow.

          Walmart is the same. Some choose to work there, I don’t. Some choose to shop there regularly, some choose to never shop there, I choose to shop there rarely.

          1. I brought up unions because Reason has had a number of posts about unions today, that’s it, it was convenient. Frankly, Reason’s class warfare articles have been pissing me off, and this is the spot i chose to make a shitty comment.

            For the most part, i agree with you on not using government to force employers to hire strictly union members. I do have a problem with employers firing a worker for being prounion or associating with other workers for that reason. That’s using fear to keep an employee in check, no better than using force.

            A lot of people have attitudes that are very derogatory to unions and other working class people, very close to an entitlement mentality of what they expect from someone in the workplace. Class warfare can be the rich working against the poor, or in other words, keeping the working/middle class in a state of insecurity and stifling mobility. I see more of this than the classic eat the rich mentality.

            For the most part, unions have been a good thing, and have led to progress for many people. Not to say they can’t stifle growth and be bloated too, but employers and employees have to make an attempt to argue in good faith. When that doesn’t happen abuses can be found on both sides.

            1. In a free market, employers wouldn’t be using governments to keep their employees inline or a state of fear.

              1. Attention douchebag:

                This is not an anti-union post.

                This is an anti-zoning post.

                The point of this post is that land-use decisions are being gamed by supermarkets to throttle potential competitors. The involvement of union dupes is incidental.

            2. I do have a problem with employers firing a worker for being prounion or associating with other workers for that reason

              Do you have a problem with it or do you think it should be illegal? Because there is a huge difference, and the difference matters.

            3. I brought up unions because Reason has had a number of posts about unions today, that’s it, it was convenient.

              I would think they posts where it was actually on topic would have been more convenient, you fuckwad.

          2. “I’m not sure what being pro or anti union has to do with this article. It says that the anti-Walmart movement is being funded by Walmart’s competitors who just happen to have unionized labor forces.”

            You must have missed the part that mentioned the unions themselves were “training” their members to speak in objection to the competitors at public meetings. So the opposition is being funded jointly by BOTH the competing businesses and their unions. Sort of like the UPS+Teamsters vs. Fedex thing.

            1. Valid point. When it said that the consulting group was training Safeway’s union workers I guess was focusing on “Safeway” as the driver and “union” as incidental. But I think your UPS+Teamsters -vs- FedEx analogy actually hits it pretty well.

              Not that it changes my original comments on unions. The concept of workers voluntarily banning together as a negotiating tool is fine with me. The reality of how most unions work (for example the monopoly exemption mentioned above) is an entirely different matter. There were several reasons I moved from teaching high school to teaching college but one of them to avoid being forced to join or financially support a union.

        5. If Unions didn’t have monopoly exemption, then I would probably agree with you. Unfortunately, they do, and they are just as likely as the corporations you rail against to attempt to “seek rent” from government. The whole point of Reason, as I understand it, is to point out that the government should have less power and thus there will be less “rent” to seek.

        6. My issue with unions is how they gain control of politicians who then make laws in their favor to the detriment of the rest of the people. This is particularly egregious when it comes to public sector unions who have enough numbers to get their guys in office to write them insane benefits that hurt taxpayers by, ahem, raising taxes to pay for them. Or by using their influence in DC to have US bailout GM and Chrysler to avoid bankruptcy and then they do what we all knew would happen anyway, they went bankrupt, but hey, the union got theirs at our expense. Yay for them? No, fuck them, I say. The argument that the politicians could have said no is illogical since the politicians were beholden to them for getting in office.

  4. This seems to have become fairly common, from grocers to shipping companies, etc, companies that have to suffer unions going after those that don’t.

    Unions remain a major problem in this country. And it’s important to remember that it’s not just the government employee unions that are the problem.

    I think it’s important to remember too that it’s the regulatory framework unions live on and play in that gives them their traction. And one of the few arguments that might get me to vote again would be that it’ll take a politician to pull that regulatory framework out from underneath the unions like a rug.

    Show me someone who’s serious about the problems unions continue to cause and who’s campaigning on the issue, and I just might tune in and listen.

    But just once.

    Anyone who’s working to restrict consumer choice is an enemy of consumers–it’s really that simple. Sometimes I wish consumers would organize like unions do, but then they’d just become a problem too. I do sometimes use the non-union alternative if I can though. It’s my little way of stickin’ it to the man.

    1. Consumers can’t really be a problem (except to themselves), consumers are the whole point of the economy.

      1. No, consumers can’t be a problem, I was just suggesting that if they organized like unions, then that organization would probably become a problem, but it was a fairly nuanced point, so…

        Ignore it if you like.

        But you’re right about consumers. They’re treated like the problem, and no one seems to be looking out for them in this situation. But they’re not the problem, they’re the solution, and every politician or union member who doesn’t see that shouldn’t be trusted.

        I am so tired of seeing consumers and their behavior and individuals and their rights all being talked about and treated like obstacles–they’ve got it all upside down and backwards.

        Just like the troll up top. He may not be a troll–maybe he’s just plugged into someone who’s got it all backwards.

    2. Hear! Hear! We should all look for a union free country and move there! Granted, it will be a squalid, undemocratic hellhole with no significant middleclass….but who needs to face reality when you have rhetoric!

      1. Libertylover|6.7.10 @ 9:54PM|#

        Hear! Hear! We should all look for a union free country and move there! Granted, it will be a squalid, undemocratic hellhole with no significant middleclass….but who needs to face reality when you have rhetoric!

        That’s right, you tell those Libertopian fools to kiss mah union labeled ass!

      2. “a squalid, undemocratic hellhole”

        Worse than Detroit?

      3. That’s quite a sense of irony in your choice of nickname, Libertylover.

  5. One town over from me, there’s a fight to keep a new Walgreens pharmacy from opening. The major activists behind the fight are the owners of the town’s existing pharmacy.

    1. I have a favorite little barbecue place that just opened six months or so ago. They just had the health department come in and tell them they could only be a take out restaurant–made them pull all the tables out of the restaurant. …supposedly because their restroom was several feet farther away from the front door than allowed.

      Turns out, apparently, it was done at the behest of the entrenched restaurant next door, a restaurant I will never, ever eat at again.

      One of the things that makes this so awful, especially in the case of a Wal*Mart, is that it deprives the local municipality of tons of sales tax revenue. If your city is cutting back on services, supposedly, because times are tough*, then they’ve got no business denying a Wal*Mart or any tax generating machine like that.

      *Yeah, I know, show me a city with cash problems, and I’ll show you some overpaid government employees that can probably be laid off, but you know what I mean.

      1. Wal-mart plays hardball to get huge tax breaks and gratis infrastructure improvements from the cities and towns it preys on. My town got a Walmart 11 years ago because they gave them huge tax concessions and spent millions improving the roads near the Wal-Mart center; in return, Wal Mart promised to stay there 10 years.

        Last year, the Bentonville Behemoth got a similar deal from a neighboring town, so on the 10th anniversary of the opening of our Walmart, it was shuttered. Most of the stuff had been moved out of that building to their sparkling new store over the previous months, anyway.

        1. Hobie
          Just because your town was stupid enough to hand out public money in the form of tax breaks…..

          Perhaps they should have worked on the regulatory environment in said town / county / State instead. No handouts – good for ALL businesses (and their employees, and their customers).

          1. Just because your town was stupid enough to hand out public money in the form of tax breaks…..

            Not robbing your victims quite as much =/= handing out public money

        2. Well I’m sorry that investment didn’t work out for your town.

          Bad investments happen to everybody.

          It sounds like the town and city council thought that the tax revenue that Wal*Mart generated for ten years would be sufficient to cover the costs. If that was insufficient, like I said, investments are like that.

          You don’t always get your money back.

          But you didn’t say whether they did get their money back. Maybe they did!

          Do you know? How much did the city pay out for the improvements? How much revenue did Wal*Mart generate over that time? Wal*Mart doesn’t owe your city any more than it promised to pay, but for all we know it was worth it.

          Are the improvements still there? Are people still using them? Will people use them in the future?

          1. Right now there’s a stop light in front of a weed filled former parking lot with an empty white building in the middle. The stop light still works, not that it matters.

            Do people use it? Well, kind of. My nephew was learning how to drive stick in the deserted parking lot. And the local kids like it as a drug use and fornication location late at night.

        3. Brawl-Mart wouldn’t even have lasted that 10 years if your community had opted not to shop there.

          There’s a Brawl-Mart 10 minutes from my house. I have been in there once, over a decade ago, buying nothing. I found my experience to be a frightening preview of The End Times. I have never set foot in, nor spent a thin dime in, a Brawl-Mart since. My feeling is that unless I’m actually, physically in a crowded village market in Mexico where someone has just yelled “?Fuego!”, I’m just as happy avoiding that experience. JFC, I expected to vault over chickens on my way out of that hellhole.

          I choose not to shop there. Problem solved. I guess I don’t see why this is so hard for lefties. Don’t like it? Don’t shop there. Is someone forcing you to shop there?

          1. -1 for bad pun

          2. And Obama wouldn’t be president if your community hadn’t voted for him.

            Getting the community to engage in the correct collective action is difficult, as you know. I don’t think Obama getting elected was bad, but it was from your point of view.

            1. “correct collective action”

              What would that be?

  6. Lets see, the local Super Valu has prices that are 50%-300% higher than Wal Mart for the same items. The salary scales for non management are the same. I think I will keep looking for the union label, and then shop elsewhere.

    1. lol, more like .5-3% cheaper. But yes, generally cheaper.

      1. Have you compared the prices yourself? Or are you just referring to some bullshit you read? Then fuck off.

        Walmart in my town is noticeably cheaper than both of the competing grocery chain stores, not to mention the hippy granola coop or whatever the fuck it is. And I don’t need to use a bullshit preferred membership piece of shit plastic.

    2. exactly! Now if we could just make slavery legal again, we could really save some money!

      1. No one is forced to work at Wal Mart.

  7. Funny that back in the 80’s Safeway pulled out of the Texas market due to union organization. They closed every grocery store and distribution center.

    1. Safeway owns Tom Thumb and Randalls, grocery chains in Dallas and Houston respectively. So I guess they got back in?

  8. Maybe those people don’t want the community’s shopping dollars to be spent at a place where they’ll be shipped thousands of miles away instead of remaining in the local economy. I don’t mean to sound elitist, but the people who are targeted by Wal-Mart don’t have the education to realize that just because something has a lower price on the tag doesn’t mean it doesn’t cost more in the final analysis. It’s easier for a pedophile at a playground to refrain from molesting children than it is for people who are desperate to make ends meet turn low prices down, so it’s up to informed citizens to make sure they don’t get put in that situation.

    1. So how local should we get with our spending? Is it OK for me to buy stuff from the people in the next town over from mine? Should I only trade with the people who live on my block?

      1. Don’t get cute with semantics. You know what I mean.

        1. SHUT UP DANNY DEVITO

        2. Don’t get cute with semantics. You know what I mean.

          Since I’m not a mind-reader, would you mind telling us where you draw the line between local and non-local? One hundred miles? Twenty miles? Five miles? Where is this “local” line?

        3. Actually, I don’t know what you mean. The idea of only buying or trading locally is fuzzy and not well thought out. That you can’t give me an answer should give you pause.

          Economists from Adam Smith on have pointed out the positive correlation between increasing trading partners and wealth.

    2. What kind of dream world out of 1798 are you living in there Hobie? Unless is Ma Smith selling carrots at the local farmers market, EVERYTHING is made some where else, and the dollars go elsewhere.

      Of course, the reverse is true as well. What ever is made in a WalMart town is sold everywhere else and the dollars flow back to said town.

      It’s called, you know, specialization and trade. Some guy named Adam Smith wrote something about that some time ago.

      1. The profits stay local. Also, a lot of the administrative expenses like office paper and stuff like that are spent locally, so even the money that’s spent by the business stays local.

        1. God, I thought the EPIC movement had died out after the Great Depression ended.

          I guess I was wrong.

        2. Oh, I get it. Our tribe wins. How I hate those Shelbyville Barleyjacks.

    3. “It’s easier for a pedophile at a playground to refrain from molesting children than it is for people who are desperate to make ends meet turn low prices down, so it’s up to informed citizens to make sure they don’t get put in that situation.”

      So how do you propose you keep prices low for the cash-strapped proles who don’t know any better than to shop at Wal-Mart?

    4. “Maybe those people don’t want the community’s shopping dollars to be spent at a place where they’ll be shipped thousands of miles away instead of remaining in the local economy.”

      Putting your elitism aside–and I’m sorry, but you’re quacking like an elitist…

      You talk about “the community’s shopping dollars” as if they…um…belonged to the community.

      But they don’t.

      You can tell which ones belong to whom, mine, for instance, are in my checking account. They belong to me. I decide what happens to them.

      I get to decide. Because I’m important. I’m sorry this sounds so basic, but it’s the fundamental difference… Those dollars belong to individuals–not the community. And when you try to decide what happens with those dollars–despite what the individuals who own them want–then you are treating real live people very badly.

      That’s the difference between our views. When we’re talking about people’s rights and choices and “market forces” and “community dollars”, we’re talking about real, live people. Real individuals!

      I appreciate your position and your right to advocate for something you think is in everyone’s best interest, but please don’t talk about restricting people’s choices and then turn around and talk about how you’re lookin’ out for the little guy…

      You seem quite willing to squash the little guy if it’s in everyone else’s best interest–and if I’m not willing to do that, even if it’s to everyone else’s detriment?

      Then I’m the one who’s lookin’ out for the little guy.

      1. The little guy, who is by definition local, benefits from the dollars staying in the local economy too.

        1. “The little guy, who is by definition local, benefits from the dollars staying in the local economy too.”

          And he makes that decision every time he decides where to shop, every time he makes a purchase.

          People pay more for certain things. People buy more gas efficient cars because they care about the environment. People will pay extra for stuff like that…

          Not all of them. And you trying to enforce your vision of what’s best for everybody by using the coercive power of the government, really isn’t all that different from, say, religious fundamentalists trying to enforce their vision of what’s best for everybody on everyone else.

          ’cause some people? They won’t pay more for a hybrid car. They don’t care about union wages. They’re more interested in themselves and their children and what they think is best for them.

          And they have rights too. People’s rights and their freedom of choice doesn’t go away just because you don’t think what they’re doing is in the best interest of everybody. In fact, their rights, if they exist at all, exist despite what everyone else wants, don’t they?

          I’m important. They’re important too. I don’t exist for the betterment of society, and I shouldn’t be compelled to justify myself or my actions in those terms–certainly not when I go shopping at the grocery store!

          You seem to have it all backwards. Somehow you got the idea that individuals exist for the good of society–but they don’t! Actually, the government–city, state, federal–exists for the benefit of individuals. That’s where we should be able to go when our rights and our freedoms and our choices are being infringed on by people who want to force to do what they think is good for us. To protect us from people who want to make us do what’s best for society–against our will.

          1. Individualism—GOOD
            Collectivism—BAD

        2. Bullshit. Comparative advantage provides more benefit than buying local.

        3. We can’t convince you to define local. Now we have to guess what you mean by the “little guy?” These little people are, by definition, local. This just adds to the confusion.

          So, non-little people are not local. Why? Do they do too much business or take too many trips outside of their locality? Does being non-local make your “big”, or is it the other way around?

        4. “The little guy, who is by definition local, benefits from the dollars staying in the local economy too.”

          That makes you argument pleasingly circular, Hobie, but completely misses Ken’s point.

    5. You’re right, Dutch Ahold is a much better choice

    6. Which we can best do by making sure the low prices are unavailable?

    7. sounds like someone is showing off for their new dreamy professor at the local community college. how cute, cockknuckle.

    8. Too fucking bad. It isn’t up to you to decide where other people should shop, you dumb prick.

    9. I don’t mean to sound elitist, but the people who are targeted by Wal-Mart don’t have the education to realize that just because something has a lower price on the tag doesn’t mean it doesn’t cost more in the final analysis.

      Could you in anyway show this with, you know, numbers? Also, just because someone is poor does not mean they are stupid or uneducated, and you come off as an elitist ass for assuming so.

      1. Thanks for the visuals, SIV

    10. Maybe those people don’t want the community’s shopping dollars to be spent at a place where they’ll be shipped thousands of miles away instead of remaining in the local economy.

      “Supervalu, Safeway, and Ahold NV” leave their corporate profits in your hometown? I don’t think so.

      I don’t mean to sound elitist, but the people who are targeted by Wal-Mart don’t have the education to realize that just because something has a lower price on the tag doesn’t mean it doesn’t cost more in the final analysis.

      Wal*Mart is trying to fix that by sending its employees to college.

    11. Yes, much better to ensure that those with low incomes are forced to buy more expensive products.

      God forbid they ever get an opportunity to save some money and perhaps some day move up the socioeconomic ladder!

    12. “I don’t mean to sound elitist but”

    13. Hobie,

      I grew up in a tourist trap of a town. I was “lucky” enough to have never been forced to buy from a huge corporation who put my money in a safe and sent it to Mexico. Instead, I could give all my money to a few wealthy families in town who owned the only department store, gas station or hardware store.

      Since I moved away a Walmart has set up shop in my old home town. The only people who have complained are the members of the old families. Everyone else is really happy that they can buy things cheaply (with a greater selection of goods too).

      Before you start trumpeting the virtues of keeping a community’s money in the community, try living in a small community that is doing exactly what you are preaching.

    14. It’s easier for a pedophile at a playground to refrain from molesting children than it is for people who are desperate to make ends meet turn low prices down

      Citation needed

  9. A grocery chain with nine stores in the area had hired Saint Consulting Group to secretly run the antidevelopment campaign

    This is rich. An economically motivated pressure group has hired a propaganda outfit to defeat their rivals–not by focusing on demonstrable, superior competitive values–but by utilizing sleazy political tactics. Bullet point #1,927 in the continuing saga of how businessmen are often their own worst enemy.

    1. Honestly, if your supermarket has to use union labor under union rules and your competitor doesn’t? And your carrots are pretty much the same as their carrots, then how are you going to compete for marginal customers?

      Because you can’t do it on price. Their labor costs are higher because of the union, and anything you can buy at their grocery store is also for sale at the non-union grocery store.

      Limiting competition by erecting market barriers, once you’ve cleared the barrier yourself, isn’t shooting yourself in the foot. It’s about as rational a thing as there can be. It’s something to be counted on. Like birds flying south for the winter–if you give local businesses the regulator/approval means to put up barriers to entry into the market, they will use them as sure as the birds will fly south in the winter.

      If I can be one of three grocery chains in town, why would I want to be one of four if I don’t have to? Especially if the new guy has a lower cost basis since he isn’t union!

      1. if your supermarket has to use union labor under union rules

        They don’t have to, of course. It’s up to them. But when they do, they gain short-term benefits by pushing back the inevitable day of reckoning. I’m not a professional economist, but I do know that “fair” is not part of their lexicon.

  10. Maybe those people don’t want the community’s shopping dollars to be spent at a place where they’ll be shipped thousands of miles away instead of remaining in the local economy.

    Boo fucking hoo. I don’t actually give a fuck if my “local” glazier can afford a fifty thousand dollar truck to tow his cutting horses around in.

    Fuck him; I go to Lowe’s.

    1. Americans’ economic illiteracy is a thing of wonder and worry.

      1. I agree.

  11. Were the shoe on the other foot and Wal-Mart was trying to block a small grocery chain from moving into their turf, who doubts that there would be an anticompetitive practices lawsuit?

    1. You need to get your Wal-Mart bashing straight. Wal-Mart wouldn’t sue; they’d undercut the little guy with race-to-the-bottom prices all extracted from the hides of their starving, disease-ridden staff and Chinese children in sweat shops.

      1. When you see that the starving, disease ridden staff at the Chinese sweat shop that makes iPhones and iPads are offing themselves at an alarming rate, you have to wonder what the suicide rate is at the less prestigious sweat shops that have to make sneakers for Walmart.

      2. I didn’t bash Wal-mart – in fact I defended them. Re-read my post.

  12. It’s easier for a pedophile at a playground to refrain from molesting children than it is for people who are desperate to make ends meet turn low prices down, so it’s up to informed citizens to make sure they don’t get put in that situation.

    Does your mother know what an evil monster crawled out of her belly?

    1. In a perfect world, someone would have kept you from making such an anti-community statement.

  13. I really don’t see what the problem is here.

  14. Interesting to see one of the rare examples of labor AND management being on the same side.

    1. There’s nothing mysterious about it. The union’s got them by the cajones.

      You see the union and management pretty much on the same page at GM too.

      That makes me want to puke.

      The only thing I can think of that would be much worse would be if the union and management and the government were all on the same page.

      Actually, there have experiments with that periodically in history–doesn’t end well.

      Venezuela’s like that, isn’t it?

  15. This can’t be true.

    According to John, zoning laws are GOOD and RIGHT and JUST and A TRIUMPH OF DEMOCRACY.

    It can’t be possible that they would be used in this cynical and rent-seeking way. CAN’T be.

    And according to all the federalists around here, local governments never restrict anybody’s liberty. That’s only ever done by the federal government. So the reporting here has to be wrong – it has to be the federal government that’s wrong here somehow. Please factcheck this one again.

    1. And according to all the federalists around here, local governments never restrict anybody’s liberty.

      Bullshit. I know where my mayor lives and can shoot him when necessary. That is the advantage of federalism.

    2. The purpose of federal devolution is take the behemouth to a more managable level.

      Then, take on the various brickbats at every level. Which requires education, perseverance, and dare I say some ‘community organizing’

      next strawman, please, homeslice

      (and yes, one of the principles is that it’s easier to move from Falls Church to Arlington, or vice versa than from either of those places to Costa Rica. Or Somalia.)

  16. You don’t get to see too much of this in Saint Louis. We have two local chains that own the market share for grocery. There’s a little competition from WalMart at the fringes of the county, but for the most part its the two local shops. Kroger and Straub both tried to break into the market and were shown the door. Whole paycheck and Trader Joe’s managed a niche, but a small one.

    Anecdotally the local municipalities that held to the high and mighty “Walmart Bad” mantra and allowed zoning to be used against a walmart store going in are the ones in trouble around here. It’s funny the arguments were never about the tax breaks or bond issues. It was always bad anti union walmart, that is now not bring taxes into those local governments.

  17. Some businessmen (and unions and lefty activists) will contort themselves into positions worthy of a Cirque du Soleil performer in order to put forth their indefensible claims that capitalism is good but too much capitalism is bad.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.