Wal-Mart is coming to Washington, which naturally means an extensive session of omphaloskepsis from the chattering classes—and everyone else. While the city's rich people fret about increasing consumerism and Chinese-made goods, the poor and their appointed spokefolks have another worry: Four new stores full of good stuff might prove too tempting as targets for theft:
Brenda Speaks, a Ward 4 ANC commissioner, actually urged blocking construction of the planned store in her ward at Georgia and Missouri avenues NW partly because…young people would get criminal records when they couldn't resist the temptation to steal.
Everyone in city government is eager to put in their two cents (which gets you a week's worth of groceries at Wal-Mart, I hear). But this aside from The Washington Post might be the most instructive part of the article for any business considering opening up shop in the nation's capital:
Planning director [Harriet] Tregoning said she was "very supportive" of asking Wal-Mart to sign an agreement [to do things such as invest in local communities and treat its workers well] but noted that her office's leverage with Wal-Mart is currently "very limited." That's because Wal-Mart is not asking for tax incentives or other public subsidies that would require D.C. Council approval.
Of course, having a D.C. Wal-Mart would make First Lady photo ops more convenient.
UPDATE: Whoops. Tim Cavanaugh blogged this earlier today. With a far more awesome pic.