Friday, September 3, 2010

Walmarted Again :(

Little old Greenfield is fighting the Big Box war! A Connecticut developer is (hoping/praying/scheming/plotting/eating our young) planning to build a 135,000 square foot discount store along the French King Highway. Oh the horrors and gnashing and wailing that resound throughout our Pioneer Valley!

Greenfield is a bucolic little town full of charm and hippies, street kids, whole grain families of all shapes, sizes and orientations. There are organic awesome groceries stores rubbing economic elbows with larger, stockholder-ish grocery stores. There are old buildings seeing new interested owners reviving downtown. There are used bookstores, coffee shops, art spaces, adventurous dining (a BBQ joint is opening in the spot now vacant because the Thai restaurant found a larger spot.)

There are families. Gay, straight, off the grid, on the grid, solar panels, family beds, breastfeeding, organic farming, organic thinking....Got Hope? End This War! Love Makes A Family! Farmer's Markets downtown now accepting Food Stamps (now renamed something else?)

You have Mercedes Station Wagons parked next to Smart Cars, parked next to 20 year old Subarus, parked next to Hybrids, parked next to recumbent bikes, parked next to Volvos, parked next to vintage beater cars with a few Mini Coppers to add spice.

You've got students, business owners, bankers, bakers, moms off to the yoga class. You've got your professionals in their ubiquitous white dress shirts jaywalking to their next triumph. You've got the middle class (tightly in the middle...) You've got the Super Comfortable, you've got the struggling who aren't sure about the next day.

You've got your locavores, sensuously rolling in the local fare of this great valley. You've got your McDonalds junkies, Dunkin Donut freaks....Why buy organic fruits and veggies? There's nothing wrong with the artificial coloring in my kids yogurt! You've got vegetarian neighbors, backyard gardens, Kill Your TV, NPR, This Old House.

You've got summer carnivals and Autumn fairs. Two day music festivals. Arts, crafts, Harvest Suppers, local folks and tourists. You've got humanity eating, sleeping, growing, producing, engaging, loving, fighting, living, dying, starting, ending, driving, walking, crawling, building, tearing down, and CONSUMING.

Is a proposed Walmart really going to be the stick in the spoke of Greenfield? Sure there are the stories of underpaid employees, ill treated, overworked, lousy health insurance plans. There are the reported sweat shops run by child labor to produce the Hanna Montana t shirts. There are the tainted deli sandwiches eaten by many. Remember the "news" story a few years back....Donald Trump and then wife Ivana back to school shopping at a *gasp* Walmart!!!!

If you are outraged, then by gum do something about it!!!! Traffic will be a crazed mess on my street for certain!!!! I am not a Walmart fan (I have shopped there. My 5 year old wanted a Hanna Montana backpack for school. That is another story all on its own!) but I can say gratefully that I am not at an economic state to be forced to spend my earnings there. Is anti Walmart sentiment a bit of classicism? Who are the people that shop there, their annual income? Some will say "have you seen the people that shop there?"

Locals are hoping to have the proposed square footage reduced. Lots of Big Box meeting are scheduled locally so all can have their say. Living in this area has made me mindful and fully supportive of spending my dollars as locally as possible. I remember our first snowstorm in our new house and buying a shovel at the local hardware store (long closed now.) I was so proud of myself for spending $17 on that shovel when I could have driven to Home Depot and spent maybe $10?

Is it possible that all can coexist? It's not going to be built smack in the middle of downtown (thank God!) Maybe there are families hoping for employment, health insurance, and less expensive goods. Their everyday worries far outweigh traffic snarls and the insidious global takeover of Walmart.

Sadly, the world is not a fair playing field.

Just my humble opinion...