Several years back, in Sherwood, Ark., a large Walmart was being built next door to a smaller “neighborhood” Walmart on JFK/107. We were in the smaller store as the big box-store was going up, and we asked an employee/friend if she would get a job at the supercenter when it opened.
“Why?” she asked.
She told us she had a job right there. And it was then that we found out that just because a huge state-of-the-retail-art supercenter store goes up next door, that doesn’t mean the smaller store of the same company shuts down. Not in this state. Not when that company is Walmart.
In Arkansas, they build Walmarts right next door to each other. Which brings us to a story out of Oregon a few days back.
Walmart — yes, Walmart — is having to close stores in Portland, and the reason must be because the city can’t seem to stop a relentless wave of thefts at retailers. Dispatches from the front say that the stores will start closing on March 24. The company’s president has blamed “shrink” in the past for problems at certain stores. “Shrink” is corporate euphemism for shoplifting.
Some of the residents of Portland tell the papers that they don’t know where they’ll shop now. Walmart is the place for groceries, shoes, lawn mowers, and hunting licenses. Ask any Arkansan.
Walmart was diplomatic in the news accounts, saying all kinds of factors go into these decisions. But when a (local) society has lost all control on the criminal element, thanks to its (local) government, these decisions are made easier by companies.
And local lives are made more difficult.