A Bourgeoisie Progger in Prolemart


MattYglesias:

Urban Walmarts Are Great

Like most good urban liberals, I’ve been engaged in a lifelong near-boycott of Walmart. Not so much out of any deeply felt, principled objections to the store, but because they don’t really build Walmarts in big liberal cities. When the company tries to set up shop in a liberal town, it’s frequently stymied by union groups and their allies. The myriad zoning and permitting rules surrounding urban land create many avenues for groups with political clout to block disfavored stores, and such moves have, for example, kept Walmart out of New York City for years.

But on Wednesday, after running a gantlet of political obstacles, two new Walmarts opened in Washington, D.C. And the one I visited, at least, is pretty great. Walmart simply crushes the brick-and-mortar competition available in the city, and its competitors were quite right to try to rig the game against it. The only real question is whether these kinds of big-box stores have any real future at all in the age of Amazon.

The store, at H Street and First Street NW, is designed in an appealing way to fit into the urban landscape. Parking is below ground, the shopping is on a single level, and apartments are above. Eventually, the exterior of the building will be ringed by several smaller shops—build-out is nearly complete on a Starbucks and a branch of Capital One Bank.

Inside, the store has been squeezed into a smaller-than-usual footprint without doing much to sacrifice what’s appealing about traditional suburban Walmarts. There’s a bit less stuff for sale (no guns, for example) than I’ve seen in visits to Walmarts in Maine and North Carolina. But to see the store’s true power, you need to wander over to the grocery section. The United Food and Commercial Workers are at the center of the labor alliance against Walmart, and it’s no coincidence. UFCW represents workers at the region’s Safeway and Giant supermarkets, and the Walmart grocery shopping experience is like what they offer—only much, much better.

It’s a decidedly downscale shopping experience. A range of Hamburger Helper (and Chicken Helper spinoff) was on sale for a dollar a box, you can snag a jar of Ragu meat-flavored pasta sauce for $1.98, and the dairy aisle dedicates more shelf space to conventional yogurt than to strained Greek-style brands. The only real selling point for foodies is the availability of beef tongue, prominently labeled as lengua de vaca and clearly marketed more at Latin American immigrants than gentrifying taco lovers. But compared with the union stores, the aisles are pleasantly wide, the shopping carts all have functioning wheels, and the shelves have every kind of boxed macaroni and cheese a person could want. It even offers some financial services, like a check-cashing operation where you can get up to $1,000 for a $3 fee. Because a good deal on check cashing is a way to get customers in the door and ready to shop, Walmart can offer a much better rate than a stand-alone storefront check-cashing operation that needs to rely on fees as a profit center.

Most damningly, the store is well-staffed with friendly and helpful people who make the Safeway experience seem like shopping in a Russian customs line. The (I assume) lower pay lets Walmart hire more people. And however meager the wages may be, they were high enough that 23,000 people applied for 600 positions at the stores, meaning the people who got picked are probably pretty good at their jobs.


MattY concludes his post with the prediction that online shopping is the wave of the future. I guess it never occurs to him that some people actually enjoy shopping. In fact, the whole article reveals more about MattY than it does about Walmart.

It’s no secret that Progs despise Walmart, and not just because it is the most evilest corporation that ever existed. They associate Walmart with redneck Proles and other members of the unwashed masses. It’s headquartered in Arkansas for gosh sakes!

So I have to give MattY credit for being open-minded enough to actually venture in among the lower classes. He must have felt like an anthropologist studying a tribe of savages.

The attitude of Progs toward Proles is similar to the attitude of the Spanish missionaries to the Native Americans. Progs see Proles as cultural and intellectual inferiors who are in need of salvation, enlightenment and guidance so that they may become civilized. It never occurs to Progs that the Proles would be happier and better off without their “help.”


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About Myiq2xu™

Peaceful coexistence or mutually assured destruction. Your choice.
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72 Responses to A Bourgeoisie Progger in Prolemart

  1. The Klown says:
  2. Lulu says:

    As long as he does not have to have any contact with hickville or boonieberg in the hinterland, Yglesias is fine mixing with other starving young millenials who smell bad in order to buy slave made cheap shit from the third world. He just hates the thought that the hicks and hillbillies eat better than he does out of Walmart.

  3. DeniseVB says:

    Wow, 23,000 applied for 600 jobs ? While the progs whine about low pay there must be a pretty good benefit package too ? The unions never do tell us the whole story.

  4. Ann says:

    I hate WalMart. If that makes me a bad person, so be it.

    Went into a WalMart last week Thursday (been two years since my last WalMart store experience). ALL the people working in the store we encountered were very helpful, cheerful and nice. Too bad the place was severely understaffed.

    The woman in electronics was supposed to stock the shelves, answer customer questions, check-out customers, get stock to the front of the store, check stock in the back-room for sale (they were OOS for what we wanted). Honestly? That department could have used at least two more clerks. This was repeated in several other departments throughout the store. Since I saw almost no one of high school or college age working in the store, my assumption (and I could be wrong) is it is WalMart’s choice to keep the store understaffed instead of hiring more help – at least for the holiday season.

    While WalMart may be a necessary evil in some places, I too think it is becoming less relevant. There have been articles for years on how WalMart just can’t build up internet domination. And now with Amazon prime… or drones… or carrier pigeons, and next day delivery of just about anything you want online at prices competitive to WalMart – yeah it makes me wonder too how much longer they can maintain their worldwide domination.

    In any event, different strokes for different folks. Some people love WalMart, some people loathe WalMart. A stance either way doesn’t make one person superior to the other – it just means people have different opinions.

    • elliesmom says:

      Shopping online at Amazon or anywhere else requires one to have access to a credit or debit card. They don’t take EBT cards -yet. WalMart even provides some of the banking type services that poor people need to make it easier to shop there. And having things delivered to your home and left on the porch isn’t a reliable delivery system for people who live in high crime areas. I’m an avid Amazon customer who was an early adopter of their Prime membership, but there are still a lot of limitations to their service. WalMart isn’t going out of business anytime soon. The closest WalMart to me is 12 miles away, and if I didn’t have 2 grocery stores within a mile of my house, I would probably shop there more. Their meat is good quality, and their produce is better than at the Shaw’s down the street.

      • The Klown says:

        Anyone who has ever shopped online or by catalog knows that what you see pictured is never quite the same was what gets delivered. I like to be able to examine the things I buy before I pay for them. If I have to choose between brands and/or models it’s nice to compare them directly.

        I also like to look at things I don’t plan to buy.

        • gumsnapper says:

          I’ve been burned buying clothes online. You can’t tell how thick or thin the fabric is or the general quality. Nor do you know ahead of time if it will fit.

        • DeniseVB says:

          gumsnapper – I like to joke that I’m a Kmart 14 and a Macy’s 8. There is no universal sizing which makes trying on clothes a necessary evil for me. Though I think designer sizing is a scam to get women to pay more to be a size 4 😀

    • DeniseVB says:

      Since I don’t like shopping, I usually hate any store I’m in 😉

      My last bad big box experience was in a Best Buy when my husband and I were desperately trying to spend money on a new land line phone. Could not find a soul to help us, mostly because they were huddled in front of a big screen tv watching a football game. So we left and found what we wanted at a Radio Shack.

      • lyn says:

        Honk! The internet made shopping so much easier. I shop for food and immediately needed things at local stores, but for everything else I shop online. When we lived in small towns (before the internet), the only sources for decent clothes were from catalogs like Lands’ End and L.L. Bean.

        • The Klown says:

          There is nothing wrong with shopping online, but the idea that it’s gonna put traditional retailers out of business is silly.

        • lyn says:

          I agree with you. The only impact amazon made in my town is that we no longer have a bookstore, although we have one used book store.

        • DandyTIger says:

          Humans are social animals. We want to cluster and hang out. Shopping and otherwise hanging out at the square is what we do. That central square is often the mall these days. Unless online shopping can fulfill that larger need, it won’t replace brick and mortar stores. Moo.

      • DandyTIger says:

        I so hate Best Buy. They suck beyond belief. Service? Now there’s a pipe dream. And their prices in the store are generally higher than their prices online even. A very sleazy operation in my opinion.

    • leslie says:

      Online shopping is fine ——– IF you have access to a computer and you know how to use one. The people (clients) I work with were thrilled to have a Walmart move into their neighborhood. Most do not have computers, nor do they have smart phones. And the phones they do have are either landlines or very old cell phones. One of my dearest clients was over the moon to buy an artificial tree – with lights! for less than $30 the day after Thanksgiving. I hope she didn’t run into MattY, or she would have needed a shower as soon as she to back to her CHA apartment where she has lived for over 25 years while raising her kids who turned out just fine.

  5. DeniseVB says:

    Obama doesn’t disappoint, he did post a selfie for Pearl Harbor on his Facebook page 😀

    • elliesmom says:

      To quote my mom – “Heaven and the saints preserve us.”

      • The Klown says:

        On an appointed day Herod put on his royal robes, took his seat upon the throne, and delivered an oration to them. And the people were shouting, “The voice of a god, and not of a man!” Immediately an angel of the Lord struck him down, because he did not give God the glory, and he was eaten by worms and breathed his last. – Acts 12:21-23

    • kanaughty says:

      I am starting to think this dude is the most narcissistic person in america. The january 1st crisis will bring him down a peg though. That’s the people realizing they aren’t covered because his website is still a piece of shit. Plus also i predict that still more people have lost insurance than signed up like that politico articale this week. This is stupid because supposedly they wanted to cover 40 million people, but before you go and count those that were originally uninsured into that goal, you first have to start out getting that 5 million back. So this is another one of those saved or created job situations. You watch they are going to change the language to include those people who lost their insurance into their original count and that is disgusting. Plus i really don’t think the young are going to buy into this because in reality that fine is so much cheaper than what they are making in their minimum wage or starting wage jobs for the most part.

    • foxyladi14 says:

      It is always about HIM Denise!! 😆

    • foxyladi14 says:

      Some comments are brutal. 🙂

    • votermom says:

      LOL
      Obama doesn’t even realize that he’s already descended into self-parody.

  6. kanaughty says:

    I have to say, he is a typical guy who makes predictions about online shopping only in the future. My husband hates going to stores for example, does all his holiday shopping online.

    But for us ladies in the family we love literally going to the stores, for one it is shopping therapy. It can be relaxing to get out of the house by yourself and peruse the aisles and see things you’d never see when you specifically search for something on amazon. Shopping is downtime and can be a light exercise for us girls. It is also fun to go do with friends, so it is real life social unlike shopping online.

    So matt can keep predicting that the future is online only (totally antisocial btw), but i think us women will keep brick and mortar open for many years to come. And i am not being sarcastic here, going shopping or just window shopping is really a tradition that people like me and friends and family i know don’t want to give up that easily. It is almost ritualistic in a way, the act of going shopping or even just perusing the aisles.

    Plus right now you still have to wait at least a day for amazon, when things like food, beauty supplies, batteries, printing ink, etc are sometimes things you didn’t realize you need right away because you just can’t possibly plan ahead for everything and sometimes your family members forget to tell you until the last minute too.

    For example, i just for some reason decided to try to order ink from hp because of cyber monday deal (it was supposed to come next day too!). But guess what, it is now saturday, and still no ink. I could have just spent the extra money and went to my office depot on monday and already had my ink this whole week. So yeah things i need kind of right away i am never going to trust online shopping for anymore.

    • jeffhas says:

      I am with you on this…. How are you suppose to discover new items, and touch and feel their quality without the in store shopping experience? (Buy it and send it back?, talk about time and effort) – or window shopping if nothing else but to see what the latest styles and trends are (of course I have a 21 year old daughter, so I gotta keep up with what I’m seeing).. I know lots of people hate this, and just don’t want to waste their time this way… And that’s cool too… But the ‘online only’ shoppers strike me as committed to being anti-social, Facebook friends (not real-live friends), text at dinner, loners. They are downers (in more ways than just their heads). You ever get into an actual conversation with one of these people? – it’s like you’re talking to someone in an alien language,not a foreign language – ALIEN language. I really think that people that can talk and interact with others LIVE are going to be valuable workers, managers and leaders in the future – a hot commodity, because of so many faceless, computer drones. I’m telling my daughter and her friends to hone up on those skills in addition to your education – it may look like no one cares about people skills right now, but being able to touch people and relate to people and just interact in a human way seems like a skill that will still be necessary, and maybe you can make top dollar when the Selfie-Twitterverse implodes.

      • angienc says:

        I really think that people that can talk and interact with others LIVE are going to be valuable workers, managers and leaders in the future

        You’ve got this right — it’s already happening, especially in fields like engineering, which has always been more dominated by tech-dependent people. My brother is a civil engineer & he rose super quickly to project manager status in his engineering firm &when I congratulated him on his quick promotion, he laughed and said “I’m the only one in that place who can go out & talk to people. Give me a few more years and I’ll be running the whole firm.”

        (BTW, he’s a VP at his firm now).

    • angienc says:

      You’re describing my mom to a “T” re: retail therapy. I always laugh and call her a “professional shopper” because she goes to the mall almost every day. But the truth is she doesn’t always *buy* things — she usually goes to walk & around and look at things. I, OTOH, only like to go when I need something — and then I go right to the store/department I want, find the item, buy it & leave. I’ve told her many times how can you just spend hours looking around, especially on those days (which are most of them) when you *know* you aren’t going to buy something and she says “It relaxes me.” Plus, she knows all the sales people, and they happily call her when a big sale is coming up, etc. When I’m bored, I will pick up a book or go online; when my mom is bored, she goes & walks around the mall for a few hours. To each their own.

  7. fif says:

    The whole piece is so condescending. Isn’t he swell?

    • Lulu says:

      If a Walmart is near him it is cool. If it is in gooberville it is not. So it is “he” the millenial who makes it cool. And I say, NOT!

  8. foxyladi14 says:

    I have gotten some great stuff at a reasonable price at Wall Mart. 🙂

  9. foxyladi14 says:

    Walmart too, 😆 😆

  10. DandyTIger says:

    I especially like how it’s urban Walmart’s that are sort of OK. Typical. The bottom line is that it’s a store and company that’s serving people that want low prices. An all to large amount of people would have to go without if they couldn’t get those things at those prices. That includes food. So what is it about Walmart that makes people angry or uncomfortable? Is it that it serves people that would otherwise be victims and ripe for (more) dependency on the government? Is it that a mega corporation has success and power? Or is it bigotry against the unwashed masses from elite? May be all of the above.

  11. Mary says:

    OT: Remember the Obama administration touting the California Obamacare exchanges as hugely successful?

    75% of the doctors in California are refusing to participate.

    True story.

  12. helenk3 says:

    http://www.uppitywis.org/michelle-obama-and-wal-mart

    OH OH somebody forgot to tell matty. mooch used to be on the board of Walmart

  13. helenk3 says:

    off topic

    http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2013/12/obamas_democrat_enemies.html

    this is an interesting article.

    simmering anger in the dem party towards backtrack

  14. The Klown says:
  15. helenk3 says:

    http://foxnewsinsider.com/2013/12/08/judge-jeanine-clock-ticking-obamacare

    judge jeanine —-clock is ticking. her opening statement last night

  16. helenk3 says:

    http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2013/12/obamacare_metes_out_restitution.html

    backtrack metes out restitution.

    his priorities are really screwed up

  17. helenk3 says:

    http://nation.foxnews.com/2013/12/08/huckabees-12-days-obamacare

    from huckabee’s show last night

    the 12 days of obamacare

  18. angienc says:

    Progs hate Walmart because despite all the crap they spew, they truly *hate* the poor and the middle class. They certainly wouldn’t live in close proximity of any so why should they shop with them. Just look at the poor neighborhoods that get “gentrified” — the progs are so proud of restoring these older, run-down neighborhoods, but it doesn’t occur to them where the former occupants have to go once they turn the townhomes/houses there into million dollar properties. “Let them eat cake” is true prog philosophy because, as that moron Josh Barro revealed recently, the elites really *are* better & smarter than the rest of us.

  19. helenk3 says:

    http://weaselzippers.us/2013/12/08/jesse-jackson-apartheid-remains-in-america/

    and here comes jesse jackson.

    since he seems to have such problems with this country, move out no one is forcing him to stay in a place where he is unhappy

  20. helenk3 says:

    http://weaselzippers.us/2013/12/08/msnbc-host-calling-the-aca-obamacare-is-same-as-using-the-n-word/

    I am laughing so hard.now calling the “affordable care act” obamacare is like using the “N” word

    when all else fails cry racism.

    welll honey that card is overdrawn

  21. leslie says:

    I’m in spamalot again!

  22. helenk3 says:

    http://ofbyforfilm.com/

    this looks like it could be interesting

  23. helenk3 says:

    http://www.foxnews.com/us/2013/12/08/world-war-ii-veteran-en-route-to-pearl-harbor-ceremony-booted-from-flight/?cmpid=NL_fntop

    united airlines has NO class. if there is any other way to fly please do.

    united booted 90 year old WW2 vet on his way to Pearl Harbor ceremony

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