I'm in Austin who else is out there?

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Re: I\'m in Austin who else is out there?

Sorry man, but my post was in response to Lady Jaye, not you....you happened to post while i was typing.

Jaye, i hope you don't take the "50 yr old hippie" comment i made personal like he did, i was trying to be tongue-in-cheek, but intent is easily lost on a message board, and i didn't use a smiley either...

I also didn't mean to come off aggressive either, but some of the comments and arguments being made seemed rather short-sighted to me. I never claimed Austin was perfect. It's far from it. There's no question the government waited WAY too long to do anything about the rapid growth. Austin is still a small-big city, especially compared to Hou, Dal, and SA. None of them have the greenbelts, Zilker, Town Lake, Hill Country, etc. A few new freeways don't ruin this city...and if you hate looking at the same strip malls, get off the highways, and discover something else.

I'm kinda tired of all this, but one last comparison... I don't hear anyone griping about Alamo Drafthouses popping up around town now. I mean, the Lakeline one is only 6-7 miles away from the Village. But the population can support it (as I definitely do!), so more are being built.

Personally, as far as the big retail stores go, the more Targets and Walmarts there are, the better chance i have of scoring some repainted Clone Troopers....isn't that why we're at this site?


Just a side note, but does anyone realize that in the Austin-RR-Cedar Park area, there are actually more Targets than Walmarts? Just thought it was interesting as i added it up. And for the record, I prefer Target over Walmart.
 
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Re: I\'m in Austin who else is out there?

stormshadow said:
Sorry man, but my post was in response to Lady Jaye, not you....you happened to post while i was typing.

Jaye, i hope you don't take the "50 yr old hippie" comment i made personal like he did, i was trying to be tongue-in-cheek, but intent is easily lost on a message board, and i didn't use a smiley either...

I also didn't mean to come off aggressive either, but some of the comments and arguments being made seemed rather short-sighted to me. I never claimed Austin was perfect. It's far from it. There's no question the government waited WAY too long to do anything about the rapid growth. Austin is still a small-big city, especially compared to Hou, Dal, and SA. None of them have the greenbelts, Zilker, Town Lake, Hill Country, etc. A few new freeways don't ruin this city...and if you hate looking at the same strip malls, get off the highways, and discover something else.

I'm kinda tired of all this, but one last comparison... I don't hear anyone griping about Alamo Drafthouses popping up around town now. I mean, the Lakeline one is only 6-7 miles away from the Village. But the population can support it (as I definitely do!), so more are being built.

Personally, as far as the big retail stores go, the more Targets and Walmarts there are, the better chance i have of scoring some repainted Clone Troopers....isn't that why we're at this site?


Just a side note, but does anyone realize that in the Austin-RR-Cedar Park area, there are actually more Targets than Walmarts? Just thought it was interesting as i added it up. And for the record, I prefer Target over Walmart.
...why would forgetting to mention the Drafthouse be worth noting? Its franchising out beyond Austin as we speak (see - recent AICN report), so its mentioning isn't any more credible than noting a new McDonalds being built.

And its true that Austin still has some semblence of intimacy, it won't be like that for long. You're just looking at the now - the trend is Austin expanding outwards, and its not going to stop. Again, is this necessary? Absolutely. Yet it is still taking away from what made Austin trendy. Soon it'll just be the Austin-RR-Lakeline-Pflugerville metroplex, defined by nothing more than a series of steel and concrete overpasses and TJ Maxx's.
 
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Re: I\'m in Austin who else is out there?

Its seems when you speak of Austin you speak of mostly North Austin. Since I lived in austin I always considered Austin to be south of 51 st street, and in my eyes not much has changed to take away from what has made austin home. Do you expect all mom and pop places to stay small. If you owned a store and were offered the chance to expand your business, would you. If you say no, you are lying. You cry over how bad walmarts are but you dont hesitate to spend your money there. WHy, so you can have one of every star wars figure made. Thats says a lot about you and your integrity. Get off your soap box, quit coming to north austin and spending your money at targets and walmarts and then complain how they are ruining Austin. Come to Austin, go to the greenbelt and hike, go to the wildflower center and enjoy the landscape, go to zilker park, go downtown and listen to music, eat and a nice restaurant and enjoy austin for what it is. Its not just a few, yes a few too many, crowded concrete stores.


Mark
 
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DarthPlagueis said:
...why would forgetting to mention the Drafthouse be worth noting? Its franchising out beyond Austin as we speak (see - recent AICN report), so its mentioning isn't any more credible than noting a new McDonalds being built.
Uh, you just made my point for me. It's branching out, there's one in Austin within 10 miles of each other, just like the stores everyone is crying about. Yet no one cries about "cool" places like that...(and yes, i say the more Drafthouses, the better, get rid of the Cinemarks). Just making a point.

DarthPlagueis said:
...defined by nothing more than a series of steel and concrete overpasses and TJ Maxx's.
Laughable. If that's how you'll define Austin, so be it...I feel sorry for you. You said the expansion was necessary, yet you complain. What would your solution be? Just curious...
 
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Re: I\'m in Austin who else is out there?

....there are so many inaccuracies in DarthPlagueis's post that I wouldn't know where to begin. But it's silly stuff that I've heard before.

DarthPlagueis said:
....there are so many inaccuracies in Infallible's post that I wouldn't know where to begin. I would hardly call having a privately owned 'mom-and-pop' store bought out and consolidated under a larger corporate umbrella the "American Dream".
Well, it is. You think that the owners don't make a fantasic profit for selling to a big corporation? Besides, it is a voluntary choice for them to do so.

Let me make your counter-argument for you: "But Wal-Mart undercuts the mom-and-pop stores and drives them out of business! It's unfair!!!!!"

Okay, let's take a look. Nobody is forcing the consumer to shop at a particular place. So the consumer is volunarily and freely choosing where they shop. So if Wal-Mart can offer the same goods for cheaper prices, then it's likely that the smaller business will fail. As it should, since the smaller business is no longer giving people what they want.

What we are saying is that small businesses CAN compete with the large, national chains, and the small business can thrive. They just have to offer what the big stores don't. They have to provide some marketable benefit. Look at Waterloo: The selection you get there is awesome, as is the service and the ability for them to order pretty much anything you could want. Look at Thundercloud: They offer a menu that's more appealing to a local crowd, with healthy and different menu options than a big chain. Look at Drafthouse: They show good movies in a more fun environment, and provide a dining service to set them apart. There are plenty of other examples all over town of small businesses providing something to the market that sets them apart from the big businesses. If a small company can't compete with Wal-Mart, then they're simply not willing to change with the market, and, frankly, deserve to fail.

Your argument boils down to, "People should be forced to shop at locally-owned businesses, even if they don't want to." Personally, I think that's wrong.

DarthPlagueis said:
Sure, the owner can cash out, but to what expense? So that the community can be home to 200 more low-wage jobs, in which studies only show causes the stagnation of a community?
Studies? If you're gonna mention it, you'd better site it. So you seem to think that low-wage jobs are worse than no jobs at all. Let's look at a mom-and-pop operation. Besides the owners, they employ 15-20 people, at most. What do you think the income is of these people? Do you really think that a mom-and-pop store will pay them much more than minimum wage? Do you think they provide death and diability insurance? Do you think there's really any opportunity at all of advancement outside the death or retirement of the owners? Of course not. So, at best, a mom-and-pop store employs 20 people at just above minimum wage. The Wal-Mart comes in, and they hire about 300 people. Now, that's not a figure for a big Super Wal-Mart, that's a small-town Wal-Mart. (My source is a former employee at a small town Wal-Mart.) That's two hundred eighty more employed people in that small town. Two hundered eighty more jobs available in that town. Are you really trying to tell me that's not a good thing?

DarthPlagueis said:
So that our trade deficit worsens because we are importing more cheaply made goods that these stores sell? So that we advocate low wage labor overseas (but who cares, as long as we Americans are happy, right?).
Again, you're saying that no jobs are better than low wage jobs. You're also comparing the American standard of living with a country in the developing world. They're totally different. The wages that those overseas employees are paid may sound small to us, but they're a boon to those employees. Remember, they had NO job before, and no opportunity to earn a living. Again, are you saying this is bad?

DarthPlagueis said:
C'mon. As these retail giants grow bigger and bigger and devour more locally owned stores and businesses, we are continually putting the majority of wealth in a smaller number of peoples hands, and a great division of wealth is not a good thing (see - French Revolution).
That's just not true. Successful companies improve the lives of everyone in the company, and everyone invested in the company. Sure, there are some high-profile CEOs that make a ton of money, but let's look again at Wal-Mart. Wal-Mart employs 1.6 million people. (This is from Wal-Mart's website.) That's a lot of folks that have jobs and are better off because of Wal-Mart. Not to mention the towns that get tax benefits, investors that make money, and locals that get more goods for cheaper prices.

Though, I'll ask, what's your alternative?

DarthPlagueis said:
There are so many statistical innacuracies in your generalized statement that make me want to puke.
Show me. I'm not hearing statistics from you, all I'm hearing is anti-capitalist rhetoric. My statements have over 200 years of proof behind them.

DarthPlagueis said:
And I'm guilty as well. I buy my Star Wars at WalMart and Target. Why? Because I can't find them anywhere else. Don't you see the reality in that statement?
No, I see that you're too lazy to look to smaller shops for your toys. You can go to a local comic shop to get your Star Wars toys. I see them there often enough. You can order from one of the online sellers. Those are basically mom-and-pop stores. Oh My God Cheap New Figures Online is a small company that works out of a single office. You can get Star Wars toys from them. There are plenty of other small businesses online that sell Star Wars toys. If you want to go even smaller, you can buy from eBay. There are plenty of folks on there you can get your toys from without having to go to Wal-Mart. Just admit it: You don't use these places because they're a little more expensive than buying from Wal-Mart. There's nothing wrong with buying from Wal-Mart, but it is a bit hypocritical of you say that you don't like Wal-Mart, then turn around and by there and leave small businesses hanging.

Again, tell me your alternative. I never heard what you'd do if you were dictator of the city. What is your solution? Personally, I think Wal-Mart is fine because it's what the market wants. It's a free choice by consumers, and I'm not going to act omniscient enough to tell people what they ought to buy for themselves.
 
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Re: I\'m in Austin who else is out there?

DarthPlagueis said:
...why would forgetting to mention the Drafthouse be worth noting? Its franchising out beyond Austin as we speak (see - recent AICN report), so its mentioning isn't any more credible than noting a new McDonalds being built.
Ha! Well, at least one of my questions was answered. I guess a business can only refrain from turning evil if they stay at one location. Prospering and growing and opening in new places clearly makes a company Too Big To Be Good.

It's funny that you mentioned local economic stagnation in your earlier post, but in this one, it seems that stagnation is exactly what you think all small business should aspire to.

Yeah, funny.
 
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Re: I\'m in Austin who else is out there?

infallible said:
Okay, let's take a look. Nobody is forcing the consumer to shop at a particular place.
....not true. Your rationale is so nearsighted. You aren't looking towards the future or to those outside your spectrum. You're looking at the here and now, and what impacts those immediately around you. You say no one is forcing you to shop at a particular place? I disagree. As these corporations grow larger and more powerful, they are able to basically set prices for the whole industry, as well as employees' wages. They undercut outsiders and say what can and can't be sold. Look at the 'Question Mark' section from this website about the cancellation of the Unleashed. Part of the reason that it got the axe is because it couldn't find the peg space at the super-retailers, and without their support the line can't survive. In essence they are SAYING what can and can't be made; they are controlling the means of production and thus not allowing consumers the right of free will.


DarthPlagueis said:
Sure, the owner can cash out, but to what expense? So that the community can be home to 200 more low-wage jobs, in which studies only show causes the stagnation of a community?
infallible said:
Studies? If you're gonna mention it, you'd better site it.
...you ask, you receive:

"And while Wal-Mart competition does lower prices, it also depresses wages and eliminates jobs. One 1999 study reported that 1.5 jobs had been lost for every job that Wal-Mart created" - http://www.alternet.org/stories/18926/

....need some more?

"Wal-Mart also helps hold down wages throughout the retail industry, with a few exceptions like the partly-unionized Costco (where wages average $16 an hour) or more heavily unionized grocery stores. A 1999 study for the Orange County Business Council forecast that the entry of grocery supercenters such as Wal-Mart operates could cost southern California $2.8 billion in lost wages and benefits each year as grocers cut the jobs or wages and benefits of a quarter million largely unionized grocery workers."

.....there are literally a thousand studies done on the impact of Walmart and similar entities in the community. Maybe you should take the time out of your busy schedule of toy-site hopping to take a look. Oh, here's another -

"Counties that gained a Wal-Mart store experienced smaller reductions in family poverty rates during the economically strong 1990s than did counties not gaining a Wal-Mart store, according to a new study by a rural economist in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences." http://aginfo.psu.edu/News/October04/poverty.html

....I could go on and on. Oh, here's one about the tax burden -
"A recent study by Good Jobs First, an organization that monitors economic development policies, found that state and local governments had given at least $1 billion in subsidies to stores and distribution centers"

....and the most comprehensive, a 250-page study down by Dr. Edward Shills that is an objective look at the "big boxes" in the community. Here's an excerpt that relates to my concerns regarding Austin:http://www.lawmall.com/rpa/rpashils.htm

"As retail stores close do to the opening of a Wal-Mart or similar 'big-box' chain, the result has been the further "ghettotization" of the community. Retail stores are boarded up, marked with graffiti..."

SERIOUSLY, take a look, guy. You are so concerned with the here and now. "Well, more jobs are better than no jobs, right?". Well, if you look at the first quote I cited above, the opening of these chains result in a LOSS of jobs in the community (Here's another - " A recent projection by the University of Illinois at Chicago's Center for Urban Economic Development concluded that the proposed West-Side Chicago store likely would yield a net decrease of about 65 jobs after that Wal-Mart opens.) And I'm not going to go into the cultural, traditional, or monopolistic ramifications. Geez, did you go to college? If you did, you have to know that there is more to it than your generalized statements. "Well, jobs are better than no jobs". Laughable, seriously.

DarthPlagueis said:
C'mon. As these retail giants grow bigger and bigger and devour more locally owned stores and businesses, we are continually putting the majority of wealth in a smaller number of peoples hands, and a great division of wealth is not a good thing (see - French Revolution).
infallible said:
That's just not true. Successful companies improve the lives of everyone in the company
....oh geez, not again. Here you go:


"....$9 an hour for full-time workers, around $8 for the roughly 45 percent of "associates" working less than 45 weeks a year......Wal-Mart saw profits of $9 billion in 2004...."

"Wal-Mart workers receive lower wages than other retail workers and are less likely to have health benefits......Reliance by Wal-Mart workers on public assistance programs in California comes at a cost to the taxpayers of an estimated $86 million annually...... If other large California retailers adopted Wal-Mart’s wage and benefits standards, it would cost taxpayers an additional $410 million a year in public assistance to employees......over half of Wal-Mart employees qualify for food stamps..." http://www.dsausa.org/lowwage/walmart/2004/walmart%20study.html

.....if succesfull companies make the lives of their employees better, shouldn't the LARGEST employer not have more than half of its employees being food-stamp eligible, or be so anti-union that it would rather close one of its stores than let it unionize? Hmmmm.



DarthPlagueis said:
There are so many statistical innacuracies in your generalized statement that make me want to puke.
infallible said:
Show me. I'm not hearing statistics from you, all I'm hearing is anti-capitalist rhetoric. My statements have over 200 years of proof behind them.
....I think I did. I can find a billion more studies to counter your "200 years of proof," as well.

infallible said:
There's nothing wrong with buying from Wal-Mart
...hey, to each their own. But to you, it seems that you're more concerned with you narrow-sighted view of life and what you see with your own eyes than what statistics say. 200 years of history? Can you tell me what you mean by this, because I am a History teacher after all and I see no relevence for this statement in any of your arguments. Sooooo, do I shop at WalMart? Sometimes, yeah. Because sometimes I have to. And that's the whole point that I was trying to make.
 

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Re: I\'m in Austin who else is out there?

The thread need to be titled, "I'm in Austin....anyone else love Walmart?"
 
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Re: I\'m in Austin who else is out there?

Jeez, no joke.

Plagueis, you may be a history teacher, but to me you lose all credibility when you throw out so many anti-"big box store, evil corporation" statements, and the effects of them on our society, and yet turn right around and say you shop at Walmart, and that "sometimes you have to."

I really don't want to get into more arguments, but i'm just curious what MAKES you have to shop at Walmart? Why not boycott them and take a stand in what you believe in? It's not like you live in a podunk town, where Walmart ran everyone out of business and there's no alternative... There are plenty of alternatives in a city this big...you just have to want to...
 
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Re: I\'m in Austin who else is out there?

Maybe you should have studied more economics rather than just social history.

DarthPlagueis said:
infallible said:
Okay, let's take a look. Nobody is forcing the consumer to shop at a particular place.
....not true. Your rationale is so nearsighted. You aren't looking towards the future or to those outside your spectrum. You're looking at the here and now, and what impacts those immediately around you. You say no one is forcing you to shop at a particular place? I disagree. As these corporations grow larger and more powerful, they are able to basically set prices for the whole industry, as well as employees' wages. They undercut outsiders and say what can and can't be sold.
Okay, the beginnings of a valid point. However, it's not supported by (oddly enough) history. A monopolistic company still has to deal with the market. If they raise prices too high, then the customer will seek a cheaper alternative already on the market, or someone will create the cheaper alternative. Labor is the same way. If a company can't compete with others in how much they pay labor, then the labor market will shift away from that company. Now, you say that you are "forced" to shop at Wal-Mart, and that employees are "forced" to work there. Problem is that you're not using the right definition of "forced." As I pointed out, even for Star Wars toys, you have options on where to buy them. However, Wal-Mart eveidently provides you with a more convenient, efficient, and cost-effective option that gives them a market advantage. So you choose to spend your money at Wal-Mart. As far as employment, there is no place anywhere in the world where Wal-Mart is the sole employer. There are always other stores. Be they restaurants, specialty stores, factories, hotels, whatever you like, no town is employed solely by a Wal-Mart. There are always other jobs for people to take. Even if in some bizarre place 'Mart was the only employer, then people also have the option of picking up and moving somewhere else.

When I use the term "forced," I mean that they are held at gunpoint or threatened with violence if they don't do what they are told. When you use "forced," you say it almost as a synonym for "more convenient."

DarthPlagueis said:
Look at the 'Question Mark' section from this website about the cancellation of the Unleashed. Part of the reason that it got the axe is because it couldn't find the peg space at the super-retailers, and without their support the line can't survive. In essence they are SAYING what can and can't be made; they are controlling the means of production and thus not allowing consumers the right of free will.
Incorrect. Customers did have the free will to buy the Unleashed line. It wasn't popular enough to continue to carry. Do you really think that Wal-Mart would have stopped carrying the line if it was good for business? But I've seen Unleashed figures sitting around collecting dust. Why should Wal-Mart continue to carry a losing line?

I don't have time right now to take a look at all your sites, so I won't try to refute them now. But I will try to take a look at them this weekend and see how well they hold up.

DarthPlagueis said:
Geez, did you go to college? If you did, you have to know that there is more to it than your generalized statements. "Well, jobs are better than no jobs". Laughable, seriously.
Are you saying that I'm wrong that "low-paying" jobs are better than no jobs?

DarthPlagueis said:
or be so anti-union that it would rather close one of its stores than let it unionize? Hmmmm.
Again, I'll have to wait to read the study, but the comment about unions I can comment on. Can you really blame Wal-Mart for avoiding unionization? Now, I completely agree that people should be able to freely come together to negotiate with an employer. However, Unions enjoy certain legislative protections that can, frankly, be abusive to the employer. Most Unions today are just thugs and bullies, and don't have the best interest of the employee at heart. Collective bargaining is fine, but Unions in their current state are not.

DarthPlagueis said:
200 years of history? Can you tell me what you mean by this, because I am a History teacher after all and I see no relevence for this statement in any of your arguments.
Yeah, a little thing called capitalism and the Industrial Revolution. I mean, in historical terms, an upstart country becoming the world's last superpower because it has, for the most part, free markets. That's the 200 years of history. The world's had centuries and centuries of state-controlled markets, and they don't work. But it's no coincidence that those countries that are capitalistic and allow the markets to operate most freely are also those countries that have the highest standards of living. Wal-Mart is successful because the free market has made them so. Your solution is to block the market's will, deny people what they want, and make everyone suffer for it. I'm not into that.

DarthPlagueis said:
Sooooo, do I shop at WalMart? Sometimes, yeah. Because sometimes I have to. And that's the whole point that I was trying to make.
I already pointed out that you have plenty of options for Star Wars toys that you don't have to go to Wal-Mart. The same is true for bananas (farmer's markets), tortillas (local bakeries), hammers (local hardware stores), dish soap (local grocery [Wheatsville Co-op is locally owned if you can't think of one]), or whatever else you get at Wal-Mart. You don't have to shop there, and I know several people that refuse to. But you're just not willing to admit that Wal-Mart has enough of a market advantage to convince you to shop there. You voluntarily choose to shop at a Wal-Mart. Nobody forces you. Again: You CHOOSE to shop at Wal-Mart, and so does everyone else.

Oh, and I did graduate college with highest honors, and when I was in school, I (and many of my peers) were smarter than most of our teachers. Take that as you will.
 
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Re: I\'m in Austin who else is out there?

I love how you simply chose not to respond to the studies I cited that YOU requested me to. Anything you want to say on that, eh? I didn't think so, because there is no argument - the facts are the facts. And I thought that I was going to be intrigued by your explaination of "200 years of history," but all you throw out there is "industrial revolution and capitalism"?? Painting kind of broad strokes there, huh buddy? And state-controlled markets don't work? It seems to be working pretty well in Communist China, where they're are experiencing the biggest economic growth in the last 200 years of human history. And isn't that where WalMart is heading, anyways? Its not a state-controlled entity, but a monopolistic one just the same that has the potential to act as a controlling body in the industry. Just incase you glanced over those studies I cited, Here, I'll post them again -

infallible wrote:
Are you saying that I'm wrong that "low-paying" jobs are better than no jobs?

(read the following - for every two Wal-Mart job created in the community, three others are lost....)
"And while Wal-Mart competition does lower prices, it also depresses wages and eliminates jobs. One 1999 study reported that 1.5 jobs had been lost for every job that Wal-Mart created" - http://www.alternet.org/stories/18926/


"Wal-Mart also helps hold down wages throughout the retail industry, with a few exceptions like the partly-unionized Costco (where wages average $16 an hour) or more heavily unionized grocery stores. A 1999 study for the Orange County Business Council forecast that the entry of grocery supercenters such as Wal-Mart operates could cost southern California $2.8 billion in lost wages and benefits each year as grocers cut the jobs or wages and benefits of a quarter million largely unionized grocery workers."


"Counties that gained a Wal-Mart store experienced smaller reductions in family poverty rates during the economically strong 1990s than did counties not gaining a Wal-Mart store, according to a new study by a rural economist in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences." http://aginfo.psu.edu/News/October04/poverty.html


"Wal-Mart workers receive lower wages than other retail workers and are less likely to have health benefits......Reliance by Wal-Mart workers on public assistance programs in California comes at a cost to the taxpayers of an estimated $86 million annually...... If other large California retailers adopted Wal-Mart’s wage and benefits standards, it would cost taxpayers an additional $410 million a year in public assistance to employees......over half of Wal-Mart employees qualify for food stamps..." http://www.dsausa.org/lowwage/walmart/2004/walmart%20study.html

infallible wrote:
That's just not true. Successful companies improve the lives of everyone in the company




....oh geez, not again. Here you go:


"....$9 an hour for full-time workers, around $8 for the roughly 45 percent of "associates" working less than 45 weeks a year......Wal-Mart saw profits of $9 billion in 2004...."

A recent projection by the University of Illinois at Chicago's Center for Urban Economic Development concluded that the proposed West-Side Chicago store likely would yield a net decrease of about 65 jobs after that Wal-Mart opens
 
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Re: I\'m in Austin who else is out there?

stormshadow said:
Jeez, no joke.

Plagueis, you may be a history teacher, but to me you lose all credibility when you throw out so many anti-"big box store, evil corporation" statements, and the effects of them on our society, and yet turn right around and say you shop at Walmart, and that "sometimes you have to."

I really don't want to get into more arguments, but i'm just curious what MAKES you have to shop at Walmart? Why not boycott them and take a stand in what you believe in? It's not like you live in a podunk town, where Walmart ran everyone out of business and there's no alternative... There are plenty of alternatives in a city this big...you just have to want to...
...actually, I do live in a po-dunk town - I commute 60 miles to Austin daily for work. And for the most part I do shop at other places, but sometimes circumstances require that I do visit Walmart and Target. But that's the society that we live in; I'm not sitting here saying that if you shop at the big-boxes then you're the anti-christ - the whole topic started as being what was wrong with Austin. Hey, I just stated the facts above, taken from actual studies - make up your own mind. I wasn't for or against Wal-Mart until I actually took the time and did some research on the direct and indirect effects that it creates in the community. Most people haven't done so - they just go on blind faith that the only evil to the big boxes is that they eliminate the little guy. And hey, atleast I was honest in saying that I do occasionally shop there, because you'll be hard pressed to find anyone that doesn't. But that's the society that we live in, right?
 
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Re: I\'m in Austin who else is out there?

I'm getting the chance to look over your sources, and I'll start hitting them one by one:

DarthPlagueis said:
"And while Wal-Mart competition does lower prices, it also depresses wages and eliminates jobs. One 1999 study reported that 1.5 jobs had been lost for every job that Wal-Mart created" - http://www.alternet.org/stories/18926/
Okay, this one is an article, not a study, and it doesn't cite its sources, so I can't follow up on its claims. Since I can't verify the accuracy of article, it's really pointless.

DarthPlagueis said:
"Counties that gained a Wal-Mart store experienced smaller reductions in family poverty rates during the economically strong 1990s than did counties not gaining a Wal-Mart store, according to a new study by a rural economist in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences." http://aginfo.psu.edu/News/October04/poverty.html
Yay! An actual study. I went ahead and read beyond the press release to the actual study. The report concluded that over the period of 1987 to 1998, counties that gained new Wal-Marts had a smaller reduction in poverty than counties that didn't gain a Wal-Mart. Okay, having read the report itself, it certainly isn't proven that there is a direct relation between Wal-Mart and the poverty rate. Even so, it's worth looking at what kind of county would attract a Wal-Mart. The county has to have the population to support a store, meaning that for Wal-Mart to add a store, it indicates that the population is large enough to support such a thing. The bigger the population, the harder it is to reduce the poverty rate. If you've got a county with 3000 residents and a 10% poverty rate, it's a lot easier to change the poverty rate than in a county with 100000 residents and a 10% poverty rate. There's just not enough here to show a direct corrolation between poverty rates and new Wal-Marts.

And, of course, from the report itself:
"The question whether the cost of relatively higher poverty in a county is offset by the benefits of lower prices and wider choices available to consumers associated with a Wal-Mart store cannot be answered here."
Meaning that they didn't even consider how the quality of life may have been improved by Wal-Mart. Hardly justification for your position.

DarthPlagueis said:
"A recent study by Good Jobs First, an organization that monitors economic development policies, found that state and local governments had given at least $1 billion in subsidies to stores and distribution centers"
No citation, but that's fine. Now, as a libertarian, I don't believe that the city government should be giving subsidies to anyone. But let's look at why they are giving them: Because they WANT the Wal-Mart in their town! The city says that they'll give a subsidy (usually in the form of a tax break) to a store in order to encourage it to build there. Austin's in the middle of offering one of these to Samsung right now. Why would they want these stores and distribution centers in their town? Because it decreses unemployment, and (in the long run) increases the amount of taxes that the local government can collect. Hardly damning evidence.

DarthPlagueis said:
....and the most comprehensive, a 250-page study down by Dr. Edward Shills that is an objective look at the "big boxes" in the community. Here's an excerpt that relates to my concerns regarding Austin:http://www.lawmall.com/rpa/rpashils.htm

"As retail stores close do to the opening of a Wal-Mart or similar 'big-box' chain, the result has been the further "ghettotization" of the community. Retail stores are boarded up, marked with graffiti..."
I admit it: I'm not willing to spend my weekend reading this 250 page document (which isn't actually a study), but I will talk about your quote. It's merely anecdotal, and doesn't prove anything. I've seen plenty of stores close and then re-open as something new, rather than be "boarded up and covered in graffiti." But at least I'm willing to admit that what I've seen hardly constitutes evidence of anything.

DarthPlagueis said:
Well, if you look at the first quote I cited above, the opening of these chains result in a LOSS of jobs in the community
Your first quote was an article with no citations, and your second quote was a study that showed that, at worst, when a Wal-Mart comes in, the net effect on employment is zero, not negative. There's not a loss of jobs, but usually a gain in jobs.

DarthPlagueis said:
"....$9 an hour for full-time workers, around $8 for the roughly 45 percent of "associates" working less than 45 weeks a year......Wal-Mart saw profits of $9 billion in 2004...."

"Wal-Mart workers receive lower wages than other retail workers and are less likely to have health benefits......Reliance by Wal-Mart workers on public assistance programs in California comes at a cost to the taxpayers of an estimated $86 million annually...... If other large California retailers adopted Wal-Mart’s wage and benefits standards, it would cost taxpayers an additional $410 million a year in public assistance to employees......over half of Wal-Mart employees qualify for food stamps..." http://www.dsausa.org/lowwage/walmart/2004/walmart%20study.html
Okay, so there are some Wal-Mart employees that use state assistance. The report itself assumes that overall employment doesn't change with a Wal-Mart, and also says that it is indeterminable whether moving from a mom-and-pop job to Wal-Mart results in a change in income. What does this mean? That the folks aren't on public assistance because they work at Wal-Mart, and probably were on it before they worked there.

Never mind that the study only looks at California, where cost of living is disproportionately high...

Of course, none of this changes the fact that people, including you, CHOOSE to shop at Wal-Mart, and many people CHOOSE to work at Wal-Mart. None of these studies touch on that. Shopping and working at Wal-Mart is a choice. There is no Wal-Mart police out there dragging people into the store. I'm content to let people make their own decicions on where to work or shop.

EDIT: I didn't bother to mention those quotes for which there was no listed citation. Considering I couldn't verify the information, there was nothing to which I could respond.
 
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Re: I\'m in Austin who else is out there?

DarthPlagueis said:
I love how you simply chose not to respond to the studies I cited that YOU requested me to. Anything you want to say on that, eh? I didn't think so, because there is no argument - the facts are the facts.
Heh, actually, in my post, I said that I didn't have time to devote to reading over your sources, and that I'd try to get to it later. Well, I've read them, and posted my comments in another message. Feel free to look it over.

DarthPlagueis said:
And I thought that I was going to be intrigued by your explaination of "200 years of history," but all you throw out there is "industrial revolution and capitalism"?? Painting kind of broad strokes there, huh buddy? And state-controlled markets don't work? It seems to be working pretty well in Communist China, where they're are experiencing the biggest economic growth in the last 200 years of human history.
HA! Surely you're kidding? Poverty and starvation are rampant in China, not to mention the fact that the people there have no real freedom. The only reason that China is having any economic growth is BECAUSE they are letting up on their market controls and allowing more "free" trade. If state-controlled economies worked, then Soviet Russia never would have fallen, North Korea would be an economic powerhouse, and Cubans wouldn't be willing to die on home made rafts to get to America.

DarthPlagueis said:
And isn't that where WalMart is heading, anyways? Its not a state-controlled entity, but a monopolistic one just the same that has the potential to act as a controlling body in the industry.
Repeat after me: Wal-Mart is not a monopoly. Wal-Mart has tons of competition. From Target down to specialty stores, there is plenty of competition for Wal-Mart.

I read your "studies" (mostly articles, only two real studies), and they were not convincing.
 
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off topic

i know this is off topic and has nothing t odo with the current argument but does anyone know of any kmarts
near austin that i can goto to find the temple assualt pack?
i want to get one but kamrt closed all the ones in asutin
 
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Re: off topic

racer223 said:
i know this is off topic and has nothing t odo with the current argument but does anyone know of any kmarts
near austin that i can goto to find the temple assualt pack?
i want to get one but kamrt closed all the ones in asutin
....we have one here in Killeen but they are hard to come by. I'll keep an eye out for you.
 
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Re: I\'m in Austin who else is out there?

infallible wrote:
Your first quote was an article with no citations, and your second quote was a study that showed that, at worst, when a Wal-Mart comes in, the net effect on employment is zero, not negative. There's not a loss of jobs, but usually a gain in jobs.

....I love it how you chide me for not listing the citations (which you could have easily looked up yourself, as I provided all the resources), and then go on to make the blanket statement, "There's not a loss of jobs, but usually a gain of jobs," without listing one of your own! Nice display of hypocrisy.

You can try and put the spin on things however you want to (as does your champion, Neil Bortz). I love this generalized, blanketed statement:

"....folks aren't on public assistance because they work at Wal-Mart, and probably were on it before they worked there."

If you read any of the above, you would have noted that WalMart's pay and benefit packages are well below the comparable businesses that they undercut, like unionized grocery stores and retailers such as CostCo, which provide the employees with decent wages and health packages. These jobs are eliminated when the anti-union Walmart steamrolls into town and replaced by wages and health packages that are inadequate to the worker, which in turn has them drawing from the taxpayer in the form of state and federal social services. If, like you stated above, employees reap the benefit of a companies success, how come the largest private employer in the world pays one of the industry's lowest wages, despite profits of 9 billion last year? I have friends that work at HEB that make $14 an hour here in the Austin area, but never hear of like wage at WalMart. And yet its companies like HEB and the like that succomb to Walmart.
 
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Re: I\'m in Austin who else is out there?

DarthPlagueis said:
....I love it how you chide me for not listing the citations (which you could have easily looked up yourself, as I provided all the resources), and then go on to make the blanket statement, "There's not a loss of jobs, but usually a gain of jobs," without listing one of your own! Nice display of hypocrisy.
I got that from your source.

DarthPlagueis said:
I love this generalized, blanketed statement: "....folks aren't on public assistance because they work at Wal-Mart, and probably were on it before they worked there."
Let me go ahead and quote myself to show what I really said:
infallible said:
The report itself assumes that overall employment doesn't change with a Wal-Mart, and also says that it is indeterminable whether moving from a mom-and-pop job to Wal-Mart results in a change in income. What does this mean? That the folks aren't on public assistance because they work at Wal-Mart, and probably were on it before they worked there.
FROM THE REPORT, it's assumed that overall jobs aren't affected and indeterminate whether Wal-Mart changes income. That's from YOUR cited source. If these two things are true, then it's reasonable to believe that the people were on public assistance prior to working for Wal-Mart.

DarthPlagueis said:
If you read any of the above, you would have noted that WalMart's pay and benefit packages are well below the comparable businesses that they undercut, like unionized grocery stores and retailers such as CostCo, which provide the employees with decent wages and health packages.
Apples to oranges again. First, you can't compare a non-union place like Wal-Mart to a union place. You really think that the grocery chains would be paying those big wages if they didn't have to? Nor can you compare it to a members-only club like CostCo. Two entirely different business models. Oh, and I did read everything you cited, as well as going back and reading the full reports when only a summary was provided.

DarthPlagueis said:
These jobs are eliminated when the anti-union Walmart steamrolls into town and replaced by wages and health packages that are inadequate to the worker, which in turn has them drawing from the taxpayer in the form of state and federal social services.
I've yet to see any proof of that, even in your sources. Wal-Mart hasn't replaced any grocery stores that I've seen, especially since most Wal-Marts don't sell groceries. And, as I said, CostCo sells to a completely different set of people, and they're thriving in their markets.

Plus, I'm not sure where the fantasy of high-paying mom-and-pop jobs comes from. I've yet to encounter a mom-and-pop store that pays high wages, even if they could afford them.


DarthPlagueis said:
If, like you stated above, employees reap the benefit of a companies success, how come the largest private employer in the world pays one of the industry's lowest wages, despite profits of 9 billion last year? I have friends that work at HEB that make $14 an hour here in the Austin area, but never hear of like wage at WalMart. And yet its companies like HEB and the like that succomb to Walmart.
Again, HEB is only in competition with Super Wal-Marts, and when that's the case, it's also in competition with another 5 grocery stores in the immediate area.

Employees do benefit from a company's success in that more jobs are created, more promotions are available, and greater benefits are out there. The jobs your talking about are the entry level jobs. Granted, Wal-Mart has a ton of those, but they also have a high turnover because they generally aren't jobs that people keep forever. But it really doesn't matter. You've said that there are better paying jobs out there, and yet people still choose to work at Wal-Mart. You can scream and huff all you like, but, ultimately, you want to take away people's choice. That's just not right.
 
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Re: I\'m in Austin who else is out there?

So infallible, how do you feel about the choice being taken away to smoke in bars and restaurants!! Your argument from the begining has been about choices and this overwhelming fear that they will be taken away if Austin grows cautiosly, not the way it is. So anyhow what do you feel about the no smorking ordinance??? Just the no smoking ordinace for now!!!
 
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Re: I\'m in Austin who else is out there?

Lady_Jaye said:
So infallible, how do you feel about the choice being taken away to smoke in bars and restaurants!! Your argument from the begining has been about choices and this overwhelming fear that they will be taken away if Austin grows cautiosly, not the way it is. So anyhow what do you feel about the no smorking ordinance??? Just the no smoking ordinace for now!!!
I hate smoking. It's vile, disgusting, smelly, rude, and unhealthy. Smoking has kept me from going out to a lot of places. The smell of it makes my head hurt, and inhaling it makes my throat sore. I used to work in a bar, and the smoking was the second worst part (after my @$$hole of a boss). Having said that, the government has no place telling privately owned business that they can't allow smoking. It's wrong for the government to trod over the individual business owners' rights like this.

It's the same thing when government steps in and prevents a Wal-Mart from going up. They are using legislation to allow the desires of a minority to override the will of the market. If the market would bear non-smoking bars, then they would be out there. If the market would reject a Wal-Mart in the area, then the Wal-Mart would fail. But a smaller number of people have their own small-minded ideas, and they know that the market doesn't want those ideas, so instead, they let the government flex their monopoly on the use of physical force to get their ideas through. It's wrong.
 
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Re: I\'m in Austin who else is out there?

Eh, Infallible, I guess we'll just have to agree to disagree. You do make some good points, however, but I'm still not swayed. I'm not so much concerned as to where we are now, but where the trend seems to be pointing to in the future. I'm afraid that thirty years from now everything will be a massive conglomerate that will dictate the market. Seeing as Sears just bought KMart, its not impossible to think that by the time I'm fifty most every retailer will be operating under the umbrella of one or two supercompanies. One or two mergers here and there is all it'll take. It's not so farfetched - look how far we've changed in the last forty years. And I only cite Walmart because of their shrewd business tactics and improper care of employees.

Yet I'm against you on the smoking ban. Private company or not, factors that contribute to the negative health of any private citizen without any cause by said person should be banned. If I go into a bar to get a drink, I don't want to have to be submitted to conditions that may possibly impact my health, simply because of someone else's nasty habit. Being a private business does not exclude it from any regulation. If a business decided to not allow African-Americans to shop there, should that be overlooked simply because it's a private business? I think not.
 
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Re: I\'m in Austin who else is out there?

DarthPlagueis said:
I'm not so much concerned as to where we are now, but where the trend seems to be pointing to in the future. I'm afraid that thirty years from now everything will be a massive conglomerate that will dictate the market. Seeing as Sears just bought KMart, its not impossible to think that by the time I'm fifty most every retailer will be operating under the umbrella of one or two supercompanies.
Well, considering that Sears and K-Mart were both companies that were close to failing, I wouldn't be too concerned about that merger. Even so, mergers aren't really a big deal, anyway. There will always be competition in the market. Fears such as yours have been around since the industrial revolution, and the massive conglomerates just haven't come to pass. It's the nature of the market to have competition. That only changes when legislation is enacted to distort the market forces.

DarthPlagueis said:
Yet I'm against you on the smoking ban. Private company or not, factors that contribute to the negative health of any private citizen without any cause by said person should be banned. If I go into a bar to get a drink, I don't want to have to be submitted to conditions that may possibly impact my health, simply because of someone else's nasty habit.
But you don't make the rules at that private establishment. That business is someone else's property, and on the owner's property, he makes the rules. If he wants to allow people to smoke, then you have just as much of a right not to do business there. But as an individual, you don't have the right to force another individual to conform to what you want on his property. It's akin to someone coming to your house and telling you that you can't display Star Wars toys because he doesn't like Star Wars. Same exact principle. Besides, getting a drink at a bar is alredy having an "impact on your health."

And, by the way, as much as I detest smoking, there is no credible evidence to show that second hand smoke is dangerous. A horrible annoyance, yes, but not dangerous.

DarthPlagueis said:
Being a private business does not exclude it from any regulation. If a business decided to not allow African-Americans to shop there, should that be overlooked simply because it's a private business? I think not.
Any business that would refuse service to someone because of their race is morally reprehensible. Such a business would be worthy of protest, boycott, and anything else legal to prevent someone from shopping there. However, as much as I abhor that sort of thing, it is still the business owner's right to refuse service to whomever he likes. It's morally wrong, but it is his business on his property with his money, and as such, it's his right to refuse service. Fortunately, the market has ways of punishing such behavior.
 
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Re: I\'m in Austin who else is out there?

Good question Plagueis, and good answer Infallible!!! I see both your points! At least you are a stern believer in freedom, no matter what!!!
 
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