You know how sometimes you’ve got one of those festering wannabe-commitments that just hasn’t marshaled up the political will to make it into reality? A few months back, one of mine finally made the jump after more than a decade in the holding pen.
Few people remember the name now, but Jdimytai Damour is the guy who many of us will keep in mind as we continue to avoid a certain behemoth retailer that’s got a fetish for trampling, whether it be running roughshod over local, regional, and national economies wherever it operates, or merely allowing its own employees to be killed by “overenthusiastic” bargain shoppers.
This is the same corporation that’s refined loss-control security measures to a high level, with video cameras seeing and recording virtually every square inch of the store property.
It’s one thing to underpay your employees so badly that they’re on assistance while still working (while living in mom’s basement, of course, since the wages are too low to support a person), to finagle their hours so they don’t qualify for benefits, to drive all your competitors out of business so badly that their former employees now work for you at drastically reduced pay & benefits, etc .. but it’s a whole nother thing to put your employees in harm’s way and then do nothing to apprehend the guilty after Something Really Bad™ happens.
You can tell we live in a really strange and fcuked-up place when it’s perfectly acceptable to trample a person to death (in the same business location where he works, no less) in search of shopping bargains, and when ostensibly law-abiding citizens feel little or no guilt or shame or remorse for having killed a fellow human being.
But by the same token, you can also tell you’re in a business run by really messed-up and sick people when that same business does literally nothing to preserve the scene of the crime so that the guilty can be apprehended. There is the abovementioned video system recording everything in an around the store 24/7. There were people with blood on their boots, shoes, heels, sneakers, and sandals. Did the store authorities freeze the registers, seal the exits, and tell everyone to stop right where they were so that their footwear could be examined before it rubbed off any more of the evidence? Did they ask everyone passing through the registers/exits to take a few steps on a large sheet of white paper (perhaps the back of some spare wrapping paper) while writing on it the name of each shopper? Of course not. Doing so would have interfered with that little “Bargain Shopping Über Alles” ditty we’re humming to ourselves 24/7.
Oddly enough, the same big blue company I’m talking about, the one we think of as the invincible juggernaut of bigger-box retailers, has had a few good in-your-face losses. It’s extremely gratifying to know that in certain markets around the world, the locals are organized enough to recognize batshit-insanity and to deal with it appropriately. Its failures in Germany and Korea tell us that if we want to, we can deal with it as others have.
There’s no mystery to it: just make sure to do your shopping elsewhere. Keep in mind that every cent you spend at someone else’s store means keeping that store in business while denying yet another sale to the business that doesn’t deserve to be in business. Sometimes this means spending a little more; sometime it means spending a little less. You can always make use of the opportunity to mention casually what you’re doing and why. Stores survive or fail based on incoming foot traffic. Speak out & be heard.
Everyone here is familiar with the way high entropic losses are an essential feature of monocrop agriculture. The same applies to business organizations too. Oversimplicity (and not efficiency itself, duh) is the straightest path to hell. Clearly, community XYZ is less prosperous when it’s got only one large retailer at the edge of town versus what it had before, which was a thriving local economy containing many different producers & retailers. The big-box store outside town buys its products from outside the region and usually from outside the country; the profits generated from sales do not remain in the economy; the store workers get paid the bare minimum needed to retain them in that market. Contrast that, if you will, with a thriving local business community.
So if you’re in the mood to show the local businesses how you feel about all this, just exercise a little care about where you spend your money. Voting with your dollars is far more effective than using your once-every-two-years one-per-citizen ballot. And if you can’t get everything you need from local stores, at least give them the first shot at providing what you seek, and move on to the other stores only when you can’t find whatever-it-is locally.