Tuesday, October 13, 2015

10.13.15 Bee-otch of the Day: Walmart

Bee-otch of the Day honors are awarded Monday through Thursday, Bee-otch of the Week is awarded Friday on Chuck69.com.



Name: Walmart
Age: 53
Occupation: mega-retailer
Last Seen: Bentonville, AR
Bee-otched For: still being too big for their own good

Back in 2000-2001, I lived in the Kalamazoo area.

One town that I familiarized myself with was Martin, a small town of barely over 400 souls about 20 miles north of the Zoo. It had a lot of stuff a small town needed: two gas stations, a drug store, a bank, a hardware, a school system and yes, a grocery store. Once you got to the blinker in downtown Martin, the bank was on one corner, the Clark gas station was across the street, the hardware and pharmacy was on another corner and the supermarket was across from that. When I first visited Martin, the grocery was called Martin Village Market, or as the sign read, "Martin Village Mar" since the "ket" was missing. "Your Neighborhood Store - Open 7 Days".

The store was actually good-sized for a town the size of Martin. However, it looked like it was in a time warp. I remembered that it had English-style lettering throughout the store and the walls were a light brown and gray. I remembered buying some cereal bars from the store and when I got them home, they tasted weird. I looked on the box and yessiree, it had expired. I even observed that the shopping carts had the name of another grocer on them and asked the cashier, who just happened to be the owner. He claimed that it was the store's former name and that his personal philosophy was "if it ain't broke, don't fix it". Too bad that his store was trashed; hell, even the meat department was a storage area for more shopping carts with other stores' names on there.

Anyway, I ended up moving back up to northern Michigan a year later and then to Grand Rapids another year later. I still came down to K'zoo from time to time and one time, I decided to see what Martin was up to. The town added a new car wash, but otherwise, the gas stations, the bank, drug store, hardware, etc. were still there.

Everything... Except the supermarket.

The letters were taken down and Prudential Real Estate signs were put on the building. I checked online, and apparently, the old store could have been yours for a whopping $60,000. Yesterday, I decided to look at Martin via Google Street View. Everything was still there, but something happened to the grocery store.

It was demolished.

A field of green grass now sits where the old Martin Village Mar and its predecessors all sat. Now, if you want to do a full weeks' shopping, you now have to drive 10 miles to the twin towns of Plainwell and Otsego, where there's two Harding's plus a Meijer and a Walmart. Harding's is a local chain but we all know about Meijer and Walmart. Recently, Forbes ranked the families behind both stores as two of the wealthiest families in America. The Meijers are worth $7.9 billion while the Waltons are worth $149 billion.

Now, if one of their stores needed new carts, BAM! They got them. Expired food? Gone. For years, Meijer at 28th and Kalamazoo here in Grand Rapids was old and outdated. Not to worry; just make a deal with the city to build a new one and demolish the old store. Same with Walmart.

It is sad when a town of 400 can't support a grocer. True, it was the owner's fault for keeping his store looking like a 1950's nightmare, but maybe if more people supported his store instead of going to Plainwell to support billionaires who pay their workers shit wages, then there wouldn't be an empty lot. It's a shame that there's many towns with a population under 2,000 that don't have a grocer and the blame is Walmart's for making people think that family-owned stores equate to higher prices. The truth is, when people support families who hog a lot of cash, then the grocery store closes. After they close, so does the hardware, the pharmacy and so on.

At least Martin isn't a ghost town.... Yet.
Got a Bee-otch to nominate? E-mail us @ chuck69dotcom@gmail.com. All suggestions (except for me) are welcome!

Bee-otch of the Day Archives can be seen on http://beeotchoftheday.blogspot.com!

Bee-otch of the Day is a production of Chuck69.com, Grand Rapids' site for Stern, politics and more!

No comments:

Post a Comment