Whether you think Tucson needs another Walmart like we all need another hole in the head, we may be getting one anyway.
After a judge's decision this week, Walmart is getting ready to hone in on El Con Mall. Demolition of the structure that once housed Levy's, then Macy's, has already begun, as has the outrage about another Walmart coming to town.
To be fair, there are only a dozen or so Walmart locations in the Tucson area. The retail giant still has a long way to go to match the 140-plus used-car dealerships in the area.
Certainly, one more Walmart couldn't mess things up too bad—or could it?
Surrounding midtown neighborhood residents certainly think so, with five historic 'hoods opposing the store's proposed location. The biggest complaints on their list are that the behemoth would have only a single entrance, which would face nearby homes; that it would be open 24/7; and that it would sell booze until 2 a.m. and guns and ammo until 10 p.m.
Perhaps the only folks who would not oppose such unattractive conditions in their own backyard are those who like to get drunk, shoot things and tend to run out of bullets at 9:59 p.m.
The anti-Walmart sentiments include rumors that, even if untrue, are vile enough to pump terror through our veins. Some have cried that installing a Walmart in a particular area turns the entire neighborhood to, well, shit. Complaints include fears of higher crime rates, messy parking lots and shopping carts deposited at nearby intersections, bus stops and front-yard flower gardens.
Tucson police crime statistics for the past six months show 29 incidents near the Walmart Neighborhood Market at Grant Road and Alvernon Way, and 13 incidents near the store at Wetmore Road and First Avenue. None of them involve shopping carts or flower gardens. And some appear to have no relation to Walmart at all.
Or do they? Too many questions arise. We have to wonder, if a store other than Walmart were in the area, if the stats would be higher or lower. We also have to wonder if a high-crime area that includes a Walmart was high-crime to begin with, or became that way after the big "W" moved in.
Then we have the murmurs about employee abuse. Walmart supposedly mistreats its employees. But customers do the same.
A 71-year-old Walmart greeter was allegedly choked by two Ohio women. An 80-year-old greeter in Los Angeles was clocked in the head with a liquor bottle by an alleged shoplifter. Both involved greeters who had asked to see the customers' receipts.
And we can't forget the photos of certain Walmart shoppers. Unless you live sans computer, you've probably seen the photos depicting Walmart customers from across the nation. Without getting into too much detail, suffice it to say many of these customers have exposed butt cheeks.
Despite the moans, groans and saggy butt cheeks, Walmart continues to thrive in America and beyond. Walmart founders Bud and Sam Walton helped build the family fortune to a staggering $93 billion, Forbes reports, making the Waltons the richest family in the world.
Why the massive chain continues to enjoy massive success comes from the bottom line: Walmart has some of the cheapest prices around.
No matter how loudly or vehemently you may oppose a Walmart in any way, shape or location, plenty of people will continue to shop there. And shop there again. And again.
Unless people figure out that the only way to stop more Walmarts is to stop buying from the company, new stores will continue to take over our towns. And with more exposed butt cheeks right along with them.