What on earth is going on? Have you ever in your entire life heard an advertisement for WAL-MART on the radio? I just did. I was relieved yesterday when Wal-Mart finally gave up on trying to get a store in NYC. So why are they wasting money by advertising on our airwaves?
For what it's worth, when I moved here I was happy to see that there was a K-Mart only a few blocks away from me. In Manhattan. I remember thinking, "Sweet! Now I'll be right near all the things I need to buy." I reveled in the ease of access to places like Best Buy and Home Depot, the giant superstores that would surely save me from having to trek miles up and down the island or to the outer boroughs to find what I needed.
It wasn't long, though, until these things started to seem out of place in Manhattan, as illustrated in this very scientific diagram that I found at Indexed.
New York is one of the few places in the world where you can still find stores that exist solely on focused, specific inventory (e.g. stores that only sell light bulbs). When Wal-Mart moves to town, they not only destroy those stores but they rob us of part of the charm that makes NYC so uniquely wonderful. Frankly, as much as I love Dallas, I do not want NYC to become Dallas. Most people here rage against the suburbanization and gentrification of NYC. Sites like WalMart-Free NYC and Reclaim Democracy are trying to spread the word about the problems surrounding corporate invasions.
(On a side note: When tourists come to the city and frequent places like TGIFridays or the Applebee's in Times Square, they're not only getting ripped off by doubled prices, but they're missing out on the city that gave birth to places like S'mac, a restaurant that primarily sells Mac-N-Cheese.)
Sure, there are bigger battles to fight, but I will do my part here: I will walk past the K-Mart. I will buy the things I need from the bodega or even at a K-Mart (or, more likely, a Target) that is not in NYC. I can't stand the thought of the Evil Empire taking over my city, and I'd rather pay a slightly higher price now than to see this city transformed forever into something common and ordinary.
(I will, however, continue to visit Starbucks on an all-too-frequent basis.)