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WHO’S MINDING THE STORES?

Walmart’s foes aren’t doing low-income people any favors

March 9, 2011

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I ENJOYED Tom Keane’s spot-on March 5 op-ed “Vilification of the market interlopers.’’ One thing he failed to mention, however, is how many of those who oppose the Walmarts and other low-price stores have a classist, we-know-what’s-best-for-you attitude toward lower-income people. Living here in middle-income Hopkinton, I can hop in the car and, within 10 minutes, be at a Walmart, Target, Home Depot, Hannafords, or Market Basket if I so chose. Many who live in Boston and other urban neighborhoods cannot. Therefore, I am allowed to spend my money as I see fit, while they are forbidden the same choices I have.

What these self-appointed protectors of local businesses have also missed is that at the end of the day, I may have saved $10, which I will eventually spend at a local pizza joint, spreading my disposable income around. Unfortunately, some pizza, Chinese food, or falafel spot in Boston will have to forgo the extra sales, because someone wants to force higher prices on their neighborhood for food, clothing, and other necessities.

It’s too bad that some small businesses will fail in competing with the big stores, but forcing people to subsidize high prices, and denying them shopping choices, is wrong.

Ken Brown
Hopkinton