Les gens du saguenay devraient lire.
Let me tell you, the late downtowns in East Texas burgs were usually small stores run by locals. They generally priced things three times more than they were worth. Maybe they had to, but I don’t care. I don’t want to pay $30 for a hammer and a fistful of nails. If I wanted a banana, I had to go to another store. If I wanted to pick up a pair of shoes, another store.
The parking was minimal, and the choices were few.
If you worked, by the time you got off work, many of the stores were closed. Saturday, they might be open, but Sunday they were closed again. So for the working individual, the mother or father who had a kid wake up in the night with aching gums from teething, and you wanted something to make it all better, you had to wait until the next day. If you noted it was 7 p.m. and you were expecting dinner guests at 8 p.m., but forgot to buy hamburger for the meat loaf, you were, once again, screwed.
If you’re poor and barely making it, or even if your income is middle-of-the-road, it’s good to get what you need at slashed prices, anytime of the day, seven days a week, in a big, ugly, over-lit store that closes only on Christmas and half a day on Christmas Eve. If you forgot to get a gift card and a six pack of tall boys, you have to think, “To hell with downtown.” What we got now in our downtown are specialty stores that provide things we can’t get at Walmart, like maybe a stuffed deer head for that special place over the mantle. The stuff we really need, hell, it’s at Walmart.
Here’s something else. With Walmart in town, lots of people can be put to work, far more than downtown ever employed. Someone has to run a 24-hour store, check people out, sack groceries, push carts, place stock, work at the McDonald’s sequestered in the back. The workers have all skin colors, not something I saw a lot of downtown, except for immigrants unloading trucks. When I have a tummy ache from eating too many jalapeños late at night, I go down to our Walmart and buy Alka-Seltzer, run it through the computerized checkout, and I’m gone.(0)