4.25.2005

wally's world

There used to be this hardware store on the island. Everybody called it Tiffany's, because a nail cost more than rubies and emeralds. The owners finally sold the building, which now houses a boutique that probably has a similar markup. Then for a while, there were two hardware stores on the island. One was a branch of a mainland business and the other was independent. Now just the independent one is left. The prices are beyond rubies and emeralds, but we go there anyway, because when you want a screw, you want a screw now.
But on each trip to the island, I do the Home Depot run. I also go to Wal-Mart. And Super Stop n' Shop. These are the places that are running everybody else out of business. Sometimes I worry about that, but mostly I'm selfishly trying to cut my own costs. I have one friend who claims never to have set foot in Wal-Mart, but since he sends his wife daily, that's hypocritical.
There are no Wal-Marts in New York City—yet. And there is an organization devoted to making sure there never are that has an ad showing a godzillalike Wal-Monster attacking Staten Island. Clear Channel refused to mount it on their outdoor billboards. Meanwhile, everybody who wants a Wal-Mart (or Ikea) goes to New Jersey. We used to go there to Home Depot, too, but now there are two in Manhattan. You can't pick up in your truck, though.
And, yes, I've seen the hollowed-out town squares and I know about the starvation wages and the prison labor and the racism and all the rest. What should we do?

5 comments :

oceangurl said...

What about Claudia's Hardware City?
Barter system or cash only. Retail needs an overhaul...you could be on the cutting edge...and have help
willing to teach and build for you.
Utopia perhaps...but the island could be a perfect lab to test some theories on this.

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