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The Call Blog: Wal-Mart Reps Discuss Brooklyn Store; Poll Shows Support

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Last I checked, it's a free country. At least, it's supposed to be. Don't like Walmart, don't shop there. Don't think it treats employees fairly, don't work there. Don't think gay people should get married, don't marry one. Don't want to join the Fire Department, don't sign up. With each passing day, more and more people try to impose their beliefs on others. Strangers. It's a free country, as long as what I say goes...



Officials from Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. met behind closed doors with select community leaders in Brooklyn today. The retail giant has been trying for years to open a store in New York City, but has faced opposition from labor unions and small business associations. Protesters gathered outside the private meeting calling for more transparency in the process of selecting a site.

Also today, Quinnipiac University released a poll showing 69% of New York City voters say they would shop at a Walmart if it were convenient. The support for a store is high, even though 70% say they believe its low prices hurt smaller businesses. What do you say?

Should Wal-Mart hold a public hearing to discuss its desire to open a store in New York City? What question would you ask? Do labor unions and politicians have too much influence in the process? Do you support a store opening in the five boroughs?

Send your thoughts using the link above.



The truth is that Walmart is not perfect. That being said, I, like many, many others, are experiencing very challenging economic times. With their rock bottom prices (even on-line, where I already shop with them), it's a no brainer. Walmart, is, in fact, Not the devil. There have been issues past and present with Target stores/unions, etc., but we have Target here. Bring it on. I hope it's a Walmart Super Store.

Marie
Bay Ridge



I will never, ever shop at Wal-mart. They are trying to buy their way into the city via donations and political support. In addition, the company throws way too much money behind conservative causes for my taste. I would much rather go to local stores or, if need be, Target.

Anni
UWS



If you build a Walmart, they will come. We schlep all the way to Seaford and its worth it cause its cheeeeeeeeeeap but at what cost?

JS
Flushing



Enough with the public hearings. Stop wasting time and taxpayer dollars and tell the unions to go to hell. They have screwed the country and socialist NY up enough already.

Open the Walmart and bring on the jobs. If the unions get involved, there will be less jobs. NO UNIONS!

Denise, Flatbush, Brooklyn



OUTSIDE OF THE RITUALISTIC CHEERING AND PEP RALLY HELD EVERYDAY TO PUMP UP THE EMPLOYEES, I'M GOOD WITH WAL-MART. TARGET, K-MART AND COSTCO ARE NOT MET WITH AS MUCH DISDAIN, HOW COME?

JOE, BAY TERRACE



I believe the hearings are unnecessary. If Wal-Mart opens a store in NYC, the public will shop there. I'm sure the majority of the people in NYC travel elsewhere to shop in Wal-Mart. Those in the City or the Bronx, I'm sure go up to Yonkers or Westchester. Those in Queens, out to Long Island and those in Bklyn and Staten Island, into NJ.

Why not open one in NYC? It will bring jobs to the City. It will keep our neighbors employed. Target is opened all over NYC and they have plenty of bargains too. It hasn't necessarily put the mom and pop store out of business and neither will Wal-Mart. It's true that some smaller stores close because their prices are too high and in this economy people will travel elsewhere to get the "bargains", but this way it will be right here. I'd welcome Wal-Mart on Staten Island. I wouldn't have a toll to pay every time I need cat food!!!

Jessica, Arden Heights



John,

Those who oppose Wal-Mart are un-American to the core. Aren’t we supposed to be living in a free country with a free market with exchange of value for value voluntarily between each other?

According to the opponents of Wal-Mart, the answer is No. According to them, no one is free. Wal-Mart is not free to open a store and those who want to buy from Wal-Mart are not free to do so. This is America?????

It is not. It is pure fascism on the government’s part. In case you don’t know, fascism is a system of government under which property is ostensibly owned privately, but the use of which is determined by the government. America is rapidly advancing to a state of total fascism or rather a peculiarly American admixture of the fascism and socialism. With current governments, local, state and federal, we are quickly headed for the express lane.

It is none of the government’s business what a property owner does with his or her business. Wal-Mart should be able to open a store wherever it can buy property. Let’s put one in every borough. I predict they all will be a success regardless of the fascist opposition.

No one is forced to shop at Wal-Mart. If you want to shop at another neighborhood store, you’re free to do so. If it goes out of business because of Wal-Mart, this only proves that their business model was a failure and Wal-Mart’s was a success. Or that you and your neighbors didn’t shop enough at the local store to keep it up and running.

Joe
Port Richmond, SI.



I go into Wal-Mart upstate with my daughter. She knows I've been boycotting Wal-Mart for years but she and her husband are both working so hard to provide for themselves and my four grandkids that I can understand her need to save on purchases by shopping at Wal-Mart. Although I will continue my boycott of Wal-Mart I understand the need for Wal-Mart by people struggling financially. I will still be proud of my fellow New Yorkers for having resisted Wal-Mart for so long and perhaps some concessions can be won from Wal-Mart, if it opens a store, by a public hearing.

Rusty
Greenwich Village



Hi John,

To me I feel that it's already a done deal. I am always suspicious when someone suggests hearings or meetings about any subject. As of now it seems to just boil down to a Brooklyn matter. Once they open the door in that borough then we probably will see them start to come into the other boroughs. No one ever thinks of the small business man at all. Wal-Mart is just to big not to have already paid off someone. Like I mentioned above it's a done-deal.

Thank you John,
maxxiee
mp



I think Wal-mart is a win, win, win all the way around. It means more jobs, reduce goods at good prices and it will bring life back to our ailing economy here in Queens and Brooklyn. I also believe Wal-mart is people friendly. Now when I retire next year I'm going to apply for a job there.

Freddy- Glen Oaks Village



I would be more than happy to welcome Wal-Mart to New York !

Ruthann
Queens



Walmart will get what Walmart wants.

Peace, Nick
Hell's K.



I say, let the people vote with their dollars. If people don't want a WalMart, they won't shop there and they'll have to leave. This is how a free market system works. There is a vocal minority in Brooklyn and they are trying to trump the people who should actually be heard, the shoppers!

Frank, Sunset Park, Brooklyn



No union workers, only exploited workers, no Walmart in NYC.

Mike from East Village



NYC has KMART, Target, Costco, BJ's, Century 21, all sorts of chain restaurants, and many off the beaten path bargain stores too.

If this giant comes into NYC then they will give jobs to many that dont have any work. If they dont pay a premium, that is ok too. It would be work for those that NEED it.

The bottom line is that America is free enterprise and it is not correct to keep them out of NYC.

The small mom and pop shops may get put out of business but that happens in every industry and is survival of the fittest.

David
Astoria Queens



Yes I do support opening a walmart in NYC. Why should I drive to Harriman and spend money on tolls? I can assure you our city leaders will be shopping there as well!

George,
Maspeth



This is America. Any business should be able to open. The market place will determine if it'll succeed. Supposed "leaders" are preventing people from getting jobs.

Doug
West Village



I think walmart is a good thing for any area in new york. Even the mom and pop stores rip people off.

Jessica



John

I don't see what the fuss is all about. People need a target to blame for ALL their trouble and I believe they are unfairly singling out Walmart. I am from East New York and remember at one time how it was the shopping mecca of Brooklyn. Sadly, since the 60's the neighborhood has been decimated. I would like to see ENY revive and perhaps having Walmart would inspire others to JOIN IN. I applaud the move.

Ray
Midtown



I believe Walmart should hold an open hearing discussing and addressing any real concerns the local public may have, as i'm sure there would be many, I definitely WOULD shop at the walmart if one opened , a walmart would produce jobs that the local small businesses cannot produce, perhaps small businesses just need to change their ways to attract local shoppers and be more competitive.

i would think that the local communities would want their young adults working and off the streets, lets face it East NY isn't the hamptons, and an employed person is a person not getting into trouble.

Erik
From Bushwick Brooklyn



The problem with Walmart is that they do not know when to stop. Besides the normal goods a department store provides, Walmarts discounts everything consumer product - Grocery, eye were, haircuts, pharmacy,electronics, on and on - they let no one survive. The impact on New York City small business will be devastating.

Ed
Murry Hill



Hi John,

I appreciate your topic tonight on Walmart and glad that people are speaking out. I would like to say this, when we have an unemployment rate at 16% or higher for african americans in the city, I dont think we should be telling people to say no to jobs. I think what we should be doing is having an honest conversation with Walmart to address our concerns as a community. Its the smart thing to do and perhaps Walmart may consider some ideas. But for Charles Barron to tell people do not accept any jobs is totally irresponsible.

Veronica



We need jobs in nyc!!!! People need to stop bickering and start making sure that we get quality jobs and great deals. I would definitely shop at walmart.

Vanessa (Wakefield)



I dont support the idea of a Walmart opening in ny Walmart is a store that puts other small businesses out of business and the reason that it has such cheap prices is because it explodes poor people in other countries and it is always getting sued by its employees for robbing them, racism and discrimination

East BK



YESSSSSSSSSSSSSS PLEASEEEEE BRING THEM ON!!!

we need their prices!!!!

I LOVE WALMART

-RAMOS-



Mr. Barron was screaming a few weeks ago because he blamed the violence in Brooklyn on the lack of jobs....well Walmart is willing to bring the jobs and now Mr. Barron is screaming "NO to the JOBS!"

Well let the new Walmart employees vote by working or resigning if they don't like the work environment! Mr. Barron talks about stopping the violence and look at how he behaved trying to BULLY his way into a meeting that he was not invited to. Oh boy what a fine example of critical thinking and crisis and anger management skills . And he wonders why he was not invited to the meeting.

It would have only been another Charles Barron shouting and boo-ing shows like he did with Cathie Black. Bring on Walmat and let the shoppers nd employees decide.

Kathy from Throggs Neck da bronx



The last person id want representing me and my concerns is Charles Barron. He just needs somebody or something to blame. Walmart should open in Brooklyn. It will be a boon to the neighborhood. Barron is a fool.

Ben
Brooklyn Hgts.



I support my fellow new yorkers... No Walmart!

Grace



We have to make a stand sometime. Walmart is known to close other businesses because price is everything and national brands are excluded. Michelle Obama this year announced Walmart agrees to provide more wholesome food. What does that say? Walmart's own poll showed 1/3 of business feel they will be gone.

Wes
10002



I never write-in like this. But feel so strongly. Wallmart may be a quick-fix in bad economic times, but the history and statistics speak from themselves: destroying local business is NOT something that CAN be remedied at any point in the future. Not only would opening Wallmart threaten the people (the essence of the city), it would also have little use to the majority who live far from the store. Plus, Walmart are highly unethical as a corporation.

Hazel



I think they need to have 10 Walmart in NYC, because of the economy. It is a budget friendly store that would not hurt my family budget to get neccesary items at reasonable prices.

Tell Charles Barrom to shut his mouth.

Kevin
Sheephead Bay



To Rachael in Canarsie:

What is the quality of life NOW in East New York!? Give me a break. The people in East New York need anything they can get after being neglected and having their community decimated over the past 2 decades. A low paying job is better than no job. If other businesses offer better benefits, the workers will leave there.

Frank, Sunset Park, Brooklyn



We don't need no stinking sprawlmart paying to keep East New Yorkers in poverty. We have had enough!

Tracy G.
East New York



The politicians are against it. So it MUST be good for the people! What do you want to build. Another Starbucks? Another sushi restaurant? Let me guess. Another bank. Come on New York.

Norm
Upper Eastside



Who cares if they come to NY. People choose where they fill out applications and if hired they choose to stay or go. What is the difference between working at Walmart or delivering pizza from the local pizza shop.

Val
Glendale



Dear John,

Wal-Mart represents the Plantation System, just like Charles Barron says!!!

Wal-Mart has tried and tried to get into minority neighborhoods for a long time- this is the beginning of the end of small shops. I have seen the Rite Aids and CVS and Walgreens "take out" the small pharmacies in my neighborhood- it is the direction this city is going: downhill, and generic, nothing that makes New York unique!

Martin
Windsor Terrace Brooklyn



i don't think wal-mart itself is the problem, like eric from fresh meadows said, wal-mart will hire mostly part-time laborers and tax payers get stuck with the paying for the benefits. but to be fair, the same applies to other supermarkets such as stop and shop, etc. wal-mart's large success has made it the center of debate. small business owners also pay their workers low wages. we should not be allowed to legislate where wal-marts and other businesses can be zoned, rather we should raise the minimum wage to a level where people can survive if they work a full work week and if wal-mart wants to pay new yorkers a fair minimum wage, problem solved!

matt- hells kitchen



Walmart will fit right into the new ....New York City
-- a divided city between the very rich and the very poor
--- a city where housing costs are out of control and jobs are scarce
we need Wlamart ... how else will afford to buy anything ?
this store will appeal to the new working class poor that the unchecked capitalist have created
this city i have lived in for nearly forty years is becoming more and more unrecognizable

Alison
Jackson Heights



No one is forcing anyone to work at Walmart. If people don't want to work there they don't have to. Also mom and pop stores aren't exactly handing out the health insurance. This is a free country, If you disagree with walmart then don't shop there.

Amy



HI I THINK THEY SHOULD DEFFINITLY OPEN A WALMART...THERE IS ALOT OF PEOPLE OUT WITH OUT JOBS AND OPENING A WAL MART WILL PROVIDE JOBS FOR THOSE...AS FOR THE NO BENEFIT AND OR MEDICAL THERE IS ALOT OF PLACES THAT DON'T PROVIDE THAT N THEY PAY MINIMUM WAGES ESPECIALLY IN THE AIRPORTS

Tesha...from queens



If people apply to the job, they know that they are getting low wages and no medical benefits. They know what they're getting into. New York needs this place to open to create jobs in a time of a terrible recession.

Juan



If you don't like how Wal-Mart treats its employees, don't work there. If you don't like their low prices or what they stand for, don't shop there. This is America after all, isn't it?

Laura
Brooklyn Heights, NY



ma and pop dont pay a lot and dont give any healthcare either. we have costco, target, kmart, bj's, etc....why cant we have walmart. this is american...free enterprise. if someone doesnt work to work making min wage or without benefits then dont take the job...my God this is so simple.

well what about the fact that if we hire walmart and they become union, the worker has to be paid very very highly and that makes store prices go up. let it be a low paying job as those are necessary for every economy too

david in astoria



If we want to jump start our economy, why would we allow a company that has a large portion of it's merchandise come from China?

Rick from Astoria



Hello my name is kanon from flushing, queens. I believe walmart should come to NYC because it would create many jobs and offer goods/services at a low price. Sure the pay is not great and does not come with benefits but that's with most retailers/franchises here in NYC like mcdonalds and Macy's. They offer part-time which means that one should not even plan to work here to support their family, they should use this job as a helping hand in paying their bills and such on top of the full time job they have currently, thank you.



I live in Harlem and I think we need a Walmart in NY desperately. Times are hard and Walmart offers great deals...... And I don't get what the big deal is about how Walmart treats their employees there are plenty of big companies in NY that pay minimum wage and offer no benefits. I love Walmart and unfortunately have to drive all the way to Jersey to shop or order online and I think plenty of NYers do the same. So regardless NYers are still gonna shop at Walmart, why not meet NYers needs and allow Walmart to come to NY.

Tara
Harlem, NY



When u see all of walmarts location what is the first thing you notice when your round these stores there isn't small businesses is nothing but franchises in big corporations around them n what makes u think is going to happens to most stores it will close many n nothing but more big n bigger franchisee and corporation buy n open bigger stores n more low pay.. n no benefits

Anthony



We should be well aware of what Walmarts intentions are as a business. It is about maximizing their profits from their investment. It is a double edged sword to have a Wal-Mart open in a community. They create jobs, not necessarily the highest paying jobs, but nonetheless jobs for people who have trouble getting a high paying job.

We need to be suspect of the politicians who want to keep a business from opening in a neighborhood. They usually working for another business to keep the competition out of the area. A neighborhood like East New York cannot afford to not have a business open in their area.

We need to leave it up to the community and see how Walmart pans out in the long run.

Gilbert



I say Build 10 Walmarts in Brooklyn! If the people in Brooklyn dont like it FINE! Stay jobless! But dont cry racism when you cant find jobs because you opposed to having a great business opportunity that could have benefited the youth! Its like saying you wanna clean your neighborhood up of all the crime then when cops come people cry 'racial profiling"! Get over your selves there is an economic crisis going on!

Rachel



I was at the meeting wal-mart will not tell the truth about nothing

MJCW from east new York Brooklyn



The store is what it is. If people want high paying jobs then they should go to college or training to have skills that companies are willing to pay for. Walmart didn't keep employees from improving their employment status.

Kathy from Throggs Neck da bronx



What about if all these small deli and grocery store will be upgraded and cleaner, then you will consider to go back to small stores So far, it isn't so a clean store who offer more jobs isnt the solution until then ?

Dominic from Brooklyn



1. I would be in favor if Walmart gives 97% of their profits back to the local area.
2. The money we spend, the profit we create goes to build stores in other countries.
They take out more than they give. It is time we took control of our governemnt.

Wes
10002



Wal-mart will create an additional household income for the residents of East New York. The argument that its wages are too low and it will force it's employees to go on government assistance holds no merit . In fact it will provide additional income to a household that may currently be on government assistance. This is just a Union ploy to block Wal - mart. Also if the wages are too low for the head of a household they will simply choose not to work there. Last I checked this is a free market and if the residents of NY do not want it they have a choice not to shop there.

Mike C.
Middle Village



The program tonight should have been for one hour. I would recommend that New Yorkers watch the PBS Frontline program - Is Walmart Good for America? It can be watched online. I think it would be alarming to see the business practices of this company and the way the company treats the employees as well. There is also a movie out there - WalMart the High Cost of Low Price.

I didn't realize it was originally broadcast in November 2004. Not sure if some of the circumstances for the company have changed. I tend to doubt it. My sense a few of the big stores in the area would close with a Walmart on Staten Island and the net effect would be a race to the bottom for employees in terms of salaries.

John, Oakwood



I don't want to see anymore Walmarts or Home Depots or other cheap product department stores coming to New York. They don't provide knowledgeable or friendly service, nor quality products or craftmanship. These budget chain stores have ruined the charm of the city. In departments stores similar to these that are currently here in New York City, they allow customers to trash the stores, leaving merchandise on the floors and scattered about and seems to be acceptable here. (As a New Yorker myself - I am ashamed at how these stores in NYC, permit this to continue - something you don't see in other states)

You won't find this in a mom & pop stores. What you will find is knowledgeable and friendly customer service as well as quality items; in addition to offering safe havens for the members of their communities. If people would take the time to understand what made this city so special. it is in fact the small businesses who have been here since the turn of the century providing quality craftmanship and service. It's time that the landlords of these small retail stores be held responsible for charging over inflated rents to small business owners who have no choice to charge higher prices to their customers and eventually having to close their doors.

My father was a small business owner of a hardware store in Manhattan for over 50 years - His customers and the neighborhood loved him and understood that he had to charge higher prices not to his fault, but the fault of the landlord They didn't mind because they knew they would get quality service and items (the landlord eventually increased the rent by almost 300% forcing him to close his beloved store). My father's story was written up over 2 weekend sections in the New York Times in 1995. Tell your viewers see the documentary about the closing of the mom & pops stores due to the landlords and Walmarts that are running the world. I am sure they will come to appreciate the small stores instead of the Walmarts.

Gail
Bayside, NY



need walmart now in this time of recssion

Dianne



I think opening a Walmart in all five boroughs would benefit the greater NYC area because it would bring more jobs and help in improving the overall economy of each borough. Most New Yorkers are aware that boroughs like the Bronx, Brooklyn and certain parts of Manhattan and Queens fare better that other local communities in each of these boroughs.

Labor unions and other interest groups have been at odds with Walmart and some of its labor-related practices but an across-the-board sit down with all parties concerned would benefit both sides. It is kind of hard to dispute some of the Walmart commercials you sometimes see where employees are speaking in high regard about their Walmart experience. Who do you believe? Especially when the person speaking reminds the viewer of themselves. If you take a look at Target, Costco, BJ's, and Sam's Club, are they any different? One thing is sure. Many of us shop at most of these stores because of the sales. What makes Walmart so different?

LaRoi from Astoria



Did they ask the workers in the tire shop in the background of the video if they are in a union, get health insurance and what they are paid, NO. I don't care about wal-mart, but they aren't trying to take over some family's building, it is a vacant area. Go protest in front of all the liquor stores in the area, I don't think there is a liquor store worker union.

-EZ

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