We’ve spent a year or more courting and sparking every pretty girl we’ve ever met, and still no date for the prom. That is, unless we take the cousin of a friend of an acquaintance who just blew in from Arkansas, all unexpected-like. Miss Walmart. Her personality is dubious at best, and she comes from a big-boned family.
I can’t say why no one else shows the slightest interest in Altadena. We’re good looking; many call us handsome when seen in the proper light and from certain angles. We know how to dress, spend freely, talk sweetly. We don’t have B.O.
But when we went a-courtin’ Trader Joes, Fresh & Easy, Whole Foods, and gourmet boutiques, they were always busy washing their hair. They tossed their curls and giggled and said, “I’ve got a date in La Canada.” Or Sierra Madre. Or Montrose. “I’ll be busy that night and every night this year and next. And by the way, how did you get our unlisted number?”
So apparently, at this particular site, it's Walmart or nothing. At least for now.
I can’t take a moral stance against Walmart because I shop at lots of places where I’m entirely ignorant of their business model and hiring practices -- the extent of the company’s involvement in the community, how many and much of their goods and services are outsourced to other countries, and whether employees have a dental plan.
Also I suspect my IRA and 401K mutual funds feature a certain company prominently in the mix.
So my argument with Walmart has always been one based on their looks -- on the ugly gulags in Monrovia and elsewhere. The same argument I would have with Home Depot or Cosco and all the other concrete blocks that are pains in the aesthetics.
But the store as planned in our community, ok, don’t bite my head off, but it doesn’t sound all that awful to me.
The area at Fig and Lincoln is as blighted an area as Altadena can dish up. I can’t see that any one of the pretty stores – TJ’s, Starbucks, and the like -- would take a chance on this bad boy. And I can’t see that a mini-me Walmart , given some landscaping, wouldn’t be an improvement if you actually lived in the general area. Around the corner from the liquor store, for example.
A big box such as they have in Monrovia is atrocious, but a smaller store with well maintained California native plants and succulents, come on, it’s gotta be better than what’s there now.
At least this store won’t be selling booze, god, or second-hand clothes.
So whether or not to accept the WalMart, I guess I’m in. If it agrees to certain specs, including particulars about landscaping, maintenance, and hiring from within the community.
And just because we take Walmart to the prom, it doesn’t mean we have to stay; it doesn’t mean we have to dance. I'll spend my time up north, eating oysters at the Farmer's Market. It's all about choice.