Remember: Wal-Mart Succeeds Because of Customers Shopping There

RECEIVED Fri., Oct. 24, 2003

To the Chron readers and staff,
   Yes, Wal-Mart is not the best company to work for, and yes, the "Beast," as Mr. Madison calls it ["Austin@Large," Oct. 17], does increase traffic with its Supercenters. In fact, I agree with most of the arguments for keeping Wal-Mart off the aquifer.
   What I do take issue with is the general hatred of Wal-Mart. Rather than attacking the symptom, shouldn't you be trying to fight the cause? Wal-Mart didn't cause I-35 to mutate into the nightmare it is today, and it sure as hell didn't cause half of snooty California to move to Austin in search of a cool place to live. Wal-Mart's growing big-box mentality is a result of America's shop-or-die attitude. We gotta have cheap stuff and lots of it, pragmatic spending be damned.
   How many of you shop at independent retailers without making at least one trip to a "big box" or outlet mall? How many of you can realistically afford to shop at trendy West Sixth stores most of the time, especially in Bush's America?
   I work at a Wal-Mart, albeit a small one in a small town, but it's a steady job. I do deal with conflicts of interest daily, because I believe in supporting local businesses, preserving the aquifer, and higher wages. Still, I work with many people who would not have a job if it weren't for Wal-Mart. Well, there is a Wackenhut prison nearby, so that's a better alternative, isn't it?
   Wal-Mart started out in small towns and got bad press even way back then, for many of the same reasons as it does today, the most irritating being that it caters to low-class trash and decreases property values. Grow up! I applaud the efforts of those fighting to keep Austin green and relatively small. Hell, I read the Chron regularly because I love having an alternative to corporate media. But if you wanna pick on Wal-Mart, try to keep your punches above the belt and don't hide behind low-class phobias. Keep up the good fight, and I'll do my damnedest to help you when you come to my store. Thanks for your time.
William Christopher Brandt
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