The Widdershins

Activist Wednesday: Why Can We Ban Wal-Mart, But Not Chick-Fil-A?

Posted on: August 1, 2012

First of all, I agree with Fredster that the Chick-Fil-A franchise makes some yummy chicken. I shudder to think how many hormones are in it, but when you’re stuck in Columbus, OH, at the mercy of the endless cafeteria line servicing 4000 too many people, a spicy chicken breast on a bun can really hit the spot.

And I agree with Fredster’s analysis as well. There is no legal basis for anyone to ban a company from expanding into their city because they don’t like what the CEO says about same-sex marriage.

However…I couldn’t help thinking it was funny how communities and cities ban businesses all the time, and there never seems to be this level of uproar. I mean, wow – we’ve got pundits as disparate as some Cato Institute dude on Erin Burnett’s show, and libertarian/progressive icon Glenn Greenwald, having conniptions about the Great Chicken Kerfuffle. I wondered…why is that?

Take Wal-Mart, for example. It’s been banned from New York City for ages, and look! No less a journal than The Orange County Register is all in a huff about it. (Can the Westchester Independent be far behind!)

The problem now, of course, is that Wal-Mart so far has failed to win permission to open stores in the five boroughs. This has no doubt pleased its many clueless detractors apparently able to afford higher-cost grocery items, but for the New Yorkers already suffering nosebleed rents in what is one of the world’s most expensive cities, they’ll continue to overpay for basic goods in order to prop up local grocery stores that can mark up prices thanks to a lack of realistic competition.

Poor pitiful Wal-Mart…they are so desperate to enter the Big Apple that they have a petition you can sign. (Don’t you dare, Widdershins! :lol:)

While researching this apparent anomaly, I continued to be confused by the fact that the Wal-Mart ban seemed unremarkable to the writer, although he was clearly against it. To him, if NYC didn’t want Wal-Mart, Wal-Mart wasn’t getting in. The way he put it was, the company has simply “failed to win permission.” And who gives permission? The government, yes? Yea, even…the mayor of NYC, perhaps! Goodness gracious, where is my Constitutional fainting couch? Oh, Alexander Hamilton, wherefore art thou?!

Well, it turns out there’s actually a difference here, although it took me a while to find it. There is a 2006 legal ordinance that was passed against Wal-Mart in Turlock, California, which is currently being used as a basis for keeping “big box” stores out of urban centers everywhere. The city’s officials argued successfully that inviting Wal-Mart into Turlock would put smaller companies out of business, causing urban blight and economic disaster. This law has stood the test of time so far; in fact, a California state senator proposed a state law based on the ordinance in 2011, which would expand upon the Turlock law and make it a little more restrictive. So far he has not been successful.

As you know, my main function in life is to clarify legal issues for you all, but I am also here to spread wild conspiracy theories. In my role as saucer-eyed believer in All Things Oligarchal, I would like to posit that there is a more sinister reason we can ban Wal-Mart and not Chick-Fil-A: It’s those d*mn cows. They’ve got everyone paid off! They’ll do anything to save themselves, even crash a football game. Cagy b*stards!

Seriously, I kind of think it’s too bad we can’t legally ban bigotry for the emotional harm it does. After all, it has killed millions of people over the years. Alas, it’s impossible to ban a state of mind, isn’t it?

This is an open thread.


17 Responses to "Activist Wednesday: Why Can We Ban Wal-Mart, But Not Chick-Fil-A?"

My little pea brain suggests that sometimes the only way to demonstrate our disgust is to let the intolerant – who let’s face it, takes such pride in their bigotry – understand that we don’t have to just sit back and let it slide. We tend to shrug it off and let them beat their chests with their insufferable self righteousness because it is “the American way” to exercise their First Amendment rights.

We won’t be discussing this next week and more than likely everyone will return to Chick Fil A as usual and the issue will die out like so many do and we will be discussing the GOP VP choice or something while some other loudmouth expresses their outrage over how much they despise somebody else.

As I have said many times, tolerating the intolerant produces intolerance and you need look no further than the Tea Partiers who currently no longer hide their biases but seem to find support.

Phew, Uppity is going to stop checking the bottle (or is she?)
We have a WalMart superstore in the same plaza as a budget food store (No Frills here). When Walmart moved in I thought that the food store would go out of business because of course Walmart is supposed to be much less expensive. Not true. I don’t shop there but I do go in and walk around to check quality, quantity and pricing (okay I don’t have a lot to do since I retired). My observations – strictly personal and not scientific in any way – Walmart in may areas is more expensive that stores offering similar goods in a particular area. For example in the food area, the No Frills always wins hands down because Walmart publicizes one item at reduced price (whenever the NoFrills puts the same item on sale), however at NoFrills there are other goodies.
NoFrills is a local Franchise owner, so guess who gets my business.
There is nothing in this world that would impell to shop at Walmart. My daughter worked there part time as a student and she was injured – mainly due to their lax safety observances – stuff like teaching their staff how to lift, how to carry, how to anything. I also have a friend who was onboard with Walmart for two months as Safety Manager. She quit because she didn’t want to be cited in a lawsuit. Contrary to WalMarts thoughts, the No Frills is going strong and actually attracts more customers. I hope that WalMart will decide to leave – they pollute the atmosphere wherever they populate.

Chick-Fill-A is not in the same category as Walmart however it appears that it has politicians in it’s pockets. There is no crime in boycotting a product (ask the less than a million moms). I’m ambivalent about the issue. I believe that everyone has the right to spout their nonsense and make a fool of themselves as long as it does not endanger others. Cathy’s comments do not pass the test – he does endanger others. The response from the highly placed usual suspects on the far right indicates that Mr. Cathy has deep pockets and has been emptying them at an astonishing rate. I guess we shall see today – it’s their day isn’t it.

Apparently there is a Chick-fil-A in the northeast. In NH. And they have a different world view than corporate:
Chick-fil-A franchise to co-sponsor New Hampshire LGBT Pride event

MB — great article and thanks for the clarification of legal issues and the conspiracy — not sure if they are mutually exclusive.

Got time for a Wal-Mart story — if you don’t, I understand. In the little burg where I’m from in Appalachia, Wal-Mart (Wallyworld) put in a “mega-elephantine-start your Hover-round” store in the next town over — about 20 miles away. Promptly, all local stores closed and their owners had to go to Wallyworld to get the planks to board up their shops. Free market capitalism, blah, blah, blah…

In any event, I drove my aunt to the Wallyworld store one Sunday afternoon so she could do some shopping. I don’t shop — I hate shopping — give me a raggedy pair of jeans and a drive thru window and I’ll call it good — so I stayed in the vehicle in the Wallyworld parking lot that was teaming with people and cars like an ant hill that had been sprayed with RidX.

So, I’m sitting, reading, watching the HoverRound, Obesity, NasCar — 16,000 Calorie Jamboree and I hear this carillon music. Just so happens there was a church on a hillside about 1/2 mile away and on the half-hour their carillon system would go off.

For the life of me as I sat there, it was the capitalist Protestant version of the Islamic call to prayer — off went the music and here came the masses, er, I mean massive shoppers to worship and tithe at Wallyworld. Of course, the irony would have been lost on just about everyone and had I mentioned it, I would have probably had an iron (of the tire iron variety) up the side of my head.

Here’s the other thing too regarding the Chick Fil A issue in Boston and Chicago: If the mayors had been absolutely dead-set against it, they could have done it the “right” way, which is through zoning changes such as “any fast food outlet opening after such-n-such date must (for example) make sure that all of their fried potato products come from certified organic potatoes. Any establishment already open at the time of this ordinance’s passage shall be grandfathered in.” And it could have been any issue to use: number of parking spaces, amount of landscaping required…anything. But then it’s much more fun to get on the teevee, get some face time over it and spout off about “Chicago values”.

Oh and today is Chick-Fil-A appreciation day. As one person in this piece said:

“I guess were getting toward an election season and things are just going to get more and more polarized so sure let Chick-fil-A be another martyr,” Matt said. “Chick-fil-A is just another silly thing that people can get polarized about and make arguments about.”

I think Colbert had the funniest piece on the brouhaha and naturally good ole Santorum was involved. Also, check out his comment about the two old geezers from The Muppets.

Prolix: Luved that story! Sorta like in The Time Machine when the Morlocks call the Eloi.

Sophie: Great article on the N.H. Chick Fil A. I wonder how well the home office likes the idea of being a sponsor for the Pride event?

Here’s an excellent idea: Let a six year old tell you why it’s bad to vote for Obama. Courtesy of a tea-party group.

@8: OMG. That’s reprehensible. I made fun of Obots voting for Obama because their children told them to, but this crosses yet another line. I am very afraid of the future: it’s trophy kids and this. We are so F’d.

sophie@9: Yeah, I remember the school in Cali(?) where the kids were doing the Barack Obama, yes, yes yes or something and a school in New Jersey doing something similar. Maybe after his closeup, mom and dad took him to chick-fil-a?

But here’s an idea for both sides: Leave your kids outta this stuff! 👿

But here’s an idea for both sides: Leave your kids outta this stuff!

Yeah, no shit. They don’t know what they’re talking about, can’t vote, and the whole thing smells like brainwashing. Both sides, stop using children as pawns in your not-even-worth-having argument.

Hey Sophie and Fredster, perhaps children are more aware than we know – be afraid, be very afraid (just for fun cause today is such a dismal day and tomorrow will be worse – funeral)

HT@13: Sorry about your having to go to a funeral. My condolences to you.

Thanks Fredster. Take yourself back two years when Momster passed. Multiply that by three and you have my last 7 months. I want this year to be over, so in Captain Picard speak – make it so.

@16: Yes, that would indeed be rough.

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