Saturday, February 5, 2011

Cheese Doodles

The town of Thomaston, Maine is considering a new business development on a large tract of land on Route 1 near the Rockland line. Some five years ago Thomaston voters approved 150,000 square-foot big-box stores for that area, and almost immediately a Lowes went up to complement the car lots and redemption centers. This new development is for half-a-dozen businesses, including a Walmart semi-Supercenter. There have started the usual sequence of public meetings on design, traffic, and environmental impact, the usual press stories on citizen approval and outcry. Only one story that I've seen gets at the huge absurdity of this Walmart.

You could argue Walmart is already absurd. All these big-boxes are, with their sterile atmospheres and cranky employees (when you can find one) and stadium sizes. Walmart adds a little frisson by claiming to demand green practices from its suppliers, which sounds good on the surface but really is an astonishing claim from a purveyor of mountains of mostly unnecessary junk. No, the absurd thing in Thomaston is that there's another Walmart just 4 miles away in Rockland.

Oh, but this will be a bigger one, with lots more stuff, choice, and variety. It will bring more customers to the area. It will be newer, slicker, brighter. It will be all the things that civilization demands. Anywhere on the East Coast, Route 1 means cheek-by-jowl development. Why should Maine be any different?

There are a couple of years of hearings and permittings and rulings from the State to get through, but I have no doubt the new Walmart will be built. The one in Rockland will close, become some other big-box or maybe just molder away. The endless pursuit of tar and concrete, knick-knacks and walnuts, plastic toys and cheap jeans, groceries and drugs and appliances and bedding and rakes and rifles and plasterboard and Cheese Doodles continues.

2 comments:

Jeff Boatright said...

First, congratulations on the Lowes. I find the quality of their goods slightly better than Home Desperate.

As to another Wally World, I feel your pain. Among the many sad things about another WW being born into the world is that their prices often just are that spectacularly low.

But at least the quality is very much a known entity...

Jeff Boatright said...

DOH! I left out a "not"....their prices often are just NOT that spectacularly low...