Man Vs. Megastore
Online readers came out fast and furiously in their comments on the "Walmart vs. the Heights" Hair Balls blog by Chris Patronella Jr., July 7:
Caveat emptor: Walmart sucks.
In particular, they have a pretty serious string of labor violations (locking employees in stores, shaving clocked hours, unpaid overtime), and Walmart compels manufacturers to produce inferior versions of their products at lower prices. Amazed by the price on that item compared to other stores? Check to be sure that the lawnmower has the same number of blades at the same thickness, that the toaster has the same number of heating elements, that the DVD player has progressive scan.
When it comes to Walmart's products or welcoming Walmart into your community, caveat emptor.
Karma: I grew up right around the corner from the proposed spot on Washington and Heights on Raymond Street, but my family and I were pushed out by big-time real estate agents who wanted that land to build fancy apartments for Generation Xers wanting to party on Washington Avenue...I say let Walmart come in with their jobs for the people who were there before gentrification.
Paying the bills: I was reading a discussion thread yesterday on another Web site where a person was railing against soulless corporate big-box retailers in one breath and in the next saying we should vote with our dollars by patronizing Target.
That should tell you everything you need to know about the opposition. Apparently it's okay to be a corporate big-box store if you have a line of Michael Graves products and "hip" advertising.
I went through my Walmart-hating phase. Then I was broke and didn't care so much. Fact is, not all of their stores are nasty (some are, but the new and newly remodeled stores are not), and while I don't like their politics, they're no more evil than any other corporate big-box retailer. Either hate them all, or begrudgingly accept that they're where most people shop.
Yawn: FYI: Washington Avenue isn't the Heights. If those residents didn't want the takeover of "D-bag" bars, then they should have done something about it before it took off so fast. Blaming Heights residents for the situation on Washington is quite a bit of a stretch.
I personally don't care that much about a wally mart here since I doubt most NIMBY-ers will shop there anyway. I'd suspect they'd get mostly freeway pass-through traffic and maybe some remaining low-income locals.
Online readers argued the recession and fine dining in response to the Eating...Our Words blog post "Vic & Anthony's: An Exercise in Overindulgence."
Clues: Christ on a cracker, you sound like a f'n amateur wondering how a place like V&A is "sustained." Are you that clueless? Downtown skyscrapers, really? We live in the fourth-largest city in the richest country in the world. Why should we be surprised that a good steakhouse can run through a few hundred tables a night? It's not some über-exclusive secret society. You are missing something, indeed.
More clues: Um, Nathaniel, there's a recession going on right now, or do you not own a television, radio or newspaper subscription. Christ on a cracker indeed...Here's a little help for your ignorant, illiterate self:
Perhaps the author is asking a legitimate question wondering who these people are who are still spending like drunk sailors when us average Joes are pinching pennies and eating beans and weanies trying to save up for the inevitable fucking over we're going to get the next several years when taxes go up to the point we won't even be able to pay our electric bills.
Red on the Head
Strategies: I love Vic & Anthony's — the food is great and the crab cakes are indeed the best in town. However, I find it far more enjoyable to go on a weeknight and dine at the bar. You can share a crab cake, share a steak, dine exceedingly well and leave the restaurant without being too full or having broken the bank.
And in-print (7-1-10) and online readers (6-23) comment on "Book 'Em, Danno," Hair Balls, by Margaret Downing:
Textbook costs: It was in amazement I read the article about using constables to retrieve textbooks. Constables are billed at about $60,000 per year for 40 hours a week/plus two weeks' paid vacation, etc. There is no way an HISD school should be using that kind of money to retrieve textbooks. It could not possibly be cost effective. It was unclear to me if the constables are used during the school year for truancy situations or this is just a contract for a specific function (textbook retrieval). It would be interesting to compare the cost of using contract constables versus HISD police to do this. Main question...Do we need law-enforcement folks used for this job? I hope this will prompt the district to do a cost analysis and act accordingly.
Reality Check: Simple solution: Return the property or pay for it. If either of those two actions had been taken, there would be no need for anyone to round up the missing property. School was out almost a month ago, the kid is in high school, he knows he should return them. I am so sick of how people get their feathers ruffled when they are reprimanded for not doing what they were supposed to do in the first place. Seriously, she should have handed over the textbooks, apologized and been done with it. Instead, she is going to cry foul because she was in the wrong and wants 15 minutes of fame. Get over yourself! I personally am happy to see that they are putting forth effort to recover items that my taxes pay for!
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Job duties: Police officers should be preventing crime and not collecting textbooks, which is the school's responsibility. Using police officers to go to private residences, uninvited, where no crime has been committed is a waste of taxpayer dollars. No wonder our crime rate is so high. We go around fearing to be a victim of crime while our police officers are making house calls to look for textbooks. That is messed up.
Good work: Jose, it costs taxpayers money to replace books. If you read, those officers work with the schools. The reason there is so much crime is because people like you are ignorant of the law. If you rent a car and don't turn it in when it's due, that is theft. Imagine if Reagan has 60,000, Waltrip has 40,000 and the other 200-plus schools have the same or more. We the taxpayers are wasting millions of dollars for our children to learn. More schools should hire constables, who have the right to enforce civil law. Maybe you need to join the force and see what kind of job you can do! Keep up the good work, Constables in Precinct 6 who work over and beyond the call of duties to keep kids in schools...