Hypocrisy is a funny thing.
I know it's not fashionable for me to say this, but I do not hate giant corporations. I do not hate Wal-Mart. I do not hate Starbucks. I do not hate Best Buy. (While we're on the subject, I also do not hate Microsoft.)
Yes, I am aware that smaller, independent businesses have shut their doors due to the existence of a nearby Starbucks or Wal-Mart store. BUT, you have to ask the very real question of why. Why did the small, inconveniently located, overpriced store go out of business? And why do the American people continue to patronize these larger entities?
I like to use my nudie bar analogy for this argument: When the wife finds out her husband frequents a strip joint, who does she blame? Usually, it's the strip joint. How many of these establishments get picketed or protested against due to the product they offer? Might we look towards the consumer who is venturing into these places and giving them his money?
We demand services and stores offering certain products, but when those places finally pop up we blame them for the decisions we make. New flash: the porn industry makes BILLIONS of dollars a year. That billions with a B. Who do we "blame" for that?
Remember, these places wouldn't continue to exist and thrive if WE didn't continue to give them our money. Now THAT'S consumerism at its finest. (America made its bed... now it has to sleep in it.)
My point today: DC got a Target! It's the first "big box" store in the city. And the local bloggers are buzzing. Mostly, these blogs are negative. Like I said, it's quite fashionable to say these stores are bad. That they lack character or charm. Or that we are like sheep filing into these buildings, zombie-like, ready to spend.
But guess what - this Target was a genius idea! Now all the young, liberal hipsters no longer have to drive their fancy Prius's out to the suburbs to stockpile all their cheap toilet paper and particleboard end tables.
As far as the neighborhood losing its charm, we're surely going to miss all those boarded-up crack houses and trash-lined streets unsafe to drive on past 6 PM.
By the way, as soon as an independent coffee shop and electronics dealer with ample parking and low prices opens up near here, I am so there.
I'm no business expert, but here's a lesson that might work: Provide a product the people will want and do it better than your competition. Sounds easy.
Let's not forget, Starbucks started out as a simple, little independently owned coffeeshop. Now we want to hate them for being successful. Bah!
Oh, and Microsoft... thanks for making the computer operating system a part of everyday life. You may not have invented it, but you sure did make it popular (something Apple couldn't do). Go Word!