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Photo courtesy of Guustaaf Damave Photography


The very moment of the posting of this blog entry this morning marks the offical opening of Yelm’s Super Wal-Mart in ceremony and glee.

This writer was contemplating all that this will mean for this town.

Many of you have written in to say that you support Wal-Mart, the jobs that have been created here and the low prices brought to Yelm.

Yes, in near-sightedness, you could make that claim and revel in that for awhile, however at what cost on our future?

Did you know that the majority of Wal-Mart products are made overseas – and much from one country alone – China?

You may say, so what?

This has cost our fellow Americans jobs.

Read this from the Economic Policy Institute,
“The manufacturing sector and its workers were hardest hit by the growth of Wal-Mart’s imports. Wal-Mart’s increased trade deficit with China eliminated 133,000 manufacturing jobs, 68% of all jobs lost. Overall, the Wal-Mart trade deficit displaced and 308,100 jobs in 2006. On average, 77 U.S. jobs were eliminated for each one of Wal-Mart’s 4,022 U.S. stores in 2006. (See The Wal-Mart Effect for more details.)

And the AFL-CIO weighs in on the Wal-Mart issue,
“Those low-cost goods at Wal-Mart ultimately come at a high price: lost jobs, lower wages and unsupportable U.S. trade deficits.

Wal-Mart is the single largest importer of foreign-produced goods in the United States, and the majority of its private-label clothing is manufactured in at least 48 countries around the worldand almost none in the United States.”

Further, now we have what The New York Times calls “… a quality crisis” on goods coming from China, from where well over $18 billion of Wal-Mart’s products are imported.
“Weeks after tainted Chinese pet food ingredients killed and sickened thousands of dogs and cats in the United States, this country is facing growing international pressure to prove that its food exports are safe to eat.

But simmering beneath the surface is a thornier problem that worries Chinese officials: how to assure the world that this is not a nation of counterfeits and that Made in China means well made.

Already, the contamination has produced one of the largest pet food recalls in American history, heightening global fears about the quality and safety of Chinas agricultural products. And evidence has also shown that China exported fake drug ingredients, threatening to undermine the credibility of another booming export.

‘This isnt an international crisis yet, but if they dont do something about it quickly, it will be,’ said David Zweig, a China specialist who teaches at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. ‘The question is whether it spills over and Made in China becomes known as Buyer Beware. ‘”

What ever happened to buying labels with Made In USA, where quality is king?

Since when did we become a society buying everything on the cheap and selling out our quality products for lower prices and shoddy, even dangerous goods?

JibJab takes a look at these issues and the effects of Wal-Mart on small town America with satircal humor.

The Yelm City Council earned the Jefferson Muzzle Award in 2006 for not allowing their constituents public comment on the Wal-Mart project, stifling any dissent. Their decisions are choking this town in traffic & unbridled growth.

That is what this writer is contemplating this day.

This writer sheds a tear as this town will look far different in one year, two years and more, as the fast food, home improvement stores, oil change shops and soon some other big box stores develop the east end of town, all the while gridlocking this town’s traffic, as more vehicles and delivery trucks are sucked into the ever-widening Yelm commercial zone.
Local home-owned stores offering quality products will carry on for awhile here and then some will struggle as they will be unable to compete. We will say good-by to some of our neighbors’ own businesses as the Wal-Mart effect invades Yelm.

Many say growth is inevitable and Wal-Mart will be the catalyst to more industry, jobs, and big name stores here.
Is that why you moved to Yelm? Do you want Yelm to look like Hawks Prairie does today?

Never been to New York City or San Francisco and seen gridlock? Yelm has had it for years even before today. Today, and into the future, gridlock will reach new heights here.

So celebrate this day if you must. Relish in your glee for now.

Yelm will pay a dear price in the months and years ahead.

This is surely a sad day for the pristine & once-tranquil Pride of Nisqually Priaire.

Posted by Steve on July 18, 2007 at 7:30 am | Permalink

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  1. Brilliantly expressed!!
    I agree totally.

    Comment by christine hartman on July 18, 2007 at 8:08 am

  2. i had never shopped at a walmart until i married a man in the army and of course it’s not his fault that every army town has a walmart in it it….anyways, i’ve been going to them here and there over the past 3 years but am almost at my breaking point of never going again. the more research i do/hear about makes me sick. plus, if people are not aware then they should be on the fact that china uses lead in a lot of the childrens toys paints!!!!(of which are SOLD AT Walmart!) buyer beware! i threw away all the toys that said made in china after the thomas the train and cars recall. oh, and the tv special that caught china using lead and road paint in the medicine they sell to america. as for me, i may stop in walmart here and there for some cat litter or bottled water but my larger shopping days w/ them are quickly coming to an end.

    Comment by megan miller on July 18, 2007 at 8:44 am

  3. Right you are Ms. Miller!

    In fact, so alarmed has this nation become about goods & food coming from China, that President Bush entered the fray today quoting the Tacoma News Tribune,
    “President Bush on Wednesday established a Cabinet-level panel to recommend steps to better guarantee the safety of food and other products shipped into the United States…The White House denied the effort was aimed primarily at China, the source of a variety of imports that have recently been identified as tainted or compromised.”

    “‘If Wal-Mart were an individual economy, it would rank as China’s eighth-biggest trading partner, ahead of Russia, Australia and Canada,’ Xu said,” quoting a China Daily 2004 story. [Xu Jun, Wal-Mart China’s director of external affairs]

    Comment by Steve Klein on July 18, 2007 at 5:48 pm

  4. “The Nisqually Valley News quoted this blogger’s entry in it’s ediitons out this week:

    Not everyone is thrilled with Wal-Mart’s opening.

    Former Yelm mayoral candidate Steve Klein said on his Web site this week that he “shed a tear” Wednesday as he looked ahead to how Wal-Mart will change the community.

    “So celebrate this day if you must. Relish in your glee for now,” Klein said. “Yelm will pay a dear price in the months and years ahead.”

    “This is surely a sad day for the pristine and once-tranquil Pride of Nisqually Prairie.””


    Comment by Steve Klein on July 24, 2007 at 4:08 pm

  5. I understand people’s pain in a growing community, however as stated above…it is inevitable.

    Imagine if Seattle or Tacoma never grew bigger than the original one-strip town. Imagine if all the small towns in America never grew. Where would people go?

    Do we then prohibit people from bearing children because the need for growth comes from more families and plain evolution of the human being? Do we center on simply making our big cities more overpopulated than they are?

    What solution is there? Small towns HAVE to grow to accomodate an ever-growing population.

    Does the city of Yelm need to figure out a road plan and fast???? ABSOLUTELY!!! They need to find a way to build more roads and do it quickly. The bypass needs to be started TODAY!
    There needs to be a better plan for the roads…but I don’t think the plan needs to include stopping growth in yelm….it is bound to happen whether we like it or not.

    Sad…but true.

    Comment by Angela Cox on July 26, 2007 at 12:17 pm

  6. Let’s not confuse growth with providing infrasturcture to support such growth.

    The City of Yelm has approved all of this growth without keeping the roads & water up to service such growth.

    A Bypass?
    More capacity on Yelm Ave?
    Not on the Six Year Transportation Plan.
    see July 19 & 26 entries for more on this.

    Comment by Steve Klein on July 26, 2007 at 10:28 pm

  7. I couldn’t agree with your more,Wal-Mart will be the death of this once great town. Growth is not a certain-many towns have banned Wal-mart from coming there. What people don’t understand is that Wal-mart pegged this town, not to help us but to help themselves. They came to Yelm because of the demographics they feel fit their customer. Wal-mart goes to where they find that income level is low, the average education level of their customers is very low and therefore the see us as dumb smalltown hicks who won’t know any better and will fill the Wal-mart pocket with our hard earned cash. So go ahead Yelm community members-fill that parking lot to overflowing, live up to what Wal-mart see us as-uneducated white trash-but I for one will not ever give that store a penny-no matter how much they “generously” give to support our community. They had us pegged all along!

    Comment by Cathy Worthington on July 28, 2007 at 10:54 am

  8. Your observations have been borne out in this week’s headline story in the Nisqually Valley News:
    “Yelm Wal-Mart busier than expected”
    from where I quote, ‘Opened last Wednesday (July 18), the store has done twice the business that was anticipated,’ said store manager Sherlita Kennedy.”
    And the city has seen the results of that in traffic back-ups along Yelm Ave. East, SR507 between 5 Corners & Wal-Mart, as predicted here months ago…
    Stay tuned for more traffic tie-ups at 5 Corners.
    Did you notice the Walgreens Corner is now under construction?
    What will this intersection be like at Christmas? Took me three light changes to get from the Rite-Aid to 5 Corners yesterday at 3pm!

    Comment by Steve Klein on July 28, 2007 at 11:22 am

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