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I Gotta Ask: Do you like this location for a Wal-Mart?

by Prince Of Petworth — July 6, 2010 at 12:30 pm 85 Comments

Photo by Flickr user Lone Primate

Yesterday word spread that Wal-Mart was considering a DC location. The Post reports:

“Wal-Mart is negotiating to open a store on New York Avenue NE near the intersection of Bladensburg Road, on a parcel owned by a family in the taxicab business, according to sources familiar with the negotiations.”

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  • dreas

    I don’t like any location for a Wal-Mart or any other business with such bad labor practices.

    • Anonomi


    • ParkRd


    • Kev29

      Maybe – but I’m not going to get all preachy if the residents of Northeast feel like it would be useful.

      Captcha: for lunacies

    • H street resident


  • Completely agree with Dreas comment above.

  • WDC

    It doesn’t matter if the PoP commentariat likes it. They (we) are not in Wal-Mart’s target demographic. I predict it will do just fine.

    • Ragged Dog


  • DL

    Walmart exists because our economy is designed such that the masses are paid too little money to shop anywhere other than a basement bargain shit hole, where they can buy cheap clothing from China or maybe Indonesia, beef that comes from one of the 4 big processors and is low grade, and all kinds of cheap toxic cleaning products for their homes.

  • I think the days of Big Bad Walmart are a little dated. See the post article about Walmart being the only way the environment is being monitored at all in China. Check out the incredibly low prescription rates they have to voluntarily help low-income American afford their prescriptions. Not to mention that their corporate social responsibility efforts are frequently touted as some of the best.

    I would shop there.

    • Anonymous

      The people posting above think they are too cool to shop at walmart. Probably dont realize when growing up, that was perhaps the only place their parents went to for most of their home/grocery needs..

      • dreas

        Um, no. I grew up in a town in NJ that didn’t get a Wal-Mart until last year. My parents managed just fine. We had Jamesway, which was sort of like a regional K-Mart, and Grand Union for a grocery store.

        I don’t think I am too cool for anything. I just believe in not screwing over workers and in paying a little more for products made in places that don’t screw their workers.

        • Alex

          And you’re saying that the workers got paid significantly more or were treated better at Jamesway and Grand Union? Have any of you ever worked in a grocery store before? I worked at one back in the 90’s, and non-managers definitely didn’t get benefits or anything significantly more than the minimum wage at the time.

          • dreas

            Jamesway and Grand Union, certainly as regional stores in the 1970s and 1980s and almost certainly today (though I believe Jamesway has gone out of business), did not have the purchasing power that Wal-Mart does today. Which the company uses to systematically depress prices, requiring suppliers world-wide to decrease wages, increase hours, and otherwise mistreat their employees. Wal-Mart’s brand of bad goes beyond not offering benefits to US workers. Their social responsibility reports are a sham and factory inspections are announced ahead of time.

        • sean

          you didnt go to Bradlees and Two Guys?

          i did. and The Mission.
          shit, my mom couldnt even afford kmart.

      • neener

        I grew up in the 1960s and early 1970s. My parents drove to Arkansas for groceries?

      • saf

        Wow, either I am old or you are young.

        We had never heard of a Walmart where I grew up – it hasn’t been a national chain that long.

    • neener

      except have you?

      I took my aunt to Wal-Mart for her prescriptions and saw a fight break out between shoppers, saw outlaw bikers in full colors and leathers, saw a woman I was sure was a hooker walk in wearing a jacket and pantyhose but no pants, heard many adults and children utter the F Word.

      I saw people pick packages up off the shelves, read them, and just drop them and move on. I saw an adult man pick his nose and eat it and then continue shopping. I saw mentally challenged adults standing in front of the TVs like they’d been dropped off for the afternoon.

      I promise you that if this opens, if it’s anything like other Wal-Marts, it will be staffed by and filled with drug dealers and the dregs of society.

      No one who reads POP will go back a second time. I would rather my aunt shop anywhere else.

      Read People of Wal-Mart if you don’t believe me: http://www.peopleofwalmart.com/

      • Alex

        I could make a “people of [anywhere]” site with pictures of fringe characters. I wouldn’t base my entire judgement of the [anywhere] on that. I’ve seen some pretty crazy people at Frager’s Hardware at times.

        • neener

          No, you couldn’t and that’s the point.

          Try make a people of Nordstrom site. I challenge you to do that. You can’t because what you posit is blatantly untrue.

          • Alex

            You cannot be serious. I’ve had several friends who were shoe-salesmen at Nordstrom and they had plenty of stories about stuck-up suburban yuppies wearing ridiculous getups and throwing tantrums because they couldn’t find the right pair of shoes after having the salesmen retreive dozens of pairs from the back room. That site can be done, my friend 🙂

            Also, what Wal-Mart did you visit?

          • Actually, one of the worst displays of public child abuse I ever saw was at the Nordstrom in Tysons Corner about six years ago.

          • neener

            The Wal-Mart I went to was in, I believe, North Brunswick, NJ.

            None of you have stepped up to the plate to create a site about Nordstroms like People of Wal-Mart. Your feeble comments are simply inadequate. One person once saw something at Nordstroms. I saw a fist fight, I saw real bikers, a hooker, people drop boxes of food on the ground, the group of mentally retarded adults and all of this in 20 minutes one Saturday at Wal-Mart. That’s why I’m right and you’re wrong. Don’t tell me someone worked for a year and had 5 stories from Nordstroms, I was there for 20 minutes and have 5 stories from Wal-Mart. sheesh!

      • LCM

        Are you serious? As soon as you typed the words “utter the F Word” you lost all credibility.

        If you don’t like the place, don’t shop there. But spending time to describe all the ways the “class-less Walmart type” have offended you is just sad.

        And if you really need to experience a Walmart with “drug dealers and the dregs of society” I suggest you try out the one in Salisbury on the Eastern shore of MD. You might meet some “dregs” known as my grandparents.

        Excuse me now, while I “utter the F word”

        • neener

          Whatever your problem is, keep it to yourself. I’m glad I’m nothing like you.

      • GA Ave

        haha why would drug dealers need to work at walmart?

        • neener

          conditions of their parole smartass. Smartass who is ignorant about DC I might add.

      • victoria

        Wow I didn’t know there was so much entertainment to be had at Wal-Mart – outlaw bikers and skirtless hookers and booger-eaters all in one place! What’s not to like?

      • Trulee Pist

        Hey, that booger-eater was me!

  • anon

    Target has been extremely successful in Columbia Heights while the parking remains empty. It would be great if Walmart followed this example and looked for a metro accessible location. As it is I can see traffic along NY ave being a nightmare when this and Costco open. Too bad the first sights people are greeted with when they enter DC via 50 will be Costco and Walmart. Admittedly NY ave isnt much to look at now. But it deserves better than big box. I remember the days when Cities were a haven from this crap. Those days are over I guess.

    • neener

      yeah, cities were a haven from department stores because corporations were racist and deprived black people of an opportunity to shop.

      In the 1950s there were many similar chain stores. They were shut down by racists after white flight.

      And then there were riots.

    • ET

      Yeah it would be great but that is not how WalMart operates.

      In theory I can see why they would want to move closer in because they don’t have much inside the beltway (if they have any – I only know of the one that you get to by way of Franconia Springfield) but space is a huge issue for them. They want huge stores, not the old size stores but the mega Super WalMarts, which require even parking surface lots than an old fashioned store required – which is why this location surprises me. Is it big enough for the store and the parking that is going to be required (it isn’t Metro accessible)? I could be wrong, but I don’t know if they get creative with parking like Target or do they just surface parking, but I could be wrong.

      I don’t shop at WalMart but there are a lot of people around that would so I won’t comment on that, but the traffic on NY Ave. is horrible already and I didn’t think it could get worse permanently, but this would definitely do that.

  • Employer

    Is employing people a bad labor practice or are you just pro-union anti-corporate hater?

    • neener

      wow, since the world only allows those two choices and no middle ground, let me see here…

  • Alex

    Retail and jobs are much needed in that area. In a city that has 10.4% unemployment, a statistic that disproportionately affects that side of the city in particular, we should be welcoming all opportunities we can get. Not to mention, if you take a trip out to the Wal-Mart on Annapolis Road or the one in Clinton, you’ll find an array of DC tags in the parking lot. Let’s keep those tax dollars in the city.

    • neener

      I’m not sure we need to welcome ALL opportunities. Let me ask you this though, would you really shop at a store where the people they hired had little or no skills nor interest in finding a job? I really want to toss this out to you- this store will be staffed by people who live in Northeast who can’t find other work.

      Don’t you think Wal-Mart isn’t going to hire the “best” people they can find and those people could well be driving in from PG County rather than be an unemployable ex-con with 2 assault convictions or a 22 year old mother who hasn’t held a job in 2 years?

      I can promise you that 3 months after it opens there will be a “scandal” that Wal-Mart hasn’t hired people from the neighborhood because Wal-Mart doesn’t want to hire people from the neighborhood.

      • Alex

        The Wal-Mart on Annapolis Road is generally very well staffed. The employees are almost 100% African American and Latino, and on any given day that I’ve been there, about 98% of the customers are as well. It is a very accurate representation of the demographics of western PG county and NE DC. I don’t see this being much different.

        Wal-Mart is going to hire the best 800-1000 people out of the 5000 or so applications they receive. Are all of them going to come from the neighborhood? Of course not. I’m pretty sure that some people at the Annapolis Road Wal-Mart come from NE DC, SE DC or even other parts of PG County.

        Are there going to be people from the neighborhood, who are currently out of work or having to work a similar job on the other side or outside of the city who gain employment there? Of course. Not everyone in NE DC is someone who is “not interested in finding a job” or “ex-cons” or “22 year old mothers.”

  • I Opine


    Walmart sucks life from our communities, drives out small business, lowers the bar for all workers.

    This is bad for everyone except Sam Walton.

    • Thor

      is there much life to suck in that area? What small businesses are you talking about?

    • Alex

      Yes, because there is SO much life and so many competing small businesses in that part of the city right now. And the unemployment rate definitely isn’t disproportionately high in that area. No jobs and no wages are always better than making $9 or 10 an hour at Wal-Mart!!! This is soooo bad for low-income/no-income folks who live in NE DC!

      • I Opine

        It’s true, the area is nothing nice. But Walmart will keep Bladensburg stuck in its underdeveloped state, and will bring more traffic, pollution, and will hurt small businesses all over the city.

      • really? You would rather people live off our tax dollars than get any sort of job? I guess you never grew up wondering where the next meal was coming from. I sure did, and the couple of summers my mother worked at WalMart to supplement her high school cafeteria manager salary saved our butts.

        • I Opine

          So your mom worked at walmart and a school cafeteria. That’s inspiring, but also depressing. I find it sad that she had to work two probably lousy jobs to be able to feed her family.
          The fact is that Walmart is making this situation worse for mothers like yours all over the country and world. Pretty soon moms like yours will have to work 3 and 4 jobs, not just 2.

        • neener

          No, she didn’t. What are you 22? Wal-Mart barely existed 10 years ago. If you’re 22 I can feel free to ignore you because you aren’t old enough to understand what we’re talking about.

          • monkfishing

            there were plenty of walmarts 10 years ago. not everyone is from this area neener.

    • GA Ave

      dude sam walton is dead

    • Sam Walton is dead.

      • Anonymous

        long live sam walton!

  • Patrick

    I’m glad they picked such a walkable, low traffic area.

  • JL

    Isn’t there a walmart on annapolis road just a few miles from this location?

    • Alex

      Yes, it’s a pretty nice one too. And as I mentioned before, the parking lot tends to be full of DC tags.

  • moolie

    Yea the bottom of that website reads “© 2005-2010 United Food and Commercial Workers International Union” So take their message with a grain of salt.

    “It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it” -Upton Sinclair

  • I hate the Target in Columbia Heights.

    I think any big box store takes away from the flavor of being in a city. The very flavor people stay the *&&%%$ out of the burbs for.

    Then there are Walmarts anti-labor practices and the fact that they drive other businesses out of business. Making one ugly homogenized Mc-World.

    • Alex

      Yes, because no other business drive other businesses out of business.

      You’d make more sense if you brought up anti-competitive facts or allegations (which do exist, and should be regulated/punished), but making asinine statements like that really makes you anti-Wal-Mart people look like simpletons.

      • Rick Shard

        Maybe you can get a job there as a greeter, since you love them so much. Then let us know how that health insurance and retirement package works out for you.

        • Alex

          My argument isn’t so much for Wal-Mart, but against the ridiculously asinine arguments put forth by the mouth-frothing anti-Wal-Mart people. But thanks for playing.

          • neener

            Alex, when you lose an argument it makes you look dorky to keep arguing

        • Nikki

          Or better yet, why don’t you marry them if you love them so much?


    • joker

      Comments like this are why none of you are thankfully in charge of anything in life more important than scooping ice cream at Baskin Robbins.

      Economic development is more than black and white and requires a more nuanced thought process that takes more into consideration than ” big box is bad”.

      So this Walmart is going to take away the “flavor” of this stretch of NY Ave? Well excuse me if I think the city could do without the flavor of countless junk car lots, abandoned lots and strip clubs. Yeah, those things add so much desired “flavor” that it should be preserved.

      As far as transit goes, there is no transit there. Not every place can be as transit oriented and walkable as a “Chinatown DC”.

      A typical Walmart does approx $400 dollars of gross sales per sq/ft, per year. Their typical 200K sq/ft foot print would therefore do about 80 million per year in gross sales. At %5.75, the city collects ~$5 million per year in sales tax.

      There is currently nothing there to displace, no mom and pops, no burgeoning neighborhood or business community. Without some solid existing retail in place, no one else, no developer is going to come in and spend money developing the area which is sorely what that area needs.

      Add on that each Walmart brings with it ~350 unskilled jobs and you have a pretty good idea for this area of DC. Whether the tens of thousands of DC residents who these jobs are perfect for apply to get them is another matter, but the unemployment rate in the region for the “non-degreed” crowd is somewhere in the 25-30%, each and every job added for these folks is a blessing.

      Now, multiply all the benfits above by two because DC is already deep into negotiations with a Costco in the same area and you have a real economic engine, a true engine for local redevelopment that benefits the entire city.

      • Ragged Dog

        It’s amazing how articulate you are after initially insulting everyone else.

        • joker

          Conversly, it is amazing how condescending and self obsessedly “highbrow” the majority of people are who post here despite the fact that they usually have zero understanding of the issues or cost/benefit associated with them.

          But it is just more convenient and inline with the “against the man” hispter mentality that most who post here exhibit.

          • Ragged Dog

            Agreed. I think your stated points are more effective without the first line.

            Maybe just let the logic of your argument stand on it’s own. Many of the people taking their talking points from either unions.com, poverty.com, or bigbusiness.com don’t really care to create an argument that is persuasive beyond a 10 second news clip. But most of them won’t stay on the blog for more than a few days.

          • neener

            Dude, your economic analysis is LAUGHABLE and you use the term cost/benefit analysis? You discussed the most SHALLOW cost/benefit analysis possible. For instance, where did you calculate in the increased crime and police costs. Sheesh, dude, seriously, your goofball ignorance cracks me up. Glad to see your internship is paying off but you apparently do not understand what it is people are saying here and that’s kind of funny.

      • Nikki

        Well put. It’s not like Target isn’t the exact same thing – cheap crap for the masses, except with fewer sporting goods and trendier clothes.

      • another guy named Chris

        Thank you for writing this. Wal-mart is not the devil, they are just the product of our lack of governmental regulation and represent capitalism at its finest.

  • Mr. Poon

    This argument is a bit tired, so I don’t have much to add except this: the differences at this point between Target and Wal-Mart are slim. Wal-Mart has mostly reformed its labor practices (because it’s had to).

    They’re both big box stores, and Target would be Wal-Mart if it could be. They both have the same effect on Mom ‘m Pop stores. There’s no moral righteousness at Target, and those who perceive differences between the two usually don’t perceive them as a result of a cogent analysis.

    If you really hate Wal-Mart, you probably shouldn’t be shopping at Target.

    • Rick Shard

      Target’s no saint, but they’re certainly the lesser of two evils.

    • whoa_now


    • neener

      My god this is garbage. Target and Wal-Mart are totally different corporations. That’s like saying Trader Joes is the same as Super H because both are specialty grocery chains.

      Target and Wal-Mart are totally different as corporations.

  • Ragged Dog

    This is DC, it’s not a small town where your employment and shopping choices are limited to 1-2 retailers. Any retailer on NY Ave would be good for the strip, as it is now a wasteland of abandoned businesses and sleazy hotel chains. In a large city that is already served by Target and surrounding Walmarts, it’s not going to make a huge impact on most small businesses which are already higher end or pretty far outside of what Walmart does. They’re also going to have a negligible effect on employment. DC’s poor lack basic employment skills and Walmart or any other retailer isn’t going to fix that problem –it’s a deeply rooted societal problem.

    The existence of Walmart has its goods and bads, but the real issue is what the City Council is going to give away to get them to come here. I hope that we’re smart enough to know that we don’t *need* a Walmart so there’s not some huge tax abatement where we get 50 jobs, some sales tax, but zero property/corporate tax income. If Walmart wants to come here, let them come here and stand on their own 2 feet.

    • Alex

      “If Walmart wants to come here, let them come here and stand on their own 2 feet.”

      I support Wal-Mart in NE, but 100% agree with this.

    • another guy named Chris


      We definitely do not need to subsidize Wal-Mart coming to DC, they will do just fine on their own.

  • Chris

    We can all argue the pros and cons for this type of business for years. While doing so, you can take a break and have some fun with peopleofwalmart.com.

  • SF

    I thought I’d feel outraged, but I don’t.

    Not every part of the city has the potential to be U Street or Dupont Circle. There are large swaths, including this area at Bladensburg and NY Avenue NE, that are economic and structural wastelands bad enough that even Walmart would be an improvement.

    I do hope they don’t give them ridiculous incentives for coming to DC, and require them to do something to deal with the very real traffic issue.

  • whoa_now


    Extend the streetcar up to Bladensburg/NY. Have walmart help build a soccer stadium. Put Walmart in the basement. I for one, would support DC United at the newly built Walmart Soccer Stadium. Helps Walmart’s rep, gives us a new soccer stadium and now there is public access with streetcars..I call that a win/win/win.

    • whoa_now

      plus this would give the public some sweet access to the Arboretum…which is awesome.

    • CM

      whoa_now – Your ideas are intriguing to me and I wish to subscribe to your newsletter.

  • LCM
    • PetworthRes

      awesome. must reprint for anyone who won’t follow the link!

      Wal-Mart Shoppers Mocked By Target Shopper

      OKLAHOMA CITY—Local shopper Craig Klein took a moment to mock a group of patrons in the parking lot of a local Wal-Mart during his drive Thursday to the Target on the other side of the highway. “Guess it’s time for Cooter and Horlene to stock up on turlit paper and Cheez Doodles,” Klein scoffed on his way to purchase affordable, designer-inspired bathroom supplies and a family-size bag of pita chips. “They sure don’t look like they’re buying any soap, I’ll tell you that much. Oh, man, that is just sad.” Shortly after parking at his destination, Klein was himself the focus of a raised eyebrow from a Volvo driver on her way to Crate and Barrel.

  • Anonymous

    those that think that Walmart is capitalism as usual and think it is similar to target do not understand what they are talking about. you like/support walmart,? fine. but do some research before you make remarks about the economics behind it. walmart is a company unlike any that has ever existed on the planet earth. thats not an exaggeration.

  • Phantom

    Traffic would definitely be the biggest problem. That area already is a twenty minute drive from Brentwood Rd to BW Parkway. Metro accessibility should a requirement for a Wal-mart to go in there, though I really don’t see that happening. Can you imagine, “Orange Line to Wal-Mart/New Carrolton”?

    The last thing I’d want is for NY Ave to end up like Rockville Pike, or Route 7 in VA. Traffic on those roads are horrible, and the big box stores are really why they are so bad.

    I used to take the 14 street buses all the time, and now with Best Buy and Target, Columbia Heights is a mess, and I avoid it if I can and take GA Ave buses.
    I still shop at Target and Best Buy, and while I find a lot of Wal-Mart’s business and labor practices objectionable, I know Target and Best Buy aren’t saints either.

    Sure tax revenue would be nice and agree that the area could do with a little rejuvenation (though if they tear down Hogs on the Hill, there will be WAR… WAR I TELL YOU!!!!) 😉

    • Phantom

      Also I’m all for more jobs in that area, but when I compare the customer service at the Brentwood Home Depot to that of the Home Depot at Prince George’s Station, the difference is dramatic. Same company, VERY different stores. They are both about equal distance from my home, and when I need someone to ask questions, need to speak to someone who has knowledge about a product and could actually help me out, it’s PG County MD for me. You can go to the Brentwood Home Depot, ring the Customer Service bell, and wait for 20 minutes sometimes while at PG HD, there always seems to be someone asking if you need help. I’m a DC resident, so it pains me that I give sales tax dollars to “foreign soil” just because I get better service in MD or VA.

      The Brentwood Giant suffers from some of the same problems too. When/if I go there, I have to know EXACTLY what I want, get it and get out. Then I can only go to the self check-out lanes, because the service makes for such a bad shopping experience. The meat department and deli department folks are super nice, and the recent store renovation is nice, but still, when that place gets busy (like right after work), those checkout lines are sometime 8 people deep and the checkout staff never seem like they’re in any hurry to speed people through. Sometimes I just curl up and cry like a baby with a rash.

      So that would be my other concern about a Wal-Mart there. Would the service just be so poor that I’d rather go to Potomac Yards or New Carrolton anyway?

      • Kamantha

        I am a 5 minute drive to the Giant on Brentwood and the Home Depot. Same experience here also. Except I went to the Lowes in Upper Marlboro and had a wonderful experience and got what I wanted at a cheaper price to boot.

  • Local Girl

    I’m not Wal Mart’s biggest fan, but sometimes you just can’t find what you need at Target or the chi chi shops near 14th Street (talk about keeping the poor people down, have you seen the prices at Whole Foods, Giant or the bike shops lately?) This will be a good spot to pick up random stuff you need at an affordable price, or get sundries on the way out to the beach. The one out in MD is too far away to hit on a lunch break from a Capitol Hill workplace. And maybe it will draw some of the, uh, Wal-Mart element away from DC USA.


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