Wal-Mart triumphs in Oakland


Wal—Mart, the company liberals love to hate, has pulled off a triumph in the nation's most politically left wing big city, Oakland, California. It has opened a very large store there, and it is a hit, even among locals who profess disdain for the union—free environment the company maintains for its work force.

Chip Johnson, the San Francisco Chronicle's rather sensible columnist, writes about the words of approval being spoken by the locals:

"I don't care for their corporate attitude, but I think this is a benefit because there was nothing out here,'' said Mike Breuner, 51, of Oakland....

"It's a reflection of how hungry people in these neighborhoods are for some retail choices,'' he [Oakland City Councilman Larry Reid] said. "I understand the position of unions and organized labor, and they do have a right to organize workers, but when it's clear that a store like this provides a real benefit to our residents, we are doing the city a disservice if we don't support them."

The new store is located at the freeway exit one takes for Oakland Airport (and also the Coliseum), so I go by it with some regularity, and I have actually stopped in to buy small household items a couple of times. It has been so jammed with shoppers seemingly happy with the bargain prices that finding a parking spot has taken some cruising around.

The East Oakland neighborhood houses many blacks, Hispanics, whites, and a growing Asian population. I take it as a very good sign that the welfare of the general public in the form of low prices is outweighing the special interest of the unions. Even in Oakland.

Thomas Lifson  9 19 05