I’ve written before about ambivalence about issues such as public housing. I’m in favor of providing housing to everyone, but I believe that diffused low income housing is better than large public housing developments. I’m ambivalent about most things really, like the war. It’s stupid and tragic, but do we get out now, or do we sink more money into trying to rectify things?
Around here, I have a lot of ambivalence about commercial stuff. There are places that I don’t want in my city, but even more, I don’t want them NOT open, if they’re going to exist. I live 2 blocks from a Starbucks. I’d never go there for anything, but I was more pissed when they took so damn long to reopen after the storm. I’d rather their spot be a local business, but if they’re going to be there, then open the hell up and spruce up the block (I’ve had people come visit and say, “Wow, you’re so lucky to live close to a Starbucks”). But this picture is from August 20-f’in-06. A year, and the corporate pricks had to wait to see if there would be enough money returning to the city to support store #35834923. They’re just parasites.
Other businesses are the same to me. I hate Al Copeland, and I hate his restaurants. I’ve actually had to ingest that crap when some group or convention made me go there, and it sucks. I resent that he convinces tourists that he sells New Orleans food, when it’s just garbage. So I’d like him gone, but if he’s going to be there, then clean up the damn place, Al. A condition for bankruptcy should be that you clean up your business, but this guy only cares about his own appearance, not the image of New Orleans that made him rich (ahem, Cyril).
Then there’s Walgreens, who’s letting their stores sit and rot but opening new ones. No one who believes in the city should support those punks. House of Blues even took their sweet time opening back up. I hate the place, but if they’re gonna be there, then open up and start getting a little life going on.
I tell my students to vote with their dollars, and way too many people here are not thinking about the consequences of their spending. I’m not trying to sound self-righteous about it, but at least I feel GUILTY about my transgressions.
I take a lot of pride in reading that in our city Walmart and Starbucks are less successful than in most cities. At least among people I know, supporting local businesses is a passion. I wish everyone would do at least a little more about it so that these city-destroying entities, who are all fat on our money, would get the message, clean up their places, and hit the road.