NIMBY – Except You, and You

“There’s no way I’m letting WalMart into my city, but a Bank of America tower is more than welcome!”

There’s a Target store coming into San Francisco. No WalMart, but its slightly more pretentious cousin, Target, is moving in.

Let me just say I love WalMarts. And I love Targets. KMarts, notsomuch. It’s all about the efficiency and purity of the systems to me. I admire how their stores are laid out. I appreciate the organization. I like the bigness of it all (although the SuperWalmarts do push that for me). I love WalMart the same way I love McDonald’s: you know what to expect, the quality is consistent, they are efficient and organized. I also hate them in the same way: I wish I was wearing higher-quality, organic cottons, made with love by someone who loves me, or eating higher quality, organic foods, cooked with love by someone who loves me.

As an engineer I appreciate when systems are created that work. I admire that about WalMart and BofA. A lot of people in SF are anti-WalMart for many reasons, often the “support small business owners not large corporations” shtuff. I’m just¬†wondering, at what point of “largeness” does one become a “sell out” or cross the line into “greedy” big business? This question is important in our current Main St vs Wall St revolution.

“Too big to fail” is fascinating to me, and while I chose to move my money to a local credit union I love, I miss BofA’s better technology. Can’t we have the benefits of both somehow? At what point does small business become too big to be customer-focused, too big to fail, etc. Is this the “Monopoly” of our time we must regulate against? Endlessly interesting…

I don’t know what is so alluring about the big box stores. And I find it odd that cities will support some types but not others. There are several Staples, Office Max and Office Depots in San Francisco. There is a Lowe’s, there are McDonald’s everywhere, a few Burger Kings, the major food chains, Subway’s etc. There is something very beautiful about the way these organizations are run and patterned, but at the same time I see how they also feel soul-less and wrong! ¬†It is difficult to feel ownership as a worker in such organizations.

Don’t think I’m getting anywhere so I’ll stop rambling for now…thoughts?