The West End Walmart and That “Outside Agitator” Argument

THE WEST END WALMART AND THAT “OUTSIDE AGITATOR” ARGUMENT Sadly, KPRC reporter Carl Willis doesn’t exactly specify who is “raising questions” about the neighborhood groups fighting Walmart’s attempts to build a new store in Houston’s West End. And he only shows a portion of Walmart spokesman’s Daniel Morales’s musings on the subject. But still, this is starting to get real fun: “As for the outspoken opposition, questions have come up about just who is supporting them,” Willis declares. “Written reports have alleged competing chains have paid consultants, or so-called Walmart Killers, to run anti-development campaigns in other cities.” Where could these suggestions have come from? Willis cuts to Morales: “It would be unfortunate,” says the Walmart spokesperson, “if another outside group or competitor would be creating a disingenuous movement . . .” Oh, but why cut him off there? [News2Houston; previously on Swamplot]

30 Comment

  • If only outside agitators could convince Scott McClelland to stop doing HEB commercials.

  • Hmm, the Chron’s Nancy Sarnoff started a firestorm with this info too.

    If the Walmart PR machine is starting to go to work on the local media raising questions about the Stop Walmart group, the group must be gaining traction.

  • Heights area residents, and Houstonians in general are independent and cantankerous enough to start campaigns on their own. I seriously doubt any covert big box competitor funding was necessary to fuel the stop Walmart campaign.

  • All reports indicate Walmart has hired a PR firm for this site. I expect more of these low blows.

  • Regardless of all the pi$$ing and moaning that group does, whether it’s about traffic, crime or whatever, everybody and I mean everybody knows it really about “those people”.

    And yeah, McClelland just looks silly.

  • Exactly classist snobbery, don’t like it don’t shop there. Until someone can really identify some real problems associated with it being located there. Traffic can be worse than Washington Avenue on Friday night, parking isn’t a concern, and there is NOTHING there at all, take a trip by and take in all that nothingness. I personally hate wal mart but could care less if they build another one..

  • sic. can’t.

  • i can’t think of any chain that would be interested in fighting this wal-mart for any reason whatsoever. target has already had control of this inner loop market for a long time (and actually had to displace residents, but the heights didn’t care about those people) and there isn’t any land for other big-box stores to move in and compete. HEB has made enough inroads to not have to bother, kroger has already done there part in upgrading their nearest store and whole foods is en entirely different market segment altogether.

    as you move into more affluent neighborhoods people are willing to invest more of their time/money to make their opinions heard so it’s not like anything fishy is going on.

    has wal-mart hired a PR firm, i wouldn’t think at this point but they probably will as wal-mart is having to fight against more urban areas all across america to get equal treatment as any other smaller company would normally receive.

  • Well, at 1:35 his eyes look briefly up and to the right, and then staring up into his brain for 3 seconds, and only very slightly up and to the left, indicating he might be telling the truth, if you put stock into this single indicator alone.
    But the entirety of 1:35-1:43 looks like either someone who is not telling the truth, heard the question before and is trying to look spontaneous in thought on camera, or is uncomfortable with what he is saying:
    -staring WAY up for 2 secs
    -left corner of the mouth at 1:43
    -gulping at 1:42-1:43
    -speed of answer out of sync with pauses
    I’m not sure, I just thought it was interesting body language compared to the polished movements of the Wal-Mart spokesman.

  • I am certain the Walmart spokesperson has been through extensive media training to know how to properly use body language and facial expression to be seen positively on camera.

  • @ Irfan — what do you mean by “all reports”? Whose reports are you referring to?

  • Yeah, Sorry about the staring up thing.

  • It would be common practice for Walmart’s PR department to be monitoring this blog and any others commenting on their business, then calling in the spin doctors. And spins definitely include press conferences while standing proudly in front of your company signage.

    Inferring some dirty secret behind the opposition or competitors, well, the media loves dirt, they all jump to roll in it and a top PR firm for a billion dollar corporation can tell them how high.

    Its a Sick, Sad World Daria.

    Walter Cronkite is rolling over in his grave.

  • Guess I have to agree.
    WalMart started the Darrel* TV commercials immediately.
    *may not be the guy’s correct name.

  • @joel, you obviously didn’t get the memo. The Target site, which actually had some occupied homes on it that had to be demolished, is an industrial area and thus the perfect place for a big box retailer. The Walmart site, which hasn’t had any residential structures on it in at least 3/4 of a century is part of a neighborhood and thus a terrible site for big box retail. The fact that one is Walmart and the other is Target has nothing to do with it.

  • @ Jimbo. This was a great site for big box retail when HEB was looking to go there. Now that Wal-Mart is considering it, all of a sudden its “terrible site for big box retail” ??

  • thanks for clearing it up Jimbo. the city’s already onboard with the wal-mart so at this point the neighborhood is just going to be fighting for what infrastructure they want so hopefully the wal-mart stuff will dissappear as the fun’s already been drained out of it all.

    since i know there’s a lot of light rail haters around here, anyone seen this thing from china:

    i couldn’t see it working anywhere but on the freeways, but how awesome would it be to be driving down the road and have this speeding train fly over the top of you. i guess it’s the closest we’ll be able to get to flying cars.

  • Listen up kids, this is a 155,000 square foot, 24 hour a day, 664 parking spot MEGASTORE on YALE! Nobody should be ok with any store of that size there!
    If you look specifically at Walmart’s lousy track record for customer safety, community responsibility and infrastructure impact, yeah, it makes it even worse that “those people” might be moving into our neighborhood.

  • life in the big city. look on the bright side, at least you don’t have a 155,000 sqft manufacturing facility moving in with constant 18-wheeler traffic. i agree that a few 16-story commerical/residential high-rises would be more appropriate for the area, but i don’t think the west end would like that either and you have to take what you can get.

    i’m much more concerned by HPD’s record of evidence mismanagement, disregard for community responsiblity, and bigotry than wal-marts past efforts of policing a parking lot, but i still live here. if you’re unsatisfied with wal-marts efforts then maybe we can propose a property tax increase for more HPD funding to cover the gap.

  • I received an expensive three part mailer today from “Friends of Walmart” The cover depicts the site as an overgrown wasteland. The mailer had a perforated mail-in form where you can send in your pledge to join the fight to bring a walmart to the needy. At least the postal service will get some revenue out of Walmart’s campaign.

  • Hey wally world since you’re reading this, you can fly the flag up my middle finger for all that I care. This debate is tired.

  • @LandGuy. I was trying to be ironic.
    Personally I don’t have a iron in this fire. I live within a mile or so of both sites and am fully confident that the traffic from Walmart will have about as much effect on me as the traffic from Target. I know that the late night traffic and potential crime will be a drop in the ocean when compared to the Washington scene. I also know that there are a large number of residents of the Heights who will be happily shopping at Walmart once it is built. Ironically it is not the Buchanan’s, C&D’s and Antidotes of the neighborhood that have anything to fear from Walmart. Rather it is the carniceria’s and dollar stores on Shepherd and Durham.

  • @Northwood: yeah, I got a phone call about a week ago asking if I was aware of the proposed development, and got the “Friends of Walmart” flyer today too, over in Timbergrove. Looks like they are being pretty pro-active to stave off opposition. I wonder who the “Friends of Walmart” are? – sounds like a warm & fuzzy group to me! Maybe we can all meet for a beer?

  • Just as I was thinking it sure would be nice to find a grassroots pro-WalMart organization, the “Friends of WalMart” mailer showed up in the mail. Its my good fortune that they seem to be my kind of organization – well funded, generic, and impersonal. Maybe I’ll stop by their PO Box to chat with like minded civic do-gooders and to pick up a few “Friend of WalMart” signs for my front yard.

  • Yep, just got home and the flyer is in my mailbox. Walmart’s PR and marketing departments are in full defensive mode…or would that be offensive mode?

    I’m beginning to think there’s some backroom shenanigans going on that are not working in Walmart’s favor. Historic ordinances anyone?

  • I too received the “Friends of Walmart” flyer in the mail today. What a crock of sh&%.

  • “Exactly classist snobbery, don’t like it don’t shop there. Until someone can really identify some real problems associated with it being located there.”

    Well actually we’ve already established that you’re the only classist snob on this site, with your racialized comments about crime and race on FM 1960. But I don’t know what’s worse, that or the fact that you then proceeded to pretend like you were incapable of following your own argument, which ends up making it sound like you WANT crime in and around the new Wal-Mart’s proposed area.

  • Sorry you don’t agree, and feel the need to make insulting remarks that really add nothing to the public debate. Juvenile.

  • Nonesense, trapping you in your own words is hardly juvenile — and though you are evidently incapable of understanding this, you *do* make a good point about your fellow “classist snobs” being correct to worry about crime in their area.

    BTW, thank you for your “wally world” “middle finger” etc. contribution to the thread. You have enlightened us all to the “juvenile” perspective.

  • Worry about Wal Mart then instead of my opinions, your entitled to yours. Who pissed in your cheerios anyway?