Sprawl-Busters wrote on August 1, 2003, that the city council, by one vote, had approved a Wal-Mart supercenter for the community of Poulsbo, Washington, known as “Little Norway.” Nearly two and a half years later, Little Norway now has a Big Wal-Mart, and here is one resident’s first-hand account of what happened in Poulsbo this week when Wal-Mart opened: “Well, the biggest darn Wally World I’ve ever seen (darn thing can be seen from space) opened it’s doors today. Life will never be the same here in Poulsbo. The local stores around here had their first taste of the devastation Wal-Mart brings to a town. Sales were so far down that the store owners won’t even discuss it and asked us to leave. Local store parking lots were empty except for employees cars, etc. Traffic on
our little 2 lane road however was gridlocked like Los Angeles at rush hour, local residents couldn’t move. It took us 22 minutes to go the 3.2 miles through town. Speed limit used to be 40 mph but we barely got an average of 8 mph. Joggers and bicyclist whizzed past us all! All this happened around 2 p.m. on a Friday… can’t wait to see how things play out on Saturday when more people are off work. We met with a lady wearing a “how can I help you” Wal-Mart blue vest pushing a shopping cart to her car and asked her “how’s the shopping?”. She sort of smiled and said “on what they pay me I can’t afford to shop anywhere else”. It’s the ultimate Wal-Mart Catch 22. You get up in the morning, eat and drink your Wal-Mart bought breakfast, start your car with your Wal-Mart bought battery, drive to your job at Wal-Mart on your Wal-Mart bought tires, take your break and eat INSIDE the Wal-Mart store at the Wal-Mart supplied food vendor, get off work and shop for your Wal-Mart clothes and Wal-Mart dinner, then drive home (again in your Wal-Mart maintained car) to eat and watch your Wal-Mart bought DVD… Ground Hog Day. God Bless America. Not only did Wal-Mart open, the Home Depot opened its Poulsbo store too. I guess the store in Silverdale a whole 7 miles away was too far?”
Our correspondent left off Wal-Mart gas and Wal-Mart’s Medicare drug plan. And won’t all those bankers who cheered when Wal-Mart arrived be horrified if Wal-Mart ever gets approved to open banks. Stay tuned.