Ordinary World: Christmas Hangover

Andrew Donaldson

Born and raised in West Virginia, Andrew has since lived and traveled around the world several times over. Though frequently writing about politics out of a sense of duty and love of country, most of the time he would prefer discussions on history, culture, occasionally nerding on aviation, and his amateur foodie tendencies. He can usually be found misspelling/misusing words on Twitter @four4thefire and his writing website Yonder and Home. Andrew is the host of Heard Tell podcast.

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14 Responses

  1. Richard Hershberger says:

    OW4: I feel like I need to read that piece again, while at the same time I’m not sure it is worth the effort. It seems to be arguing that Dollar stores in some way cause economic distress in a region, but if it explains how this works, I missed it. The only thing I see is that they produce fewer jobs than do supermarkets, but the discussion usually is between a Dollar store and nothing. The one paragraph that seems to be arguing that they drive supermarkets away with their low prices is immediately preceded by a paragraph that claims that their prices aren’t actually low. The logic here seems underdeveloped.

    On a personal note, I and the family went out to a Christmas tree farm last weekend. It was out in the boonies, about fifteen miles from home. Once we were on the road back, we determined that the tree was insufficiently secured to the roof of the car. The wife and I were holding onto it through the sunroof. This clearly was a suboptimal solution. The farm was just outside a small town. It is economically viable because it has a large cement plant that isn’t going anywhere, but its business sector has seen better days. It used to have a real supermarket, but that went away and a Dollar General took about two thirds of its space. This prompted the question “I wonder if a Dollar General sells rope?” Hence my very first visit. It turns out that yes, it does. The store really is intended to serve the “general store” niche. It essentially is a small version of WalMart, about one to two notches down the luxury scale. If we lived there, it would fill most of the day-to-day shopping needs, supplemented by once or twice monthly shopping trips, and lots of farm stands during the season. Which is to say, not great, but far better than nothing.Report

    • Aaron David in reply to Richard Hershberger says:

      Will has often remarked about how Walmart has filled the niche that he needs to be filled. Often by being open at all hours, with the corresponding goods. I don’t think the writers of pieces like this have a solid grasp on the areas economics and what has lead to this point.Report

    • Oscar Gordon in reply to Richard Hershberger says:

      Dollar stores don’t cause economic decline, they’re an indicator of it. Trying to ban them is some kind of cargo cult mentality, where if you don’t allow them to open, the economy won’t decline, or it will magically improve.Report

    • J_A in reply to Richard Hershberger says:

      The one paragraph that seems to be arguing that they drive supermarkets away with their low prices is immediately preceded by a paragraph that claims that their prices aren’t actually low. The logic here seems underdeveloped.

      Dollar Store items are normally more expensive in a per pound cost, but are packed in smaller units, which make the item accesible for cash limited customers.

      It’s a well known fact that poor people pay more for most things, because they can’t buy enough of them to profit from economies of scale. Almost anything we buy regularly is more costly for a poor person.

      Next time you see someone selling loosies (single cigarettes) buy one, multiply the price by twenty, see the margin, and say “Holy Fish! It’s a robbery). That’s what life with limited cash flow means.Report

    • Saul Degraw in reply to Richard Hershberger says:

      The beef I hear against the Dollar General type of stores is similar to Terry Partchet’s theory of poverty from Discworld, the guy who can only afford ten dollar boots ends up spending a lot more money than the guy who can afford fifty dollar boots because of shoddy products.

      From what I heard, dollar stores sell items in little packets. So you get enough laundry detergent for one load. You don’t get the huge container that lasts for fifty loads.

      Plus Supermarket jobs tend to be unionized and better paid than Dollar General jobs.Report

    • PD Shaw in reply to Richard Hershberger says:

      Reading the links to the ordinances, the complaints appear to be based on the dollar stores being chains (need to protecting the “distinctive community character and small entrepreneurial business ownership”), or contributing to a food desert (they “offer inexpensive, energy-dense, low-nutritive foods and beverages rather than fresh, nutritious food”).

      I sometimes think these types of articles are written by aliens from another world. It appears that homo sapiens like to consume sweet-tasting, soluble carbohydrates, but blame large corporate conglomerates for their consumption habits. This permits them to continue to consume that which they desire without experiencing guilt. Indeed, for this life form, anger can be said to be an energy that permits life to thrive.Report

    • Dark Matter in reply to Richard Hershberger says:

      It seems to be arguing that Dollar stores in some way cause economic distress in a region, but if it explains how this works, I missed it.

      Correlation is causation.

      Also, Post hoc ergo propter hoc (Latin: “after this, therefore because of this”)Report

  2. Oscar Gordon says:

    That video, that is a lot of work for decorations, and holy crap, how much storage are they devoting to decorations that are used for maybe a month out of the year?Report

  3. J_A says:


    My very gentrified neighborhood have both a very nice Kroger and a Dollar Store face to face. There’s also a Ross (Dress for Less) next door to the Dollar Store.

    My neighborhood includes a lot of retired, working class, people among the new McMansions, and there are no supermarkets for several miles north of my Kroger, in traditionally blacks neighborhoods. Hence both Kroger and the Dollar Store fill the area’s neeeds in a complementary way. I patronize both, depending on what I’m looking for.Report

  4. J_A says:


    If I were a GOP operative I would wish that the Democrats would nominate someone from a very liberal state like CA, HI, WA, or the NY/NY/MA/VT triangle of elitism and socialism. Preferably a boomer.

    A guy like Beto, young, from a red state, charismatic, fully bilingual (compounded by being a white male), is their worst nightmare.

    Signed: privileged white male that has already voted for Beto twice 🙂Report

  5. LeeEsq says:

    OW2: “The Lotto giveth, the Lotto taketh away. Blessed be the name of the Lotto.”Report

  6. Michael Cain says:

    OW6: It’s a heck of a jump from “only 10% of crosswalk pedestrian buttons in Manhattan work” to “the world is full of buttons that don’t work.” I don’t recall the last time I encountered a “public” button that didn’t work.Report

  7. LeeEsq says:

    Seventy-five years ago, the Jewish author Sholem Asch wrote a trilogy of books about Jesus, Paul, and Mary from a Jewish perspective. These books were big hits among the literati and the general public but not really well-received among Jews at the time. Tablet tells the tale: