Kevin Brennan Writes About What It's Like
The other night, my wife and I attended a community meeting that was organized to tell us all about the wonderful new development in the offing for our tiny town of Cool. The builder was visiting from the San Diego area to show us the site plans and artist’s renditions of a spanking-new … Dollar General!
We learned a lot about our neighbors. For one thing, like us, they don’t want a Dollar General in their town. A town just up the road rejected one a couple of years ago, so we all pretty much tore the developer a new one as he tried to explain the terrific design features he’d worked into the project, having come up earlier to take Cool’s measure. Gooseneck lighting! State-of-the-art septic!
We also learned, about our neighbors, that by and large they’re not much like us in most other respects. Most of them, it seems, have lived here a long time. They still speak of the twenty-year old shopping plaza at the crossroads as “that new store.” And they don’t like it because it’s kind of modern. Doesn’t complement the “old” downtown, which looks like a movie set from a John Ford flick.
The developer learned, I hope, that nobody, absolutely nobody wants a goddamn Dollar General in this place, but what everybody learned, because a couple of people from county government were there too, is that we’re going to be getting one anyway. Short of some kind of environmental problem with the site (and there doesn’t appear to be one, as there was for the nearby town that fought Dollar General and won), there’s no way to stop it. The guy from the planning commission said the words “property rights” in tones not different from the way a priest says “Dominus vobiscum.”
He meant the developer’s property rights.
So whether we like it or not (and like I said, we tore the guy a new one making it clear we don’t like it one bit), in a year or two the first thing people will see as they drive up Hwy. 49 from Auburn is a Dollar General store. Cool will be seen as a Dollar General town.
I’ll never set foot in it. Dollar General is a parasite, and it sells cheap shit from China to customers it considers rubes (demographically). Who wouldn’t resent that? (The developer, to soften the blow, said that Dollar General saw us as “underserved.”)
No thanks. I’ll drive across the canyon and spend my money at Target, thank you very much. A cut above.
For now, I’m off to St. Louis today to see my mom, who turns 84 on Friday. That’ll take my mind off this capitalist effrontery!