If there's a "right" to health care, then what about the "right" to buy groceries?

Here's a charming picture from a local news story:


When I moved from a relatively affluent Philadelphia suburb to a relatively affluent Michigan college town I took for granted what most of us take for granted -- the easy availability of food. In the form of nearby grocery stores. So it shocked me to see long lines suddenly appear at the nearest grocery store to me without any explanation, and to be see them sold out of not one but three things on my shopping list.

Yesterday I learned that another nearby Krogers grocery store (which had been there for 30 years) had closed. It's not that it's a huge deal for me, but still I wondered why. The population and demographics of this town do not seem to have changed. Whether the population base of that particular Krogers had suddenly ceased to support it after 30 years, I don't know.

I just hope this doesn't represent a trend towards fewer stores, because that would mean longer lines, things sold out, longer distances to stores.

A Krogers closure in Toledo has infuriated patrons to the point where they are actually organizing in protest. I realize there's no right to have a store in your neighborhood, but this is the kind of thing that does affect property values, and lower property values in turn mean fewer grocery stores. (In Detroit, for example, there simply are no national grocery stores at all, and of course there's little likelihood of.... change.)

Whether this comment to the Toledo story is true I don't know:

Kroger has lost also due to shop lifting and "Shrinkage" of inventory which happens when emp[loyees and their friends and family take merchandise out of the store without paying. This is also a large factor in other Toledo City Groceries and a big reason why there are very few large chain groceries in the Central City.
You'd think something like that would be well within management's control. Employees can still be fired for stealing, can't they? Yes, and they can sue; according to an empirical study of employees who sued after being fired for theft, "the employees were victorious in 60 percent of the cases." (I don't like those odds.) So there's more to whether an area gets a grocery store than simple population demographics.

I guess I should be glad I live in an area which still has stores.

posted by Eric on 09.26.09 at 09:29 AM


I think it goes like:

1. I'm entitled because the stores are ripping me off.

2. Yes you are entitled: to nothing.


I'm always happy to pay. It means the stores will be restocked.

The "socialist mentality" is destroying Detroit.

M. Simon   ·  September 26, 2009 11:28 AM

Just think: soon our health care will look just like those shelves!

TallDave   ·  September 26, 2009 2:02 PM

It is part of Obama’s plot to control food distribution. Mark my words. This is just the beginning.

Bob Rowin   ·  September 26, 2009 2:25 PM

I remember pictures of stores in Moscow, and stores in stores in Vilnius, and ....... stores in Los Angeles.

Larry Sheldon   ·  September 26, 2009 3:19 PM

Most managers I know won't fire for cause, just use layoffs or other terminology. I know someone who has been "laid off" that way several times after money disappeared from cash registers.

My friend was finally able to fire a bad sales manager in his company, it took a whole year of documentation before he and the company lawyers were confident they could let her go. This was after many other years of her ruining everything she touched and costing them money.

For some reason everyone fired for cause sues and says it's not their fault. The thing is they even believe it.

plutosdad   ·  September 26, 2009 11:56 PM

It might be a bit naive to lament the closed store. What about the distributor that folds, meaning that store chains lose access to some products? What about farms and ranches, slaughter operations and grain elevators?

What if the change is not the customers, but the taxes and regulations, that make the business non-profitable? What if union demands change the ability of a business to survive? Have you looked at the bill the US Senate is contemplating in the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions committee, H.R. 2749 (passed by the house August 3, 2009)? This is the Food Safety EWnhancement Act 2009, imposing federal record keeping on anyone storing, producing, or transporting food or components of food for animals or people. The intent of H.R.2749 appears to be to drive everyone but Monsanto's ten biggest customers out of business - and could well mean the end of the family farm, and the food we enjoy from small and medium farms - or backyard gardens, farmers markets, or roadside stands. These would *all* fall under the jurisdiction of the FDA under this bill. That may well be enough to drive producers and transporters to reconsider whether they care to mess with food products.

Think what that would mean to your neighborhood Krogers. Or H.E.B. or Safeway, etc.

What if world demand for oil returns as factories around the world begin to resume operations after the recession starts to wane. And that drives oil prices to $6/gallon for a couple of months, then settle back to $3-$4.50 for a quarter or two - then ratchets up again?

What if Tax and Trade passes, and utilities pay to buy the coal and oil, then pay the government two to three times that amount in new taxes intended to punish and penalize companies that burn coal and oil?

What if some small percentage of people that know how to run a successful business retire or move overseas, out of frustration with regulation changes? What if the percentage isn't so small?

Brad K.   ·  September 29, 2009 4:22 PM

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