Proposal Essay Responses R.F.
  • Edmondson responds to the claim that big box stores are good for the community by claiming that while they may seem to bring greater selection and variety to their "host towns" that according to her they are actually doing the complete opposite. " Instead of joining the existing culture, big box stores work independently to duplicate their product line and game plan, They decide what books, music and films get stocked as well as what fashions are peddled." She in turn utilizes an anticipatory counterargument to the claim that products are cheaper at big box stores by stating that "it is shortsighted to say that products are cheaper even if that price tag displays a smaller number. If the health of downtown is taken into account, the price is rather quite hight." She concludes this with a brilliant jab at the Wal-mart sun icon by saying that "Instead of becoming the sun they promised to be at the center of a community, these chain stores turn into black holes, slurping a town's money "somewhere else.""
  • Edmondson's main claim in this essay is that big box stores such as Wal-mart are more harmful to small towns than they are beneficial. One supporting claim is that even though they may provide a lot of selection, what they do provide is generic. It is not specific to the tastes of the town or providing money to the citizens of the town. This is supported by a quote by Stacy Mitchell of the New Rules Project in Minneapolis. Another supporting claim is that even if big stores do seem like they should be economically beneficial to a small town by providing jobs and offering well known name brands they are not keeping the money received in the area. By purchasing at a big store rather than a small business or local farmer you are sending your money away to fill the coffers of some huge corporation. This is supported by We're against the WAL campaign organizer Albert Norman. Yet another is that people today don't really see themselves as being one small part of a larger community, instead focusing on only their own wants and instant gratification. She implores people to free themselves from these selfish ideas and to band together to keep their communities locally oriented. As it is ultimately the populations responsibility to keep their local businesses alive and preserve their culture. This idea is supported by citing Simon Benlow, author of "Apology to Future Generations."
  • The most effective sources that Edmondson uses in this essay as I see it are: Donovan D. Rypkema, Robert Gwynne, Simon Benlow. Donovan D. Rypkema is an economic development consultant who claims the downtown as the heart of a community, being what binds the population together, and that when people purchase from big stores these connections deteriorate. This is an effective source simply because Rypkema is a consultant in economic development and has probably witnessed first hand the economic trends that lead to this disconnect between a population and its local community. They become simply individual consumers within a community rather than a small part of the community as a whole. Robert Gwynne is a solid source because he is used to explain Maslow's hierarchy of needs, the base of which is physiological and psychological security and the next level being love and belongingness. After a persons basic human needs are met they ultimately want to be loved and belong to something greater than themselves, in this case a local community. This is a strong reference because it uses Maslow, a well known psychologist, and his hierarchy to support the importance of the community over the selfish, individualized, instant gratification pushed by modern culture. Finally Simon Benlow is used to sum up her entire argument as well as explain how consumerism is harmful. This situation is effective because it not only sums up many of the previous claims it also implores the reader to think of the future generations of the community, and the country itself. This strikes a personal chord with anyone who is thinking about or planning on bringing children into the world and potentially raising them in this community. Benlow also makes it clear that no matter how powerless you may think you are as one person in a larger community, it is ultimately the individuals who have the power to close where they work and spend their hard earned wage.
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