SPRINGFIELD (MO) – Many Springfield residents met last week to discuss the pros and cons of building a new Walmart store in the downtown area. After more than an hour of impassioned pleas from the gallery, the Springfield Zoning and Planning Commission recommended approval for a Walmart Neighborhood Market near the intersection of Campbell and Grand in a 5-2 vote.
The discussion morphed into a referendum on Walmart. Residents worried Walmart would devour other smaller businesses, depress wages of already struggling families, wilt economic development downtown, increase diabetes in locals, and be generally embarrassing to neighboring towns.
Some residents favored the development, including one man who said he met his wife at a Walmart, and then tried to say more but he was cut off by another man who sputtered, “Wait, wait. You met your wife at Walmart?”
“Yeah,” responded Jacob Fultz, “so?”
“Is that where you’d always go to meet women? The Walmart? I mean, was Target to classy or something?” quipped another man.
“Yeah, yeah,” added a third guy, “What was your opening line? Something like ‘Hey, do you like NASCAR too? Wanna go out before we both need motorized scooters to move?’”
“Is your wife a lady of Great Value?” punned a woman from the crowd.
“I don’t see what the big deal is,” said Fultz. “I met my true love at Walmart, and so I love Walmart. Everyone should get a chance to meet their future spouse.”
The chamber burst into laughter, with a few people slapping their knees. “Yeah, we should all be lucky enough to fall in love with people who believe Walmart is romantic and that sleeves are unnecessary,” said the second man again.
“Why would you even admit to that?” said another woman.
The laughter continued for nearly a minute until the banging gavel settled the residents.
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