Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Why Giant Food hates suburbia

I'm always a little hesitant to rip into letters to the editor because I am generally supportive of people expressing their views in writing, no matter how inane. This week, however, someone wrote a letter that was just too good to pass up. Here is link (scroll all the way down), but for your sake and mine, I'll include the whole thing here:

Giant stereotypes customers according to where they live

Judging by their sales fliers, Giant believes that the residents of the District of Columbia are poor and unsophisticated while the residents of the suburbs are rich and sophisticated. In a recent flier, the supermarket chain advertised chicken at some District stores that cost 59 cents a pound while the same product is 79 cents a pound in the suburbs.

Potatoes are 20 percent more expensive, orange juice 16 percent, bathroom tissue at 9 percent, and shrimp $1 more per pound. Apparently, Giant believes the downtrodden District needs help while the rich suburbanites can afford to pay more.

This stereotyping is insulting and discriminatory.

Where to begin with this one? How about the astounding lack of logical reasoning? Or the total inability to express a point clearly? Or the disturbingly sheltered view of the world?

There are any number of reasons why Giant would charge different rates for the same items in two markets--none of which are related to the company's preferences for one group of people over another--such as, higher transportation costs related to shipping these items from Landover to Howard County versus Landover to DC (Giant's main distribution center is in Landover, where they house produce, meats, and the other "unfairly" priced goods cited by the writer); higher costs of doing business in the different locations--higher taxes, employee wages (Giant is unionized, after all), or per-square-foot costs; different levels of demand, which we all know from Econ 101 will have an impact on price. There are more reasons, but since the writer was lazy, I can be too.

In short, the fact that Giant sells the same items in two different markets for two different prices reflects nothing about the way the company views its customers. Rather, such price discrepancies reflect how it view its profit, the driving force behind every single corporation in this country. If anything, the writer is the one who is pushing stereotypes and generally being insulting.

It sounds to me like the writer is trying his damnedest to be oppressed, to have someone he can point to as "holding him down." It's sad, really.

If he's got beef with Giant, why doesn't he just shop at Safeway. Lord knows the one by my house can use all the help it can get. And I can assure him that they are absolutely non-discriminatory--they treat every customer with equal disdain.

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