The Problem with Box Stores

By Molly Blakemore

Via Organica wants to remind you that we are what we eat, and what we buy. Each of our purchasing decisions either supports our current, unsustainable “business as usual” economy, or else moves us toward a greener, healthier, more equitable society.

Millions of green and health-minded consumers around the world are breaking the chains of corporate control in their own lives, by supporting organic, Fair Trade, and locally owned farms, businesses and products.

The quality and range of Mexico’s daily essentials are being dictated and degraded by a powerful network of Brand Name Bullies and Big Box chains. Mega (Costco), Bodega Aurrera (Wal-Mart/Walmex), and Soriana are quickly changing the way Mexicans shop, turning them into U.S. style mega-consumers.

In the U.S., we have seen the damage that big chain stores like Wal-Mart have done to fair labor practices by reducing wages, denying benefits, breaking unions, and shipping jobs overseas. Wal-Mart has ravaged the environment and local economies by violating the Clean Water Act, dramatically increasing the distance that food travels from farm to plate (food miles) and bankrupting small, independently-owned stores by driving prices down, all at a huge burden to U.S. taxpayers.

Now, these same things are happening in Mexico. Walmex/Sam’s Club currently operates 1,410 retail stores throughout Mexico, and have become the largest employer in the country. Soriana has 471 stores, while Commercial Mexicana (Mega, City Market, Costco) operates 191.

By “outsourcing” from sweatshops in the factories and fields, by cutting corners on public health and the environment, and by sucking up billions of dollars in taxpayer subsidies, business behemoths such as Wal-Mart, Soriana, and others have constructed a vast global shopping mall of cheap goods and conveniences, reinforced by a non-stop, 24/7 glut of multi-media distractions.

If we want to preserve our health and the environment, if we want to dramatically reduce greenhouse gases and stabilize the climate, if we want an economy that can support organic farmers and small businesses, then we must support local and organic producers in San Miguel.

Say “NO” to the big box stores and junk food chains. Shop and eat at stores and restaurants like Via Organica, Tapas, Natura, Bové, and Sollano 16 that buy from the community, pay fair wages, and promote health and sustainability in San Miguel.