Our Town is very, very dumb!

THURSDAY, JULY 1, 2021

When Target left Mondawmin: Just this Monday, we had occasion to think about the Mondawmin Mall.

We had to go to the MVA on a matter of national consequence. In years past, the agency maintained its Baltimore City location in a freestanding building right there at Mondawmin.

It's only a couple of miles from our campus. But for whatever reason, the MVA left its Mondawmin location in 2011, after forty years at the site

The MVA is no longer there. On Monday, we had to go a bit farther out, to the surprisingly ramshackle current location.

This morning, there was the Mondawmin Mall, on the front page of the New York Times. The storyline was an easy reader, but also a bit of a modern thumb sucker:

Target doesn't care about the black community. That explains why Target closed its Mondawmin store back in 2018.

Target doesn't care about the black community! The Times was pimping this storyline from its front-page headline on down.

Given current preferences, it's a tribally pleasing line. But at one point, the front-page report said this:

CORKERY (6/30/21): Like other big-box retailers, Target has closed numerous stores over the past few years, in both white and Black areas, as it has built out a wildly successful e-commerce business and cut other expenses.

At no point did Michael Corkery make any attempt to show that Target has disproportionately closed stores in black areas. Nor did Corkery ever show the slightest sign of knowing why Target decided to close at Mondawmin.

Why did Target close its store at the Mondawmin Mall? We can't tell you that, though we'll speculate below.

Meanwhile, what does "evidence" look like at today's New York Times? At one point, Corkery offered this:

CORKERY: Some residents and neighborhood leaders were told that the store struggled with high rates of theft, known in the retail industry as “shrinkage.” But Mr. Ali, the store’s former manager, said, “That was untrue,” at least while he worked there. The store met its profit and shrinkage goals during his four years as manager, which ended in 2012, years before the store closed.

Did Target close due to pilferage? We have no idea.

That said, Ali's tenure at the store ended in 2012. The store closed in 2018. 

What would pilferage from that earlier tenure have to do with the question at hand? Only in a world as dumb and tribal as ours would Ali's statement appear in this front-page report in Our Town's most important newspaper.

Why did Target leave Mondawmin? We're going to guess that Target may have been losing money there. 

Meanwhile, the woods are lovely, dark and deep, but Our Town just isn't especially sharp. Also, Our Town's big-box newspapers proselytize with great regularity now. 

That's what Our Town is like at this point. In that way, Our floundering Town is perhaps a bit like Theirs!

And now for the rest of the story: At the surprisingly ramshackle new location, we struggled with a surprisingly recalcitrant self-help kiosk machine. 

Then, a very capable MVA employee arrived and helped us out. She was very capable and also quite nice. That's Baltimore to us!


42 comments:

  1. Thank you for documenting the atrocities, dear Bob.

    A small quibble, however: "a tribally pleasing line", is that it? What happened to your your bold characterizations from the years past, things like "disordered", "insane", "crazy", not to mention "Crazy"? Don't be a hypocrite, dear Bob, please.

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      Delete
  2. Somerby is lying, as usual. The article goes into great detail in the problems the store faces in operating in Baltimore. It has the same Mr. Ali whose comments Somerby disdains saying"

    "Mr. Ali acknowledged challenges that he said were unique to a store in a “hyper-urban area.”

    The article's headlines also mention

    'The shuttering of a store in Baltimore is a sobering reminder of the realities of capitalism'

    In short, its a balanced depiction. Somerby rants almost every day about millionaire media stars and execs, but he doesn't seem bothered by capitalism or multimillion dollar execs when it shuts down stores that are important to communities.

    Somerby is a lying fuckwit.



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    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    2. Anonymouse 4:48pm, your response is an interesting one.

      Anonymices yelled at me thru 2020 for voicing dismay at stores and other businesses,in rough and prosperous urban areas, being looted and burnt down.

      That was just fine and dandy. It was necessary. All those business people had to do was to call their insurance companies and get a check and rebuild in the same area under the same social conditions.

      No prob. Piece of cake. Sure thing.

      I was also told that there was no difference in the harm that came to the people in these neighborhoods thru the actions of rioters from that of vulture capitalists taking over businesses and issuing layoffs and salary cuts.

      Different song now. As usual.

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    3. I remember Cecelia's crocodile tears about looted businesses. Her phony drama queen shtick was ridiculous. I'm glad the commenters here pointed that out.

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    4. Well, look around at the angst here over Target now.

      The schadenfreude is genuine.

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    5. 'Anonymices yelled at me thru 2020 for voicing dismay at stores and other businesses,in rough and prosperous urban areas, being looted and burnt down.'

      I wasn't reading those posts (let alone commenting on them) in 2020, drama pseudonym queen. Nor did I offer an opinion on capitalism. I was simply pointing out the hypocrisy of Somerby who rants against capitalism when it suits him.

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    6. Anonymouse 3:15pm, I don’t rant against capitalism.

      Of course you didn’t read anyone’s comment then or now.

      You’re obviously pretending to have read my remarks in 2020 in order to take a cheap shot.

      Delete
    7. Cecilia, you seem to think everything is about you. So much that you feel compelled to repeat the same post 3 times. When did I say you were ranting against capitalism or claim to have read your posts in 2020 (anon 10:57 is not me) ?

      I was commenting on Somerby's hypocrisy since he rants against corporate media and the payment of media stars (which is an example of capitalism), but is perfectly willing to accept capitalist actions when it suits his ideology.

      If you equate yourself with Somerby, may I suggest that there are cures for MPD/DID ?

      Delete
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  3. Stores close because they don't make money. If some communities are disturbed about certain stores closing, maybe you should have patronized them more.

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    1. That whooshing sound was the point of the Times story going right over your head.

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    2. Jaysus, look who's talking.

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  4. ‘Target doesn't care about the black community! The Times was pimping this storyline from its front-page headline on down.’

    Somerby likes to miss the point. Target itself ‘made a highly public pledge to help Black communities nationally in the wake of George Floyd’s killing in the retailer’s home city of Minneapolis.’

    Recently, many corporations ‘are making promises to support Black Americans, saying their commitment to racial equity is stronger than ever.’

    The author is implying that bottom-line dollars and cents considerations override the so-called commitment to social justice that these corporations claim for themselves.

    The author is pointing out the hollowness of the corporate commitments. He is accusing them of being pseudo liberal, in other words, something that Somerby ought to jump on, because he used to use that word all the time to describe journalists at the New York Times. But instead he rejects what he sees as criticism of those much-maligned megacorporations.

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    1. Earth to the dumbest idiot in America: the store in the story closed two years before that pledge. You have to laugh at your stupidity. I guess the article is written for ignoramuses.

      And also, we don't need reporters to imply things. Not their job. Somerby is merely asking they do their job and report facts.

      Delete
    2. No, that isn't what Somerby is doing.

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    3. The point is mh has made yet another idiotic misreading. What a fool.

      Delete
    4. Hey, be nice. mh has to make an idiotic misreading at least once a day. He's right on schedule.

      Delete
    5. And again you demonstrate a complete inability to address arguments instead of denigrating people.

      Delete
    6. What's the argument?

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    7. Target doesn’t care about black people, but all businesses do have a malevolent Trumptard tendency to care about their bottom line. Temporary shutdowns all over the country cost money.

      Who knew?

      https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.forbes.com/sites/lisettevoytko/2020/05/31/target-closes-175-stores-nationwide-in-wake-of-george-floyd-protests-looting/amp/

      Delete
    8. What's the argument?

      Delete
    9. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    10. Is it this: Target ‘made a highly public pledge to help Black communities in the wake of George Floyd’s killing’ but bottom-line considerations overrode that so-called commitment and the proof of that is they closed a store in Baltimore two years earlier?

      What is the argument??? The post from mh doesn't make any sense at all.

      mh - what was your point? Why would a closing two years before that pledge reflect a hollowness of a corporate commitment?

      Delete
  5. "What would pilferage from that earlier tenure have to do with the question at hand? "

    Somerby asks why Ali, a former manager gone for 6 years from Target would have been interviewed about current problems. Does Somerby imagine that a CURRENT manager, still employed by Target, would have been allowed to give such an interview, or been able to do so without threat to his or her job?

    I'll bet the author got a big "no comment" when he approached Target for information.

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    1. (I think the manager has actually been gone for nine years.) And I think the reporter would print the no comment to make clear that he did approach them. And a really good reporter would find out with dogged persistence, wouldn't they?

      Delete
    2. Of course he approached them.

      Contacting a former manager shows that dogged persistence. It also suggests strongly that no one more current was willing to make himself available.

      Delete
    3. If no one else would talk or if he got a no comment, he would print that. What are you, 10 years old?

      Delete
    4. 8:57 - He looked him up in Linked In. Took less than a minute.

      Delete
    5. Just what the world needs -- another mindreader.

      Delete
    6. Anonymouse 10:01pm,

      Somerby- “Then, a very capable MVA employee arrived and helped us out. She was very capable and also quite nice.”

      “Capable”= Hot.

      Delete
  6. The article mentions that Target is closing brick and mortar stores in order to focus on its booming ecommerce business. There is a racial aspect to that too. People who are poorer and less educated may have less access to the technology and internet needed to buy products online. When commerce moves online, it leaves behind those without resources to shop that way, as well as those without addresses where packages can be safely received. There is a whole segment of disadvantaged people who are being left out when Target closes its stores.

    ReplyDelete
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