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!