Until recently, my family shopped for groceries at an Albertsons Market about a mile from the house. In New Mexico, store aisles are lined with black beans and taco shells, carne adovada is prominent in the meat section, and, in season, Hatch chiles roast outside the store.
On occasion, we have shopped at the Smith’s grocery just across Route 66 from Albertsons and have occasionally driven to Walmart. But Walmart is 5 miles away and the nearby Smith’s parking lot is often crowded with panhandlers, bums, drug addicts, drifters and derelicts.
I never particularly paid attention to sales or signs or posters in these stores until I suddenly noticed a “NO FIREARMS” sign posted in an inconspicuous corner near the door at Albertsons. Then it all made sense … or did it?
Albertsons is owned by a New York investment firm, Cerberus Capital Management, which specializes in “distressed investing.” Cerberus buys a troubled company, cuts staff, reduces wages, minimizes benefits, outsources to China, shows a modest profit … then sells. Buy low; sell high. Oddly, Cerberus owns or has owned several firearms corporations, Remington among them. Threatened by a state teachers’ pension plan — from where else but California — however, Cerberus tried to dump its firearms holdings.
Smith’s is part of Kroger, the largest grocery chain in America. Recently, the Smith’s near our home made a forceful effort to clean up its parking lot and entrance. Security has moved the panhandlers and vagrants away from the store, and knowledgeable, helpful staff was hired to replace the folks who, formerly, took siestas on the job.
This is not an advertisement. Or it wasn’t until I studied the sign at Albertsons and drove to Smith’s and then to Walmart to compare. Smith’s explicitly allows concealed carry (while forbidding open carry); both Albertsons and Walmart are gun-free zones.
In the future, I will grocery shop exclusively at Smith’s. I don’t expect that my family’s grocery needs will force a change in policy at either Albertsons or Walmart, but if I contribute to their profitability, won’t I be aiding the very corporate structures that promote little or nothing that I stand for? Corporations that would prohibit self-defense; trample the Constitution for a quarter? Corporations that choose words I can and cannot say; silence my voice on any issue with which they disagree?
Please check the posted notes and warnings on the doors of stores you frequent. Does your favorite restaurant hire undocumented workers? Has your favorite 2018 space movie erased the American flag on the moon? A single shopper won’t change the course of history, but together we elected a president who believes in fair trade, the sanctity of borders, the rule of law and our rights as citizens of a constitutional republic.
We stand together or we fall one by one.
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