Thursday, February 6, 2014

Food deserts is a term I have heard lately.

Generally these are blighted urban areas where the residents have to leave their area to buy food. The reason is generally that nobody wants to open a supermarket in the blighted area.

Of course, the residents ot these paradises on earth are griping about things being the way they are and don't like having to hop on the bus and go a distance to get their groceries.

Needless to say, the residents are blaming everyone and their cousins for their problem when the truth is they only have themselves to blame.

The object of opening a business is to make money. It is as simple as that. When you can't turn a profit you either close your doors or don't open them in the first place.

It doesn't take a rocket scientist to realize that these high crime areas are likely to vandalize and rob a store of its profits. If someone does decide to open a grocery business in one of these neighborhoods he has to charge a lot higher price to cover shoplifting, robberies, vandalism and other thefts. 

Ever notice that every derelict and bag lady is pushing around a shopping cart? Ever wonder where it came from? Someone paid for it. While this is just a small part of the cost of doing business in blighted urban areas, it's an example of what urban supermarkets have to put up with.

Urbanites sometimes gripe that peopple out in the suburbs pay less for things. It's true to a point. It's simply because the price of doing business is lower because they suffer fewer thefts, crimes and pay lower insurance rates.

Urban markets for the most part charge higher prices because they have to compensate for shoplifting, vandalism and the other expenses that must seem to go along with urban life.

In addition the various insurances needed to run such a business are likely to have premiums that are through the roof.

The problem, of course, isn't the companies that won't open in a food desert. On the contrary. They would love to open up in the middle of a food desert because they would have close to an area monopoly on food. If opening a business there was safe there would be any number of them.

Truth is that there are any number of chains and independents that would love to open up in one of these deserts.

The blame for this isn't the companies, be them chain or independents. The blame rests on the shoulders of the residents for allowing their neighborhoods to fall into such a sad state so as to frighten businesses away.

Things have to get pretty bad when a store turns up the golden opportunity to be the only show in town. REAL bad.

This can change if the residents want it to. They can form neighborhood watches and work with the local police to clean the neighborhood up. When the crime rate goes down and the streets become safer you can bet that businesses will return to the neighborhoods. With a vengenge. If they can make money there they will return in a heartbeat.

The first step is to admit there is a problem, stop blaming others, take charge and accept some responsibility to clean the neighborhood up.

Ignoring the community leaders that want to shift blame to anyone but the community itself is a pretty good start. Nobody wants to admit that their community is the problem and it doesn't take long for self-appointed community leaders to get the residents to blame someone else and ditch the responsibility on someone else.

Of course, there is always someone that will come along and say the government ought to step in force the large chains to provide for high crime neighborhoods. I will, as usual, suggest that THEY open a store there and run it. 

When THEY get robbed and THEY have to pay to fix vandalism and THEY have to raise prices to compensate for theft and THEY have to return to a smoking pile of ashes after a riot and find out that now THEY have to pay insurance premiums that have skyrocketed then they can come back and tell me how they feel about hellhole food deserts.

Then again, they won't. They'll just continue to run their mouths and continue to try and spend someone else's money.

To find out why the blog is pink just cut and paste this: NO ANIMALS WERE HARMED IN THE WRITING OF TODAY'S ESSAY


  1. "The object of opening a business is to make money.
    It is as simple as that. "

    Oh yeah? Then why did CVS just stop selling tobacco products?

  2. For one thing tobacco products are very low profit and unless you are moving a lot of cartons you are not making a whole lot of money. Tobacco items are one of the most commonly pilfered items out there and as a result have to be kept behind the counter.

    Most likely they will be replaced with more profitable and commonly pilfered items.

    Also they are likely jumping on the anti-tobacco bandwagon which is a draw for the health minded customers. Many drugstores are refusing to carry tobacco products.

    You can bet your boots that the people running CVS are not stupid and have figured a way to turn a profit on this decision

  3. Sorry, Mr. Piccolo, I didn't mean to sound so abrupt. Let me say that I enjoy your blogs, and I appreciate your taking the time to write them.

    I just don't think the economy is as simple as that. Sure, maybe poor people should work harder, but Wall Streeters skimming so much money off the top of the economy is making life so much harder for everyone else, and more and more economists like former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich are saying the exact same thing, that inequity of wealth and income are an underlying cause of many of todays economic problems.

  4. Tobacco products (aka cigarettes) is one of the items that has the highest smuggling rate in many EUSSR countries. Simply because the stuff is taxed ridiculously high. A pack of normal cigarettes here in Austria now goes for around €5 which is almost $7. Of course people then start smuggling because you can make a pretty penny with it.

    Nobody has yet started to smuggle cigars or pipe tobacco, so my little habit hasn't been hit yet. I doubt anybody ever will, the market isn't that big to begin with.

    As for Robert Reich... he was on Clinton's team. Clinton's idiocy essentially caused the housing bubble so he should probably be silent.

    Blaming the rich and Wall Street is always easy, but I'm pretty convinced that manager X from company Y puts a lot more money back into the economy than the vast majority of whiners. Especially the "occupy" kids with their thousands of Apple products.

    Today's economic problems are solely to be found in the governments trying to regulate everything.

    The EUSSR's light bulb chaos and the "green energy" disaster are prime examples.