Taking aim at Target
Over on our side of the pass we have a new show on RSN called Summit Speakout. The show is a media roundtable, featuring well-known raconteur Biff America as host, along with the editors of the daily and weekly newspapers and the news director of a radio station.I generally don’t like it when one journalist interviews another. It always seemed smarmy and self-serving. After all, reporters aren’t experts. They’re just relaying information they heard from someone else. So why not just interview the source, or let the field reporter speak without intervention from a host?But our show has been a pleasant surprise, with free-ranging discussion on high-profile issues. Recently, the focus was on a new Target store being built a few blocks from my home. The store is at its ugliest right now, a three-story gray cement faade vanquishes the view of the Gore Range foothills for several city blocks.At issue was a recent decision by the Silverthorne Town Council granting the store a variance to the sign code. The store is mostly built, so it’s not like the company was about to walk away if they didn’t get the variance. But the council gave Target exactly what it wanted.In one of the news stories on the council decision, the Target representative pleaded that the store would be at a competitive disadvantage if it didn’t get larger sign. At first, I laughed when I read this who is going to compete with them? Certainly not Eddie Bear’s, the bait-and-bullet gas station down the block.Then I grew angry, because I perceived that Target’s city slicker was taking us country yokels for a ride. He was using the same line he uses when he lobbies for the same variance in Arvada, where the only way you can find a business through the maze of strip malls and acres of blacktop is if it has the biggest, tallest sign around. Was he implying that Silverthorne is like Arvada? Does he think we’re stupid enough to believe that his store really couldn’t compete if it didn’t have that larger sign?I realized, though, that he was truly just making the same rote speech, written by some corporate PR wag in a central office, that he makes every time he lobbies for that variance. He probably didn’t even know what town he was in, It’s just what he says! And since it’s worked before, why not try it again? And sure enough, it worked on the town council.The roundtable riffed on this for a few minutes until the host decided it was time for the final word. The bottom line, he said, is that we’ve all been living in Summit County without a Target for years, therefore the store can’t possibly have any merchandise that anybody really needs for day to day existence. We should all realize that we live in one of the most beautiful places in the world and try to get along with a little less stuff, instead of always wanting more.Of course, my wife strenuously disagreed, saying that she, in fact, drives to Denver to buy things that she’ll soon be able to purchase just down the street.I suppose they are both right in a way. I can’t see how a new discount store is going to make my quality of life any better. I’d rather have the view of the mountains as I drive home along Highway 9.On the other hand, it does mean that tax dollars will stay in Silverthorne, enabling the town to plow the streets in my neighborhood, where I live, just a 10-minute hike from a bona fide wilderness area, and less than a 20-minute drive from a handful of world class ski areas. Life is good, thanks to Target?
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