Guest post from Rob at the blog Save The Lower East Side
7-Eleven Legal Defense and Education Fund (SELDEF)
Here’s the corporate defense of 7-Eleven with my comments:
1. 7-Eleven provides cheap food for low-income people.
What’s this, the 21st century version of “Let them eat cake”? Literally: 7-Eleven promotes every form of sugar possible.
2. There are empty storefronts in our neighborhood. We must fill them, and 7-Eleven will!
Filling the storefronts serves only landlords. Retail storefronts are not a driver of local labor and the neighborhood isn’t lacking in food options. What we’v’e lost here is service variety because nightlife, chains and franchises have upped the commercial rents so that small stores like bookstores (for new or used — anyone remember Paul’s? I loved that bookstore), thriftshops, hardware, stationers&cardshops and curiosities can’t stay or get in (does anyone remember places like Celtic Twilight in the 1970’s? Where else in NY could you find a copy of Y Gododdin?).
Allowing chains, frachises and bars just encourages landlords to hold out for higher rents. The only way to bring rents down is taking the Big Gulp out of the landlord’s hand: no more lifeline to candy, fat and liquor; do some service for the community. Since the neighborhood is dense, so plenty of services can thrive, and service providers will come if the rents ease off.
3. 7-Eleven prevents gentrification.
There are 7-Elevens on the Upper East Side and the Upper West Side, in the Scarano condo building the one professed “gated” community in the neighborhood. 7-Eleven didn’t even arrive in the EV until after the neighborhood was thoroughly upscaled.
4. Remove the corporate clone stores and they’ll be replaced with fancy boutiques.
East Village boutiques on 9th & 10th arrived decades ago when rents were cheap. New stores here are not SoHo-style boutiques. New storefronts here are usually either upscale food — North Korean-style ice cream, artisanal water, Japanese-Canary Island fusion, 387 varieties of peanut butter served on rice cakes and no jelly — or cheap fast food, falafel, pizza, Asian dumplings, bagels, or a cafe w/wifi, cafe w/wifi w/sandwiches, cafe w/wifi w/sandwiches w/cute singles. Which do you prefer? If you choose 7-Eleven, go back to item 1 above and see Marie. For me, I’ll take a falafel w/humus, please.
5. 7-Eleven doesn’t exploit undocumented immigrant labor.
7-Eleven doesn’t employ them at all. The undocumented can die in the street for all the corporation cares. Or ex-felons desperately looking for a second chance. Giant corporate control from afar. It’s taking over our streets, our lives, our work, our food, our future.
The only defense left? You’re addicted to the Big Gulp. Sarah Palin’s got your back!
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