For a few years, Ms. Mitchell centered on Walmart, together with writing a e-book about mega-retailers in 2006 known as “Big Box Swindle.” Some of her work was hands-on, like when Walmart introduced a brand new supercenter in the tiny Maine city of Damariscotta.
A number of townspeople wished to oppose the retailer however didn’t fairly understand how. “We were so out of our depth,” considered one of them, Jenny Mayher, mentioned. “Walmart had a very successful strategy of dividing communities. It would say that people who didn’t want their stores were privileged rich people, while the working people needed jobs and an affordable place to get diapers.”
The Walmart opponents contacted Ms. Mitchell, who gave a presentation at the native library arguing that each tax income and the high quality of native jobs would decline. “Stacy armed us with exactly the information we needed to have fact-based argument,” Ms. Mayher mentioned. “She has an ability to be wonky without taking the humanity out of it.”
In early 2006, Damariscotta voters modified the city zoning, blocking the supercenter. Walmart declined to touch upon Ms. Mitchell.
Walmart was a problem. Amazon is a much bigger one. Walmart dominates groceries, however the firm will not be a platform-controlling gatekeeper for multitudes of smaller companies in the identical manner that Amazon is. And Walmart’s demographics differ from these of Amazon, which has change into an important characteristic of a sure optimized city life-style.
“People love e-commerce technology,” mentioned Michael Zucker, director of Change to Win, a federation of labor unions that’s allied with the Athena coalition. “The frictionless ability to order something reliably with very little risk is a very popular product. The question is, do you want just one company to have that?”
Optimism at a darkish second
It’s in all probability not a coincidence that this heart of Amazon resistance is about as distant as you will get from the precise firm. Seattle is 2,500 miles distant, and Maine is considered one of the few states with no main Amazon warehouse. (There is a Whole Foods, nevertheless, a couple of blocks from Ms. Mitchell’s workplace.)