Some observations after articles I’ve read and hearing from folks at work, that I wonder about...
The standard notion with the general public is that when you think of “bad” retail companies from aspects such as employee wages and benefits, business practices and quality of merchandise, the name that generally pops up is Wal-Mart and its bulk-buy cousin Sam's Club. When you think of “good” retail companies as a contrast to Wal-Mart/Sam’s, names like Costco and (to some) Ikea are mentioned.
I find this interesting then when hearing from people in and around the office (the higher-ups) who often deal directly with these retailers, as well as news articles I’ve been finding. For instance, the word around the street is that Costco is interested in coming into the region, but they want to go to a community that will offer up the incentive of waiving all impact fees. Then there’s the info that the Ikea that will be built in south Denver is receiving financial incentives that may amount to $18 million. Ikea initially looked at another community in Denver but walked away over needing to meet their sign code.
In contrast, hearing from someone working for the state DOT. She’s found in her DOT dealings that Wal-Mart/Sam's has been one of the easier companies to deal with in terms of addressing impacts. The state wants Wal-Mart to build a traffic signal a half mile away? No problem. I’m also hearing more and more of Wal-Mart’s being built to conform to the architectural standards of a community instead of their cookie-cutter proto-types.
Obviously my sample size is flawed and again I’ve had no direct work dealings with the retailers mentioned above, but is there perhaps any validity to the thought that the media darlings of the retail world are at times, the most difficult to deal with from a municipality perspective in wanting concessions, incentives, and waivers? While in contrast the “bad” retailers are the ones who conform and address their impacts?
This isn’t meant to sing the praises of the “bad” retailers by any means; I suspect their willingness to comply is due to the negative PR their companies have and not wanting to perpetuate this. Similarly, the "good" retailers realize their demand by the public will allow them to name their price to a certain degree. Still I wonder if the concessions that are offered to the “good” ones are part of the equation as to why they are able to continue the business practices the general public finds as being “good".
In your experience, have you found your dealings with retailers are sometimes contrary to how they're perceived by the general public?