Thursday, January 17, 2008

West Oakland 99 Cents Only Store Opponents Are Cheaters

Check out this article in today's Oakland Tribune. Here is the critical part:
A long-running debate in the West Oakland community, opponents of the discount retailer preferred to have that space devoted to the Mandela Foods Cooperative....

"We asked BRIDGE to restrict the square footage that 99 Cents devotes to the sale of produce, dairy and meat to 50 square feet," said Mandela Marketplace project manager Wells Lawson, so it wouldn't compete with the community-based fresh-food retailer.

So, to paraphrase, let's help West Oakland residents get sorely needed fresh food by preventing stores from having more than 50 sq feet of space for it.

Seriously, what the heck is wrong with these people? I have no problem with competition, and good luck to the Mandela co-op, but it's a virtual lock that prices there will be dramatically higher than at 99 Cents Only (if the co-op ever even opens).

But why do they feel the need to hamstring 99 Cents Only's ability to compete? What are they afraid of? That maybe low-income residents of the area might actually get a good deal on a product?

Think about it. The only reason to restrict 99 Cents Only's store space for produce, dairy and meat is to help the co-op succeed even if the co-op has higher prices. Because, if the co-op had lower prices, it would beat out the other store anyway. This is ridiculous, and West Oakland residents should not stand for it.

I'll never understand why Leftist groups like environmentalists and the organic food people constantly pick on poor people. Want to force a co-op into Oakland somewhere? Fine. Do it in Montclair, where at least the people can afford to fight back. But don't pick on people who have no grocery store within 2 miles and don't have the money to drive all over town looking for what they need.

This Mandela Cooperative is nothing but a scam designed to burden low-income residents of our city. Because of how they've tried to cheat to succeed, I hope they fail.

Residents of West Oakland, I call on you to boycott the Mandela Cooperative unless they agree to allow 99 Cents Only to put as much produce, meat and dairy in their store as they want!

And by the way, from visiting the new 99 Cents Only store twice today, I see that they've managed to fit quite a wide selection of produce, meat and dairy into those 50 square feet. Bravo! I hope you kick some co-op butt.


  1. We've had stores w/ lower prices on the West side & they didn't beat out Pac n Sav way out near Emeryville. They all went out of business. Where there's a will there's a way & ppl will make their way to manage their budget w/ quality food. I've seen many catch cabs or hustle rides jus to continiue shopping at Pak n Sav. Let the citizens who live in the W.O community make that decision and also include a locally-based fresh food outlet, is what I say. They're the ones who'll have to continue driving all the way out to Pac n Sav for "fresh" meats/produce & American brand products, which is what my friends w/ small n large families in the bottoms & Acorn continue to do. It's not just about cheaper prices when it comes to feeding our families & ourselves healthy. It's also about equalizing fresh quality meats, cereals & breads, etc that'll last thru out the month, which products from smaller markets & the 99 cents stores rarely do. Hopefully this one proves to be different. All stores do pretty good when they first open, but it's the end results w/ their products that count.

  2. No doubt. All I'm asking for is open competition. If 99 Cents Only doesn't offer good products, they deserve to fail! I just don't like the idea of someone artificially limiting their space for food, when the whole point is to get people more food options in West Oakland!

  3. [...] Anyway, now I don’t have to, because a plucky new blog called East Bay Conservative beat me to it. Mandela Foods, by the way, continues to push back their opening date, leading some (and by [...]

  4. [...] They have harmed West Oakland residents by demanding that the new 99 cents store restrict their produce and meat sections to only 50 feet, so as not to compete with the more expensive produce they plan on offering. [...]

  5. [...] Meanwhile, the 99 cents store opened in Mandela Gateway in January, and people seem to love it. Residents praised the affordable produce selection at the store to the Trib, even though the store’s entire produce, dairy, and meat section was restricted to 50 square feet at the behest of Mandela Foods. [...]