Superstores Helpful (Letter to the Editor)

The article ” ‘Good simplicity’ falls by the wayside” by reporter Craig Wilson asserts that “shopping at the mall or Wal-Mart or a fast food place” is not a “quality experience” for individuals or the community. But on what basis is a “quality experience” determined? (Vanishing America series, Cover Story, News, Friday).

Wal-Mart, “suburban strip malls,” and even national newspapers provide a bountiful selection of goods and services at relatively cheap prices. These businesses do not exist on the basis of power or privilege. Rather, customers expressing their preferences in a voluntary exchange setting determine the existence of business.

When people shop they are freely determining what they deem to be a quality experience.

Few would deny that soft-drink fountains at five-and-dime stores are important in our American cultural heritage. Yet the ar- ticle fails to explain other important features of American culture such as dynamic change, innovation and ingenuity.

Far from eroding our cultural heritage, evolving commercial institutions in a free society provide the framework for more people to have better lives.