I do live in a community that petitioned Wal Mart to move into it. Truly the worst (dirtiest, least amount of merchandise, etc.) I've been in, as well, but largely because they moved into an aging mall without rebuilding the former dept. store space they moved into, rather than building the giant "big box" prefab building they usually do. We are very much looking forward to a Home Depot, Target, Costco, and maybe even a sit down restaurant with table cloths! and a Hollywood Video in our neighborhood. Not to mention my dear 99 cents only store (Odd Job and Webers were just as favorite when I was in New York).
Also that abadoned a charming 20s library for a larger one with parking.
When Wal Mart dumped their mail order DVD rental, our Netflix stock shot up!
I prefer the used and the forgotten, the overrun, the not marketed well, the odd bargain, not the cheap & new one.
The downtown area of my hometown was mostly destroyed by the mall that went in -- it was the type of time and place that was going to happen anyway; when my dad was on city council, he argued for annexing the land the mall was on, since the stores would move to the mall in any case -- arguing that the city may as well retain the tax base. They didn't, idealistically convinced the stores were loyal to the town, which they were not. The library is now in the Sears, Ks Merchandise Mart expanded into Carson Pirie Scott, and I don't know about the remainder of downtown. I wanted to open a vintage clothes / coffee shop / concert venue in the JC Penney building (should have!)
I remember being mocked in summer camp by the other girls, who only shopped at Target, KMart, etc. (precursor stores there -- anyone remember turnstyle?) because all my stuff came from mom & pop stores in our town, because my parents also owned similar stores, etc. Plus, from the time I was in fourth grade, I bought lots of roller skates, hats, clothes, etc. at Salvation Army.
While Wal Mart nation doesn't disturb me so much, I guess devoting labor (curating series, editing here & there, teaching -- always that naescent press yup, pod books with spines, but large format) to poetry doesn't "count" as much as consuming poetry in this debate -- to have consumption be my primary relationship to it.
It is difficult too to maintain relationships with poets, editors, curators one knows by virtue of common pursuit and location, rather than any affinity.
I go to give a reading with poet x, y, and z at a venue, paying for my own transportation and lodging, and not receiving a reading fee, and you bet I'm expected to buy or trade for whatever chapbook poet x, y, and z are selling. I always give the curator a copy, because it is a thankless task, and because other poets don't do it, and it is chintzy. [The average reading sells four books.]
I like Philomene Long's approach, the old DIY/Beat approach much better, and try to emulate it when I can. Look -- here's what I'm reading. Have a handout, a chapbook, a flyer, a printout, a .pdf. Let me beam it to your palm. Follow along.
I don't doubt that this stuff is collectible -- I collect as much of it as I can. Too much stuff, we've got. I know Lenore Kandel's work mostly from her chapbooks, not her out of print Grove book, for example, and I want to publish her collected!