Favorite stores won’t be debated

It’s a legitimate question: Should the Port Authority be doing anything to draw another discount retail department store to Red Wing? That question was raised in People’s Platform Wednesday.

But we’ll not permit a public debate on whether Target is better than Wal-Mart or Fleet Farm. Or which store has the best customer service. Or which stores have the best buys on a particular product.

The rumors about stores opening, closing or relocating have reached a new high ever since Pamida Discount Center announced it is closing. We’ve tracked down just about every one. As expected, they have proven essentially groundless.

The latest lobbying for local retailers arose when Kwik Trip approached the city Planning Advisory Commission Tuesday night with its proposal to erect another convenience store on the lot now occupied by Corner Grocery. The proposal generated many phone calls to the Platform urging the plan be rejected; only one was printed Tuesday.

The topic was fair game because it was a formal agenda item for the Planning Commission. Indeed, a story in today’s paper notes that a petition with 140 signatures was presented in opposition to the project.

We placed restrictions on what comments we would publish. Most importantly, they had to speak to the general issues surrounding the conditional-use permit, but we would not let this page become a forum lobbying for one business or another. People had that opportunity by signing the petition or attending the public hearing.

Our decision to limit comments and require them to be signed has nothing to do with the merits of the Kwik Trip plan. Rather, we are concerned that if we let discussion take that direction, soon the Platform will become a free-for-all for just about any private business.

We already receive an array of such comments. Over the years, people have called in with everything from compliments for their favorite store clerks to complaints about restaurant service or return policies to gripes about a company’s salary bonus plan.

These types of issues are best handled internally, by taking the complaint directly to the source. If the person still is not satisfied, there are other avenues such as the Better Business Bureau or a variety of state or federal agencies which deal with employee-employer disputes.

We welcome a healthy discussion of issues and ideas on this page, but, naturally, there must be limits. If you don’t see your comment printed, please give us a call and we’ll explain our position. There still might be a way of getting a point across without referring to a specific business.