CJ: Media could learn a lesson on school choice in Wegmans mania

RALEIGH – Recently a new grocery store opened in the Triangle of a variety not previously represented among the long list of grocery stores in the area. To say their was a buzz would be an understatement, and tens of thousands of people turned out for the grand opening day, only to be outdone by the amount of local media attention this store opening received.

All of it seemed a bit rich to Jon Sanders of the Carolina Journal, though, once one acknowledges one astute observation about the frenzy.

“It’s hard to imagine, but did you know regular people can get as excited about new choices as Raleigh media get about new grocery store options? It’s true.

I know, I know, that’s saying a lot, when you consider how excited Raleigh media have been to have new grocery options. Daily stories, inside looks, interviews with enthusiastic soon-to-be patrons, progress updates, you name it:

Do you know what hardly registered? How much unfair hardship this new competition could place on the existing options. That thought never even occurred to reporters or editors. So, we didn’t receive a flood of stories about how upstart new competition threatened to take customers and siphon money away from established stores that have been serving us so well.

If you drain money away from our stores, they will lose the ability to serve their remaining customers as well. This is bad, and we shouldn’t allow it! That’s something else readers weren’t getting from these reports, for obvious reasons.

We also weren’t given fatuous fantasies about inferred racism or white flight to the new options, either. No, the media are foursquare in agreement with consumers that more choice is a good thing. In grocery stores. […]”

Yet this fervor for more market choices disappears entirely when the topic is, let’s say, education. Sanders points out the interesting parallels and argues why just as much excitement (of the more meaningful kind) can and should come from new market choices for school here.

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