Wal-Mart opened stores in Fenton and Grand Blanc, Michigan this year over the objections of residents. Township officials claimed the low prices would help family budgets and were more important than concerns about local merchants being put out of business, etc. It should be noted that both towns have solid middle-class median incomes, and Grand Blanc is home to the PGA Buick Open, so I don't really buy the argument that residents needed Wal-Mart's low prices. However, RV owners of all income levels have come to depend on the retailer, and they'll be shocked to find out Grand Blanc and Fenton have put aesthetics ahead of safety and convenience in their case.
Accustomed to turning Wal-Mart parking lots into asphalt campgrounds for your RV? Don't try it in Fenton or Grand Blanc Township.Why do RV owners camp overnight at Wal-Mart?
While the world's biggest retailer is widely known in recreational vehicle circles for its free accommodations, camping is forbidden at a growing number of Wal-Mart stores - including the ones in Fenton and Grand Blanc Township - because of opposition from local governments.
Grand Blanc Township Clerk Linda Kingston said aesthetics was the reason the township required Wal-Mart to prohibit overnight camping or parking.
The answer is the same reason often given for shopping there: It's inexpensive and convenient. [...]The web site freecampgrounds.com did a survey in 1999 that showed a third of respondents had stayed overnight at a Wal-Mart. They generally just pulled in and parked, grabbed some supplies from the store the next morning, and then got back on the road again.
RV owners are less likely to damage their expensive rigs when they pull into a large, well-lit parking lot at night than if they try to navigate a narrow site at a dark campground...
Fenton and Grand Blanc are simply being snobs. Low prices are necessary, but aesthetics are more important than safety and convenience? For their sakes, I hope government officials never find themselves involved in an accident with a 38 foot fifth wheel driven by a tired camper who couldn't find a place to pull over.
NOTE: I have a couple exta bumper stickers like the one above if anybody is interested. (First come, first served.) E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I'll drop one in the mail.