Welcome back to Part 2 of our "Comparing Wegmans to Buying a Clunker" series. If you haven't had the chance to read Part 1 yet, go check that out first.
In part 1, we listed three strategies used by disreputable car dealers to trick buyers into a bad deal. Let's get into the next three.
Dealer trick #4: Making deceptive payoff promises.
Car dealers will often try to ease a buyer's concerns about the large commitment they are making. They might say things like, "If you change you mind, you can trade the vehicle in with us and get something different." Or "These cars really hold their value, you will probably be able to resell it for more than you owe." The dealer knows that as soon as you sign on the dotted line, you have accepted all the risk and their reassurances aren't worth anything.
Wegmans talked about the increasing values of homes near their other distribution center.
They don't talk about the fact that those homes were in a neighborhood that already had depressed values.
They don't mention that the homes were built near an industrial park; whereas we are in a nice neighborhood with an industrial park being built next to us.
They didn't talk about the numerous studies that indicate distribution centers have a huge negative impact on residential property values.
They didn't talk about the carcinogens that will end up in the vicinity.
Wegmans has often talked about using their GPS to limit the routes that their drivers use.
They don't talk about the large percentage of non-Wegmans drivers who won't be obligated to follow their routes.
They resist codifying the penalties that will be applied to drivers that don't use the route.
They won't agree to put the route use into the proffers.
A promise, without a contract, is only worth the credibility of the person making it. Even if Wegmans could be trusted (do you trust Wegmans?), the promise would mean nothing when new management takes over, or if the site gets sold to another corporation.
Dealer trick #5: Pushing you to lease.
Car dealers love leases, and for good reason. If you lease a car and use the vehicle more than your lease allows, you have to pay the dealer for that extra usage. If you lease a car and don't use it as much as the lease allows, the car dealer gets the car back with much less wear and tear than they expected. It is a win/win for them.
The win/win for Wegmans will be with road upgrades. This is one of the more complex issues in this project. The burden this Distribution Center will place on our roads far exceeds what most people can imagine. Wegmans talks about "trips" from their tractor trailers as if they are the same as a trip by a Prius. Trucks will be driving on roads that don't fit large vehicles (just look at this video showing what a truck looks like on Ashcake Road). The roads weren't built to handle the weight of these vehicles and will wear out quickly.
The problems from this project will impact all parts of Hanover County. The traffic impacts will require so many improvements, it will prevent the government from addressing needs in other parts of the County. If you have a road that needs fixing, it will get moved to a lower priority because Wegmans is going to create so many new top priorities.
Just like a lease, the deal has been arranged so that Wegmans is in a win/win situation. When they over utilize our roads, they will get prioritization for improvement. When they chew up secondary roads, Wegmans can find alternate routes while the residents that live on those roads will suffer from their state of disrepair.
Dealer trick #6: Saying the deal is only good now.
Dealers love to tell customers about how many people had interest in a vehicle. Just picture them saying, "The vehicle you are looking at is a great choice! In fact, we had two other buyers looking at it this morning and they are planning to return later. I'm not sure that we have any others with the exact same features as this model, so don't spend too long thinking things over if you really want it. It is going to sell fast!"
We've all heard the Board tell us, "If we don't bring in Wegmans, something worse could come!!" Don't believe it for a minute. The ONLY way to get something as bad as Wegmans is if the Board votes to remove all the legal protections we have in the current zoning. The talk about potential metal refineries and paper mills is ludicrous. Those businesses make no sense to locate here. In fact, you would be hard pressed to find businesses that would be more detrimental to the area if the Board holds to the current proffers.
The warning about a worse business isn't a legitimate concern. If the County spent as much time trying to find suitable businesses as they spend defending the Wegmans site selection, we wouldn't be in this mess. The current zoning protects us from a business like this and from just about anything that would be worse.
We will come back for the third installment soon. We hope you've enjoyed this series so far.