A college friend named Derek Kompare, who is now a well-published media critic and academic, once told me a story about visiting the Circle K at the ground floor of what was then its corporate headquarters in Phoenix. He was hoping that there would be some special Circle K souvenirs there, perhaps a T-shirt or something, but, in his words “they didn’t even have a key chain.” The clerk there was no help in this regard, because, to Derek’s surprise, he had no idea that the corporate headquarters were directly above him.
Nearly a quarter of a century later, such ignorance of one’s surroundings remains a problem for Circle K. The phenomenon is not restricted to its notoriously badly paid and ill-treated clerks, but seems to extend across the corporate culture to include upper-level management.
As witness: Circle K’s recent decision to stop carrying the Tucson Weekly and replacing it with something called Az Weekly in exchange for some undisclosed sum from the publisher. Despite the all-encompassing name, and a boast of being “Arizona’s Best Entertainment Resource” the new publication has no Tucson content, its focus apparently being puff pieces about upscale bars and restaurants in Scottsdale. Apparently, the people behind this rag are of the school that holds that “The Valley,” “Maricopa County” and “Arizona” are synonymous.
Given the fact that this magazine is utterly worthless to folks in Tucson, it is difficult to see how the Old Pueblo is well-served by this decision. Circle K clearly has the right to do what it wants in this regard, but we all know that corporations like to brag about how much good they do for the community, particularly when they want something from local government. One hopes that our local elected officials remember this when Circle K inevitably comes to them when they need some kind of variance or other special favor from the City or County in their ongoing war with Quik Trip.
This stands in sharp contrast to today’s good news from the Legislature, namely, that Representative Andrea Dalessandro’s (D-Green Valley) memorial to Congress in support of the Cherrybell Mail Processing Center, is moving forward with bipartisan support. Circle K should be embarrassed that the Arizona Legislature is being less small-minded and provincial than they are.
There is an online petition to Circle K in support of the Tucson Weekly. Heck, it’s worth a try.