Debbie Thomas, 57, was more conflicted about the legislation.
"It really was a tough one," she said. "It's hard to live in this city on $7.45 or $8.25 an hour. I've lived here all my life, and I want to stay here. In the end, I'm just glad Wal-Mart's here. I might get a job."
She came to the hiring center with a folder full of her resumes, recommendation letters, work history. She worked in home health care for two decades until the group home she helped run lost its grant funding. That was two years ago.
Two years of interviews, applications and resumes. Her unemployment checks would be almost identical to the current salary that Wal-Mart is offering.
"But you know, I don't care. I would much rather work. Earn that money," she said.
Next in line was Tracy Williams. She ran a kitchen in D.C. that made and shipped nearly 1,000 meals to halfway houses and elderly folks every day. She worked her way up from cook to manager.
But Nutrition Inc. shut down two years ago, and all the resumes, interviews and phone calls have left Williams, 47, with zilch.
"I know I can work my way up again; I have no problem starting at the bottom here," said Williams, who planned to apply online, in person, and then she's going to call, call, call.
"There are no jobs out there. Nothing. I've been babysitting," she said. "This is the first time it really feels like people are going to get work."
She was the third woman I talked to Monday morning who had been laid off from a job she'd held for about two decades.
Wal-Mart is far from a perfect employer. The corporation was ridiculously stubborn in the fight over pay, and I hope the city's wage debate shames managers into paying more than the minimum wage once the stores open.
But Wal-Mart also pledged to go into severely underserved parts of the District that have not benefited from the financial boom that has created condos with dog grooming salons on the roof and stores peddling $30 boxes of gourmet doughnuts.
In the District, Wal-Mart isn't killing off mom-and-pop stores and sweet little groceries. It is going into places that have nothing and have had nothing for decades. And it is providing an anchor for other redevelopment to follow.
I wish all the folks who bashed Wal-Mart this summer had spent the day talking to the city's forgotten, struggling, unemployed residents. They came looking for work, with resumes in hand and hope on their faces.
Dvorak is a columnist for the Washington Post.