Posted on November 30, 2007
Karina and I have some huge, exciting news to share! We are expecting our third…Wal-Mart within 5 miles to open soon! Your congratulations and well wishes are appreciated.
I understand that Wal-Mart has become a controversial subject these days. Generally I do not like to step on toes or be too political, but heck, here goes: I love Cap’n Crunchberries for $1.98. Those of you used to shopping at supermarkets staffed by union grocers may think I am smoking doobies when I infer that a box of cereal can be purchased anywhere for less than $5. But I assure you, a $2 box of cereal is indeed reality at the utopia that is your local Wal-Mart.
For those of you who oppose Wal-Mart and refuse to shop there due to a personal stance against their unfair labor practices, let me tell you: I wholeheartedly agree! The pain, suffering, and humiliation the poor employees go through at the greedy hands of corporate Wal-Mart is obvious. So obvious in fact that the employees have banded together in a mass show of displeasure and demonstrated their disapproval in the most logical way possible: by showing up to their scheduled shifts each day. I know that may seem counterintuitive in that showing up daily would suggest that the work conditions are not as dreary as insinuated by CNN and Michael Moore, but if the media is saying the work conditions are bad, far be it from me to question the motives of the media!
In fact, I am the last person to suggest that CNN, the New York Times, and ABC are bastions of liberals whose main goal is to see the downfall of capitalism and a free market. No way would you ever hear me say those media companies distort facts and squash opposition in order to cast a negative shadow on any conservative ideas. Why, if that were the fact, my very trust in the media may be shaken forever!
So, regardless of the fact that workers at Wal-Mart are blatantly treated so poorly that they continue to choose to work there, I still shop there. The fact that I can get a DVD recorder for $50 is simply too good to pass up. Where else can you find one for less than $100? Nowhere, is the correct answer. Now, I must say, paying one-half to one-third the price for an item at Wal-Mart in comparison to any other retailer does lead to pangs of guilt. As much as I would like to support local stores and mom and pops, it’s hard to justify spending 2-3 times for an item when I have other priorities for my money: such as, oh, I don’t know, feeding my children.
It is obvious that all of the mom and pop stores are suffering at the hand of almighty Wal-Mart. Well, except the hoards of mom and pops that mysteriously pop up around a recently opened Wal-Mart. One would almost think they were benefiting from the traffic generated by Wal-Mart! Ha! Perish the thought. And I guess we’d also have to rule out all of the mom and pop shops that benefit from shoppers who enter a market at Wal-Mart and then are driven to the mom and pops for a more specific selection of a given product. Conveniently, I have a personal example of this. For Christmas a few years back, I bought my wife a sewing machine (she asked for one OK! And they were out of vacuum cleaners). She wanted to take up sewing as a hobby. Unfortunately, the machines at your various local shops were a little too pricey for Santa, if you know what I am saying. So, I bought an affordable model at Wal-Mart. Once Karina took up the hobby, she realized the selection of accessories and fabrics at Wal-Mart, while good for a starter, was not nearly as comprehensive as the selection found at JoAnn’s or any other local fabric shop (now, technically speaking, JoAnn’s may be more of a corporate congolmerate than a mom and pop, but doesn’t the name JoAnn just sound like a nice old lade selling needles…sewing needles). So, guess who benefited from Karina’s purchase of a Wal-Mart sewing machine? No, it was the local fabric stores. So, I suppose we’ll rule those stores and the countless others who have similarly benefited out as well. But besides them, there are a TON of mom and pops Wal-Mart is putting out of business. And after all, it is definitely my responsibility to pay 3 times as much as necessary for a product to keep them in business. Heavens knows there aren’t other places of businesses one could work at. But, I guess they wouldn’t be able to set their own hours and exorbitant prices for merchandise. And it is definitely rediculous to expect the mom and pops to purchase their products at reduced quantities by joining a buying group. Why, that would involve more work, the very enemy of a union-based society!
So, despite the guilt I feel personally and the fact that it sometimes seems as if the clientèle shopping around me just returned from a monster truck show during mullet week in Alabama (sorry that was offensive, I would never purposely insinuate someone was from Alabama), I look forward to having a Wal-Mart located within walking distance from my home. And I would suggest refraining from complaining to me about my patronizing Wal-Mart until after December 25. Otherwise, I may be forced to purchase my Christmas gifts elsewhere, possibly decreasing the quantity you get by 2/3!
I know the length of this blog borders on super-hugely-tedious, but I wanted to share one other bit of information. We took the kiddos to see Enchanted this weekend. It was a great movie. All of it except the part I missed when I took Lynsey out because she was screaming in fear. But far from being embarassed, I was proud! Not all fathers can claim their daughters are reduced to tears upon seeing Susan Sarandon!
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