I cannot stand Wal-mart. While I would love to claim that this aversion stems entirely from their corrupt health care policies for their workers, their crappy business dealings in the quasi name of getting the consumer the best deal possible while running the supplier into the ground, their lame ads with the smiley face, and their quest to stifle the “Mom and Pop” businesses at all costs be they monetarily or morally based, in actuality it stems from my one experience inside a Wal-mart and is healthily and legitimately supplemented by these other reasons.
I’ll make it quick. I was shopping for one item. The store was huge, low on stock, and crowded as hell. Now, I’ll be the first to admit I do not always handle crowds well, but this was out of control and I believe it was all because the Martha Stewart Bedding Collection was on sale (before she went to jail). Not only was it next to impossible to find what I was looking for, but the staff was out of a horror movie: zombie like, completely listless and totally inept – no one knew what direction to point me in and everywhere I went were nearly empty white shelves juxtaposed with people in a hurry who were being rude to each other so they could buy shit they didn’t need at low low prices. I never found what I was looking for, developed a distaste for Martha Stewart bedding and I lost a lot of faith in mankind that day. Thank you, Sam Walton.
I am not an anxious person, but I stood in the parking lot on the verge of a panic attack, and vowed to myself that I would never set foot in another Wal-mart. I’ve never vowed that about anything before or since. And 10 years later, I’ve upheld that promise. I have never sent anyone in for me, and as far as I know, there is nothing in my house from Wal-mart. And yes, that makes me sleep better at night.
We can find the same stuff elsewhere and I think it is our moral responsibility both as consumers and as humans, to pay maybe a little extra to support the business that is supplying the product, and also the business that is presenting the product; the hardware store and the maker of the drill. I get the low prices concept and how it has worked for Sam Walton, his heirs, and the Wal-mart family, but it is costing the consumer (maybe in ways that cannot be immediately surmised) more than we are saving. And yes, it is also a clusterfuck that overwhelmed me in its disorganization and ineptitude.
Side note: I love getting my teeth cleaned, brushing my teeth and flossing my teeth. More so than most. And I have a certain floss I adore that is next to impossible to find. My hygenist informed me exstatically the other day that it was available at Wal-mart.