11.14.2007

On Walmart

I don't shop at Walmart, if I can help it. On principle. But, I found myself there last night. We were looking for yard tools, which have apparently been replaced in the nursery section by Christmas stuff. You'd think you'd be able to find a rake in the middle of leaf-raking season, but, no. Alas.

I hadn't been in the store for so long, that the blatant commercialism and marketing hit me like a brick wall. On top of that, this time I realized WHY everything in the store could be priced so low- because of the unfair labor practices both in stores in this country and in factories elsewhere. Even with all this in mind, having not been in a Walmart in so many months, I forgot how much stuff was out there. How many useful gadgets! How many pretty decor items! How many TOYS! From house paint to osteoarthritis relief drugs to crock pots to remote-controlled General Lees. Stuff. Everywhere. And I found myself wanting it! Thinking of how useful it would be! And for only $2.88!

Sigh. I was ashamed, when I caught myself. And, I'm even more ashamed... I have these nice flower pots hanging on my wall, and I wanted some flowers to put in them, and a sign caught my eye- fifteen cents for a bunch of silk fall flowers... I caved. I spent $1.05 on silk flowers on sale at Walmart. And I like the way they look. Pictures to come.

And, I now resume my Walmart boycott. This experience will keep me out of there for a while.

4 comments:

ashley @ twentysixcats said...

This is interesting. I've found that I tend to buy more at Walmart BECAUSE it is cheap. "Oh look it's only $3!" I've also found, though, that half their junk is not worth buying.

I try to avoid Walmart too. It's partially easy to do because there isn't one convenient to me. But, unfortunately sometimes it's the best place to find stuff. For example, when I bought my printer, I searched around for a long time and Walmart was cheaper by $10. :-/ So, I ended up going with that.

Anonymous said...

Politics aside, it's hard not to shop there when they have a monopoly on small town America. They no they have no competition and that over half their clientele can't afford to leave town to search out other options (due to gas prices, etc.). I would love to see a Target, but Matt says they will never come because we are not the market they are looking for.

Matt said...

All valid points. But, as these guys observe, "Where else can I get spark plugs and cheese... at a decent price? Only at Walmart."

Walmart definitely does more damage than good to an easily tempted frugal person, in offering the convenience of everything in the world you could want, in addition to the one or two things you actually need. I've had to train myself to not "shop" while I'm there. I tell myself to just buy things on the list and leave. And to be kind to the elderly greeter on the way in & out.

Brett said...

I have a love/hate relationship with Walmart. I do generally try to avoid it...not so much on principal but just on how annoying I find the place. Just too many people in too small of space.

On the other hand, I do tend to actually find decent stuff there. The most recent example is the semi-rare Hot Wheels 1960s Batmobile I picked up at Walmart even though I haven't seen them anywhere else. Did I need the Batmobile? Well...probably not. But Batmobiles do get my attention.

Anyway, I'm torn on Walmart and the other big-box stores. I'd love to frequent smaller, local shops but it's hard to justify paying the higher prices (and we have comparison shopped). A few years ago the local-ish Marsh grocery stores were hurting financially and were looking for someone to purchase the chain. I remember one of the Marsh higher-ups saying something like "If people want Marsh to stay in town, people need to start shopping here." That's all well and good and I appreciate that Marsh is part of the community but if they want me to shop there, they need to lower their prices. We've actually researched it and, if we regularly shop at Marsh, our grocery bill will jump $20 a week...easily. And I can't justify that. I can find a lot of other things to do with $20 a week.

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