Wednesday, January 14, 2009

The Evil I Know

I am one of the few people I know who admits to shopping at Walmart. Most people I know will shop at Walmart only when absolutely necessary. But someone must like Walmart because they're everywhere.

Well, I'm going to stand up and say that I willingly shop at Walmart.

I have evolved as a Walmart shopper.
  • In the beginning, I was fresh out of college, and I needed "stuff." Walmart excels at selling stuff. Kitchen towels and can opener to mascara to look right for the new job, Walmart has it all.
  • Then came the year that we moved 4 times. We kept trying to make apartments feel like home and doing it without going bankrupt - well, back to Walmart.
  • Then came the stretch when I was carpooling with DeuceDad, and arrived in town well before I had to be at work. What's open that time of day? Walmart!
  • We had a baby and it's such a hassle to drag the kid in and out of the car to make multiple stops. Super-Walmart!
  • On and off throughout the last year I've been out of work, and it bites to pay $1 more for every tube of toothpaste and bottle of apple juice, and don't even think about buying diapers at the grocery store. You guessed it - Walmart!

What's the only thing that keeps me out of Walmart? Target.

I don't think there's anything wrong with buying shampoo, diapers, and those consumable goods that I can't (won't?) live without. But here's the catch - what do you buy that you don't need and don't even want?
  • Do you love yarn but buy acrylics because they're on sale, and the LYS "seems expensive"?
  • Do you need a new electronics item and buy the cheap model despite the lack of customer service?
  • Do you buy love cooking with fresh ingredients, but buy inexpensive and unhealthy food to keep the grocery bill down?
Local merchants are more than just an expensive alternative. When there is a real quality difference, in the product or the service, it's sometimes worth it to me to pay more.

My point is to not let anyone guilt you into spending more than you can afford by preaching the evils of Stuffmart, but to try to be conscious of when it makes sense to pay more or buy local.

And just in case you think this sounds a little snooty - I'm far from perfect. In the basement I have a Ziploc Big Bag (bought at Walmart) full of clearance bin yarn. Learn from my mistakes.


kasiaiscarly said...

It is interesting what people 'need'. I love the WalMart commercial that ran around Christmas about the family that could afford a blue-ray player at 'walmart prices'. Well, maybe if you can't afford the extra $75 to buy it somewhere else, you can't really afford the $250 to buy it at walmart, either! Or the people who trampled to death the poor walmart worker on long island to get Black Friday prices. Use some common sense people! If you can only afford it during those 4 hours on one day of the year, you should REALLY re-evaluate your finances and the best things to be spending your money on. Of course, WalMart can't continue to make profit if they don't feed into our overall 'must have' mentality. It's an ugly vicious cycle.

And don't worry, I don't hold it against you that you shop there :) Bob & Deb bought my Christmas WiiFit at the Evil Empire, too.

bookwoman said...

I'm not a Wal-Mart shopper, but I get all those goodies at Target (and we had a Target long before we had a Wal-Mart around here). However, my "soft spot" for them is that my sister has worked at our local one since it opened. My sister has developmental disabilities and it's been a pretty decent place for her to work. It's not perfect, but it pays her bills. So, naturally, I want people to keep shopping there so that she continues to have a job.