Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Always a Bad Idea--Always
I have been trying for several years to get The Mrs. to stop shopping at Walmart. It's not that there aren't other big-box retailers around. Target and Shopko are even closer to our house than Walmart is. And truth to tell, she's spent less time and money there in recent weeks. I'd like to think this is due to my good influence (also known as "nagging"), but it may have more to do with her having less time to shop on the last few weekends.

It's true that many things you buy at Walmart will be cheaper than the same things at other places. But you're saving money only if you think of it on a pennies-from-your-pocket basis. What Walmart does to the retail base of the communities it enters is well-documented. (People in my hometown, which already has a Walmart, are trying to fight the construction of a Super Walmart right now, knowing what it will do to existing businesses there.) The burden Walmart's low pay and crappy benefits put on government health-care systems is equally well-documented. In short, the costs of shopping at Walmart come back to get you in myriad ways, and those costs far outweigh the change you get back from your $20 bill.

I quit shopping at Walmart several years ago because of the way it masquerades as "family friendly," while behind the mask it's pushing a wingnut agenda. Walmart makes decisions regarding which CDs, books, and movies to stock on what it calls a "family values" basis--but the families they value the most are the ones who make up the Bush base. At Alternet, Amy Schiller has more.

Favorite Headline of the Day: "Study Details Bar at Center of Milky Way". It's great to find a nice place for a beer when you're a long way from home.

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