Monday, November 24, 2008
The modern market place
I shopped at Walmart today. You can give me grief about this. Go ahead. I'd like to hear it. I have mixed feelings about shopping there and feel somewhat ignorant about the issues.
Why do some people hate Walmart but shop at Target? Is there a difference? Target has hip ads. Walmart doesn't. Target has some hot designers working for them. Walmart might, but they aren't talking.
Supposedly Walmart treats it's employees badly. I've read that. I know there are lawsuits. But, the people I've known who work at Walmart say they like it. In fact, a number of people have told me they are treated far better at Walmart than the local Food Coop.
What about the people who make the goods for Walmart? Yes, they are certainly paid badly, but what would they be doing if they didn't have those jobs? If you can illuminate me, please do.
I am hurting for money. I'd love to shop locally, but when I have a choice of paying nearly thirty bucks for a roasting pan at the hardware store, over a hundred dollars at the housewares store (!), or nine dollars at Walmart, well, there's really no choice there. I promise, when I have more money, I will shop at Walmart less. Or even stop. Who knows?
I do buy many things locally, but I realize they're not local items: Japanese and Himalayan rice. Irish steel cut oats and Italian cheese. The only truly local things we buy are eggs, milk and vegetables during the season. I also buy local yarn and fleece. But that's about it.
Living here in the countryside, there is less opportunity for local shopping than when I lived in New York City. I miss going to the green grocer, the bakery, the butcher, the pharmacy and the little newspaper shops. But even in New York City, those places are going by the wayside. That's not only a loss of local shopping, but a loss of community.
Another word about pay: Walmart pays its employees poorly. So does every other retailer employer. But, so does the school system, and that's criminal. There's enough inequity to go around in so many spheres, I don't know where to begin. This is too large for me, so I'm being more terse than I usually am.
Some days I wish I had succeeded in living a subsistence lifestyle, but I did not. And on my present half acre of land, with a mortgage, that's not going to happen.
I will say this, however, I did not buy a turkey at Walmart. For some reason (and maybe it was all that talk about factory farming), the idea of doing so was abhorent to me.
Painting note: Vincenzo Campi
The Fruit Seller 1580
Ah, that looks simply wonderful.