Saturday, May 22, 2010

The Den of Satan...

You probably thought I'd be writing about Lifeway Christian book stores or Glenn Beck's living room. But you're wrong. I'm talking about Wal-Mart. Yes, that evil cistern of waste and rape: Wal-Mart.

I think that Wal-Mart is a stain on our society. Its bad for so many reasons. "Like what reasons?" you ask. Well, here's a few:

1- They exploit their workers. (The typical pay rate is terrible. The average worker makes less than $20,000 a year yet Wal-Mart profits reach into the billions annually.)

2- They burden American taxpayers. (Most employees don't get health care from Wal-Mart, so they're encouraged to seek public assistance. Guess who pays for that?)

3- They destroy local economies. (Most local businesses don't sell the cheap crap from China that Wal-Mart sells internationally in huge, bulk amounts. Ergo, local businesses lose shoppers and eventually close. When a Wal-Mart opens in a town, it typically causes more jobs to be lost than it creates. Do they care? No. They still profit.)

4- They have a huge negative impact on the environment. (Importing. Shipping. Manufacturing. Waste. Etc etc.)

5- They brainwash people. This is what I wanted to write about tonight: how Wal-Mart brainwashes people. It convinces people to buy a bunch of crap they don't need. Wal-Mart offers cheap, sweat-shop-produced items and people buy it because they see the huge displays with the rollback prices all over the store. (Last I heard, 70+% of their items were made overseas. A recent PBS documentary says that number is closer to 85%.)

Here's the rub: Wal-Mart doesn't have to have the lowest prices. In many cases, they don't. They just have to convince people that they do. And that's how they've been successful. They've got most of the world convinced that they can't afford to shop anywhere else. In this recent economic recession, all they had to do was run commercials that looked happy and cheerful and told people how low their prices were. These commercials have contained subtle hints that people can't afford to shop anywhere else. And that's simply not true. But they run ads all over the country reinforcing the idea in people's minds. (Read here.)

We (re: americans, humans, consumers, etc) should think about where we shop. Brittany and I haven't shopped at Wal-Mart in years (on purpose). Has it changed our lifestyle at all? Yes--for the better. Are we poorer? No. We probably have saved money because we don't get sucked in to buying a bunch of junk that we don't need anyway.

There are better places to shop. Like locally. Eat local. Shop local. Live local. As much as possible. But even if you can't, Cosco and Target both run better businesses that Wal-Mart. There are plenty of chain stores that treat employees well, give back to the neighborhood, and sell decent products. You don't have to shop at Wal-Mart. Moreover, you don't need to shop at Wal-Mart. An easy first step away from the consumeristic lifestyle that advertisers are convincing us to live is to cut ties with Wal-Mart. Its liberating.

Read up. Be informed. Boycott Wal-Mart.

Great article here.


Justin G said...

The only thing I don't like about your layout is that I can't distinguish links until I hover over them.

Thanks for the post, Ash and I were discussing Walmart the other day, I'll check out that article. In the meantime we've loved going to the farmers market and making things ourselves. We too have had the assumption that we can't afford to shop anywhere else, but at Kroger the other day it seemed cheaper than it ever has.

JD said...

Ok. Ok. There's been plenty of whining. I love this layout. It looks amazing on widescreen format. But most people don't have widescreen format, so its time to change. I realize its difficult to read with the lack of a high contrast ratio. Sigh.

We normally do our grocery shopping at Kroger. We buy some stuff from the farmer's market but we're growing a lot in our garden as well. Its been great to work on together. Brittany writes and posts pictures of it over on her blog.