Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Vacation Concessions & Cautionary Tales, Part I

Anyone arguing that Wal-Mart is the Evil Empire won't have to twist my arm. You're preaching to the choir if you rail against big box stores tempting hardworking Americans to squander their resources and fill their homes with junk, then return to the store for plastic containers in which to store said junk. By the way: I spot it, I got it. Cheap and plentiful is a dangerous game for me, so I have tried to avoid the maniacal smiley face as much as possible.

But, watching The High Cost of Low Price last year, my generalized concern about WM (and, to be fair, others like it) crystallized into distinct horror at the litany of WM's crimes against our society, humanity, and our culture. After that, I swore it off and hadn't been in a Wal-Mart in at least a year or two.

Then, I went on vacation. In America.

Allow me to excerpt:

Cheyenne, WY
At the top of our journey, with 2.5 days of road-tripping ahead of us, we meander through town trying to find a few necessities. When faced with no other choices, we end up at Wal-Mart and I abandon my boycott. I head in for fruit and yogurt. I emerge with the necessary foodstuffs (they even sell Chobani! This is living.) as well as three rolls of absolutely adorable grosgrain ribbon. Because, everyone needs ribbon on a road trip through two national parks! In the car, I test out my aunt's new foam neck pillow ($6.99). I run back inside and emerge with one each for myself and my mom. They serve us well throughout the next 10 days. (They are currently tossed on my bedroom carpet. I'll have to buy a plastic bin to put them in.)

Riverton, WY
Day 2: After a snooze at the Super 8, Yellowstone awaits and we are anxious to be on our way. It is very hot, however, and some among us are regretting last night's Chinese dinner in Casper, WY (I was spared, but learned by proxy: Wyoming is no friend to chow mein). The call goes out: "More fresh veggies and a second cooler with ice!" No other options in sight, my highborn principles, cracked yesterday, now crumble like so much cheap crockery. Wal-Mart Visit #2 results in a few legitimately nutritious items and four irresistible Miley Cyrus/Max Azria T-shirts in various British-inspired designs that I know my sister will love. At $1 each, how can I not? To assuage my guilt, I buy a reusable shopping bag (cute enough to carry as a tote!) made from recycled plastic bottles. Regardless, by this point, my Karma is seriously shot. I later embarrass myself, picking a fight over the choice of dinner plans. Coincidence?

As luck would have it, I manage to avoid two other WM-runs during the vaca. That place proves to the luxury of those whose short-term theosophy can handle aisles of bright, shiny things one never knew one needed until one saw them there. That extra cooler served us well, but, on home turf, I'll keep searching out the mom 'n' pop joints.

1 comment:

  1. I was laughing when I read your post, because I've been to Walmart twice since we saw that High cost of low prices movie about 4 years ago...once was at Myrtle Beach with my parents (we needed lots of random stuff) and once in Prince Edward Island (!!!) of all places. We were camping and forgot a tarp and it was going to rain and we seriously looked for some other place and even asked some locals and they ALL TOLD US TO GO GO WALMART!!! AUGH! I was so frustrated, but it was also a little funny. Hey, ya win some, ya lose some.