gets the worm?? And a few other things that bother me about Walmart.
People who know me know I have a problem with Walmart. There's the way it treats its employees, the kind of merchandise it stocks and the general philosophy that the cheapest deal ever is the best. The Waltons are billionaires or maybe even trillionaires and if there's anything the world needs fewer of, it's ultra-rich folk.
Apart from that my Walmart experiences aren't pleasant. This morning I went to the Supercentre on the edge of town to print three pictures. I wanted to give them as gifts to friends I was meeting for lunch. Where I live, Walmart is my only choice. The drugstores that once owned photo printing machines have let them go. They couldn't complete with Walmart's "Roll-back" pricing.
I arrive in the store about 9:45, not insanely early and in the photo department, the printers are all turned off. An associate in Electronics explains that I can't print until 11:00 when the photo associate arrives. When I say I can just print myself, he replies, "if anything went wrong, there is no one to re-set or repair the machines." I kind of snap and ask rudely how that is different from what I am now experiencing. Either way, I can't print my photos. It's not the young man's fault and so after a couple of cool-down minutes, I go back and apologize. I decide to buy Lexmark ink for my home printer and do the pictures there but I know I might run out of ink. I can't seem to find any so I ask the same electronics salesperson if Walmart stocks it. "No," the associate explains. "We don't carry Lexmark ink any more." He didn't have to say it but I know Walmart wants me to buy a new crap printer. Even if I want to avoid throw-away consumerism, it isn't easy. He suggests The Source might carry Lexmark ink. It's in the same area so I drive over, only to see that AGAIN I am too early. The Value Drug Mart in town carries the ink so that's where I go. I print my photos at home but they look amateurish. Curse you, Walmart. Now a more organized individual could use London Drugs or Shutterfly and photos in fine quality would be delivered to my door but that's not me.
Walmart has monopolized other retail products. It had a huge fabric department until the local fabric retailer closed. Then the amount of material at Walmart shrank like the cheap quilting fat quarters it now sells. There's the same problem with yarn. Lots of choice and colours until local shops stopped carrying wool. Now a few disorganized skeins or balls and likely not enough of any weight or colour to do a real project.
After all this, why don't I boycott Walmart? My confession? I don't want to have to drive an hour or two to patronize local or even Canadian businesses. I have already alluded to my lack of organization. If you see me in Walmart, I'm the one with the hives.
Black Friday. Black Friday is a consumer scourge that has migrated from the States into Canada and on-line. It is the day following the American Thanksgiving and after thanksgiving, of course, what is more, well, thankful than to camp out sometimes all night in a competition
to be the first through the doors of the Big Box store featuring your heart's desire. That huge flat-screen tv, the newest X-box, Playstation or dishwasher. Yes, Black Friday is the day when shoppers can save amazing amounts of money on big tag items they don't really need. Tradition says Black Friday is the day retailers actually start to make money. In some states, like California, there is a state holiday to recognize this celebration of greed. In Canada, bargain-seekers take a sick day from work to hit the stores. And maybe they really are sick, if they need "something" that badly. Since 2006 seven Americans have lost their lives in the consumer wars and there have been 98 injuries. Seemingly normal people storm the retailer as soon as the doors are open. There is a stampede with pushing, shoving and punching. Every shopper for him or herself. It is pretty unbelievable. Stores have pushed the time for opening back earlier and earlier. Now there are pre-Black Friday bargains and Black Friday week sales. It is crazy.
The only thing sadder and maybe more insane is the Christmas Creep. And it isn't your drunk uncle Ben who passes out on booze and tryptophan overload after the turkey. Christmas music, decorations and sales appear sooner each year. But as I said, that's another rant.
Yes, I'm of a certain age but I'm pretty spry and like to think still smart enough.