Saturday, February 7, 2009

The Big Blue Box: A Rant

Dear WalMart,

I quit you.

You suck my soul dry.

On an average trip: I have to park in the very back of the parking lot because everybody always wants to go to your stupid store. I have to dodge two or three cars in your parking lot driven by people who don't feel they need to actually obey the stop sign and wait for a woman and her three children. The greeter accosts my children and slaps stickers all over them-- even the baby, even when I say, "No, thank you" because he just eats them, and even my almost eight-year-old, even when he shies away and shakes his head suspiciously. You are always sold out of at least one basic staple on my list and I can never find anyone to help me when I have a question. I can never find green onions. I have to wait multiple times for people who think it is their God-given right to block an entire aisle while they take 15 minutes to select hair dye in the perfect shade of "cheap" or adult diapers or processed cheese food or just the right monster-truck-emblazoned t-shirt. I then wait another 15 minutes in line to check out. (You have 32 check-out aisles. At any given time, four are open. At the most.) I wait for this long in an aisle lined with candy and soda and disposable lighters and disgusting fruit-flavored chewing gum and celebrity gossip magazines and beef jerky and car "fresheners" which my children know they can't have but after waiting that long they get just a bit restless. And when I am finally able to check out, the checker is invariably sullen and wears enormous amounts of black eyeliner and says nothing to me except the dollar amount that I owe (which is always too high, because somewhere along the line I lose all focus and just start throwing random things in the cart that aren't on my list and which I later regret purchasing but it seems like a major hassle to return them). By the time we actually get to leave your God-forsaken store my children are starving and beg for Subway which is conveniently placed by the front door, just before the 10,000 slot machines with candy and toys in them. When we actually make it through that pediatric and economic minefield, it's back out to brave the terrifying parking lot again.

Also: your shopping carts are repulsive (although Caleb really likes to suck on the cart handles). You try to sell cheap worthless plastic crap to my children who are futile against your least-common-denominator marketing. ("Live better! Buy more sh*t you don't need!") You sell ammunition and cold, cheap beer and 17 flavors of PopTarts but no decent fresh produce. The fluorescent lights make my kids look like they're in liver failure.

By the time I'm done, it is difficult to think about anything but escape.

And then, yesterday. As usual, I was stressed out and zoned out and crabby as I left. The kids were tired and bored and whiney. We all just wanted to go home. In the parking lot I realized I forgot to buy diapers. Somebody was waiting for my parking place.

And then. Then I slammed Evan's hand in the van door. His entire hand. The door latched. His hand bruised and swelled immediately and he had a big ugly red line across it.

It was sickening.

This is not your fault, WalMart. I know that you did not make me do this. But it made me realize how miserable you make me. When I leave you I am defensive and irritable and distracted and hating. Every time.

We've all heard the arguments about whether WalMart is a good corporate citizen, about what WalMart does to local economies, about what WalMart has done to the face of America (and now the world). I don't know about these things. I don't know whether the anti-WalMart rhetoric is holding true, or whether it's just theory. What I do know is that it's tempting, the thought that I can buy toilet paper and bananas and diapers and socks and pregnancy tests and Christmas decor under one roof. Especially when you are the closest store to me. Especially when it's all less expensive at your store. What else I know is how ugly I feel every single time I visit you.

It isn't worth it, on a personal scale or from a more global perspective.

So I am declaring here and now that I will be taking my business elsewhere. Somewhere slightly less ugly, somewhere that makes the world slightly less ugly, somewhere that makes me feel slightly less ugly. This isn't a naive call to action (I don't have that in me). Me versus the WalMart Industrial Complex? Hardly. I'm just telling you what I'm doing.

You can take your dietary supplements and Rubbermaid bins and ugly baby clothes and store-brand white bread and 823 brands of frozen pizza and "Proud to Be An American" cd's and particle board furniture and everything that contains high-fructose corn syrup and all the other stuff I might actually buy there, and you can shove it, WalMart.


(PS-- Evan's hand is fine. It only took a two-hour field trip to the doctor's office to determine this, but he is fine.)


  1. You tell them Teresa. You are funny! It's so true though!!

    Lisa Auen

  2. Me too, me too. Walmart and Superstore. I don't care how much money I might save, they make me into a person I don't like or even recognize. BRAVO!

  3. The stinky about Walmart is overrated. The argument is that they source products from abroad which takes manufacturing jobs from the States. Consumers may save but the overall costs of non-circulating dollars has negative communal impact. Buy from Walmart and your money goes to Chinese manufacturers. Buy locally and your money goes to Chinese manufacturers. Of course, there used to be a manufacturing base in the US, sometime before the invented the word "outsourcing."

  4. You are spot on. But I do save a lot of money going there. So I either go right when it opens (7am) and there is hardly anyone there or I go late at night after kids and DH have gone to bed. Again, hardly anyone in the store. I have 4 kids (5 including the DH) and sometimes, my trip to WallyWorld is my only "me time." So sad. I enjoy your blog immensely. :0)

  5. Your post made me laugh because I feel the same way. I avoid going there with kids whenever possible.

  6. I HATE Walmart and refuse to go there. I've heard everything is cheaper there...but I don't even want to know. If I go...I'll see those cheap prices...and then I risk getting sucked in for good. No thanks, WallyWorld...I'll keep going elsewhere. The older I get the more I HATE shopping in places like that. Kudos on a GREAT post. LOVE your blog, as usual.

  7. Absolutely right! This country is going to hell in a Wal-mart shopping basket. It's funny how two thirds of the country seems to be brainwashed by the cheap products company. How long does something from there last? Long enough for you to think, I saved money. Three months later it stops working and you can no longer return it. Just go buy another cause it was cheap right. What a joke!


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