Friday, December 12, 2008

What's the price?

I interrupt this band series for an announcement of something that I never thought would happen. Today I did something I swore I'd never do. I went to Walmart. For those of you who don't realize this. I despise Walmart, so please excuse me while I go on a rant. . . Until today I have never set foot in a Walmart. How can I not like it if I've never tried it? Since it's not food, it's easy. It's a business and plain and simple, I don't like their practices. I have read a lot about Walmart. Probably more than is actually considered sane. I think that they sort of signify some problems we have here in America. We want something for nothing. We value a good deal for ourselves, without thinking of consequences. We want to buy a house when we don't even have a job. Not only that but a new house with granite counter tops and a pool. Then if we can't pay for it, we'll just walk away and let someone else figure it all out.

In the arena of wanting something for nothing. Walmart claims they are, "Always saving you money", "low prices everyday". But I ask, at what price? What does this really cost us? Their products are cheap. Cheap in that lawnmowers are made to last 2 years. Then what? We toss them into a landfill and go buy another one? Clothes. . . don't even get me started. Where are they are made? Not here in the USA. It's shipping jobs overseas. Who makes them? How are these people being treated? How old are they? The questions go on and on. They bully vendors. If they aren't selling at Walmart can they be successful? They expanded their businesses by moving into small towns and left in their wake closed down mom and pop stores with for sale signs in the window. They lower prices in these new areas to put the stores out of business then slowly raise them back up. OK make me stop!
So why did you go there you ask? What caused this trip into the evil empire? Well. I'm shopping for a family who attends one of my children's school. It's a family who is considered "needy" and is getting help from our school community. It is one of my favorite things to do during the holidays. It is one of the few things that make it feel like a holiday of giving. I donate money and usually shop for one or two kids. This should help my case with my 8 year old who asked me last week, "why don't you give to charities?" Answer, "we do but we don't necessarily consult with you"! This year I have two kids that I'm shopping for. One of them asked for a particular kind of Lego set. I can't find one. After going to every store I could think of, I realized Walmart was the only one I hadn't been to yet. I thought they might have one. So I swallowed my pride and went in. I figured this kid's happiness was worth more than my ideals regarding a store, just this once. It ends up they didn't have what I was looking for. I'm afraid NO ONE has what I'm looking for. This kid asked for two things that aren't necessities such as socks and clothing. Two things. I can't find either one. One was a book. How awesome is that? And the book's release date has been backed up to January. I mean come on??? The other the Lego set. Where is the justice?

But back to Walmart. It was BUSY. Apparently not everyone shares my ideals? Obviously, or it wouldn't be such a giant. I know there are lots of people who share my feelings. But standing in the middle of the store it didn't feel like it. I did, however, get a huge amount of satisfaction finding out that the Lego set we bought for my 8 year old was there and it was $12 more than Target's sale price this week. $3 more than Target's regular price. Let me repeat that $12 more than Target. Another Lego set that was on sale this week at Meijer for $35.00, was $52.00 at Walmart. For those of you who need help, that is a difference of $17.00. I can't tell you how happy that made me. Apparently, Walmart doesn't always save you money? Those are the only products I looked at today, and that was my finding. I wonder what other "deals" are out there?

So here I am. Feeling stuck. I know I'll figure something out and hopefully it will be a good Christmas for this family. Plus I received the gift of knowing that, in fact, Walmart isn't always the best price. You can shop at other companies, who have much better track records AND save money. Now that's America.

1 comment:

Amy said...

I'm with you regarding Walmart. The bakery is in the Hannah Plaza on Hagadorn. It is where Sansu used to be before it expand to the other side of the building. The pastries are fancy & delicious.