Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Straight-edge against Walmart


Wow. I just made myself laugh with that title. When I was a teenager I used to refer to myself as "straight-edge" because I was a punk wannabe who "didn't drink or do drugs." In all reality, I was an awkward kid with punk-rock friends who were in a lame punk band. Sorry if any of you guys are reading this. You know I love you! :)

Basically, straight-edge kids were the kids that were too cool to do foreign substances. I guess you could call them the tee-totalers of the late 20th century. If your still confused click on the straight-edge link to learn more. :)

Now that my "back in the day" lesson is over, I will get on to my topic of choice. Why I am "straight-edge" against Walmart.

Don't get me wrong. I used to LOVE Walmart. Really. It was pretty much my favorite place to go in college because, like me, it came alive at night! But in the past few months I have been experiencing some frustrations with the corporate giant.

First, I started noticing that there were ALWAYS long lines to check out. It didn't matter if it was 1:00 on a Thursday afternoon in April, it was busy. Then I started noticing how hard it was to get assistance. When we bought Marc's bike it took an hour to get the "right" associate to come and unlock the bikes so he could take it for a spin. Not only that, but we had to walk to three departments to try to find this "magical associate."

That being said, you are probably thinking, "Carrie, you just sound peeved, are you sure you want to advocate "boycotting" Walmart just because of a few annoyances?" I would respond, "Friend, you know that I love a good deal, but it just isn't worth it. And this is about more than long lines and bike locks."

And it is. Because as I started getting annoyed I also decided to get informed. I recently watched a documentary on Walmart with my dear husband. While it wasn't the best movie, it opened our eyes to the more sinister side of the big blue store.

If you're interested, you can go to this website for some facts about the company. Or do your own research. I know that for me, the big kicker was the way they treated their overseas workers. I have a real heart for factory abuse overseas. This problem is detailed in the DVD we watched. I know the DVD is available on NetFlix. And there is a great article from November, 2008 on this site.

I'm not trying to convince you to boycott Walmart. Honestly, I understand that with the current economic situation it is hard to boycott "Everyday Low Prices." But Marc and I have found that the last few months without the largest private employer in the world have been quite peaceful, and not too expensive either.

Sorry if this seemed political, because it isn't about politics at all-it is about people. And I wanted to stop putting my money in the hands of a company that doesn't seem to hold people as their number one value.

4 comments:

Sarah Gail said...

I haven't done much research on the company, but I have gotten really frustrated with them as well. I hate waiting in forever long lines, having messy stores, and NO employees around.

While I was home over Thanksgiving, I went to a Wal-Mart on the East End of Louisville (the nicer end) and it was a NICE store. I actually enjoyed that experience: the isles were clean, the employees friendly, the line short (even though it was the day before Thanksgiving), etc. I thought it was interesting the stark contrast between Wal-Marts dependent on the SES of the neighborhood. Just thought you might also think it's interesting!

Kim said...

Frankly, they don't treat their American employees that well either. I know several people who either do work or have worked at Walmart, and none of them have anything good to say about it. All the same, in a smaller town it's about the only place to buy things. Although I refuse to do my grocery shopping there, partly out of loyalty to Hy-Vee, and partly because their produce is generally terrible.

Indubitably Mel said...

One day last summer (when the town was dead because the college students were gone), I did most of my shopping at Aldi and then went to Wal-Mart to get three items. I was in the self-checkout line LONGER at Wal-Mart for THREE items than I was in Aldi for the rest of my groceries. It was ridiculous.

And during the school year ... I don't ever go to Wal-Mart unless it's 9 p.m. on a Thursday night (the best time for some reason) or before 8 a.m. I'm willing to pay twice as much at Dillon's rather than wait in line for an hour.

Kim: I completely agree about the produce. I've found that in our store, if you go in at 7-8 a.m., they've just restocked the produce and you can get a (slightly) better selection. Or just go to Aldi if you have one. Aldi by far has the best produce--and by far has the best price for produce!

*END WAL-MART RANT*

The Hitchcocks said...

Nathan's been boycotting Walmart for years, and I joined in when we got married, so it's 5 and half years for me. Don't regret it for a second. And, by the way, it's the only place to buy things in small towns because they purposefully move into small towns, run all the local businesses out of business, and then are free to ratchet up their prices because now they're the only game in town.

Christina

 
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