Okay, so now you all know how I feel about Walmart.
Today, instead of giving a customer service review, I’m giving a public service recommendation: Don’t Shop at Walmart.
Whenever a new Walmart clustermess has moved into any town I’ve lived in or near – paving over land and plopping their giganto-box over what was once fertile soil or awesome skateboard-able sidewalks – smaller, well-established businesses quickly went under, with nothing but a poof of dust to ever show they’d even existed.
If you pay attention to such things, you may have noticed Walmart’s continued and growing examples of shameful business practices. From the way their Chinese factory workers are treated, to the fact that they are a bunch of mega-wealthy greedy sonsabitches (their employees donate more to charity than the mulit-billion-dollar valued Walton family does), yet despite this wealth they choose not to pay their employees a living wage. That’s old news.
Perhaps you read the more recent story describing how Walmart employees were holding a canned food drive in their store – for each other. Without the generosity of their co-workers, these low-income employees would likely have to go without this Thanksgiving.
I think it’s really nice that their employees look out for each other. But why do they have to? Would it really be so hard for Walmart to cough up some turkeys and cans of cranberry sauce for the people who keep the show on the road? Or, better yet – and I know this is a difficult concept for Big Business to wrap their dollar-clogged heads around – maybe pay their employees a teensy bit more?
It doesn’t sound like that will be happening any time soon. It turns out Walmart also has this very creative system that they use when calculating overtime and Holiday pay. Yes, believe it or not, they’ve managed to find a way to require that people work on Thanksgiving, but in most cases, not pay them more.
Way to share the bounty, Waltons. What. The. Frack. Is. Wrong. With. These. People?!
I cringe inside and try to feign non-befuddlement whenever I hear someone whom I consider to be an otherwise educated and in general, a well-intentioned human being, nonchalantly mention that they’re on their way to Walmart for a product they could get any number of places in between here and there, or just a few minutes beyond.
Aside from the fact that a tiny portion of your soul gets sucked out of you every time you set foot inside a Walmart (it’s a documented, scientific fact), it seems something in the water all over America has made people lose all sense of reason if only for a few cents’ savings. I personally don’t know how they justify it – as far as I’m concerned, having a cute elderly greeter can’t change the seething wrongness inside those walls.
Yes, it’s true, I actually do manage to buy my cookie-baking products and toilet paper and t-shirts and yarn and Christmas presents and gum and door mats and dish soap and printer paper all NOT at Walmart. Yes, I get most of them from locally-owned businesses. It takes more time. I have to start holiday shopping pretty far in advance, but it’s kind of awesome because I can do it thoughtfully when I find something my kids will like, as opposed to just filling up a cart and getting pissed at Santa for inventing stupid days.
But the cool thing is: it feels great. When I buy from a local store, I straight-up feel better. I interact with people, we share a few words, we make eye contact. When I walk into a Walmart, I want to walk right back out, go back to my car, curl up in the fetal position in the backseat, and rock back and forth for a long, long time while crying. It’s not a good feeling.
So to all of my very few readers, I would like to implore you, challenge you, beg you if I must: Don’t Shop at Walmart. Don’t keep filling the pockets of the Waltons. They don’t care about you, or your aunt who works at one, or your dog who loves the biscuits they sell. They want your money, period. And they will plow over however many acres and people’s spirits as they need to in order to convince you to give it to them.
Don’t give it to them.
Go meet your neighbors. The ones who sell you socks and bikes and lotion and cheese and onesies and flowers. They’re nice people. And even when they’re not, when they’re having a bad day, at least let it be a reminder that they are human, and not a trained robot scared shitless by their employer that they’ll lose the crappy job they likely had to settle for and be out on the street.
Shop Local. It’s a win-win, people! Do it!
P.S. That party was last year, when I originally wrote this post. So it’s not happening this year, sorry. But! This Small Business Saturday and 7th Anniversary Party IS happening! Join us this Saturday, November 29th for some shopping and bubbles and who even knows what else!
P.S.S. Not sure what to do on Black Friday, but don’t want to shop? First of all: What’s wrong with you?! You want to spend time with your family instead of fighting crowds? That’s super unAmerican. But, okay. Here are a few ideas: