I know lots of bloggers rail against the monster that is Wal-Mart, but I am just peeved at this company beyond words.
The last time I set foot in a wally-world was probably in the late 90s-ish in Salem, New Hampshire. I bought a half-barrel for the porch on my first house. They'd just opened the store, and I remember the throngs of people from Massachusetts clogging up rt. 28. I took a back-way and never went back. I went to the local nursery after that, it wasn't worth the drive to save $2.50.
Then I started to hear about some of its questionable business practicies, and its manufacturing methods, and the sort of labour industries they support where their employees are treated only slightly better than slaves. Hey, as long as it's cheap, right? "Let's lower product quality to save us manufacturing costs, let's be the ones to determine what the components will be used in the manufacture of our electronics and the ingredients in the consumables, so we can be sure that we don't overpay for anything." Lowest-bid construction and assembly... That's Wal-Mart quality!
Then I watched a documentary that enlightened me (and further infuriated me) on how Wal-mart treats its own employees, and how they put union-prevention over their employee and customer safety, and I won't even go into their environmental practices. I think the saddest thing I learned from that documentary was the number of small businesses destroyed by the appearance of a Wal-mart in communities across the country. Who can compete with that? Wally-world then figured out a few good 'green' things to brighten their image a bit. "Oh, maybe you'll forget what a heartless machine we are if we change out our light-bulbs."
I have my undercurrent of Wal-mart hatred, I confess. I never shop there, not even when we're broke. I glower in disapproval at anyone I know who confesses to shopping there. To me, it's feeding a beast, no matter how dire our economical situation is. Support LOCAL business. That's my motto. That's how smaller economies keep afloat; throwing our money at Wal-mart's stockholders won't.
Then they came out with their new commercials with their new mantra on them.
Wal-mart... Live better.
Live better. So unneeded consumption, in the eyes of Wal-mart, denotes a better life. Having more means acheiving happiness. Consumerism completes you. That's disgusting. And blatant.
But this last event... where some poor man was murdered in a consumer-frenzy during a 'door-buster' sale for flatscreens and digital cameras... It makes my heart hurt. Owning something should not create such a clamour that human life and personal safety suddenly doesn't matter. An 8-month pregnant woman sustained injuries... It's like people were turned into blind, panicked, stampeding wildebeest just to get that 40% deal on the portable DVD player. And what's worse, the store didn't even close up for long, just long enough to clean up the mess. And there was no pause in the never-ending commercials about with people bragging about how they got this great item from Wall-mart for so cheap. It's so disrespectful. It's disgusting. It's inhuman. And disheartening.
Merry Christmas to the family of the man who lost his life over a door-buster sale. Maybe Wal-mart gave them a few coupons for their trouble.