Friday, August 8, 2008

War of the Worlds - WalMart style

Okay, maybe this post isn't about aliens invading earth. The truth is, I haven't even seen War of the Worlds. But it sounded like agood title for a post about the impact that WalMart is having on us now and what that impact will look like in the future.

I love the commercial put out by one of those office supply stores, maybe Office Depot, that shows a man cruising by on a shopping cart. As he gleefully pushes the cart with his foot and whizzes by, his 2 kids stand on the sidelines with a disgusted look on their faces. The commercial plays the (Christmas) tune "It's the most. Wonderful Time. Of the year." Oh, how true those words are!!!

I am so excited for my kids to be heading back to school. I love them, I love them, I love them. Every square inch of them from the top of their sweaty heads with hair that is too long but refuses to be cut, to the tips of their toes with toenails that are dirty and also refuse to be cut. They are my life. They are the reason I do about 85% of the things I do. But right now I need another adult to enjoy them.

School supplies have all been bought. Don't even get me started on that. The hubs and I had a little "discussion" about how much to spend on school supplies. I have decided to adopt the policy, "don't ask, don't tell." It's working so far. Did I mention that he's out of town this week?

The older son, RS, wanted a new lunch box. Did you know that they are now called LUNCH KITS? I guess that implies that some lunchtime assembly will be required. Maybe he will be expected to perform particular culinary skills (what? I don't know). But anyway, this kid wanted a skateboarding lunch kit. Right now he is into everything and anything skateboarding. So, needless to say, he needed a skateboarding lunch kit. I tried to coerce him with the Dark Knight (Batman), Incredible Hulk, Speed Racer, Kung Fu Panda, and Marvel comic heroes; no dice. I even paid extra for a Star Wars Clone Wars lunch kit but he would not be swayed. I want to know, for the love of pete, if such a lunch kit exists? We finally found one that looked sorta skateboardy - a skull and crossbones on a red insulated lunch bag. Never has there been so much drama over the container that he will toss in the bottom of a rusty locker, then leave his half-eaten carrots in to rot.

Tonight I went out for a little while to a consignment sale. I got some cute stuff, including an adorable ladybug costume for baby MP for Halloween. On the way home I needed to stop at WalMart to replenish my supply of Diet Coke. So I decide to have one last check on their school lunch kit supply and luckily I found one that I knew he would love: says "Control Freak" on it, with a picture of a video game control. Never mind that we don't even have any game controllers. I head toward the front of this WalMart store which I have never been into, and I notice that the check out line has a flat panel TV perched atop the child whining precipitator, oh I mean the candy selection. My eyes popped out of my head. I thought, "how weird!" Then I glanced down the check out aisles to notice that EVERY check out line had the identical tv, playing the identical WalMart commercials.

Immediately my mind flashed forward to 200 years from now, when the only stores in existence will be WalMart stores or other subcontracting stores that are owned by the WalMart corporation. Also, all the TV stations will be owned by WalMart so the products advertised will be products available at WalMart. There will no longer be any "mom and pop" operations, no self-owned Chinese food restaurants, no Jewish deli, no Indian Dunkin Donuts, no Vietnamese nail salons, and no Korean bakeries. Or, if there are these places, they will be owned by WalMart and simply run by the various people there.

I may be overreacting a bit but I had just taken my kids to see Wall-E at the movie theater. The movie setting is Earth, 700 years from now, after the entire planet has been so polluted with garbage and overproduction that it is no longer sustainable for human life. Wall-E is a robot designed to clean up the Earth so that humans, now living in a self-contained spaceship, may one day return to earth when it is cleaned up and can once again support life systems. The movie creators are CLEARLY thumbing their noses at Wal-mart, because every movie frame of massive pollution has a "Buy-N-Large" store, semi-truck, ocean liner, grocery cart, bag, or logo in the background.

Yes, I know this is just a cartoon. Well, actually a CGI animation. But I walked away from that movie quite shaken. Is this what our planet will be like in 700 years? I'll be six feet under by then, but will I have a huge pile of trash on top of me? I don't want to believe that it will actually turn out that way. I want to believe that we will figure "something" out to save the planet from using up all our natural resources, replacing all the available landscape with landfills, and producing an environment simply unsuitable for humans to live without air-filtering systems for all the pollution.

But, it isn't stopping me from buying eggs in styrofoam cartons, if those eggs are cheapest. I really suck. I hate WalMart but I'm ruled by the almighty dollar. As long as they offer those damn low prices I'm gonna continue to be their bitch.



Sabrina said...

I love what you have to say, but I must admit, I have not been to our Walmart in 5 years, yes 5 years. When they moved into town it did not hurt to bad, but since they supersized a few years ago, a few of the mom and pop stores vanished. So my family no longer supports them, we support the last mom and pop store left. Yes I pay more for them, but the employees at this store are well taken care of and I hope that they have a job in the years to come.

Karly said...

Wal-Mart commercials WHILE you are already there? And already in line to pay? Doesn't that seem kind of like a waste? You are already THERE! You are DONE shopping! What is the POINT?

Wal-Mart is evil, but yeah, I go there too. I wish we had a Target nearby. I love me some Target. And I'd be happy to allow Target to take over the world.

Texan Mama@WhoPutMeInCharge said...

I forgot to mention that the family in front of me had 2 children - boys - that looked to be about 8 and 11. Each weighed more than they should, my husband and I call it the "H.Dumpty" look. To make it worse, they both had a rat-tail/mullet combo. Like, the mullet top, but more than a rat tail. Maybe a cat-tail. And they were wearing big t-shirts with the sleeves cut off. I felt myself staring... like at a car wreck.... don't want to look but can't turn away.... must. avert. eyes.

texasholly said...

Wow. Maybe the war of the worlds will be Walmart country vs. Target country. I personally am going to align myself with Target. Maybe a peace treaty can be hammered out by Home Depot land?

Lisa@verybusymomwith4 said...

I heart TARGET; I won't be caught dead in Wally World ;)