Wal-Mart under the Kitchen Sink

Saturday night I had to pack my suitcase and collect my possessions that I randomly scattered throughout my parents’ house over the course of a short four days. I reached under the kitchen sink to grab a plastic bag for dirty clothes and what do I pull out, but a white bag with blue block lettering: WAL-MART. My reaction is always the same when this happens at home: really people, do you have to do this to me?

As much as I don’t like admitting it, my family sometimes shops at Wal-Mart. I haven’t shopped there in over three years for anything, but there are just some battles that you can’t win with family members.  One of my sisters repeatedly tells me that it’s her only option and Target is the same thing anyway. I agree. Target is basically the same. I have family members who work for Target and will attest to the similarities. After all, it is corporate America in the form of megastores.  It’s easier for families to shop at such chain retailers because of low prices and everything is in one place from toiletries to basics like paper towels to cat food and litter.

Coming from a less than wealthy family with a high cost of living, I have always understood the cost of a good deal and the importance of a budget.  So in these cases, I fail to argue a proper point. Of course I can elaborate on the poor business practices and the overall effects on the economy and small business and the preservation consequences, but when it comes to telling my sister where to find cheaper things, I can’t come up with a satisfactory answer, yet.

This has become an argument that I always encounter when I’m home, even if my sister just enjoys goading me. I’m at the point where I try to avoid such a discussion and stick to my own principles.  My family is proving harder to convince to abandon Wal-Mart altogether than my classmates.  However, they did watch Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Prices, with me, which kept them away for a while. But as every other stores becomes more and more like Wal-Mart, it’s harder to justify boycotting one over the over.  As for me? I do my best to avoid all of them.  The extra dimes it costs me are more than worth my dignity.  And it says to me that I need to find better arguments for families sticking to “Main Street” shopping that are more tangible in the short term (because we know the long term benefits.) But it’s still painful to accidentally grab a Wal-Mart bag.


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