I know that Walmart is responsible for the demise of many small businesses. And I know they’re terrible to their employees. That’s why, for many years, I refused to shop there unless I absolutely had no choice. And I was proud of my resolute conscience. Yes, I was spending more for the same stuff somewhere else, but it was a justice issue for me and I figured that a few cents more was a small price to pay for treating people fairly.
Now, I have a confession to make. *deep breath* I’ve been going to Walmart.
It all started when they tore down my neighborhood supermarket. The original Harris Teeter was just a couple of blocks from the church; it was so convenient that making a regular stop on my way home from work became routine for me. And then someone decided that this lovely old store, that should have been turned into a national landmark, needed to be flattened. In its place, they’re building an all new Harris Teeter that has multiple levels with a Starbucks on the mezzanine looking out at the uptown skyline, and a parking deck. They have assured us that it will open in the spring of 2013 although, when I look at the progress, I find that hard to believe. Anyway, in the meanwhile, all of us HT regulars have been scattered to the winds, blowing in and out of other stores in outlying neighborhoods.
During this time of exile, while I've been biding my time until the day day I can return home again, I have discovered Walmart. Once I got over the shock of entering the store, with each visit, I have become more and more comfortable shopping there. And now I must admit that I have become something I swore I would never be -- a “Walmart Shopper.” No, I’m not proud of this. You have to understand that it’s just something that happened.
I have to say that there is one thing about Walmart that keeps sending me back. It’s not really the low prices, or being able to find everything I need under one roof. You can find that elsewhere. (Costco, for example, which also treats their employees well. Although there isn’t one close to me.) But here’s the deal. When I am at home in my dirty sweats. When I look in the mirror to see dark, smudgy raccoon circles under my eyes from the previous day’s mascara. When I haven’t bothered to shower yet, or put on deodorant, or brush my teeth. When my greasy hair looks like I had been tied to the mast of the Andrea Gail just before it went under. When I realize that I have absolutely no business being seen in public, and yet… I’m out of toilet paper. I could take the time necessary to make myself presentable. Or I could just run to Walmart.
And that’s why I shop at Walmart. Because I can walk in the doors looking like a grub worm and still hold my head high. Well, as high as a grub worm is capable of holding its head. But, the point is, I know that no one will judge me for my grubbiness. I’ll fit right in. I mean, really, have you ever looked around at the people you see at Walmart! No, these people are not going to judge me.
Now, if I could just stop judging them…