Sunday, June 16, 2013

Breaking an Addiction: Wal*Mart

I grew up on Wal*Mart. Great Value products were a staple in my life, I bought clothes from Wal*Mart, food from Wal*Mart, books and soap and everything. To be fair I was poor and grew up in areas where Wal*Mart was really the only store to shop and certainly the most convenient.

When I was a teenager Wal*Mart became the mall for my friends and I. We could spend a couple hours wandering around the store, talking and shopping. However, a better job, new town, and the internet began to change my habits.

A bit before the above mentioned events I read the book Nickle and Dimed by Barbra Ehrenreich. Ehrenreich worked at Wal*Mart and wrote of her story. They could not unionize and were on a strict schedule. It is well known now that employees do not make enough money working at Wal*Mart. Wal*Mart costs Americans money in government assistance to Wal*Mart employees. These practices have been reported on in other places as well. Their morals are low and practices are troubling. In a way, Wal*Mart is modern day slavery.

Part of living in a capitalistic country is voting with your dollars. I eventually began to realize that by me spending my money at Wal*Mart I was saying what they were doing was fine by me-when it is not.

Breaking my addiction with Wal*Mart was not easy. Nor did it happen all at once. My friends and I continued to like to just go and see what Wal*Mart had to offer. They have interesting things, things I could use-things I could justify.

BUT, eventually my conviction won out. Before the wedding Tim and I decided that our wedding would be Wal*Mart free. Nothing we used in our wedding was from Wal*Mart. We did it-we had a Wal*Mart free wedding.

It was during the months of planning that slowly, but surely we stopped going to Wal*Mart. I am no longer tempted to even just browse what Wal*Mart has to offer.

I am able to do this a few ways, we live in a city that is big enough to have other retailers, such as, Target, Walgreens, and Hy-Vee. I also have access to Amazon. Between these places their is nothing I have yet to find that I can only get at Wal*Mart. Now, maybe I am spending more to do this. But not much by any means. Tim and I pay attention to sales and take advantage of loyalty cards that include discounts or points.

We know we will not always live in a city that is fortunate enough to have so many options, but with the Internet and planning we are hoping to stay away from Wal*Mart. I am also well aware that the corporations I mentioned have their own issues. Above all I believe the best way to consume is to shop locally and support farmer's markets and small businesses.

It takes budgeting and sometimes doing with less and even without. But I am not putting my money into a corporate machine that practices what I do not believe.

No comments:

Post a Comment