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Wheels on the bike go round and round 25: Walmart
by Mike Jennett
2009-08-04 10:06:51
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Walmart – savior of the masses.

There, I said it. I don’t care what you think, I like Walmart and K-Mart and any other mart that rescues me from wasting my weekend. Do you think it’s fun, trudging around ten different shops to get a few basic things on a Saturday, then panicking at the end of the afternoon because the approaching 5.00pm curfew spells disaster if something gets missed?

I have other things to do with my life besides shopping and anything that will get it done fast and with the minimum of fuss, gets my vote. If I lived in an old people’s home and had nothing else to do all day except moan about the state of the country, then maybe traipsing up and down the street until the shops closed might be a way to a social life of sorts, but that’s not the case.

I work and I’m single. I haven’t got a stay-at-home wife or girlfriend or mistress to shop for me. How sexist would that be anyway? Are you married? Does your wife do the shopping? If the answer to the second one is yes, then hold your opinion until I’ve finished.

It’s not that long ago that all the shops in England used to close at five o’clock every day and stay shut all Sunday – how bloody useful was that? Super late night closing would be to stay open an extra couple of hours on a Friday. It took large stores like Tesco and B&Q to break the status quo and show people there’s another way; a way that suits the modern world better.

The world’s expanded and moved on and we can’t turn the clock back even if we wanted to. Who in their right mind would? A few old fogies might, of course, but they’re the type of folks who hum along to scratchy Glen Miller 78’s and who’d like to see explosive charges in the Channel Tunnel so it could be blown to bits when the Germans invade. Because they will, those old farts will have you believe, as they stare mistily at the sky and murmur a tuneless rendition of Moonlight Serenade.

Yeah, I sympathize with the high street butcher and the baker and the candlestick maker who all suffer and who’ll maybe even go out of business and I understand claims that the big stores don’t give the same quality of service, but WAKE UP people. We live in a country with a BIG population and they don’t have the time to wander up and down quaint old village streets every day.

Besides, where would those millions of people that need to buy stuff park the 10 mpg Hummer (doesn’t everyone need a weapon-less tank for shopping) or the SUV or the mega-fucking-minivan, that seems to be the vehicle of choice for Suzie Homemaker these days?

It’s personal for me. I couldn’t go into a butcher and ask for a pound of beef because I don’t have a fig’s clue about how big it is. Is it enough? Maybe it’s too big. I know when I see it in its plastic pack on the supermarket shelf where I don’t have to suffer stares of scorn from know-it-all housewives.

Same with potatoes – I want three. Not three pounds or three kilos - three potatoes and I want to choose them myself and put them in a bag without being judged, but the high street grocer is not the place for that. As I said, I’m single. A spud for today, one for tomorrow and another for spare is as much future planning as I need.

Obviously I could learn, but where’s the convenience in having to go from the butcher to the grocer then the baker for bread, the wine shop for a bottle and the newsagent for a newspaper? Could be fun if you’re on holiday somewhere foreign and you’re a sorry enough case to need a story to tell the neighbors when you get back (ooh, Betty, I asked for two pounds and they gave me two kilos and then they wanted Euros), but it’s hardly the way to spend every day of normal life.

I want to browse racks of clothes or shoes and try on what takes my fancy, without having to wait to ask an assistant to go and get a size eight – and now a size eight and a half because I got it wrong or because this particular shoe manufacture’s a bit screwed. Same with trousers or undies or shirts or anything else you can think of.

It’s a matter of control.

Who cares if Walmart employees can’t be found, or know nothing? Wandering the aisles, exploring and choosing, allows complete control. Unlike waiting and waiting and waiting in a small shop and then relying on a teenage girl who knows as much about shoes as I do about meat and who’d rather be somewhere else.

You disagree? Vehemently? You think I’m a rebel for supporting Walmart and ought to be shown a thing or two? Well consider it awhile and if you still want to duff me up, then come ‘round to my house. At least you’ll find me in, ‘coz I won’t be spending all my time shopping.

Read more at: www.mikeonwheels.com OR www.wheelsonthebikegoroundandround.blogspot.com      

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