Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Wonder Why Wednesday - Chains Of Love

I started another of those baskets last night, which the child is getting because she said "OOOOOOOO I WANT IT" when she saw it this morning, and you know I can't resist instant gratification like that!

Of course I ran out of thread halfway through, so it's off to Walmart tonight for reinforcements and more clothesline. It's cheap there, and I need grocery bags too, so yay for one stop shopping!

I used to hate Walmart, to the point that I would waggle my oh-so-politically-correct finger at people I knew who shopped there. "They pay their workers terribly!" I'd cry. "The health insurance is awful!" "They're taking business from mom and pop stores!" "How can you give them your business?!"

But then I went in one, and though I tried to resist, tried to stick to my guns, I had to admit that I really could get more bang for my limited bucks there. (Even more now that my clever mother has informed me they price match... you can take an ad in from another store and they'll give you that price if you point it out at the register!) I'm still trying not to get stuff made in China, if there's an alternative, because of the various safety and Tibet issues there.

Which leads us to today's Wonder Why... Why do we love chain stores so much?

A lot of my arguments against Walmart still stand, but in the current economy they're offering JOBS, and even a crappy paying job with shitty insurance is better than no job at all. Not only that, but those of us with jobs *not* at Walmart need stuff cheaper than what we can get it for at a smaller store that has to charge more.

Why would anyone go to a small store to get, well, anything at all, when they can go a few miles away and get twice as much for their dollar? And that's where I start to feel guilty, (but not too much, because I'm not rich) because I'd love to be able to support those stores, and if it was a difference of $.25 on stuff, I'd do it, but when I can get jeans at Kohls for $25, I'm not going to buy them at Lane Bryant (or wherever you smaller-butted girls go) for $50. As a result, places like Lane Bryant are on their way out (not because of me personally, I swear).

Then there are places like Borders and Amazon. I'd love to get my books at a place like Tattered Cover (which I love) or Kroch's & Brentano's (which I also loved, but which is now sadly gone), but why would I pay full price for a book when I could get it for at least 40% off at a chain? If I had the money, I would, but I don't, so Amazon & the library are where it's at.

I guess in the end, the answer to the question is that we don't *love* chain stores as much as *need* them, which is indicative of our times, but I think it's sort of sad... I truly *loved* Kroch's, and have so many fond memories, but I only *use* Amazon, and have no personal connection.

Ah well, so it goes...

I'll just continue to try to support local business and small business in the ways that I can, and hope others do the same... even if it's a small purchase once in awhile, if enough people do that, the small business with a personal touch won't go away completely.


Julie said...

I went to Wally World today and saved a bunch. So I go to hell, I'm goin' anyhow, I might as well save some money on the way.

srsly, I think one of the attractions of the chains is that you know what you're gonna get. Except for Jennie-O turkey which has been (and I quote here) "deleted" from WM's inventory.

curegirl0421 said...

That's very true, I really do like knowing that any time I go in a chain, I know I can be reasonably certain to find what I'm looking for and know right where it is!

Chris said...

When we lived in Missouri, the Wal-Marts in the towns 25 and 30 miles away were saviours. We lived in a town of 1,500... and sorry, my retired grandparents and student-with-assitanceship Dad couldn't afford to be *charitable* and pay the extremely inflated prices in the local mom & pop stores. And that's what it would be... charity. We only shopped locally for emergencies.

Plus the people I knew who worked there in Mo. were my friend Suzy (while a student)... and Wal-Mart gave her scholarship money when she went to college. And her mom worked there as a 2nd income for the family (not as the support & insurance provider for the family). Which is ideally what these sorts of jobs should be (in normal economic times) for... students for pocket money, retirees to keep busy, and 2nd incomes for a little extra money. These types of jobs were never meant as primary income to support a family. - So because of my experiences in Missori, I always saw WalMart as a very good store and not some evil demon. (Guess I'm the oddball that never had a WalMart hatred)