Saturday, January 17, 2009

Attention Wal-Mart Dads

Wal-Mart is a world power that everyone has to reckon with. Living my entire life in Arkansas has led me into a long relationship with the retail giant. We in Arkansas are proud to be home to the largest retailer in the world. At the same time it seems comedians are all too quick to make the lets go down to Wal-Mart jokes about country bumpkins. So the chain is a source of pride and ridicule all at the same time for us Arkansans. We don't pay any attention to the ridicule because we are going right back to Wal-Mart when we get off work anyway. In my opinion any place where you can pick up a set of mud tires, a new TV, and a 10 pound bag of burritos in one trip is a place worthy of my praise.

Now Wal-Mart has its drawbacks as well. The virtual monopoly it holds in my part of the world has put many family owned local businesses out of work. When I was a kid the countryside was home to many community stores. They had the essentials along with a cafe or bait shop in some locations. These stores have long since gone the way of the dodo bird. Sometimes I pass the abandoned buildings or the empty parking lots of places like Three Way Grocery or The One Horse Store and remember a different time. Along with that drawback Wal-Mart also has a little problem with fresh groceries. The produce is pretty poor and is always picked over due to the sheer volume of customers, but the main problem is with the meat. There is no butcher at Wal-Mart. You cannot pick up a fresh cut steak or freshly ground beef. You cannot buy shrimp or fish by the pound. All the meat is shipped from the supplier prepackaged and frozen. There is no such thing as fresh Wal-Mart meat.

Even with these detractions Wal-Mart is still a wonderful place. It is a great place for the new dad providing everything you need and a lot of things you don't in the baby center. They provide you with the lowest prices on diapers and formula, and as a new dad you will find out that those things will cost you a fortune so every little bit counts. The list of quality items does not stop there. Braden already has the entire collection of Wal-Mart clothes and toys. Not to mention that we got his swing, bouncy chair, high chair, pack and play, and various other necessities there too. Wal-Mart also provides you with budget pricing on everything from food to bathroom supplies to toys to anything else you can imagine. Now they offer the same brands of TVs, computers, cameras and other electronics as the specialty stores. There is really no reason for the new dad not to love Wal-Mart. As I have said many times in my life, "If Wal-Mart doesn't have it...You don't need it." So I am glad that Sam Walton is a fellow Arkansas. I am glad that he built the largest retailer in the world. And most of all I am glad that I live only 1/2 mile from the nearest Wal-Mart.


Mike said...

I met Sam a few times back when I was working at a Sam's Club. Back then it was Sam's Wholesale Club and he would visit our store once or twice a year. It was always a good day when Mr Walton was in the store.

How About Two? said...

I have a question that I'm sure millions of Americans who do not live in Arkansas have...

How do you pronounce "Arkansans"?

Arkansas is pronounced Ar-can-saw, so are people from the area called Ar-can-sawnz or Ar-kan-zuns?

Inquiring minds want to know! said...

A lot of people turn their noses up at wal-mart, but not me. Granted there is always the wal mart in town that is run down and is overflowing with all kinds the trailer park's finest but you have to step back and marvel at the temple to capitalism that is wal-mart.

Their inventory system is so sophisticated that when you buy a tube of toothpaste it records it, waits until the store needs a new order and then automatically places that order with the supplier.

If I need fresh meat I run to the local supermarket, but if they wife and I need a lot of food we go to the Mart. You can't beat the prices, and as long as you don't go on Saturday afternoon you won't have too many homicidal urges.

If you think you're too good, go across the street to the Target and spend 20% more. You will find me grabbing a bag of delicous fried chicken to go in the Wal-Mart deli section!