Thursday, November 3, 2005

Just doin' our part

Why are we all so taken with this phenomenon called Wal-Mart? A couple of years ago a SUPER Wal-Mart was built in our small town. The first day it was open we had to go, of course. It was just after dark and from a mile away we could see the glow of lights in the sky. When we got a little closer, we could see the line of car lights making their way up the access road to the ultimate goal at the top of the hill that was Wal-Mart. The sight reminded me of the scene at the end of the movie Field of Dreams with all the cars coming to see the event. If you build it, they will come. And they do!

That first night, we saw folks we hadn't seen in years, all coming out of the hills to check out the new store. Now, when trying to find a parking space, you see tags from all over. We stopped by there briefly on a Sunday afternoon a couple of weeks ago just to get one spool of thread. It was a beautiful sunny day, and there were so many folks in there shopping that the lines were too long for us, so we just left.

What is it that makes folks drive for miles on a beautiful day just to go shopping? My sister-in-law, Kay, recently told me she saves up her shopping for a couple of weeks so she can come down to our Wal-Mart (she lives about 20 miles away). I told her that according to the Forbes 400 list of the wealthiest people in the United States, 5 of the top 10 on the list are Waltons (Sam Walton, founder of Wal-Mart passed away and his wife and kids are the ones on the list). I am sure the Waltons appreciate us doing our part in keeping them on this list.

Forbes 400

We had a smaller Wal-Mart here for years when our kids were growing up. Carrie went to summer camp one year, and when we picked her up at the end of the week, we got to see one of her projects, she was to draw a picture of her hometown in chalk in the parking lot. I was thinking as we were walking that way, I wonder if she drew the old courthouse, or the rows of old buildings that line the town square, or the bank.... (you can see where this is going). There it was, big as life on the asphalt at Camp Glisson - Wal-Mart! I was surprised and a little embarrassed, but who can blame her? Every time we said we were going to town, where did we go? Yep.

It is convenient to have everything in one place, and the prices are good. But it is more than that, it is not just a place to get supplies, but a place to go, a place to be, obviously THE place to be!


doubleknot said...

You have given me a little hint of what it is going to be like here when they get the Super Wal Mart finished just down the road from us. Not only is the Wal Mart going up but a Lowes is going up a little further down the road. At least they have had the good sense to put turning lanes in for these stores. I am looking forward to haveing a Wal Mart so close but don't look forward to the added traffic this will cause. We have had road work going on now for about two years. Getting into and out of the post office was a nightmare for a while. I found your blog while I was blog surfing.

Alice said...

Aren't we humans funny animals? We do exactly what you describe, flock to the bigger stores and malls where the range is greater and the prices are lower, yet at the same time we bemoan the loss of the small suburban shops where things are a little harder to find and the prices a little higher but they make up a vital part of our community. We really only have ourselves to blame for the many empty shops to be seen in the suburbs and worse still, in the country towns.

jellyhead said...

Oh, how we worship the mighty Gods of Shopping. Great post!