Thursday, January 3, 2008


"Save Money. Live Better."

I pondered that while I was at my favorite superstore, Walmart. It seems a bit better than an earlier slogan "Buy More. Pay Less.", but it still struck me as a bit ridiculous. Seriously, what do the people who run Walmart, especially their advertising campaigns, really know about living better?

Most of the time, I avoid shopping at Walmart like my youngest daughter avoids going to the dentist. However, as much as I hate to admit it, I'm addicted to the simplicity of one-stop shopping, so I often find myself there. I love to think about how neat it would be to go to stores that actually offer quality products that they specialize in, but my life is as hectic as everyone else's and I usually end up at Walmart. Of course, my one stop shopping experience is never as simple as I expect it to be.

Take, for instance, the time I went to Walmart to buy black metal paint for our front porch railing. After laboriously looking for the exterior metal paint, I came to find that they had plenty -- in purple and green.

Who, besides an ardent Barney fan, paints porch railings purple?

On the same trip, I needed to purchase a potty chair for one of our kids. I bought a basic white potty chair, brought it home, opened up and found it .... USED! UGGGHH! GROSS!

After that unsuccessful and disgusting visit, I vowed never to go to Walmart again. For years I kept that vow. But then one opened up right around the corner from me. It's foxy new exterior, beautifully paved parking lot and mammoth sized building all seduced me back. Like a woman hoping to rehabilitate her undevoted and gluttonous lover, I decided to give Walmart another chance.

My first trip overwhelmed me. This place really has everything, I thought to myself. This store did, indeed, have something for everyone: food, fabric, electronics, pet supplies, garden supplies, toys, jewelry, clothing...

As I walked the isles overwhelmed by all that was there, an announcer came over the loud speakers.

"Ladies, do you need a manicure? Stop by our nail department for a moment of rest and relaxation!"

I continued my shopping, and soon another announcement came on.

"Looking for a stylish new look? Stop in our in-store salon and have a high quality cut for a low price."

That's likely, I thought to myself, and continued my shopping. The next one made me stop in my tracks.

"Are your eyes tired? Squinting? Stop by our opthamologist for a full eye exam and glasses fitting, all for the low prices you expect at Walmart!"

Okay, I thought, what's next?

"Ladies, miss your yearly exam? Not a problem! Stop in to our gynecological department while you wait for your car's oil change! "


"Did your water break while you were shopping? Was that just a braxton hicks or are you in labor? No need to worry, our full service obstetrics department is here to help -- at the low Walmart prices you've come to expect!"

Of course, to my knowledge, no Walmart has come to that point. However, it really wouldn't surprise me if they did.

I realized when I was there that it was downright creepy to go to one place for so many services, and you have to believe that the best opthamologists are not working for Walmart. While I'm looking for the lowest prices on many things, health care is not one of them!

Another grudge I have against Walmart is that their quality of product stinks. I bought a weed remover from their garden department this past spring. I took it home, opened it up, stabbed it into the dirt next to a weed, pushed back like the instructions said to and snapped the handle off!

Another time I bought pants for my oldest son. They were in his size, but when he put them on they were so loose that they instantly fell down. They were so cheap there were no belt loops.

Of course, my husband told me that's because Walmart sizes their clothing according to their customers: bubba, extra bubba, and extra extra bubba. But, I swear, these pants really said "Size 8 -10" on them!

At any rate, I hate the idea that is insinuated by "Save Money. Live Better." -- in the end, they are implying that by buying more stuff you get a better life. To that I'd say one thing:


Most of what they sell at Walmart is stuff that detracts from a good life. Wii, game cubes, Nintendo DS, trinkets, home decor and the such are all fun things, but what they really are are distractions. They distract us from the great things in life that make it possible to live better.

How many children are playing inside on their Wii, instead of outside in the snow? How many married couples are watching endless evenings of tv rather than talking or spending time with other adults? How many children and teenagers are listening to music or watching videos that are training their minds in unhealthy thinking? How many families are working two jobs to pay off credit card debt because they bought tons of stuff they didn't need at Walmart? How many mothers are out there trying to duct tape pants to their son's hips because they don't have belt loops? And how many women across America are gagging as they see crusty pee in a used potty they bought at Walmart?

I don't think "live better" means what the Walmart people think it means.

1 comment:

MarlaQuack said...

Nice new look!
I have a love hate relationship with walmart. They sell somethings that I can't get elsewhere and its just too easy to buy other stuff cheaper while I'm there.