It may be a little unorthodox,
A disconcerting paradox,
To sing in praise of the Big Box,
Like a rooster crowing for the fox.
But let me justify my aim,
Before you set my hair aflame,
And tell you how I just became
A toady for the corporate game.
Heading home after a run,
I had a little one-on-one,
In the town named after a gun,
With Big Box enemy number one.
Time was short, I needed food,
So I took a curious interlude
Into the Box of Plenitude
And left with values all unglued.
Of the dozen items I did buy,
To fill me up and fortify,
Every one, I’ll testify,
Was cheaper than the other guy.
A dollar here, a dollar there,
A dollar almost everywhere,
And before I left with vacant stare,
I was glad to be in the Big Box lair.
Yes, I went to the Wal-Mart superstore in Rifle for some basic food supplies and walked away flabbergasted at the price differential between it and other local stores. A one-week supply of milk, bread, tea, yogurt and walnuts was $9.62 cheaper than my last receipts for the same items at any of the other local stores. If I were to extrapolate that out over one year, I could save $500 on just those five food items alone.
That’s a lot of dough.
A quick tour around the food aisles for future reference revealed a larger selection of nearly every food product, including the coveted bulk items. The prices were lower than other stores on product after cost-cutting product. It felt like tax cuts for the poor, almost too good to be true.
Cleverly constructed aisle angulation makes the seamless connection between the food aisles and the myriad maze of merchandise a convenient seducer. I went there to shop for food, but suddenly I was considering buying things I didn’t really need, like a new TV or a fresh CD or a genuine, imitation Christmas tree.
Bright and mysterious baubles sparkled in the confused recesses of every corner of that huge building. Artificial lights were employed in sufficient quantities to maintain a constancy of sparkly preciousness. A kind of material sacredness, easily comprehended by advertising technicians, produces false awe in the minds of those incapable of understanding the true nature of a hard sell.
The close air was loaded with sweet and peculiar odors associated only with perfumed shoppers and fresh plastic. Popular music legends and tangible idols, as seen on TV, entice unwitting souls openly and savagely, as if to say, “Buy me, buy me.”
And how can one resist when the prices are so low? It’s not so easy. The long lines at the checkout counters were proof of low resistance and the only miserable part of the experience. I waited 15 minutes in line.
Oversize grocery carts loaded past the standards of decency was the ultimate consequence of Wal-Mart’s concerted effort to please their consuming customers. Their strategy, as far as I could see, was working flawlessly. The customers looked pleased (except for the line part).
There’s an old saying, “Whenever one person has too much, it means another person doesn’t have enough.”
Who’s not getting enough here? Is Wal-Mart contributing to the pauperization and hopeless degradation of the working masses? Are their employees as underpaid as newspaper columnists? Are their products manufactured in Asian sweat shops?
The heck if I know.
All I know for sure is, I just saved ten bucks and 40 minutes of drive time on I-70. Hallelujah!
To Heck in a Plastic Handbasket,
Silt resident Bernie Boettcher’s column fuels the corporate engine every other Thursday in the Post Independent. E-mail: email@example.com
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