To conduct a study of the average American in 2012, an anthropologist would simply travel from state to state-visiting Wal-Marts. Morbidly obese people in a semi-conscious state roll around the aisles grabbing at chips, cookies, ice cream and other substandard genetically modified foodstuffs. When they’re finished stuffing their buggy, they roll over to buy the lowest quality clothing and electronics for pennies on the dollar. Before condemning these people, let look at the effect this American institution known as Wal-Mart has on them.
Do the People of Wal-Mart have another frame of reference or have they grown up with Wal-Mart as their teacher, father and priest? Some of us can discern the difference, having grown up eating lamb chops from the butcher, fresh bread from the bakery and fresh vegetables from the market (or garden). Some may even remember the seltzer man instead of Go-Go juice. But how would a person know better if Wal-Mart is the only institution that they’ve ever known? It’s Wal-Mart, not the people, who lines up just as many power chairs as it does buggies. Has anyone noticed the size of these buggies? Are they conducive to spending a little more money on quality food and products and buying just enough? Or do they invite gluttonous, disgusting, indulgent behavior?
The other day I was thinking about Wal-Mart being synonymous with America and its deliberate assault on the very people it’s supposed to serve so I strolled through a Wal-Mart observing. I watched parents model desirable behavior such as pushing and shoving in order to be the very first to snatch up a toy, of which there are thousands more, off the shelves. Since Wal-Mart by its own admission defines America, I approached a Wal-Mart associate, you know, the ones that get to bring ice cream home to their family.
The title associate does command respect. It’s too bad their associates live below the poverty level. I asked a very pleasant associate where the children’s books were located. She told me, “Whatever books we have are near the MoneyGram station, in with the magazines.” So I set over to peruse the children’s literature sections. There was a selection: three cardboard nursery rhyme books, a few Disney selections (naturally) and a few Christian bible stories.
I left there very disheartened, thinking maybe instead of condemning the Wal-Mart people, we need to start to consider why Wal-Mart is allowed to define an entire people.
The writer lives in Myrtle Beach.