Thursday, March 13, 2008

The Wal-Mart effect

I used to live in heaven. It was a nice place. If you needed something you had to plan for it. There wasn’t a store too close by, that way spending money was planned and done carefully. The nearest grocery store was 6 miles away. The nearest Wal-Mart was 10 miles away. If you needed milk you got it while you were out doing other things. Then the unthinkable happened. The mother ship Wally World flew over and dropped a Super Center in my back yard. Just a mere 3 ½ miles away. Why, I could walk that far. I would have to steal one of those little electric wheelchairs to get home, but I could walk there.

At first I thought it would be a good thing. Need some oregano, take fifteen minutes and go get some. Need some eggs, why they are just a short way down the narrow streets. And coincidentally, going to the grocery store to get eggs, I came back with eggs and maybe orange juice. Now, I come back with deodorant, dog treats, beef jerky, flower pots, birdseed, tennis shoes, a DVD player, three pocket knives, and maybe eggs, oh yeah, and a much lighter wallet.

It is amazing that before I survived without setting foot in Wal-Mart but once a a year, now It is a miracle if I don’t get there once a day. This is what I will now and forever call, the Wal-mart effect. It is the complete and utter inability to go into that cavernous land of delights without coming out with 50 things that I didn’t know I needed until I saw them. Not that I am buying frivolous things, I just never knew I needed a combination moustache/toenail trimmer. I never knew I couldn’t live without 20 pounds of oatmeal cakes. Before if I wanted fresh doughnuts I had to go to Krispy Kreme 12 miles away, now I can go to Dunkin Doughnuts inside the Gates of Wally conveniently 3 ½ miles away.

It used to be that Northern tools or Ace hardware were the only place I couldn’t get out of without buying something, but then I came home with a new hammer, screwdriver, super strong magnet that would suck the iron out of your blood, or a chainsaw. Last week I came home from the store, blinded by the Wal-Mart effect, with a huuuuuuge coffee cup shaped flower pot. Is my manhood in jeopardy. Should I start wearing pastel colors. Then I look at the receipt and see that I also came home with 4 quarts of motor oil and a pair of pliers. Hummmmmmm, maybe this effect isn’t so bad after all - just someone hide my wallet.