Today on Black Friday 2013, while I sit blissfully unattached to and virtually unaware of all of the shopping happening around town, it reminds me of the time I broke up with Wal Mart. That was nearly eight years ago, and I'm pretty sure the break up is final. Ma Luffin Mayun thought I should repost my original challenge to myself in which I laid down the gauntlet. We both get a laugh out of it, and hopefully you will, too.
Here’s the breakup letter, originally written by me on January 10th, 2006. Enjoy!
I am embarking on a journey. As with all epic adventures, it will require nothing less than the utmost tenacity and fortitude to walk each step of the way. Some days may feel like an amble in the park, as if I were basking in beams of light that radiate from the very challenge itself. As well there will be, without a doubt, obstacles that will cause my steadfast resolve to quake and me to doubt the worth of the expedition. Nevertheless, it is now that I determine with paramount resolve and doggedness to do what I have long threatened to do…to begin this trek…to officially attempt to live my life without Super Wal Mart.
Let me first say, that at this point in this process my decision to boycott Super Wal Mart is absolutely not based on any expose of the company, any of its policies, or its clear monopoly of “one-stop shopping”. The singular reason these factors do not affect my decision to cease shopping at Super Wal Mart is one basic fact: I know almost diddlysquat about the corporation, its dogma, or its cartel. By all accounts, the founder of Wal Mart seemed to be a God-fearing and thoughtful businessman. I am simply instituting a personal embargo because I am…well…fed up.
Wal Mart has been part of my life for a long time, as I am sure most Americans can say. There have been moments in my life that it has brought me joy, elation, relief, and escape, just to walk through its doors and see the commerce and industry at my fingertips. It has been a marvelous distraction from my hectic days or heavy thoughts. What thrill there was in being able to purchase windshield wipers, control top panty hose, fresh eggs, and Englebert Humperdink’s greatest hits CD all in one place. Who else can say that of their store? But those days of euphoria for me have come…and long gone.
Last night my husband, daughter, and I packed into our car and went to the Super Wal Mart less than fifteen miles south of our house. There is another one, our “regular” Super Wal Mart if you will, less than fifteen miles north of us. There is still another Super Wal Mart ten miles north of there, and so forth and so on for miles. In the last week I have visited all three of these branches within a twenty-five mile radius of my house for various reasons. Last night’s trip was for groceries and photo development. As I found myself standing in the house wares department trying to talk my husband into a new comforter set for our bed (bringing the number of comforters for our bed alone up to three), which qualifies as neither groceries nor photo development, I realized that this is how it always ends up. I am supremely distracted, to some degree at odds with my husband or myself over some item I have convinced myself we need in a record minute-and-a-half, and am completely off task, worn out, and too tired to finish my original shopping list. In the checkout line last night I looked around with the comprehension that my joy has been replaced by gloom, elation replaced by depression, relief replaced by drudgery, and escape replaced by enslavement every time I darken the doors of Super Wal Mart. I am simply fed up.
So what shall I do? Well, I have decided to not return to any Super Wal Mart for an entire year. My last visit was last night, January 9th, 2006. We completed our shopping experience at 7:23 P.M. (note: We arrived at 5:35 PM, had a shopping list with 21 items on it, and the intention to print 17 pictures from our digital camera. We purchased 43 items, in addition to our 17 developed pictures, and missed 4 items on our original shopping list.) The clock starts from there. I will not purchase anything, from the smallest pack of gum to the largest electronic device, from Super Wal Mart. Not only will I not purchase anything, I will also not enter the doors of a Super Wal Mart within this year. This will be a huge challenge for me because, again, Wal Mart has been a major part of my life. It will be an even bigger adjustment. But this is an alteration of my life that I want to make. I do not want to purchase twice the items that I should‘ve, and still not have everything I need. I do not want to go in for deodorant and come out with the lost episodes of Mutt and Jeff on DVD just because it was in the $5.50 bin. I do not want to feel “aisle rage” as the other Super Wal Mart shoppers abandon their ability to operate a several-ton vehicle for the haphazard driving they indulge in with their shopping carts. I do not want to end every romantic and memorable evening out with my husband with a trip to Super Wal Mart because our car seems to have a magnet pulling it into the parking lot, riddled with abandoned buggies. I do not need to feel that needy, that desperate, that pathetic.
These are my issues, not Super Wal Mart’s. I take full responsibility for my weaknesses, my actions, my habits. I am not asking Super Wal Mart to change a thing. I just know my limitations, and I’m tired of ignoring them.
So, I bid you “Farewell, Super Wal Mart“. I’m just a drop in your “one-stop shop” bucket, I’m sure, and you’ll never know I’m gone. But I gotta be moving on.And here are some follow up thoughts I wrote about three years ago.