Monday, April 16, 2012

Living In Walmart

We have everything.  Any doubts about that, go to your local Walmart.  Anything and everything can be found within Walmart's many isles.  If they do not have it, go to the next one down the street.  But, that does not mean that the shopper will find the best price.  The consummate shopper can find some of those same items at better prices in their local supermarket.  There are other things, that are not for sale, at Walmart.

If you enjoy "people watching," visit your local Walmart.  On any given day at any Walmart, life is a circus; this Big Top offers many shows.  But the people featured in those "shows" (like the poorly dressed belly flappers in need of a bath) are unwitting examples of our society.  And do not forget that the wealthy and the unwashed are Walmart shoppers; the Mercedes and the Beamers park alongside the old pickup trucks.

The Walmart experience is a mirror image of our society.  We Expect low prices and at the same time, great value for our dollar.  We get neither.  Today, people want the best in life while applying little or no effort to get it.  In the end, quality always trumps cheap; quality endures the test of time while the cheap quickly decays.

In our current times people look for the quick fix and are not concerned about the long term, the future.  If we can "buy" the present, why worry about the future; this is wrong.  Tossing the future for immediate gratification not just blunts but condemns future growth - in anything.  Buying on the cheap is not just a "Walmart thing," but exists in general within our society.

It is the throw-away, disposable life.  We trash away plastic water, beer, and soft drink bottles and cans (thirty-five years ago if you would have told me that today we would be buying water in a plastic bottle I would have laughed in your face....water? you've got to be kidding!).  And plastic bags are still the norm and not the exception.  OK, so what about recycling?  Many years ago, we HAD a great recycling system.  Sadly for many, it is a distant memory and a fact completely foreign to maybe two generations.

If you wanted a beer, you bought it by the case and paid a deposit on the bottles.  The same was true for soft drink bottles.  When you bought another case, you returned the empties.  The empties went back to the brewery/soft drink plant and were cleaned, sanitized, and relabeled.  The damaged bottles were sent out and ground down to make new bottles.  That was recycling at its' best.  And, if you did not have an empty case to swap out, you paid the deposit on the new one.  Those metal cans that contained fruits and veggies found their way into the scrap metal heap and were used again.  When you left the supermarket, you toted home your groceries in paper bags.  Almost all folks used those bags for their household garbage (bio-degradable food scraps) and neatly wrapped the paper bags with contents in newspaper for pickup and disposal.  Please note that all of the above was a matter-of-fact way of life that happened long before the word recycle(d) was coined.  For myself and others, we urge the soft-drink and beer manufacturers to return to that old system.  Unfortunately, unless they are forced, they will not.  Plastics are cheaper and do not take away from their bottom line.  Yes, some states do require a deposit on some glass and plastic bottles.  Does that make a difference?  It appears that it does not.  Those bottles just are added to the litter debris.

Recently my wife and I enjoyed a day at the beach in Galveston, Texas; warm water and even warmer sun.  But, some of our fellow beach-goers were pigs.  Galveston has huge garbage disposal units that are placed almost equidistant from each other.  A few families were just too damned lazy to put their trash into them; they left it on the beach.  One family dug a hole and buried their trash.  It took more time and energy to dig that hole than it would have taken to walk the trash over to the garbage container.  And by the way, there is nothing like walking barefoot on the beach and stepping on a loose pop top ring from a beer or soda can.  Think about that the next time you visit your neighborhood Walmart.  

                                                  Copyright@2012 Terry Unger


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