Wherein We Lose Our Souls to the Big Box Stores

Ah, me. There really is a certain amount of comfort to excess, isn’t there? Nothing more comforting than to know that your needs and wants are provided for many times over again. And at a reasonable price. I think this is why those warehouse-barn stores are so popular.

The “Big Box”-type stores have come under a lot of fire lately because they tend to wipe out every small store within a five-mile radius. Immediately. Usually they have an enormous amount of power over city and county governments because a large store equals large employment numbers and large taxes, therefore they get very large breaks from governments. Typically these stores are the Wal-Mart variety, but I think we can include Sam’s Club and Costco in the group, because they are exceptionally big and boxy-looking, and they have the power to munch the competition.

I am not a Wal-Mart fan. Wal-Marts are evil, and should probably be destroyed. They treat their employees very badly and use strong-arm techniques against them when they agitate for higher pay. Every time I buy from them, I feel a little piece of my soul has been chewed off. (I don’t buy from them often, thankfully, so there are shreds of a soul left.)

I can’t help loving Sam’s Club, though, which is a Wal-Mart-owned store. We shopped there on Sunday and dropped a wad of cash on highly useful stuff. The prices make the shopper go ga-ga. They have stuff we actually use. We were totally sucked in. We are very much poorer now.

There is something very nice about abundance. We bought stuff in massive packaging because… well… it’s useful. And affordable. We now have mass amounts of flavored water, dedorant, aspirin, Claritin, breakfast bars, and cashews. And I got the newest Zorro novel for dirt cheap. It feels nice, though, somehow. I am in cashews for at least three weeks, and I will smell pretty for the next four months. I have enough aspirin to overcome work-related pains, and The Husband has the granola bars he likes for at least a month. The Husband will remain sneeze-free for the next few weeks. None of us will die of thirst, either.

See? It’s nice, if not a little grotesque. I’m sure there are people out there who go to the store once a week and only get what they absolutely need that find this a little gluttonous, and they’re probably right. I don’t deny feeling a little embarrassed wheeling out a massive cart chock full of yuppie-bottled flavored water. I’m just saying it’s nice. My soul is in tatters, but aren’t cashews worth it?


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