December 23, 2011
The Gift of the WalMagi
In New England in December the cold does not come in on little cat feet. Instead some mountain god of the great north woods throws open the door to Canada late one night. When you step out the next morning your scrotum promptly goes into hibernation somewhere around your arm pit. The cold gets hammered down tight. And it stays that way. Until, oh, somewhere in the middle of March.
I’d come to New England after many years away and, in Seattle, thought I’d packed well for the trip. I’d made a point to bring my very warm Seattle jacket. I stepped outside into the New England winter this morning and between the door and the car I knew, based on testicle retraction velocity, that my coat had nothing to say to this winter. I might as well have packed and dressed in a Speedo. At least I would have been rapidly arrested and taken to a warm jail cell until my need for medication could be determined.
In the car, having cranked the heat to fat end of the red stripe on the dial, my thawing reptile brain hissed, “Get a coat or die, monkeyboy.”
But where? I was only going to be here for a few weeks before going back to the temperate zone of Seattle. I knew that various stores around this township would have vast stocks of sensible and warm winter coats but I didn’t really feel like investing somewhere north of $100 in some multiple layered goose-down body blimp that would warm you even within fifteen yards of Al Gore. I just needed a warm and dependable coat at not too much money… $75 to $85 … that would get me through the New England nights without frostbite.
Then I remembered that this town has something that Seattle didn’t because Seattle is just far too “smart” to have one – A Wal-Mart.
Wal-Mart, the greatest thing to happen for working people in the United States since trade unions and, today, a lot more beneficial to them as well. This town had two vast Wal-Mart’s. It was bracketed with them. I set off confident I could get a temporary coat at an affordable price. Little did I know.
I pulled into the vast parking lot and got out. Between the car and the door my core temperature dropped about ten degrees and I shivered as I took the warm cart and got the warm “Welcome to Wal-Mart” from the silver haired grandma at the door.
Inside the store stretched out before me like a land of dreams so wonderful so various so new…. Everything new. And shiny. And, well, cheap.
I got distracted at first in the food area of the store that could have held six of my local Seattle market inside it. I picked up a half-gallon of milk, a couple of bottles of club soda, and a jar of imported cherry jam ($3.00 less than what I paid for the same thing in Seattle). Then I pushed the cart off into the deeper realms of the store where banners proclaiming “UNBEATABLE” and “ROLLBACK!” loomed out of every aisle.
I found the basketball court sized area marked ‘MEN’ and turned in. Fleece coats, fleece vests, overcoats, Dickie work coats, and then winter coats in the quilted style that simply shouts, “You’ll stay toasty inside even in Nome!” And, amidst three or four circular racks, I saw a selection in blue, grey, black, green, and red of bright and shiny new winter coats. Above the racks was the simple sign in red and it said: “$7”.
Yes, I blinked and looked away. I looked back. It still said: . Above it a smaller sign said, almost in apology, “Was $15.”
Among dozens of these coats I found my size. Perfect fit. Smoothly made. Ample pockets. Serious zipper for closing. Nice shade of blue. And reversible to another nice shade of lighter blue with ample pockets on that side as well. I zipped it up and felt my temperature rise until it was uncomfortable to keep on.
I placed it in my cart and rapidly made my way to the register in order to get out of the store with it before they realized they’d left a zero off the back sides of the $7 and the $15. As I checked out I noted that the milk, water and jam had cost more than the winter coat. I put it on in the doorway and walked back across the lot to the car not feeling the cold at all from my thighs to my neck.
I can’t get over it. A winter coat for $7? The Goodwill won’t sell you a dead man’s old winter coat for $7.
And yes, it was “Made in / Hecho en China,” but…. well… how? Is there some darkened cavern that stretches for miles under the Gobi desert in which harvested brains in wired jars control robotic Chinese infant arms that stitch endless winter coats from the sheets of polyester that flow in a dark river beneath the factory floor? And then they’ve got to pack them up and ship them from the wastes of the Gobi to the racks of stores in New England. And then they price them at less than a small bag of groceries? How? Is? That? Possible?
It’s not. It’s a miracle. It’s a manufacturing, wholesale, supply chain, retail miracle on such a staggering scale that we can’t even begin to perceive it up close. We just walk into any one of the thousands of Wal-Mart stores and buy a winter coat for what it would take a homeless beggar about thirty minutes to cadge out of passing people on a downtown street on an average afternoon. It’s more than amazing. It’s a magical gift of modern American corporate capitalism.
It’s the gift of the WalMagi. It’s keeping me warm this Christmas season. And tens of thousand of other people too.
[First published.... last Christmas]
Posted by Vanderleun at December 23, 2011 1:44 AM
Yep. You can knock it all you want, but the WalMart near where I live has probably saved me hundreds of bucks over the past couple of years, mostly on the exact same products to be had at Safeway or Albertsons. The people who work there are almost all friendly and good-humored, and more than a few times I've searched for some specific item at every specialty store in town, only to eventually find what I needed (or a close-enough approximation) right there.
It's not perfect, but as long as you don't expect a boutique experience, more often than not it has what you need.
Even if most of it is made in China.
I felt that way today at the Dollar Tree store. It felt like a Christmas village in there. Everything I looked at, I could afford 5 of! Amazing.
Reminds me that I need to get a coat tomorrow. It's been running about -12F at night here and my old coat is 15 years old and falling apart. Yeah, I'm cheap and Walmart sounds good.
You've just made a gigantic point about capitalism, free trade...and gratitude.
Notice how you don't hear so much carping by local citizens about Wal-Mart in their 'hoods as you did when things were better. I can even count myself among the carpers, mostly because of Chinese goods. Now when I go to Wally-World, I see lots of (happily) employed people, all ages, all races.
A Wal-Mart here recently closed at one location and reopened bigger in another. What happened? Original strip mall businesses closed, like my favorite Office Max. Original strip mall is now an empty wasteland. New location? It is open until Midnight. So now when I get a shopping jones at 11 PM, I am off to Wally-World. But do let us know if you get some type of toxic geographic-patterned skin reaction from your attractive new blue jacket. Thanks for sharing.
BTW, Regarding Dollar Tree, if I'm in and see small American flags for a buck, I load up, keep them in the trunk of my car, and place them on Dad's grave or the graves of other veterans long-gone and seemingly forgotten. I can buy a year's worth of flags easily.
If we had Chinese labor laws, I bet we could sell that jacket for 6 dollars! And we'd be saving on shipping!
But we don't. What we have is a global economy and a China that is slowly and painfully becoming a modern totalitarian state instead of a Maoist totalitarian state. How will that work out? Will it ever become a free state? Impossible to know.
I have a lot to say about this, but I'll try to keep it short. China has moved roughly the size of the American population (300,000,000) into the middle class since shaking hands with capitalism. The growing economies of the world (China and India) are those countries which are adopting capitalism. But you can't impress a liberal with wealth creation and the abatement of abject poverty. Because capitalism isn't "fair"..."whimper." They're so overeducated they actually believe the government creates wealth.
"WalMagi" was also my solution to the economic downturn back when the Piracy Act of 2009 was passed. That's ARR to most of you. http://westernchauvinist.blogspot.com/2009/02/buy-numbers.html
Also, if you're looking for a job, I spoke to a WalMagi manager at the returns desk the other day who told me they can't hire enough people. I admit, Walmart's return desk during the Christmas season sounds like hell on earth to me, but if I had to choose between that and government assistance... at least hell is warm and doesn't require supplication to a bureaucrat...oh wait, what?
That's such genius in that "proposal" I've promoted an excerpt to the sidebar.
When I worked "outside the home," about once a week I would get up earlier---dash off to my nearest Wal-Mart and shop while the 24 hour store was virtually empty, except for the stockers, one checker, and the security guard. I'd take my loot home and put it up, and still make it to work on time at 8 o'clock. I loved it.
I shop a Wal--Mart location in Las Vegas which was held up for five years due to a County Commisioner who is now in prison. The supermarket workers union hates these places, and will pay to keep them out.
This enormous merchant center was dead. Now it's sold out, and the neighborhood picked up as well.
Four supermarkets closed. Not my business. Fact is, Wal-Mart doesn't buy food in China.
I am often amused that people hate Wal-Mart with a passion. My wife hangs around on Democratic Underground (mostly to post gently countervaling opinions), and she talks about the posters who agonize over wanting to shop at Wal-Mart because of the low prices and yet not wanting to lose their liberal cred.
Frankly, I think Wal-Mart -- by introducing the concept of $4 generic prescriptions, quickly adopted by its competitors -- has done more for national health care than Congress put together. God bless 'em. ..bruce..
Man I envy y'all your fancy Walmarts and such.
I can't seem to escape a store with a small plastic bag of groceries, or even a decent shirt with buttons, for less than thirty or forty bucks. I imagine it's much like what the shopping experience would be at an organic hippie-mart on some backwater asteroid beyond Mars.
A few years back, when I lived on a smaller neighboring island, I regularly had to take the 20 minute (each way) ferry ride on the designated delivery date to find a preemptively peeled -yet still sadly wilted and shrunken- head of iceberg lettuce or some such over-priced whatever. Now, through the infectious wonders of market capitalism, there are two kinds of expensive wilted lettuce available every day.
One of the classic local stories of misunderstood island capitalism involves a customer asking his local waterfront proprietor why they never seemed to have his favorite brand of frosted flakes anymore, to which the owner replied; "Said brand of frosted flakes sold out so quickly we couldn't keep the shelves stocked with it, so we discontinued it on account of being tired of explaining that we were out of stock". There was no in between. 'Name-brand' food used to be either hard to come by, half stale and dearly priced, or fully stale, dusty, and forever in stock...However dust never alighted upon the rum and booze aisle. There were always fifty different varieties that were just right and reasonably priced.
Anyway, since then we've acquired a K-mart or four which sadly seem to be mere mirages of the fabled wonders of Wally World.
On the up side, a bitterly cold day here hovers around 70 degrees and causes everyone to turn off their fans and bundle up, so I guess it all evens out in the end.
Went into the Athens Wal-Mart today and bought six pounds of stocking stuffer candy (Butterfinger, Reese's, Hersheys, etc.), denim jean patches, mascara for Key, blue Christmas lights for a mini-tree, two plush fireplace stockings for my daughters, and a huge honking 4-liter bottle of admittedly pedestrian but savory sangria for $24. I almost felt like a highwayman, epsecially when I realized debit cards are about to put the poor Salvation Army ringer out of business.
Somewhere, deep in Businessman Heaven, Sam Walton is smiling...
(OT) I'm kinda curious. Where are you at? I was born and raised in Puerto Rico, where Christmas Eve consisted of spending the day with a T-shirt on.
It seems we were almost neighbors once.
Spent some time in Señorial and near Humacao (Palmas) in my younger days. Did the pilgrimage to Aguadilla a few times too.
Borinquen...Great place for a young man.
Your Pueblos and Grand Unions had better produce than ours too.
Not at all Newton. Comments belong to commenters.
Here in Indonesia, we have Carrefour, which is the French Wal-Mart wannabe. It's not bad, especially for a third-world country (Indonesia, that is, not France;-), but it's not Wally World. I'm in Thailand now for a week or so, and they have the British chain Lotus-Tesco here. I'll have to see how that compares. My guess is that Wal-Mart will remain the champ.
make no mistake, the Chinese are learning about capitalism and they are quick studies. Remember, they were banned from engaging in it for over 40 years. It was only 20 years ago that those restrictions were relaxed and they have come a long way.
Not so fast, dudes. Those cheaply made products are taking jobs away from Americans. They pay those people $.50 per hour, no health insurance, no paid vacations, no social security, no worker's compensation. They live in dormitories. And they are the lucky ones.
There is still no middle class in China. How can you have a middle class in a police state? There is no free press. There is no disposable income, except for the top 3% who are either corrupt government officials or lucky property owners, just as it is for 3/4 of the planet. No Chinese manage these factories. All managed by Westerners. Quality control is a never-ending struggle to prevent corruption by suppliers and employees and graft from political cadres.
There are riots in the countryside due to near-starvation conditions. The rich get richer and the poor (i.e., 90% of the population) are very, very poor. For instance, the average Chinese cannot buy those winter coats - they are strictly for export to the West. China is still and will be for a long time to come a command economy.
By the way, Mr. Vanderleun did you know you are blocked there?
That's funny, pdwalker, because we began banning ourselves from capitalism about eighty years ago.
If the Chinese are truly learning capitalism, which I doubt, I wish them the best. To learn capitalism, you must learn liberty. Without liberty, it is at best only merchantilism. That is a great improvement on communism, but not on capitalism. 'The ghost that now inhabits the words laissez faire was once an unconquerable fighting spirit. It did not belong to capitalism. It belonged to liberty; and to this day its association with capitalism is valid only insofar as capitalism represents liberty.' (Garrett)
Right now, the Chinese are doing what they have done for much of their history--using a formula without asking why, using a tool without the skill to adapt. They are not able to change anything other than in immitating others. Their core value of human knowledge is static; they cannot increase its volume or change its course. (Tocqueville)
We have seen how difficult it is to keep liberty, but the Chinese distrust it at their core.
There is nobody to hand this ball off to.
James Wilson, you and I posted at the same time and said pretty much the same thing. A further thought for what its worth: Its not that the Chinese or the Indians are rising, its that we're falling. The real question is, how far?
"By the way, Mr. Vanderleun did you know you are blocked there?"
I would expect that to be so but I file that knowledge deep into the DGAS file.
I have lost 150 lbs in the last 2 years, and without Walmagi I'd have been wandering the streets wrapped in an old sheet, praying it didn't fall off. Now that I am approaching human sizes I can shop elsewhere - and sometimes do - but WalMart is always my first stop. Because Why Pay More? If they have the tee in the color I want for $3, why would I pay Kohl's or even Marshall's $19.99 for what is functionally the exact same item? The quality isn't *that* much better, and I won't be wearing it more than a year before I slip down to the next size anyway.
1. I believe the estimate is that Wal-Mart has saved about $600 billion a year for consumers and has effectively reduced the poverty level in America.
2. I shop at Wal-Mart regularly to stock up on non-perishables and grocery shopping at a Super Wal-Mart works out pretty well.
3. Capitalism. Who'd a thunk it.
4. Thank you Sam Walton.
As the father of three, I'm grateful to have a Walmart within five minutes of my house. I'm doing my part to keep it the busiest Walmart in the country, which point the store workers are quite proud of.
It's nice to see an article that isn't just echoing the tired old talking points that Wal Mart is evil.
Wal-Mart is great. It's done more to increase the purchasing power of lower income Americans than any government policy.
Super Wal-Marts meet more shopping needs than any other store. They absolutely clobber Super Targets in terms of prices and selection (particularly food stuffs)
I doubt a week goes by that my wife doesn't spend a couple hours in WalMart. We buy groceries, clothes, electronics, books... you name it. We also have a trendy store that sells upscale decorative items at twice or three times the cost of WalMart where the trendy people shop. I went inside and checked the labels there. Yep, most of the stuff was made in China or Indonesia. Not much at all "made in America."
Like most liberal fantasies, the idea that Walmart is somehow uniquely "guilty" of buying and selling Chinese goods is just a feel-good lie that they tell themselves, much like they enjoy attacking corporations and conformity as they sip their $3.00 lattes in their favorite Starbucks.
I once got into a "discussion" with a liberal about how evil it was to shop at WalMart. After trying to explain how the global market works, and how the selling of Chinese goods around the world was lifting hundreds of millions of Chinese out of abject poverty, and explaining that WalMart is mostly a miracle of acquisition, shipping, logistics and retail property placement, it became clear to me that what the liberal really hated about WalMart was that she desperately wanted to shop there, but was terrified that doing so would destroy her liberal "street cred." I wished her well as she spent $50 for the same pants I could buy for $12, and asked her to check some labels in the stores she shopped to make sure no third world sweatshop goods had managed to slip in.
I HAVE THE SAME COAT! Mine's brown on one side and pink on the other, yours is nice too though. It was so warm I went back and bought 5 more to take to our local coat drive. Seriously, what's with the griping about walmart? People need to get a life. My retired dad got a keep-busy job there and with 28 measly hours of "work" a week he gets blue cross blue shield health insurance for $47 per paycheck ( every 2 weeks) and 10% off in the store ( so I guess my coat would have cost $6.30 if I'd asked him to pick it up). He's been there 8 years now and doesn't want to leave. I guess some poeple just need to hate- mostly out-there lefty libs, notice? their glass needs to be half empty at all times- and walmart is big and convenient. Whatever, haters: Walmart rocks!!!
What great comments. Keep 'em comin' folks. We'll turn around the WalMart haters right here!
My sister works at Wal-Mart and I get so sick of news stories and blog posts about how badly Wal-Mart treats its employees. She's happy to have a good job with good benefits and steady pay. Before Wal-Mart moved into my grandma's town, everyone had to drive fifty miles to shop. In bad weather and as my grandparents age, that's no joke. Now they can just run to the Wal-Mart for their prescriptions and necessaries, and some of their friends have excellent part-time jobs there as greeters and cashiers. What is with people and the anti-Wal Mart nonsense? I'm glad you're appreciating it! When we lived in Portland my sister and I would go once a month to the suburbs just to hit the Wal-Mart and stock up. It was inconvenient but worth the drive to avoid the high prices elsewhere.
I live in a small rural community. Walmart has done more to improve the quality of life in small town America than any other single entity. I laughed when I read one of the comments where they felt like shoplifters when they checked out. I have had the same experience checking out an overflowing cart and getting a total of $70.00 or so when I was mentally expecting twice that. Above and beyond the direct savings is the time, money and effort saved by having this enormous stock of almost everything right in town. Who loves ya Sam?
Oooh, when you get back to Seattle, you're going to get beat up.
I lived there in the mid 90s and decided to go on the Atkin's diet. So off to my neighborhood market where I filled my basket with bacon, eggs, butter, cream, etc. It was then I realized I was in the back of the store and had to make it to the cashier. Worse still, I would then have to lay out my bounty in plain sight. I dodged a couple of aisles crowded with enlightened Seattle transplants, made to the front and fortune favored me, to a cashier who appeared to have ancestral roots in Puget Sound. She make quick work of the scans and bagging. I made it out unscathed but after that, I always had a bunch of Arugula on top of my basket to cover my illicit selections.
As for Walmart, on the Mississippi Gulf Coast I saw how the locally owned markets had figured out how to compete. They had much better meat and produce sections. As well as, local/regional products. Something Walmart can't really compete with. So you ended up shopping at both for each had their strengths.
The only places I shop regularly in the flesh is Walmart. I work second shift + and Walmarts are two of the three stores here that are 24hr and there when I need them at 2-3 am. The staff at my regular store have been there a long time. And nearly all of them have been saved by Walmart. They aren't the smartest or most presentable (and a fair fraction are actually low IQ and/or with serious physical disability), but they show up, smile and work hard. I'm proud of all of them and I'm proud of Walmart for hiring them.
If you think WalMart is good, you'll soon realize their groceries are overpriced when you walk into an Aldi, now that place truly rocks.
79 cents for a loaf of bread, 69 cents for a head of lettuce, 78 cents for a dozen eggs, $1.49 for a gallon of milk, $1.69 for a pound of salted sweet cream butter, $2.19 for a pound of safety packed 80/20 ground beef (not the garbage in a tube).
I never spend more than $25 on any tip to Aldi and end up with a cart full of food.
We live in Silicon Valley, CA, and Wal-Mart is considered to be one of those horrible places like McDonalds or something. We drive 40 miles to go to the Wal-Mart Super Center in Gilroy (the garlic capital of the world). We only go every couple of months, but the savings more than offsets the cost of driving there. As to stuff being made in China, I really don't care where it's made, unless slave labor is being used (and I don't mean "slave wages", but actual slaves). I just want good quality at a good proce.
It's not all sweetness and light. My (almost-retired) ex works at one part-time, and they're careful to keep her hours per week below the "trigger point" at which they have to give her benefits.
Brian's ex's experience is fairly common, I believe, and not just at Wal-Mart. A former roommate of mine was employed about half-time at a small publishing firm in Illinois for about two years. They were quite up-front and honest with him about it: they told him "We wish we could hire you full-time and give you benefits, but we just can't afford to. So we'll have to limit your working hours per week to below the point where the law requires us to give benefits." He obviously would have preferred a job that gave benefits, but half-time work was far better than no income at all, so he took the job. Had he said, "I won't work for you unless you can give me benefits," he would have had no job at all.
I don't know how many Wal-Mart employees are in a similar situation, and whether the store could actually afford to give them full-time work with benefits or not. My guess, though, is that the math is something like 5 full-time workers with benefits, or 8 part-time workers without. (Numbers made up on the spot, of course, like 73.4% of all Internet statistics). Which one is better for the store, the overall economy, and the workers themselves -- I don't know. The five who would have a job would obviously rather have the benefits, but the three that wouldn't have any job at all are probably happy with the current situation. It's not as clear-cut as it might seem at first glance.
More like 8 and 3, I think. Of course, there's an admin cost and penalty to having more bodies to manage and document, so it's not all gravy for Wal-Mart, or whoever. There may also be efficiency and skills costs to using p/t labor for too many functions.
And this is the Evil Empire that Chicago's mayor will not allow to build in the neediest neighborhoods in the city. Stupid!
"It's not all sweetness and light. My (almost-retired) ex works at one part-time, and they're careful to keep her hours per week below the "trigger point" at which they have to give her benefits."
If Wally World gives her more hours they get penalized. That really seems like a problem of govt. regulation creating incentives to under-employ reliable workers. Without the trigger your ex would very likely get more hours, make more money, and then be able to spend it on her own priorities like healthcare insurance or some other "benefit". Doesn't seem like Walmart's fault to me. Especially when you consider that the "trigger" increases costs for Walmart which would show up in prices. Why not require employers to provide housing and transportation for employees too and ratchet those prices up even further?
Yet it seems the "(almost-retired) ex" still works there for some reason.
I'm glad so many of you love your cheap WalMart crap.
Guess paying more taxes to keep the underemployed/unemployed fed and housed is worth it.
Wonder how long your cheap coat will last?
No wonder America is so screwed with the likes of many of you. We deserve it. Enjoy your chains.
Now now little piqued person. Please sit back and drink your hemlock like the nice little colonized mind you are.
As to "how long will the coat last?" you just don't seem to be able to fathom the point: "Who? Cares?"
But I'll be sure to put it in the landfill of your choice.
There's a movement to radically change California government, by getting rid of career politicians and chopping their salaries in half. A group known as Citizens for California Reform wants to make the California legislature a part time time job, just like it was until 1966.www.onlineuniversalwork.com
"Wal-Mart, the greatest thing to happen for working people in the United States since trade unions" Those who are still working, that is.
"Testicle retraction velocity" ????
Well, yes, it is a boon to those who are still working. It's also a boon to those who aren't working, as it helps them stretch their all-too-few dollars to make it to the next unemployment check.
Got a problem with that? Didn't think so.
One of the reasons that liberals hate WalMart is that it provides a greater dollar subsidy to the American consumer than does the Federal Government through all of its welfare programs.
Memomachine at 6:20am says "I believe the estimate is that Wal-Mart has saved about $600 billion a year for consumers and has effectively reduced the poverty level in America."
The website usspending.com shows the entire Federal budget for welfare programs for 2010 at $557 billion and this number includes unemployment insurance.
The left cannot stand the fact that private enterprise provides a bigger benefit to the poor than the gov't and it makes a profit while doing so.
When my now unfortunately deceased wife started having health problems, Wal-Mart was a great aid to me. One of the odd spinoffs of her problems was that the longer I was gone from home, shopping, the more of a nervous wreck she became. I usually made the rounds of grocery, pharmacy, maybe a hardware or auto parts store- but if something delayed me, she became increasingly panicked.
About this time, Wal-Mart opened a 24 hour supercenter, and I quickly found I could get almost anything I needed there.
When her glasses broke at three AM- and she was blind without them- who was open, with repair kits?
It's not perfect, it's not always the cheapest- but it has a place. One thing about mine- I notice that they hire handicapped people, a subject dear to my heart since my first wife was handicapped.
I understand the allure of shopping at Walmart. I understand it even more now that I am currently unemployed but it pains me greatly to purchase things that are being made in China. I do not think America should be in business with them. There is not an easy answer to the problem I know.
So, Gerard, after glancing through the comments form 09 I really want to know... do you still have the coat?
Why yes, I do. I just don't have the bone-chilling cold to bring it out.
Clan Lewis does not shop at Wal-Mart. That's where the Morlocks are. Meth-heads, ghetto scum, that banjo-playing kid from Deliverance, immense shrieking Negresses, vato crews stocking up on spray paint, smelly alter kackers -- no thank you. I'll pay seven cents more for the toothpaste at Target. No Joe Dirt lookalike ever tried to sell me a half-wolf puppy out of a cardboard box in front of my Target. No one ever found a dead body in the trunk of a car in the parking lot at my Target. Holder's People never shot anyone at my Target. All of those things have happened at the local Wal-Mart.
When I need bulk supplies, I go to Costco. When I need everyday items, I go to Target. Groceries come from Aldi or the local market. No price, no matter how low, is worth the trip to Lumpen Hell-Mart.
I don't criticize other people for going there, however. If you don't mind watching Traveler kids being beaten by their mares for "not robbing good enough" or being followed to your car by Afro-American "youths" in response to your "difrefpec'", more power to you. You can have my share of the Wal-Mart experience.
When colloidal silver was becoming quite popular with the average individual, and they had been relying less and less on pharmaceutical drugs, there was a wave of panic that spread throughout the large corporate interests and they developed a smear campaign that was designed to undermine the true effectiveness of colloidal silver. This is around the time a myth was produced that in case you consumed too significantly silver then you'd turn blue.