WalMart. Fuck WalMart. Fuck up WalMart.

A friend posted a little link on Facebook to a movement to ask WalMart to not sell GMO sweetcorn products. That got me thinking of another angle to this problem (and if you don’t think that GMO foodstuffs are dangerous, google the word “Monsanto,” my spellcheck even automatically capitalises the name). Why are we asking them to do anything as if it works?

So, what is it going to take for people to wake up and stop supporting this cultural nemesis’ legitimacy? WalMart no longer even tries to market itself as a place to buy products made in the US as it did 20 years ago. It no longer has really inexpensive products, but they are really cheap. Their products are produced in countries that the majority of their customers cannot find on a map, under poor working conditions by impoverished people, some children, for little pay, only to be stocked and sold by people denied anything resembling a living wage (and forget benefits) in this country.

Are we so inured to the human cost of throwaway consumerism in a globalised economy that we can feel okay when we support them? Do we really need all that cheap plastic shit around our homes, anyway? There was a time when things that were poorly made with cheap materials were looked on with disgust. Quality was sought after, and could be found readily, if at a somewhat higher price ,or investment rather. We were taught to consider and be responsible for the consequences of our actions. I remember something about that; it was still within my short lifetime. So what happened to us, that we would even exalt a company that poisons us with contaminated food, insults us with inferior products, mistreats its employees, and degrades local economies?

It would not be legal or morally right of me to suggest that throngs of people go into their local WalMart on, say, May 1st at 9am EST, load up a cart, basket, or their arms with a bunch of the most expensive junk they can, and walk out the doors en masse. That’s just wrong. It’s theft. It’s really dumb because they have security cameras. Definitely do not do that. You may get arrested, and I am not condoning illegal behaviour despite my chequered past. For entertainment purposes only.

But, hypothetically, if a few thousand people did just that, it would serve as a poetic indictment of how that vile corporation has stolen the livelihoods of thousands of small business owners and employees from one coast to the next and corrupted the values of a nation.

Something you can do legally, is to just stop shopping there. Consider cultivating the power of the word “no” for both your kids and yourself. Educate yourself about from where and whom your possessions come. Look for products that you really need that are durably made, preferably domestically, or are used. Learn to fix things properly or find the right people to repair them (shameless plug omitted) instead of throwing everything away. Be more aware of craftsmanship’s value. Pass things on to others if you have no need of it. Kids’ clothes are a good place to start. Donate or recycle plastic items. Eliminate cheap toys as future gifts from or to your household. You needn’t be rich to appreciate or own items of quality, you simply need to develop your powers of discernment and refined taste.

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