Well, what can I say. After living here in Arkansas for better than four years; I have to admit I'm a convert. That is not really the right word. I was never "against" Walmart. You may find this hard to believe...I had never been in one. That, my dear friends, was because where I used to live...there weren't any! Yep. NONE!
Why was that? I can only surmise (since I am reading Sam Walton's book: "Sam Walton Made in America" and (I am only about 60% through it) his big gamble was establishing discount stores in very small rural towns in the Midwest...actually Arkansas and Missouri then on to neighboring states and then on and on...
Since I spent most of my time in the very populated Northeast it should be no surprise that I had never been inside a Walmart. I don't think they have any in my old stomping grounds yet, but that may all change in the near future. Anyway, it did not take me long to discover Walmart and all its wonders. I went there immediately after getting most of my stuff out of the car and into the house when I first moved here. Food was the main reason for the trip, but even I could see that inside these super-centers one could pretty much satisfy any material need.
Well, for example, I was there just getting the basics so I wouldn't starve to death during the first week of my move. You know, milk, eggs, bread, some meat and veggies etc. and I found myself wandering a bit away from the food aisles and into the kitchen gadget and cooing utensils. Wow...pretty cool! I had never been in a store where one could buy food and the tools to cook it with, and the garbage cans to store the trash and the exercise equipment to work off all those extra calories, and the clothes you would need if you overdid the food thing, and garden stuff so your house looks nice, and jewelery for rewarding yourself for being good. Well the list goes on and on!
I found myself making excuses for why I had to make a trip to Walmart. I needed...shelf paper. Yep, they got that. I needed brushes and cleaning equipment..Yep they got that. I didn't know I needed new jeans, but when I passed a display of jeans for $17 (YES that's right $17.00..not the $45 I was used to paying back in the east) I knew I needed jeans and plenty of them! I was beginning to sing the praises of Walmart.
I know there are some people who don't feel a nice warm and fuzzy feeling about Walmart because they seem to drive the mom and pop stores out of business; that may very well be true. But I believe, if Walmart didn't do it, another company would have. It is just the trend and process of doing business more efficiently. In his book, Sam seems to be a pretty fair and caring person (a little cheap maybe, but fair) So all in all, I think it was a good thing that he went to bat for the consumer. We really are the one to benefit from his cunning business approach.
Did you know that there are banking branches inside most Super Walmarts? Eye centers where you can get an exam and glasses while your spouse does the shopping? Income taxes, yes, they have temporary offices during tax season and you can get your taxes done there too! Did you say you needed a haricut...Well, there's hardly anything that you can't get at Walmart. I found myself using the phrase "If you can't get it at Walmart; then you don't need it!" I don't know if I read that somewhere or if I actually invented it, but I sure became a believer pretty quickly.
Today they put the icing on the cake for me! I found myself suffering from a medical flareup that required a visit to the doctor. Me, sick on Memorial Day! I panicked for just a minute or two and then I remembered that back in the fall they were advertising flu shots at the CareExpress at the Super Walmart at the mall. I went on line and found the phone number; yes they ARE open today. I went down signed in and 30 minutes later I had finished my exam and had my prescription in hand. I just walked over to the prescription section and had it filled for $4. Now, here it is only seven hours later and I am already feeling better. I think it is true, if you can't get it at Walmart, seriously, you don't need it!