Thursday, September 29, 2011

Why we don't shop at Walmart

Photo by Peter Griffin
My husband has ongoing debates with people about shopping at Walmart. He won't set foot in one. Why? For several reasons, I suppose. And I have to agree with him.
  • Walmart is trying to create a monopoly. The only fun that can be had with a monopoly is when playing the actual board game, not while negotiating through the endless stream of soon-to-be-defunct stores as they advertise their "Going out of Business" sales. If we don't stop feeding the Giant and start shopping the independent retailers and small chains, we have no one to blame but ourselves when we no longer have choices.
  • Walmart buys cheap so they can sell cheap. That means a whole lotta stuff from China. I don't know about you, but I'm wary of anything made there. Does caring for your family really mean "junk" shopping?
  • Walmart has been exposed for many questionable business practices, including mistreatment of employees, etc. You can simply type in "Walmart mistreating employees" into a search engine and look out! The stories on this are seemingly endless.
Now, if you're trying to live a greener life, part of that means shopping with the environment in mind. Which means, avoiding Walmart at all costs! And do not buy into their "green" advertising.

Here's the thing -- if you buy cheap, plastic products that have zero durability, you may not be as green as you think. Does it cost more for quality? Of course. Is it worth it? Most definitely.

Cheap stuff that is basically disposable requires a lot of energy (again and again) and resources to manufacture it.  Plus, the toxins in so much of the so-called economical products may end up costing you down the road in medical bills for you or your kids.

Choosing where to spend your hard-earned money is one of the first steps in being a true steward of the resources around you.

Purchase items that will last. Of course, that is easier said than done, it seems. We've had 3 refrigerators in the 20 years we've lived in this house. That's ridiculous. But it was more expensive to fix than to replace.

Technology is undermining us on this one, with the push for newer and better coming at us from all sides. Why, exactly, do we need to replace our electronics every year or so? Do we really need new cell phones? Is that latest piece of technology all that necessary for you to have? Have you ever thought about all the waste? E-waste is a major problem and we better start dealing with it soon.

Are you concerned about ecologically destructive practices? Well then, avoid buying from companies that are endangering or depleting our natural resources. Look for sustainability from the businesses you deal with.

Observe the wastefulness, or conservation, of the stores where you shop.

For example, I get my prescriptions from Giant Eagle, a chain of stores in my area. And let me tell you, they are the most wasteful pharmacy. The draw for me is the free diabetes drugs, but I struggle each and every time I pick them up. The amount of paper I'm given with each prescription is ridiculous.Seriously. And I swear they are the kings and queens of stapling. They love to staple. Over and over again. And they will not take back the bottles, which is ridiculous as well. Every month, I get these absurdly large bottles for a tiny amount of pills. I took my bottles back once and asked them to put my refills in them, and the clerk looked so confused, and a bit disgusted. She told me they would have to relabel them. Yeah ... and? I couldn't see why that was such a big deal.

Okay, it's late and I'm rambling. I didn't mean to do that. My real purpose was to just encourage you to think before you shop. There is something to be said about green investing ... you're investing in the future of this earth for the sake of your children and your children's children's children. And that, my friends, is why we don't shop at Walmart.

Sharing a bit of my eco-philosophy,


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