Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Wally World

I know there is a big controversy over whether one should shop at wal-mart or not. I am definitely anti-monopoly. I don't like that wal-marts prices are so low that they are stomping out the competitors and eventually when all of the Winco's, HEBs, Albertson's and Smiths are gone wal-mart will rule the world and jack up all of the prices. On the other hand though, I love that everything is cheaper at wal-mart (almost) and that I can get everything I need in one stop. Not only that but then if my tire goes flat whilst I am shopping they can repair it on the spot and I practically don't miss a beat.

Still everytime I set out to go grocery shopping I have this moral debate raging in my head. HEB or Wal-Mart. Wal-Mart is cheaper, HEB has better produce and meat. I can buy toothpaste at wal-mart, I can buy the same toothpaste for double the cost at HEB. HEB is local, wal-mart is the big bad corporate bully. Oh the torment. I never decided until I get to the fateful intersection where you have to turn Left to go to HEB and Right to wal-mart. Even then my blinker has been known to change sides midway through the turn.

Wal-Mart usually wins, and I usually feel bad about that, but I enjoy the financial savings. And hey I can open a banking account, get my eyes examined, photos taken, nails done, hair cut, a pedicure, eat lunch, and should my appendix burst, I am sure they have a place to get it removed right there as well. Can't beat that for convenience.

So let it be known that I am morally opposed to wal-mart, but I do still shop there (so I guess I am not that opposed, maybe after Blaine gets a raise I can be).

Anyway, so if you can bring yourself to shop at wal-mart, have I got news for you. I found the worlds BEST wal-mart. For the sake of keeping my location somewhat anonymous I will just say it was not in the city I live in and it was a totally "pfun" drive "pfor" our "pfamily" to visit (you with me Austinites?).

The reason it was the best wal-mart ever?

* Right as you walk in the McDonalds was open and bright, and though I am also morally opposed to McDonalds, they offered a bag of popcorn and drink for $2 (or either for $1) and if you haven't figured it out yet, giving your toddler a bag of popcorn while shopping is the most brilliant idea ever. They want to sit in the cart, they keep their big yappers shut and they keep their greasy little fingers in their bag or in their mouth. Genius.

* They had the store organized in a way that actually made sense. I hate how grocery stores put their fresh stuff, then freezer stuff, then canned stuff, then fridge stuff. By the time you get to your milk, which was the only thing you really needed anyway, all of your freezer stuff is melted and dripping puddles of goo on your other stuff. To combat this I usually head to the back of the store first and work my way forward. This wal-mart though had the freezer stuff in back by the refrigerator stuff. So smart. Except I did my little trick, because I didn't know, and wound up with melted stuff anyway.

* There were clearance racks EVERYWHERE.

* Stuff was actually on sale, as opposed to "rolled back". Got some good, melted, ice cream for $2.50 (has anyone else noticed that Dreyers halved the size of their containers and charge the same amount....*shaking fist to the heavens*, I'm no dummy, it's not like I didn't notice.....too bad they have the best ice cream with the fewest calories. So I still buy it).

* The lights in the freezer section were motion activated so if people weren't standing looking at a freezer the light turned off. Brilliant! In these times of energy crises I just think that was a cool little touch.

* They had wal-mart brand baby food. I swear they don't have that at the other walmarts I frequent.

* Everyone was so dang nice. Seriously, there was a good spirit.

* Produce was fresh and organized and felt cold and there weren't fruit flies buzzing around everywhere.

Anyway, if you are every looking pfor a pfantastic shopping experience, contact me and I will tell you where this wal-mart is (if you didn't get the hints ;) .

---stay tuned for my next exciting post, the $50 tomato the size of a marble------


Ralphie said...

Enough of this wal-mart stuff. (you may cause a riot amongst friends)

Let's hear about this phreaky phumato.

Sheen Family said...

Let's start the riot!! Just kidding!! But really - what's so wrong with Walmart - which is just capitalism at its best !! They make money and we save money!! More money in everybody's pockets!! Sounds like a win/win to me!

Gretchen said...

For the record, I would just like to state that my not shopping at Wal-mart has nothing to do with all this monopoly, sweat-shop mumbo jumbo. I'm all about capitalism. I just think it's worth paying $3.99 instead of $3.88 to shop at Target and not have to deal with being in Wal-mart. Maybe I'm just snooty, but I prefer a store where the shelf labels have been updated within the last decade. I prefer a store where the previous customers have not actually dumped everything on the floor. I prefer helpful associates with more than one arm when I need something off the top shelf (not her fault that there was no one else around to help me, but seriously, that was a lot of extra waiting for me!). I know I'm being prejudiced. But I think things at Target are always about 3 times as pretty and only 11 cents more expensive. And the groceries? Well, when Wal-mart carries a full line of Thai food ingredients, maybe I'll reconsider, but until then, grocery shopping will always be a separate trip for me. I will take my money somewhere where I ENJOY the trip instead of sifting past rotting sausage to get to an ugly car seat.

You know what, I have so much more to say, I'll just blog it. Watch for my coming rant...

meleah said...

i have to say that i am not a wal-mart shopper. there is only one thing that i have to go there for, and i try to buy more then one when i am there so i don't have to go back as often. anyway, it's too big!! that's the same reason why i don't like department stores, i get lost. what's so nice abut having everything you need in one stop? i find that you buy more then what you needed anyway and spending more money.
if i were to write a paper, it would be on how wal-mart it filling the landfills with all it's cheap crap. (it's cheaper because it's cheap, therefore you throw it in the landfill and have to go buy another piece of crap!)
I'm not really a fan, can you tell?

Kristi said...

Oh come now everyone, I didn't mean to start a wal-mart debate. I was just saying that I found a cool wal-mart, which does not fit the stigma that Gretchen describes ( at least not all of it ;) ). Target is nice, I go there too.

I agree with what Meleah is saying, but I am not buying the cheap crap (well not all of it), I am buying the cheaper toothpaste, paper towels and shampoo which I have to buy anyway, so why not save a few bucks.

I am also with Jessica, I shop at wal-mart, but I do think it is going to get me in the end when they are the only store left in the world and then they start charging a lot more.

Really, I am on everyones side. I am Switzerland. Neutral.

It is so interesting to hear people's thoughts though!

Meleah, I also have to say that HEB plus is way to big and drives me more crazy than Wal-mart. I like at wal-mart that if you are just food shopping you can go to the food side and not have to wander all around. At the HEB plus the food like perimeters the rest of the store. I love HEB plus and hate it at the same time.

Really what I wish is that Randalls wasn't so dang expensive :) That would be the grocery store of choice.

Keep the comments coming'.

meleah said...

it's funny that you should mention HEB plus. i don't like it because it reminds me of wal-mart! so therefore i don't shop there.
I have a solution to your "buy things for cheaper prices" play the grocery game. :) I love it!!!!!! highly recommend it!! i even get to shop at randalls.

Noelle said...

You've pretty much summed up how I feel about Walmart as well. Morally opposed, yet still shop there. Although, we have a Meijer across the street (not sure if they have that out West) that also sells everything from deodorant to bean sprouts and they have a "penny pony" to bribe your kids with if they are good the whole shopping trip.

Holly and Brad said...

Wow, maybe I should start thinking a little deeper about my shopping expeditions...I never thought twice about whether I should go to Wal-mart or HEB. For me, its all about convenience. I mean really, if I just need groceries I will head to the HEB...if I need groceries and diapers/wipes/new toy for the kid, I head to Wal-mart. Wal-Marts are HUGE in Texas...meaning a big deal. In Utah and California they are there, but I don't think they really thrive like they do in Texas. Both HEB and Wal-Mart fit into our budget, therefore I "support" both. Target on the other hand is a bit too much for this pocketbook, although I do know you can find good deals there...and also really cute clothes/shoes, which is why I am not allowed to go there. Also, I don't think they have near the selection as Wal. or HEB, simply because I buy alot of the Hill Country and Great Value stuff.

I can see where people would think Wal-mart is just a land-filler, but I think its only if you choose to buy the cheap stuff. If you choose to buy something that looks like its going to fall apart (no matter where you are) then it probably will. But I can guaruntee you this...Colgate toothpaste is Colgate toothpaste no matter which vendor is selling it. Catch my drift? Choose wisely, spend wisely and you really can't go wrong.

I will have to take you up on the pftotally, pfcool, pfwal-mart, that is only minutes away. I think its only about a mile farther for me than "ours". I will tell you what I think!

Thanks for the post Kristi--it was fun reading all of the comments too!

Sarah said...

I would be shopping at Walmart all the time, but I like HEB for the help out to the car with the kiddies. But on Saturdays - I'm at Walmart. The produce has gotten better and our "willingness to pay" (from Econ 101) is too low to be at HEB all the time.

Wendy said...

I can't help but join in. I, too, have a love/hate relationship with Walmart. I would never go there to strictly grocery shop but I love the lower prices on brand names and other basics. However I generally dislike "the spirit" but you said that your pfspecial pflace had a "good spirit" so that sounds good. Here in Utah, I can't stand seeing so many people in their pj's and slippers while shopping!!! I stay away when I can.

Jennifer said...

To join in the debate, I have to say I'm with Gretchen. I totally love Target so much more and would go there over Walmart any day. I hate Walmart for the mere fact that it's always a mess, full of screaming children (including mine) and their produce sucks. Even with all of that I have now become a Walmart shopper. Only because that is now my only choice living in no mans land out here. I hate that I can either go to Walmart or go to Albertson's which is like 10 times as much. Oh Target, how I miss you. Lucky you for finding such a great Walmart. Maybe I wouldn't mind it as much if it were as nice as yours.

Bart said...

Wow. Who knew this was such a comment-inspiring topic?

HEB rocks. Wal-Mart is open 24/7, and that brings me a lot of comfort for some reason. I know I can go get almost anything I want anytime.

They're both favorites.

Pardon, HEB is a favorite. Wal-Mart is a necessity.

Heather said...

Hey, I feel pretty similar about Wal-Mart. It is a love-hate relationship. And one just opened near me, so I am very happy about that! But that said, I still buy milk, produce and ice cream at Smith's. It is closer anyway and they always have better produce and sales, which WM does not very often. Oh yeah and cereal and fruit rollups are always on sale at Smith's too.
About the Dreyer's situation. I am with you on the fact that they have great ice cream. I am just so mad at them though, I feel like they are trying to change ice cream as we know it, so I am boycotting them! I now buy Private Selection (smiths) but I must admit. Their Cookies and Cream is just not as good. Dang. Big fat cheap jerks! Oh yeah, and I love Target too. Just not for food. I buy a lot of kids clothes there because they are so dang cute and inexpensive-- especially when your kid a) grows so fast and b) gets everything stained. Very handy!
I can't remember if I said this here before or not, so I am sorry if I did. My uncle and a few cousins work at the WM distribution center in southern Utah and they said that many Great Value Brand items are manufactured by the name brand companies. He said one day the Jiff truck pulled up and they unloaded GV peanut butter (that was a few years ago, so who knows if they still go through them or not), but he would give me those examples all the time, cause I was a little snooty on store brands. On some things, I am particular and buy the brand I like, but others, I think GV is a great brand and very helpful!
Sorry for writing a book!

Stephanie T said...

I can't believe you let my fav Wal-Mart store out of the bag! I've been shopping there for over a year now. And the Cashiers are so much more friendly then Target. I am all about the low prices and convenience, sorry but shopping for the random things that come up with a family of 6 I can't run all over town. Not to mention I try to make one grocery run a week. Which means 6 gallons of milk at a time. And everytime I've bought my 5 gallons of Milk from HEB the last gallon (once 3 gallons, I was fuming mad!) went bad even though it was still a week before their experation. Has that ever happened from Sam's or Wal-Mart? Nooooo. Has it happened from HEB? At least 4 times, and I should complain. But then again, that would require 30 minutes out of my day that I just don't have.

Shauna said...

I miss HEB. It was within walking distance from our house, plus I got some really cute baby flip flops there one time. Those were the days.

Shades of Blue said...

Come to Dallas. We have a new Wal-Mart opening up 2 blocks from our house UGH!!! However, they have postponed opening it for 6 months, because they are upgrading their look and displays to represent more of a "Neiman Marcus" appearance and style. So that should be interesting. Maybe that's like the one you pfound there in Austin...Aunt Jann