Monday, June 27, 2011

Walmart, chain sawing, baseball and use to be

Yes, I remain busy. Chain sawing, gardening, yard maintenance and baseball has disrupted my blogging.

I don’t care. All of that is real. Something that I can see, hear and touch. Blogging is interesting, but not really as important as picking fresh veggies and watching Grandson play. This week is the playoffs. They won their first game tonight, 8 to 6. He made the last out, fielding a routine ground ball at second and tossing it to first base.

I gave him a fist bump as he came to the dugout. “Nice,” I said. “Nothing to it,” he replied. “Who do we beat next?”

The confidence of youth. I just wish the country had it. We use to. What happened?

When did we decide that success is terrible? And when did we decide that small local shops with local owners become the goal? When did Walmart become evil because it offers a wide selection at low prices? Perhaps it was when most of us forgot what those shops actually meant.

I grew up in a small town in the 40’s and early 50's.

All the stores were locally owned and while it's true that the local stores employed local people, so does Walmart. While it is true they were locally owned, local people own Walmart stock.

The local store owners were the second part of the "gentry." You had them and the land owners. To fill out the foursome there were the poor white farmers and poor blacks. The local bankers, doctors, lawyers, teachers and law enforcement worked as management.

The stores’ merchandise selection was poor, the quality low and prices high. Sharecroppers and such white trash were automatically steered to the low end merchandise.

If you were white you escaped by saving enough money to buy a small piece of land and farming it while renting additional land. Your wife worked at the local shoe, shirt or coat factory. Of course this was possible only if you had an impeccable reputation and had never failed to pay back a loan.

Blacks could do that too but the odds were way higher that something would happen, an arrest for being uppity, etc., that would suck up resources needed otherwise.

I know this because I lived it.

Now I have no love from Walmart, or any large corporation for that matter.

But do be careful what you ask for when you wishfully remember the small shops and local ownership and hope for a return to yesteryear. You probably won't like what you get.

Part of the above also published in TalkLeft.

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"Unlimited tolerance must lead to the disappearance of tolerance. If we extend unlimited tolerance even to those who are intolerant, if we are not prepared to defend a tolerant society against the onslaught of the intolerant, then the tolerant will be destroyed, and tolerance with them." - Karl Popper

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