Shopping at Wal-Mart isn't about making the world a better place, because that isn't what shopping is for.
Shopping at Wal-Mart isn't about making the world a better place, because that isn't what shopping is for.Because we're raising little capitalists, my husband and I pay our children nominal fees to make their beds, wash their plates, and hopefully one day do our taxes. Every Saturday night, we gather at the kitchen table for "payday" and drop coins earned from daily chores into different jars labeled "God," "Save," and "Spend." The first ten percent goes into the God jar, which is noisily emptied onto the collection plate at church on Sunday mornings. The Save jar is placed back on the windowsill for the day they can afford, say, a PlayStation 2 game (though by that time, NASCAR 2007 will seem as outdated as Pong). But the glorious Spend jar is transported under chubby arms to the gleaming aisles of Wal-Mart, where the children try desperately to figure out if sales tax will place those plastic dinosaurs out of their financial grasp.My liberal friends hate Wal-Mart, feeling it has done less for its 1.3 million workers than, say, a rash of repetitive-stress injuries. When one friend heard I went to its Philadelphia location, she immediately said, "Don't go there again." And when I revealed that my husband's first job was as a gun salesman at a Wal-Mart in Kentucky, our friendship barely withstood the blow.In fact, Wal-Mart has become a political Rorschach test. Democrats run as "Wal-Mart Foes" criticizing what they perceive to be inadequate health care and low wages. (Wages that are lower than unionized labor's, but competitive enough to draw 25,000 job applicants for 325 openings at a new Chicago store.) Meanwhile, working-class whites turned off by Democrats' cultural secularism have been dubbed "Sam's Club Republicans"-after Wal-Mart's cheaper and even bigger box store. The ubiquitous retail giant vividly showcases the wildly disparate spending philosophies of Red and Blue Americans.For example, my children make about $6 per week, which leaves less than $3 to spend after the money is split among all the jars. And, frankly, that's just not enough to Make a Statement. You see, Blue Staters don't just want to buy a product, they want their product to Mean Something, whether it's African tribal art, a high-energy protein bar, or scented candles. Every product is manufactured, packaged, and marketed to feed the desire for significance.
|Liberals believe evangelicals lack moral gravitas because we don't attach our beliefs to our purchases like an overpriced service plan.|