Here's my I-come-from-humble-background story that I will use like John Edwards, should I get the democratic nod for VP.
My mom was the last of the stay at home generation. In the early '70s a man could earn enough as an electrician at GM to buy a home at let his wife stay there to raise children (both the beta and the working model)- barely. My dad had low seniority, so he was shorted or laid off during the seasonal change each summer. Add to that a strike and recession and you have a family that got by knowing where the pennies were. Nah, not humble enough for the democrats.
So, we lived off a budget. We got a color TV (used) in '71- it was a big deal. Mom cooked lots of meals that involved cans of cream o'something soup and we shopped at K-mart. Even as young as I was, I knew that Kmart was cheaper than Sears or Wards. As my Dad's work grew more secure we spent less time under than blue light and I discovered the joys of "toughskins" and "garanimals".
My point is that pride and economics are part of a mathematical function- as soon as you can afford to not shop at cheapest store, you stop. And this brings us to Wal-Mart. In the last two years lots of media coverage has been devoted to Wal-Mart and some of the latest stuff has been very negative. So when Sears, JCPenney, Target and the rest of the superfriends went to hard core discounting this past weekend, everyone who could get at least one of the cars on the lawn started packed up the kids and drove right past Wal-Mart. And this has the anti-global economy, anit-corporate, anti-monoculuturists all sitting with a smug grin. Check out the Wal-Mart hating websites and you'd think the bastille was on the verge of letting out.
In order to compete with the Bentonville Hillbillies, the other retailers are putting on overalls and sucking straw. It's small consolation that there'll be a blip on the W's P&L. I'd love for the Walton family to start paying living wages and giving benefits to its employees. And it would be great if they didn't insist on exploiting workers in 3rd world countries. The idiot I heard crowing on NPR today really pissed me off today. There was no victory here, no reward for hard work on his part, no cosmic sense of justice . . . just the other lemmings catching up as we get closer to the cliff.
Okay, I'm done ranting except to say that I just got sucked into a Kmart commercial because they were playing Coltrane's A Few of my Favorite Things.
Go in Peace