Name: margalit
Location: Massachusetts, United States Professional writer, educational advocate, opinionated ultra liberal mother of 18 year old twins, living life in the slow lane due to hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, congestive heart failure, and diabetes.

email: margalitc at yahoo dot com

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Thursday, July 06, 2006

Shopping with the Nascar set

Not that I'm a snob or anything. Yeah right. I am SUCH a snob. I'm poor as dirt, but I have my limits, people. I'd rather go naked than shop at KMart, for example. I just am not a fan of the el-cheapo lifestyle. I'm a bargain hunter of the first order so I don't have to shop where the other half lives. I wear name brand items, but not designer label items, that I purchase at Marshalls. I am a consumate bargain worshiper. I shop Filene's Basement downtown...the real bargain of all bargains.

But I never, and I mean never shop at Walmart.

Until today. Yes sirree, I crossed over the line and walked right into Walmart because I was on a mission and only they had the product I needed. My cleaning lady, who is really a doll, but one sandwich short of a picnic, emptied the vacuum canister and along with it, the filter. Trying to find the filter has been an exercise in futility, but they had them at Walmart, so off we went.

This being a first and all, I thought I would report in on my impressions. It is not as dirty as I thought it would be. In fact, it was kinda clean. The merchandise was a bit messy, but they also don't employ clothes folders like the Gap. It was extremely cheap on some items, and on others, priced the same as the grocery store. There was not as great a selection as I thought there would be. The clothing, well, um, it wasn't gorgeous. I found an el-cheapo Pirates of the Caribbean shirt to send to the Girl at camp, and a polo shirt for the Boy. For me, nada. I couldn't find one thing I would actually wear.

We stocked up on stuff like toilet paper, paper towels, garbage bags, curtain rods, dish towels (do your dish towels disappear in the laundry like mine do? It's worse than socks!), and a few other items. The Boy bought my birthday present that I actually picked out. A new toaster! I'm so hard to please! They did have a great offering of junque food, but not much we couldn't live without. But miraculously, they had amazingly cheap school supplies. It seems ridiculous buying school supplies 2 weeks after school let out, but I couldn't say "No" to 10 cent folders, could I? Especially folders in adorable polka dots for a certain Girl who loves a matching binder. She'll be thrilled!

  • Do I feel badly for exploiting non-union workers? Uh, not so much. The amount of money we spent at Walmart was such a drop in the bucket compared to what most people spend there, how much influence could my little shopping trip.
  • Will I got back? Let's see, it's taken me almost 54 years to get there the first time, so it's doubtful if I'll return anytime soon.
  • Was the experience as bad as you thought it would be? Well, yes and no. There wasn't much that I'd consider buying there. The styles were mostly atrocious. Much of the clothing seemed poorly made and not worth purchasing. Much of the clothing had awful design. The t-shirts had heavy metal band logos from the 1970's. Certainly not anything I'm going to wear. And unfortunately they were only for women with cap sleeves, so the Boy couldn't find a thing he could get either.
Best thing about the trip was that Walmart is located near a lot of other stores we like a lot more. We hit Strawberrys for a couple of DVDs using a gift certificate I got for Hanukkah. I tend not to use my GCs until I'm sure I know what I want.

Then we hit the Christmas Tree Shop, which is my idea of bargain heaven. This store is only located in a small area of New England and NY, which is such a shame for the rest of you. I can't even begin to describe it other than it's THE place to get seasonal merchandise at rock bottom prices. How rock bottom? We got two strings of adorable battery operated lights for the porch for a buck each. Can you beat that?

After a long afternoon of bargain hunting the Boy wanted to go out to eat. I had a limited, and I mean L I M I T E D amount of money, so we tried a Japanese restaurant nearby. Little did we know that this was a buffet and it was $27 per person. You've never seen two people retreat to the parking lot so quickly. We went home instead. There is only so much money to go around and there was no way I'd be spending that on either me or my delightful shopping companion.
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Blogger Emily Barton said...

I, too, am someone who never, ever shops at Walmart (although I do frequent Kmart for such things as paper towels, contact lens solution, and vitamins) and who never pays retail for anything. I had a similar, "Walmart was the only place to get it" experience as yours last summer, so fought the traffice in the area of town I normally avoid like the plague, where it's located. I went in, could get absolutely no help from anyone as to where the item was located in this "village-sized" market, and spent a good deal of time wandering around in frustration. Finally, I just happened upon the shelves that held the item I needed, but it wasn't EXACTLY the item I needed. Will I ever go back? Not on your life.

8/7/06 11:38 AM  

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