Wednesday, November 30, 2005

What you can't buy at Wal-Mart

I read a letter to the editor this morning stating that Wal-Mart has "basically anything you could ever imagine and need." Sigh.

The writer was encouraging his readers to buy from locally-owned businesses, a position I fully support. Still, I'm bothered by the assumption that Wal-Mart is the answer to all our material needs, that Wal-Mart somehow contains within it everything we might ever want. Isn't that exactly what Wal-Mart wants its customers to believe?

Here are five items I can't buy at Wal-Mart:

bottled ink (I write with a fountain pen)
flat (Italian) parsley
loose Twinings tea
Moleskine notebooks
Patak vindaloo curry paste
These items are a random listing of what immediately comes to mind. If I were to begin thinking about matters of culture--art, books, movies, music--there'd be no end to a list of items that I can't buy at Wal-Mart. Since I choose not to shop at Wal-Mart (save for increasingly rare, extenuating-circumstance scenarios), it's all moot. I wouldn't want to buy these things at Wal-Mart anyway. Doing so would only undercut the efforts of the businesses that are already making them available to me.

What can't you buy at Wal-Mart?

comments: 6

Julian Smith said...

Happiness, contentment, safety, love, friendship, peace and anything really essential are all things you can't buy in Wal-mart

Interestingly enough Wal-Mart's new subsidary in England has been out-traded off the wall by home-grown Tesco in England - so much so that it's complained to the government Office of fair trading Ho Ho Ho!! Now Tesco really knows its customers - it's database is complete...precisely why I don't always shop there ....use cash.....they won't know who you are......

buck said...

I saw the vindaloo curry paste on your list and picked some up at the International Food Store. Do you have a vindaloo recipe you could recommend?

Thanks,

Buck

Michael Leddy said...

Julian, thanks for your comment. I've read about Wal-Mart's successes and failures in various countries, but I didn't know of its presence in England.

Buck, I would just follow the directions on the jar and serve it with basmati rice. I wish I had more to say about it! There's a recipe using Patak's vindaloo paste here

http://www.funhouse.com/jfw/dinner/vindaloo.html

along with a recipe for vindaloo from scratch ("Vindaloo the Hard Way").

CW said...

This is not really related to your comment on Wal-Mart, but what sort of fountain pen do you write with?

Signed,
A fountain pen lover in Perth, Western Australia

Michael Leddy said...

Hi CW,

My favorite pens to write with are a Pelikan 800 and a Lamy Safari, with Pelikan black ink.

Anonymous said...

Actually, they have flat leaf Italian parsley at our Wal-mart