Ahhhh, the women of Wal-Mart LOL!

Ds does 99% of our Wal-Mart shopping and dh most of the rest of it, occasionally I’ll go in, but very rarely. Ds has made the remark that he wonders why the people that shop there with a large extended family now are not like the ones he grew up with. What he means is all the families he knew as a child and through his teen years the children went with their folks to the store. They helped with the shopping, they were quiet and well behaved, and it didn’t matter if it was 1 kid or 20 no one ran up and down the aisle screaming—or if they did they got a “trip to the car”…
He came in last Friday talking about the families at Wal-Mart again. He witnessed a family with four children totally out of control, the kids were tearing things off the shelves (even broke a bottle of something on purpose), taking labels off of things, got rude with the samples lady, and screamed the entire time while the parents totally ignored them. When one purposefully rammed a cart into his he nearly lost it. (His mother’s child) He says he KNOWS there are good parents out there (as the ones on this list are), but they sure aren’t shopping at our Wal-Mart. Do we have a monopoly on the parents who don’t love their children enough to discipline them at our Wal-Mart, or do others have this problem too?

We both have facts on our side, and it’s entirely possible that we’re both correct

I’m glad that some folks have good employment experiences there; that wasn’t the case for the folks I either knew or read about who did work at Walmart or Costco. I have no experience with Sam’s Club so I can’t speak to that. I’m also glad to know that Walmart and Costco are starting to stock locally made products. That’s always nice to see, but it was not always true. If that’s part of a new “kinder gentler” corporate strategy, then that’s great. I’d be curious what percentage of their product lines are sourced locally; I’d be really impressed if it was as high as 10%. Whatever the percentage, I hope that trend will continue and expand.

As for the charitable donations, I wonder if those donations are equivalent to the tax base their presence subsequently dried up, particularly given that most Walmarts and other big-box stores typically lobby heavily for tax breaks prior to setting up a new store. I also have a hard time believing that a charitable donation (which can offset that corporations own taxes????) would be as good as the same amount of tax revenue for that county. Charitable donations can be turned on and off, and reallocated, by corporate decision. Tax revenue was the bloodstream that fed most local and regional public works services like schools, hospitals, police departments and the like. To have those crucial services depend on the whim of whether an out of state corporation wants to make another charitable donation? Hardly something to put much confidence in for the long term.

I also speak from facts, and from experience. Walmart in particular, and other so-called big-box stores in general, have repeatedly been involved with the loss of a number of small businesses around them, for many (some analysts claim most) of the stores they’ve put in. And the loss of those businesses has set in motion the death of small town economies, repeatedly. Were those businesses going to fail anyway, and those towns doomed to dry up? I’m sure some of them would have. But others were doing thriving business right up until the day Walmart or the like opened. If that had only happened occasionally, then it could be chalked up to random chance. But it’s happened so often that a pattern has emerged. It happened in my home town, and it continues to this day. I choose not to shop at such places. Everyone is entitled to choose how they spend their money, and where.

Bottom line, I certainly didn’t intend to start some firestorm on this topic. But I also had personal experience that felt relevant, which I chose to share. Folks can use it, or ignore it, as they see fit.

Few facts:

1. Sam’s Club and Wal-Marts actually do buy local products and put them in their stores. Not all products are local as not all products exist locally or at certain times of the year.

2. Employees are allowed to buy stock–and the company does a percentage match.

3. Many people that have been unemployed from other industries have gone on to make good to great money in management and other positions.

4. Wal-Mart and Sam’s donate LOTS of money, etc back to their communities.

5. Any job is what you make it. Some people enter at the basic level and stay there (by choice or by work habits).

6. Other people–take the job and make some big figures. It is a big company and lot of choices and positions exist.

7. The reason big companies can offer lower prices—they are buying in huge quantities to get discounts–which they then pass onto the consumer.

8. Once upon a time—the big companies were the small store—they just figured a way to keep growing. Example: Wal-Mart started as one little store….eventually they opened a second store….and the rest is history.

I don’t shop walmart often, maybe 1-2x per year

they just have so many stores. there are 2 within 4 miles of my house and they fought to add another—claiming different zip codes make them necessary. I just find going there too much of a hassle to find what I want, get through the store and actually check out.

Costco is perhaps 8 miles away, but getting into the lot and leaving is worse than being in a church parking lot after mass.

I do shop at Bj’s, but it is near the Home Depot and we need to go there quite a bit.

I shop local whenever I can, I see it as a punishment if I must go to the mall. The rule here is if I can’t find it at the beach, then I don’t need it.

Darn it, got me on a technicality

Ok, officially, when I first became aware of Costco, I was several states away. Moving out here didn’t actually change my opinion of them, even if I suppose they are now at least regional, if not truly local (Issaquah is a different county and two hours away). Sorta like moving to wherever Walmart is based. Wouldn’t change the fact that they suck retail profits out of 99% of where they operate, in favor of concentrating it in the hands of a very few, in a relatively small place. I suppose if folks are Walmart or Costco shareholders, that might “re-distribute” the money again. But I’m willing to bet the folks earning minimum wage at those stores, and their families, don’t own stock. That’s the part that bugs me. They are an extractive business – taking more from the local community than they give back, and sending that net gain elsewhere.

I guess this is a philosophical thing. Do we support big multi-state (or for that matter, multi-national) companies, when very similar products are available locally, from locally owned businesses? I’m strongly in favor of supporting local family businesses, if they offer anything even close to what I’m shopping for. There are just so many benefits to keeping dollars at home. The local tax base goes up so schools, hospitals, police departments, sewer districts and the like have better funding. More job opportunities, particularly for young people, so they don’t feel like they have to leave simply to find work. Small businesses are more diversified and stronger, so they in turn can put in more orders for things like durable goods, and that demand fuels local manufacturing and the like. It’s so much bigger than saving 10% off the retail pricetag. Go to any of the ghost towns of the American midwest, which used to be vibrant, diversified economies, with strong communities and a nice quality of life, and see how places like Walmart have turned them into dead zones. I just can’t ignore that. Maybe this is also a rural thing. Seeing a whole series of small family businesses fail when a big competitor moves in, or watching a vibrant town become nothing more than a bedroom community for some distant urban area, is just such a tragedy. I’ve seen it happen far too often to ever be complicit again. And then folks get upset when their sales tax or property tax goes up because those businesses move away or go under, or folks protest when their schools and hospitals and police departments shut down for lack of funding? Yet they continue to shop at Walmart because it’s cheaper? What goes around comes around. I just haven’t figured out yet how to help more folks connect those dots and see that cause/effect relationship. Guess this is a real sore point with me. I’ll go find my happy place now.

I have to admit I also boycott both Walmart and Costco

but mainly because they suck huge volume of retail profits out of communities and pay crap wages in return. I’d rather keep that money circulating locally, with locally owned businesses which don’t have corporate offices 12 flights up, six states away. That’s probably very consistent with the type of business we’ve created, such that I’m participating in other small businesses as I would hope folks contribute to mine. And it’s not just altruism; we offer, and many small family-owned business offer, better quality, better service, and competitive prices. But we’ve made the decision here that we simply won’t shop at Walmart or Costco. We can find what we need elsewhere, and if we shop hard enough we can find it cheaper.

Thanks! I didn’t look at milk. Do they still sell 2 gallons at a time?

Appreciate the suggestions. I remember the strawberries were ok in price, but I get better at local store. Didn’t check canned goods too closely, but I think that was an issue I had before. I did see a great price on PB, but the tub was too big. We go through PB like crazy, but my fridge would be maxed out with an 80oz jar (and we by adams and stirring that amount would be tedious…)

I am a big Trader Joe’s shopper, but they certainly don’t carry everything we need.

Thanks again!!

I couldn’t live without my costco membership

I buy brown sugar there, frozen chicken breasts, hamburger and hot dog buns, milk, carrots, lettuce (we eat a lot of salad). And for us the discount on gas is worth it. We live in an area that had high gas prices.

As far as staying away from…..I would say canned goods in general. Most of the time I can get them cheaper with a coupon at Fred Meyer (Kroger) or at Winco. I love their fruits but most of the time they are more expensive that other stores. The exception to that is bananas and pineapples.Watermelons too when in season.

Shop To Earn is a new MLM that offers shopping rebates to members

much like MyPowerMall and Team National. The real focus, however, is recruiting new members who will pay the $450 fee to sign up.

Everyday Finance did a review of the program, and was contacted by Shop To Earn’s lawyer and threatened with legal action. He modified his original post to remove certain statements.

I subsequently wrote my own negative review of the program. I then received a cease and desist letter of my own.

Now the Shop To Earn attorney is threatening the blogger further, telling him he must take down his own site. Details here, along with links to my other posts about the company and its attorney:

What evidence do you have to support your feelings?

I’ve had a challenge out for several years for someone to prove that his/her MLM opportunity lived up to its claims. Only one person has stepped forward to take on my challenge. (The results were inconclusive. He had not been involved in his MLM long enough to prove anything. He had very little documentation, and very little revenue to show.)

So, why do you feel there is a legitimate MLM out there? And perhaps more importantly, why do you choose an MLM survivors group to ask?
Did you read the introductory documents about this group? Are you aware that the odds of you getting an endorsement of an MLM here are about the same as you getting an endorsement for a brand of booze at an AA meeting?

And if there WAS a legitimate MLM opportunity out there, don’t you think you would have heard about it? Some secrets are very difficult to keep. And other secrets are not what you assume they are.

There are a couple of answers to this:

1) Most pro-MLMers don’t know any real secrets to becoming successful in MLM. They cannot teach what they do not know.

2) If everyone knew the secrets to becoming successful in MLM, what would be the value of those secrets? There’s a huge captive market for books and audio/video training claiming to offer success tips. The secret is valuable, in part, BECAUSE it’s secret.

If everyone knew the REAL secret of MLM, it would all unravel.

Which leads to your next comment…

You can send them a custom design

and they’d print that for you too. My work colleague had her honey label custom designed and then used maverick to print them – they really look super!
Thanks for the encouragement – I am thankful for the support and kicks when I need it from this group.
I feel more composed today but have taken the day off since I need it.

Slow week of homework

Nothing huge happened around here financially this last week. Which is kind of good, it’s nice to take a breather.
My birthday happened and I was well gifted by my two savy shoppers. The bitter cold lifted, literally because the wind blew it away and we muddled along sticking to the budget.
Christmas tree is down and I’m ready to put up spring decorations, so I’ve been working on those with all my new toys and the materials I have on hand rather than rushing out to buy a bunch of stuff as I would have before we started DR.
Dh and ds have been working on minor repairs around here that they could do for free.
We started ordering in tour guide books to start planning our big celebration trip later this year and I think that was the highlight of the week.
It of course had a few hiccups because we like solid books to plan with and all the states and AAA are trying to go over strictly to ebooks. While you can still get the solid books from all of the proceeding they are really pushing the ebooks. I understand the financial aspect of it, but nothing replaces the feel of a book in your hands and being able to thumb through, mark up and tab a book as you plan. Half the fun of any vacation is planning it.
I was pretty grumpy about the ebooks situation yesterday after being on the AAA site and finding no mention of real books yesterday. I called their office first thing this morning and was told they had come to realize that some people do prefer books when planning and therefore they would be getting more in by late Feb. That brightened my week considerably.

I adore our local Costco

I don’t buy everything there, but I know what I do buy is of impeccable quality and their return policy is outstanding if I have a problem or change of heart. I do have to consider carefully some items. If I buy a bag of peeled garlic, I’ll food process the entire thing and freeze in pats on wax paper so I can just grab enough garlic for the soup, garlic bread, etc. I also have a good amount of fridge/freezer space, which allows me to stock up when I see a good deal.

Doing a Happy Dance

As I said last week, we’ve already booked our vacation for WDW for after we are cc debt free. We did so months ago, and for the first time ever we used a travel agency. I generally don’t use them because some charge you a fee to do so.

But The Magic For Less Travel is not one of those, no fees are involved. When they book a vacation for you it’s at the same rate you can book it yourself. So what’s the advantage to using them? They keep on top of any discounts that come up, snare them for you and let you know.

Well wonderful Naomi, at the Magic For Less Travel, snared one that is going to save us $156.57 for our 10 nights at the campground. That’s big bucks around here. We are all so thrilled, because this was a discount that had not been published yet anywhere so we were able to secure our exact nights at the lower rate. How wonderful is that?

Another thing they do is if I refer someone and they book a trip with them I get a gift card to spend at the park. So if anyone is thinking about a celebration trip of their own to Disney properties, or on a Disney Cruise, or any Disney travel destinations, please use Naomi at The Magic For Less Travel and tell her I sent you.

If your car is totaled and you have comprehensive

how long do they give you for the rental car? When my car was stolen, recovered, and in the shop(years ago), the rental coverage was only 20 or so days.
So if the insurance company totals the car, would they still pay for a rental no matter how long it took for you to acquire another vehicle? Or would they stop paying as soon as they made the determination to total it?

The simple fact

that I can be sued for far more than the value of the car if I was involved in an accident, makes me want to have all of the protections insurance affords me. Its not about the value of MY automobile to me, its about the value of the policy and covering any damages I might cause.


I can’t contain my delight so I’m yelling it from the rooftops.

GRACIE STOOD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

For those of who are are scratching their heads in puzzlement, let me explain.

Gracie is a 10 year old LaMancha goat.

I came home several weeks ago to find her flat on her side, unable to move so I dragged her into the barn, said a prayer and got to work on trying to get her on the road to health again.

This icy cold weather has done a number on my animals – the fluctuating temperatures are very hard on healthy animals, let alone the young and old or compromised.

She had a nasty chest infection so I got a shot from the vet and settled in with supportive car, a big warm blankie, warm water heated to 72F, probiotics, horse feed, you name it, she probably got it, along with daily B12 injections and drenching with propolyn glycol for energy. and making sure she got moved 2x a day (I work full time as well) so she wasn’t laying in her own waste.

My biggest worry was keeping her warm and getting in calories that we could meet and then exceed her requirement.

She got over her chest infection and slowly started to regain her sparkle. At the same time, she got joined by Vere, a little icelandic lamb who got a chest infection and couldn’t’ stand either. So the two of them got to be The Barn Belles and both got all the same goodies and turned into pin cushions with daily injections.
Vere made it up onto her elbows about 2 weeks ago – she is now practicing for the Kentucky Derby as she is zooting all over the barn – she’s not completely on all 4 lets yet, she is sort of walking on her ‘wrists’ – I’m confident she will walk normally in time. She even whacks my shins with her head when she feels I’m not moving fast enough with the feed for her liking lol.

Anyway, Vere has been a great barn companion to Gracie, helping motivate her and just in general they get along well.

Well, I had an awful weekend – migraine that wouldn’t quit, anniversary of my mom’s death, and then I lost Viola and Miss Priss, both on the same day so spent the day on Monday bawling and dealing with the necessary details and feeling like a complete failure as both a human being and a farmer.

This sets the stage for you to understand WHY its such a big deal that GRACIE STOOD BY HERSELF LAST NIGHT!!!!!!!!!!!!

She fell over after taking two very wobbly steps, but she STOOD. I shrieked in delight – scared the bejusus out of the barn cats and the rest of the sheep who were peering through the glass door to see what the dickens their crazy shepherd was up to now – Icelandic sheep are very inquisitive as it is. She THEN tried to drag herself to where I was standing at the feeding station so I’d hurry up with dinner. I think I cracked my face with the big smile I wore as I rushed over with the feeding pan and plopped it in front of her, almost tripping over the zooting Vere in my rush.

I sat down to watch my Belles eat and it was just a perfect moment.

Thanks for reading 🙂

Your post made me smile

although I don’t think you intended that to occur when you posted this Look,. you’re on your way to being debt free. You are a catch!!! Think about all those people who have been “caught” two, threee, heck, even four times, and are then looking to get divorced all those times or are trying to shake the weirdo they “caught”. You are probably a lot luckier than you think, plus, you’re definitely a lot smarter by taker care of your finances, and one day, God willing, the right person will come into your life. Some times time really can be on your side! Just saying….(and I know I’m right).

You and me both

And the prospects aren’t good for me in finding one of those… I am so not a catch.

More likely, it will be singles awareness day for me, a holiday marked by wearing solid black, and trying my darnedest to avoid all of the lovey dovey happy people. I do not begrudge them their happiness, mind you, and I hope they enjoy their day. But that day makes me lonely. At least this year it comes the day after the feast of Pitchers and Catchers, one of my favorite holidays of the year!