Jewish World Review Nov. 14, 2002 / 9 Kislev, 5763

Kristen Twedt

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Consumer Reports

What Wal-Mart won't tell you, I will | For the love of retail, Wal-Mart has done it again. Apparently, the discount giant famous for its "roll-back" on prices wants to wheel into Dallas with a double-decker facility. Double your pleasure; double your fun. They might as well leave their purse strings undone.

The two-story structure met with resistance from the city planning commission, according to Ft. Worth-Dallas NBC news affiliate NBC5. A poll conducted for Wal-Mart indicates over 80 percent of the neighbors in the area welcome the expanded version, however. While the Dallas City Council readies its vote on whether to allow the monstrosity to emerge near Love Field, I considered the impact two floors of Wal-Mart temptation might have on this consumer.

For a woman who both exalts in and curses the day she discovered the store where you can buy both a set of screwdrivers and ample whipped cream, I have to say that I'm very conflicted. Sometimes you can have too much of a good thing.

If you're like me, you never leave that place without demonstrating how a $2.69 milk run can readily turn into a shopping spree indicative of someone who is independently wealthy. My problem is that I like Wal-Mart too much. Wal-Mart is responsible for the plastic strip wearing out on my DISCOVER card and a sick fixation on Sam's Choice chocolate covered peanut butter filled pretzels.

Before Wal-Mart, I somehow managed to feed, clothe, and supply personal hygiene products for my family by visiting as many as ten different stores. This meant trotting my legs off, otherwise known as exercise, something I could use far more of since the discovery of those candy-coated pretzels.

The pharmacist I used prior to Wal-Mart never once announced across five enclosed acres the fact that I was in the building, getting drugs AGAIN, causing people to stare, point fingers and study my movements for signs of palsy. My previous druggist understood the value of discretion and simply whispered to his assistant, "Go tell Shaky Lady her pills are ready." Paradoxically, the pretzel confections at Wal-Mart appear to have replaced my need for the prescription medication. And that's not my only need Wal-Mart satisfies.

When I'm feeling lonely, eager for human companionship that doesn't require reporting to work or fixing my hair, I go to Wal-Mart. Have you noticed the bandwidth of people there? Retirees, pregnant women, and night shift workers amble the aisles in the mornings. The afternoon crowd brings parents with kids. In the evening, you get a bit of it all. Young, old, rich, poor, all taking in the retail monstrosity that changed the world as we knew it. It's a great people place.

Oh, what the heck, Dallas. Add some escalators to your Wal-Mart experience. Once you've bought into that Sam Walton mentality, there's no turning back. Or is that rolling back? I think it's time for my pretzel.

Comment on JWR contributor Kristen Twedt's column by clicking here.


10/28/02: It pains me to tell you this

© 2002, Kristen Twedt