I Know Who To Blame For This Economy

Posted in Everyday Life on February 7th, 2009 and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

WAL-MART! I can find many ways to blame Wal-Mart for the way the economy is tanking.  Time for my latest beef about the place.  We went over there Friday morning because my husband didn’t have to work until after lunch, and we need an oil change.  So we thought we’d get the oil change done together this time, which made me really happy because normally it’s just me and my two children (ages 2 and 7 mos.) who have to kill around 2 hours there every 3 months (or sometimes even more frequently).  If you’re thinking that spending 2 hours at Wal-Mart with 2 little kids while trying not to spend a lot of money is both exhausting and frustrating, you aren’t very far off the mark.  So anyway, Friday I thought I had company for the oil change, but even so, who wants to spend hours at Wal-Mart?  When we pulled up, I was pleasantly surprised to see that there weren’t any cars waiting, so I thought we might actually be out of there in under an hour – WRONG!  The wait time they quoted us was an hour and a half!  But we needed the oil change and were kind of trying to kill time until the area restaurants would start serving lunch, so we decided to go for it, especially since they’ve opened an H & R Block in the Wal-Mart for tax season.  Taxes and an oil change – kill two birds with one stone, or so we thought…  We get to the other side of the store where the makeshift H & R Block is, and we find out it’s not open until 1pm.  So we went back to the Automotive Department to sign in our car anyway, and that’s when we discover that an oil change at Wal-Mart is now $30!  That is a $7.50 increase in price over the last 3 months!  So no taxes to get done + expensive oil change + long wait = forget it!  And I will add the fact that Wal-Mart sucks at oil changes.  Almost every time I’d come home with the car, it would act funny or something else would be wrong with it.  Once they forgot to put the air filter back in, several times they didn’t replace the wiper fluid when it was checked off on the to-do list, and a few times I had to go back and have them re-vacuum the interior of the car because they said they did it but clearly had not.  Those were the days when oil changes were still so reasonable in price that we got the full monty of services, including the vacuuming and the refilling of fluids – not anymore!

We called other places around town, and we found that Wal-Mart is now the most expensive AND takes the longest.  But at the other places you needed an appointment, so we’ll have to wait until next week – no problem if I don’t have to go back to Wal-Mart!  Plus I’d rather support the little guy anyway (ever hear the country music song “Little Man” by Alan Jackson?  It’s a good one and I highly recommend listening to it if you’re frustrated about Wal-Mart’s world take-over).  And that brings me to why I’m blaming Wal-Mart for the awful economy…

They’re putting all the little guys out of business, so there go the jobs and the competition in the retail world that was keeping product and services prices reasonable.  Wal-Mart sets the pricing trends, unfortunately.  Mark my words, as soon as the little guys in town get wind that Wal-Mart upped their oil change prices, they will follow suit and you won’t be able to touch an oil change for under $30.  And worse yet, I read in the newspaper just yesterday that Wal-Mart is the only retail place that posted profits for January.  In fact, they’re doing even better than Wall Street predicted for them, which in this economy, makes them stand alone in that respect.

The state of our economy is so bad right now that I suppose it’s not logical to blame just one entity.  But moaning about Walmart is a good venting tool, and they p*ss me off!

Walmart Saves The Day

Posted in Everyday Life on November 30th, 2008 and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

What?!? Believe it or not, the title of my post does not have the slightest hint of sarcasm!  Walmart really DID save the day for us yesterday!  It almost makes me sorry for my many rants against Walmart and their shady practices designed to put small companies out of business…  almost sorry, but not quite there.

It all started when we decided to take the kids over to Fort Wayne, Indiana, which is about an hour away.  We pulled into a stall at the Sonic drive-thru for a light lunch and some slushies (Sonic has awesome slushies and drinks), when we realized we had forgotten my husband’s wallet, which left us without money or credit cards.  Luckily, we had picked up the mail before we left the house and brought it in the car with us.  And luckily², we had gotten a commission check in the mail.  So we braved the ‘big city’ Walmart customer service line on the Saturday after Thanksgiving to see if they would take pity on us and cash the check even without my husband’s ID.  We were gifted with even more luck when they accepted my driver’s license to cash my husband’s check, and we were able to eat lunch.  Except now it had gotten really late and we were all really hungry, so we decided to skip Sonic and go to the Golden Corral that was in the Walmart outlot instead.  If you braved my posts about our vacation diary, then you know how much we like Golden Corral.  And I’d say that the one in Fort Wayne is of the best quality out of any of the others we’ve been to.  After lunch, we took the kids to a McDonald’s Playland, but it had only one little tunnel and one small slide; prompting our 4-year-old to proclaim, “Dad, this is boring!”  But our 2-year-old loved it, and soon there were more kids to play with and everybody had lots of fun – including mom and dad since there was also a foosball table.  When we left the McDonald’s, we noticed there was a Burger King across the street (when isn’t there?), and that Burger King had a 3-story play area!  Oh, well, we had fun where we went and we can remember the BK for next time.  We quenched our thirst with drinks from Sonic, and there was a cool looking car wash next door, so we treated the kids to a car wash also -they love watching the soap, brushes, and water cascading off the car.  The second we pulled out of the wash –ding ding – our low fuel bell rang – uhoh.  My husband and I just looked at each other because it wasn’t like we had unlimited money with us.  In fact, we had spent the last of the check money at the car wash.  Thank goodness gas prices are decent these days because with the change we were able to scrape together from my wallet and the car, we had enough to get us gas to get home…  whew!  Perhaps it can even be considered a blessing in disguise.  When you compare the variety of shopping Fort Wayne offers to our hometown choice of Super Walmart and…  well, just the Super Walmart, unleashing us in a larger city with all those shopping varieties could have been disasterous to our bank account!

And by the way, the Walmart customer service line wasn’t too bad, all things considered.  Most of the line consisted of a family who had 6 kids and one on the way -wow.  And I thought I had a lot of kids!

The Hitcher

Posted in Movies on February 28th, 2008 and tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,

Hubby and I watched this movie last night.  Plot inconsistencies aside – it is a horror movie after all, so we weren’t expecting much – it was actually better than I thought.  I really enjoyed how they let the main characters keep slipping away from the Hitcher, the bad guy, only to be back in danger…  but I kept wondering, ok they’re safe now, but the movie can’t be over, so how are they going to get back in The Hitcher’s clutches?  The answers to these questions are an entertaining combination of extremely stupid and horrible decision making on the part of our “heroes” and also some pretty good plot manuvers on the part of the script.  There was also a lot of police involved in this movie, which, for a horror movie, is pretty rare.  Usually once the main characters encounter the police, they are safe, but without spoiling TOO much for you, this film is different from the norm.  Like I said, it was better than I expected.  Not super-great, but I was never bored or grossed-out, both of which I can’t say during my recent viewing of Saw IV – now that was an awful movie.  I think part of it is the pregnancy, but I just couldn’t handle the gore.  It never bothered me before, but I always did find it annoying when they use lots of gore just for shock value.  Now it’s both annoying AND so gross I can’t even watch it.  And what was with the casting of Saw IV?  They chose 2 actors who look exactly alike!  Even if I was making a serious attempt to follow the plot of the fim, which I wasn’t anyway since I constantly had to divert my eyes and ears from all the gore, I wouldn’t have been able to follow the movie because of the 2 identical actors they cast who were not supposed to be the same character but looked like it!  Anyway, back to The Hitcher – I liked it better than Gone Baby Gone, but then again, it’s a totally different kind of movie.  If it weren’t for some plot unbelievabilities and some of the STUPIDEST decisions I’ve ever seen main characters make, the movie would have been better.  In review, if you like horror / suspense movies, see The Hitcher.  By the way, I’m talking about the newer version, don’t know anything about the older version, maybe I should give it a try.  If you like pointless gore fests, I still wouldn’t recommend Saw IV – I wouldn’t recommend that movie to my worst enemy.  If you want to sit through a terrible movie, try The Night Listener – at least it has Robin Williams! 

On an unrelated note, for those of you who have read my Walmart rant, during my weekly visit today, the “magic price increase of the day” was yogurt – up from $.44 per container to $.46 each.  By the way, have you noticed that computer keyboards do not have a cents sign?  If I’m mistaken, let me know, I have actually gone to use them before!

The Price is WRONG, Bit… TAKE TWO, ENTER WALMART

Posted in Uncategorized on February 24th, 2008 and tagged , , , , , , , ,

I thought this would be a perfect title to use for my venting session about many people’s favorite place to shop, Walmart.  But since I just used the title the other day, this will have to be take two on the title.

I have a love-hate relationship with Walmart.  It’s a lot more hate than love at this point, but I try to be an optimist, view the cup as half full, that kind of thing.  I used to love the place.  That was when I had lots of other shopping choices.  Also I wasn’t stuck there at least once a week for hours on end with crabby kids because I had fewer kids then, and for some reason, they used to like shopping there.  But now that Walmart has put many of the other stores in my area out of business, and there aren’t very many other choices for local shoppers to make, Walmart is beginning to engage in a little bit of price gouging.  Let me back up for a minute…  what I loved most about Walmart when I first started shopping there were their low, low prices.  This is no longer the case!  I go to Walmart about twice a week.  I try to go just once, but that plan never works in my favor – we either run out of something, I forget something, or something comes up, like an impromptu get-together or Pampered Chef party.  But anyway, so I’m there twice a week, at least.  And EVERY time I go, they raise the price on at least one of my “staple” items!  Even if it’s only 7 cents or so, it’s still a big deal to me, because over years, it really adds up!  And, in the case of the toilet paper I buy, it used to cost $1.  The price went up to $1.24 in one visit!  I’m no math wiz, but I think that is almost a 25% price increase in one visit!  Also, it’s difficult to compare prices at different stores if the prices are constantly changing.  But don’t be fooled – Walmart knows this.  And that’s not the only trick they have up their sleeve either.  If your Walmart is anything like mine, they are out of stock on things constantly!  I think it’s a purposeful action so that they can force you into buying a similiar item that costs more just to avoid running out of the item yourself or having to take the time to go to another store – if there are any other stores left, that is.  For example, let’s say Walmart is out of the Great Value (Walmart’s generic brand = same as Heinz but cheaper) brand of ketchup.  Are you going to tell your barbecue guests you don’t have enough ketchup?  Or are you going to make another stop at different store, unloading all your kids from the car just to run in for ketchup?  Or, are you going to choose likely option #3, the one Walmart wants you to choose: you mumbling and swearing under your breath as you pay more for the Heinz ketchup, of which Walmart has so thoughtfully stocked plenty?  If I had the time or any fewer kids, I would probably go with option #2 just on a matter of principle, but I just don’t have the time nor the energy to take a freaky stand against Walmart and their price gouging ways.  In updating this blog I will keep you posted on what has changed by how much – it will be good to help me vent so my family and friends don’t have to hear all these gory details constantly.  And, because I’ve rambled forever about Walmart, I will also save my gripes about their oil changes for another post.  For now, I think I’m done wasting time droning on and on about Walmart…  besides, it’s almost Oscar time!