Sunday, May 24, 2009

Remembering Life Before...A Commentary

Recently, a new Wal-Mart opened in our town. We already have a "supercenter" version on one side of town, and after a long battle between citizens and the city, the second Wal-Mart was built and opened this past month. I'm not about to get into the politics of shopping at Wal-Mart - I know many people who refuse to shop there due to personal reasons, so putting these beliefs aside, just follow me on this. Anyways, I went to this new Wal-Mart, and I was shocked to walk in to see how small it was. Its less than half the size of the typical supercenter version, but yet, I stood remembering back to the time when all Wal-Marts were this size. Now, I cannot think of one Wal-Mart in my life that did not upsize or start off as the Supercenter. At this new Wal-Mart, I could see both the back/front and both sides of the store from where ever I was. It still had a small grocery store section on one side as well. And you know what the funny part was? I didn't miss anything. I had an assortment of odds and ends that I needed (including food), and found them all, and faster since the store is so much smaller. So what is taking up all of the space in these gigantic Wal-Mart, K-Mart, and Target Supercenters? I can only fathom that the variety of the same product might be it. However, this experience has helped me realize that the point of these large stores is to make money, raise consumerism, and have you realize you can't live without it. But the point is, there was a time before Supercenter stores and we did live without them, just fine in fact.

This is a postcard that was just posted on this week's Postsecret blog. If you haven't yet seen the blog or books on Postsecret, I highly recommend them. A couple of weeks ago I left for school without my cell phone, and realized it once I got there. I suddenly had feelings of confusion and loss...what if someone calls me?! Note, I probably only receive 1-2 calls a day, but for some reason I think today may be an exception. My supervisor at my job, as understanding as she is, lets me go home to go get my phone (approximately a 3 minute drive). She understood because she knew she couldn't live without her phone either. Cell phones were not really a part of my life until I was 16 years old, and even at times in between then and when I got married, I didn't have a cell phone...and some how I got along without one. What are we so afraid of in leaving our cell phone behind? Sure, we have families and times of emergency, it certainly makes sense, but what does this promote? If we disconnect ourselves from the world, will that benefit us? I think many of us would say "yes", and others who might say "no" or "possibly". Either way, I am amazed at the feelings of panic or stress that we get from leaving electronic items like cell phones at home, and we don't know how to cope. Its like an addiction.

That being said, I would encourage you to think about what your life was like before luxury items like cell phones were a "want" and not a "need". Some how, we all survived.

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