Wal-Mart and the decline of society

My pet theory is that somehow, -Mart stores (i. e. Wal-Mart, K-Mart . . .) have greatly contributed to the decline of American society. Naturally, I have no proof for this. Just the disgust those impersonal chain stores infuses me with gave rise to this thought. Any comments/proof/defense?

Well, let’s see . . . (stretching fingers out)

The -Mart phenomenon can be seen as an entrenching of an increasingly more pervasive consumerism set of values within our society, wherein possessions and display of possessions become shorthand for showing other members of society that you are a productive, hardworking, contributing member of society. This is in addition to showing by the time of possession displayed that you are cognizant of the fashions and fads of the society - that you play by the rules and are subject to the whimsical authority of society.

This is reinforced by mass marketing, low prices, and endless, mind-numbing advertisements that pound home the fact that the only way to prove that you are a successful human being (and thus a person who deserves love) is to aquire all the possessions that fall into the current approved category. The different -Marts have plugged into that brainwashed desire and become popular because they offer an easy, palatable answer to those too frightened, too cowardly, too stupid, or too lazy to objectively consider the consequences of such a materialistic, shallow, and altogether self-destructive set of values.

. . .

Or it could just be because they sell tacky, plastic stuff and on a busy day, the store is packed with unwashed masses you’d rather not be associated with.

Think you got it backwards, honeybunch. American society declines in strength and vigor, thus providing an opportunity for bacteria such as E. walmarti, E. kmarti, etc. to move in, multiply, and gradually sap the strength of the American body politic.

BTW, Amy, welcome to the Straight Dope! But next time, post all discussions of medical ethics over in Great Debates. :smiley:


Note: naturally I wouldn’t dream of addressing so distinguished a member of the Straight Dope Think Tank as Phouka by the sexist and demeaning moniker, “honeybunch”. Ciao, baby! Oops, “baby” is wrong, too…

Amy, it was truly a nifty question. I call everybody “honeybunch”, don’t get upset.

um…yea, or it could be the lack of face-to-face interpersonal relationship between people, or it could be the overreaching arm of the capitalist society, or it could be the inevitable decline of community based relationships as our world grows increasinly global, or it could be the amount of violence on television desenitizing us without our knowing it.

Or it could be Walmart.

Whaddaya mean I don’t get honeybunch or baby?

Okay, that’s it, mister. I’m going to pout now!

I love Wal-Mart, I bath twice a day, and I happen to like tacky plastic.

Don’t worry, no offense taken–I’m not one of those PC, ultra femi-nazi types. (I personally think everyone needs to loosen up.) And thanks for the welcome!

I’m one of those ultra femi-nazi types. Of course everybody needs to loosen up. Now go touch your toes ten times.

Phouka–I’ve never told you how much I enjoy your posts. There, now I’ve told you.

Wow, first Notthemama says I’m a disguished member and now Green Bean says she likes my posts! Woohoo!

And Ultress, that’s okay, because you kick butt and we love you.

While we’re having an adoration party, Green Bean, I was going to post the same thing (Femi-nazi reporting for duty!) but decided against it. You rock.

Actually, seriously, I do think it’s the other way around. People want the tacky plastic junk, so Wal-mart comes into being to fill the need.

Also want to point out that if we’re going to blame anybody for it, we should blame Woolworth’s 5 & 10, which, while it may not have introduced the concept of “cheap junk”, certainly popularized it. Then in the 1950’s you had now-defunct discount chains like Zayre’s and W.T. Grant’s. Wal-Mart and K-Mart are just the latest in a long line of discounters. It’s not a case of “if you build it, they will come”, it’s “they came and were looking all around for it, so we built it”.

If it didn’t work, it wouldn’t have survived in the marketplace. The “survival of the fittest” applies in the marketplace as well as in the jungle.

You have [b[ NEVER ** called me honeybunch or babe. Sniffle

As long as you “call everybody ‘honeybunch’”, could I get one? I’m feeling left out too. :wink:

I like the X-Mart stores… They make life easier. If I want fertilizer for my lawn, a new set of pots and pans, a new weed whacker, a jug of Sunny Delight, a new computer game, some new socks, and some new shoes, I don’t have to drive all around creation to get these items. I can go to one place, and get them all. This should make environmentalists happy, as I am driving less. This should make for a stronger family, as I will now have more time to spend with my family, and will be less frustrated from traffic when I do spend time with them. This will make my bank account happy since I will most likely get these items for a good price. So, let’s see… I save time, money, frustration, and the environment (assuming it needs saving)… damn them! The bastards!

It’s a convenience store that has everything, along with good prices.

Man… X-Mart’s the sh… er… stuff!

The most amazing thing happened–some of you might want to mosey on over to the “Any Takers on wheter aha will get Cecil to welcome him?” thread to see what I’m talking about. :slight_smile: