Sunday, August 23, 2009

Corn for popping

Tonight for dinner I had a giant bowl of homemade popcorn, my first since moving to Stillwater and, come to think of it, my first in at least a month. I wouldn't say it was worth the wait, because the wait itself wasn't a deliberate decision on my part, but man, was it delicious. :)

But anyway, here's a dilemma my wife and I are facing now that we live in a small town with fewer choices for these kinds of things than Minneapolis offered. Since we've been married we have gotten most of our groceries at Cub Foods, even though it was a tad more expensive than some other places (but not as bad as Rainbow). Mostly it was out of convenience, but it was also a small way of sticking it to the man--the Mega Store man, that is. The one who is rearing his ugly head here in the form of not one, but two, Wal-Marts in town, both a short drive from our place. But not only is Wallyworld omnipresent, the competition really does have higher prices and not as much selection.

So what to do? Do we give in and follow our wallets, thus contributing to the ever-growing chokehold that the Walton family is placing on small businesses in places like this across the country? Do we stand on a veritable financial soapbox and, with our hard-earned dollars and a sense of duty to the people who built this town from nothing, shop for groceries instead at one of the few local stores, knowing we're paying more for the same thing?

Well, we've sort of come to a stalemate over all this--going mostly to the Food Pyramid, but also getting a handful of things at Wal-Mart when it's (gosh darn it!) just convenient. I would like to say we stand on principles and only patronize the locals, but sometimes you just gotta buy the 47-cent cornbread mix even if you know you're feeding the war machine all the while.

In college I was on this high-minded one-man Wal-Mart boycott that changed no minds, affected no one, and in the long run only helped my 22-year-old ego--not the local business owners. Now that I'm married and have enough dollars to buy more than ramen and off-brand spaghetti o's, I still try to shop the locals, but...yeah.

Is it a tragedy? Nah, not really. I sleep well enough at night.

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