All parents have moments where they feel pride for their children. Last week, I experienced one of those intense bursts of fatherly admiration for Audrey. She had her eye on a new pair of white Converse tennis shoes, and had done some housework in order to earn money for them.
“I’ve got enough!” she announced triumphantly one day. “I’m off to buy my shoes today.”
“Good job,” I replied. “Where are you going?”
“Walmart,” she said with a cringe, waiting for my inevitable reaction. True to form, I did not disappoint. My disdain for Walmart is legendary. Well, among my immediate family and friends, at least.
“I thought I raised you better than that!” I said.
“But they’re $10 cheaper there,” she countered.
“Maybe, but the true cost of doing business with Walmart is not reflected on the price tag,” I told her. We’ve had these discussions before. How Walmart’s business practices leave much to be desired: the annihilation of small businesses, the bullying of suppliers, the reliance on overseas imports, the mistreatment of employees in the form of low wages and a laughably expensive health care plan. My parents, fervent fans of Walmart, argue that they’re not as bad as they once were. They’re paying their employees more these days, they say. Giving back to the community. (I say they’re paying lip service. The Waltons donate little of their personal fortune to charitable causes. And the well-publicized salary increase? Not so impressive when you actually examine it. Let’s just say they have a long way to go to catch up to Costco, about as employee-friendly a company as you will ever find. But I won’t go into all the pros and cons here; just search Google and you’ll find plenty of links that will help you make up your own mind about them. My point is, I hate them with a passion and refuse to ever shop there. So when Audrey was all gung-ho about going there to save a few bucks I was disappointed, but ultimately it’s her decision and I am not one to interfere.
So, here’s what happened last Tuesday. She got to Walmart. Stepped inside. Made a beeline for the shoe section…
…and couldn’t go through with it.
“I thought about what you said earlier,” she explained. “How too many people look at the price without seeing the real cost of the product.”
Maybe she didn’t use those exact words, but the point is, what I told her sank in and made an impact. My awesome little liberal! She turned around and bought the shoes somewhere else. Someplace that treats their employees with the decency and respect they deserve.
She bought them at McDonald’s.
OK, I kid. They wouldn’t have had her McSize, anyway…