I gave up Walmart for Lent this year. Not that hard for some, I would imagine. But here in small town USA with a struggling downtown and not many choices for shopping, giving up Walmart can be considered sacrifice. So far, it hasn’t been quite as difficult as I had imagined, but there are a few things that simply aren’t available within reason elsewhere.
1. Oil changes. I cheated here and after searching for a place to take my car and get an oil change while I waited, I caved. One night right before going out of town, I went to Walmart. Not in my town, but the town where my boys play soccer. During their soccer practice, I got my oil changed at the only place still open and available at 7pm. Walmart. The red line danger zone had been crossed, and travel was on the horizon. Jesus and I talked about it. Safety won out over principle, especially since the decision was not made without awareness. I knew I was breaking my Lenten vow, and I wasn’t doing it lightly. But my family’s safety is common sense. I don’t want to speak for Jesus, but I am pretty sure he’s cool with that decision.
2. Canned tuna fish. Little did I know that giving up Walmart meant giving up my favorite tuna. We buy a sustainable tuna, Earth friendly and all. It is reasonably priced at Walmart. Read = Affordable. At other food stores, it is $4 for one lone little can. For my family to eat canned tuna salad, it would cost $20 to make it. Hence, we have given up tuna by default. I almost asked my friend, Lynsey, to pick some up for me, but I feel this would be cheating. So I just eyed her tuna enviously instead.
3. Camisoles. I love to wear camisoles with the extra lining in them. I have two or three pitifully old ones that need replacing. Walmart sells the perfect ones. They are $5. I am fully aware this is because of sweat shops that are using poor souls as slaves. I am not proud, but I really want new camis. I really, really do. I miss cheap clothing from Walmart.
Now, with all the confessions out of the way, let’s talk about what I have discovered!
1. BiLo is a good grocery store. The ones in York sell organic and/ or quality choices for me. They have the items I was buying at Walmart, plus others that I thought I had to get at Earthfare half an hour away. There are still a few groceries I get when I trek over to the neighboring town, but so far, BiLo is working for me. And it is more pleasant than Walmart. They have regained my business.
2. The Big Deal really is a big deal! I can buy all kinds of fun things there. The boys don’t like it because I get distracted and wander the aisles looking at gardening tools, underwear, coffee, shoes, and toilet paper. It is a surprise every time!
3. Downtown needs help. I knew this before Lent, but Lent has magnified this issue. We don’t have a good clothing or shoe store. I found local options in the neighboring town, but that is, again, a half an hour drive. We have some wonderful gift shops, but very little by way of essentials. We have ended up at TJMaxx (next town over) more than once because The Snack Shop didn’t have the clothing we were looking for. Yes, The Snack Shop sells women’s clothing, along with gifts, ice cream, and hot dogs.
Up until about a week ago, I had avoided Target as well, considering it the upscale Walmart and still mainly off limits. But with the weather changing and soccer in high gear, I did venture into Target to pick up a few things. What I have noticed is that the big box chains are convenient, but they really aren’t better deals, and they aren’t necessary on a regular basis. It was helpful to grab a few fresh (albeit slave trade) t-shirts and some sunscreen for the weekend, but having gone on this journey, Target wasn’t as thrilling as it used to be. We’ll see how I feel after Easter, but so far, I am enjoying the discipline and discovery this Lenten exercise has provided.