Monday, November 29, 2004I just got back from Target. I needed to pick up a few things, and ice cream was on sale. (Mmmm...ice cream...) I went to Target because it is a close store; I can be in and out and back home in half an hour. The two Wal-Marts in Tuscaloosa are each roughly fifteen minutes away from my apartment; Target is simply more convenient. Glenn Reynolds talked about Target earlier today (here and here), and I figured I'd jump ino the fray.
To quote Reynolds, "I've never understood the fashionable hatred of Wal-Mart, but I've also never really liked shopping there." I second the motion. Wal-Mart has never been an asthetically pleasing store to shop; the aisles are narrow, the parking lots are messy, the color scheme is bland. I realize that asthetics don't always matter when you're buying milk and detergent. I can accept that, but Wal-Mart starts to lose the battle when Target clearly goes out of its way to maintain wide aisles, a slightly more upscale selection of merchandise and a store that's not downright filthy six days out of seven. Maybe Wal-Marts outside of the Southeast are clean and neat, but I've yet to see a store stay clean and pleasant for more than six months after its opening. Those of us with the option don't want to shop at Wal-Mart; not out of opposition to red state values or capitalism. We shop at Target because our feet don't stick to the floor while walking down the frozen food aisle.
I know National Review ran a cover story by Jay Nordlinger on the war against Wal-Mart, and Rich Lowry wrote this op-ed piece in the store's defense. Yet Wal-Mart's struggles are increasingly becoming its own. The Wal-Mart Supercenter is a massive eyesore in any community, on any highway. Shopping in one place certainly has a level of convenience, but if the financial war continues, Wal-Mart will lose to Target. Not because of red state/blue state battle, but because Wal-Mart thought we were all so gullible that we'd buy cheap blenders in a filthy warehouse.
addtional thought: Might we suggest that some conservatives, particularly non-red state pundits and wonks who haven't spent much time in flyover country, have a noble savage fixation with red America?