The Problem With Wanting Change

“I don’t care what you say to me. Just give me the money!”

– unknown

The problem about change is that everybody wants it but nobody actually wants to do the real work that brings it about. I can preach about the dangers of the Walton Family until Hell freezes over, but if I’m still shopping in their stores I’m not part of the change.

I’m part of the problem.

I’ve wrestled with that dilemma for years now. I have seen cashiers in the front of their stores sobbing as their hours have been cut, just to walk in the back and hear the managers laughing over those exact same wage cuts.

I’ve watched factory managers tremble in terror at the thought that we were scheduled to run a Walmart order on the line – “Make sure you watch those boxes like a hawk! If Walmart sees anything wrong with a single box they will refuse the entire order and we could all lose our jobs!”

I’ve seen truckers curse them in a fury – “I didn’t get paid for my last delivery because I arrived outside of my window. How the hell could I arrive on time when I was stuck in traffic on the Interstate after an accident!?!”

I’ve seen Walmart shift one of their stores about a mile down the road because one little grocery store survived their intrusion. Walmart wanted to kill them all. They closed a perfectly good store just to open up next door to the one little grocery they had been incapable of killing in their last location–and I watched that old man cry as his whole entire life was destroyed.

I’ve personally witnessed Walmart do horrible things and yet the sniveling, worthless sack of shit that I am, I STILL gave those bastards my money.

Oh, I had plenty of reasons for my hypocrisy. Walmart was close, their prices were cheap, and surely to God the Government would figure it out and fix things in time, but you know what?

I was part of the problem.

Walmart doesn’t give a shit what you or I say. Walmart doesn’t give a fuck if we complain that they’re taking over our nation. All they do is laugh their way to their champagne carts because we’re still giving them our money.

For the record, I liked Sam Walton. It’s the actions of his kids now that he’s dead that I cannot condone. Sam was a nice guy. Yeah, he liked his money but he dressed like a real person as he drove around in his ratty truck. He would walk up to you and shake your hand and treat you like a human being. I met him once and fell in love. Sam Walton was awesome.

But Sam Walton is not his kids. His kids were raised with silver spoons in their mouths because Sam thought that was best. And I can’t fault Sam for that, despite the fact that he turned those kids into the greedy monsters that they are today.

So I reasoned that it wasn’t Sam’s fault that his kids were assholes. I walked in those stores and gave them my money as I tried to ignore how Walmart was changing.

And it was Sam Walton himself that gave me a clue:

“There is only one boss; the customer. And he can fire everybody in the company from the chairman on down, simply by spending his money somewhere else.”

– Sam Walton

Sam Walton was right. If you don’t like what is happening, all you have to do is cut off their food supply and watch them starve.

That’s why our lovely little nation freezes bank accounts when they’re chasing people: the government knows it will starve them out of hiding.

Cut off their food supply and anything will die. Yet I, in my hypocrisy, ignored that message.

That stops now. This month, instead of doing my normal thing, I found another place to acquire my pet food. I paid a bit more but my conscience is clear. I’m not happy about the place I chose this round but that’s okay. I’ll find a better place to shop in time.

I am done with being a hypocrite. I am done with being part of the problem. I am done with the fact that I have sat on the sidelines whining about my powerlessness as I made the problem worse through my purchases.

Every time you walk into a Walmart you think about that. Every time you order from Walmart remember that you are the reason they exist. YOU are the reason that they are destroying our dairy industry. You are the reason that cashiers are losing their jobs.

It is YOUR fault if the Walton family continues to manipulate the government of our nation.

It was my fault in the past but I have ended my hypocrisy. The rest is up to you.

It is hypocritical to run a website about buying and living on less while begging your readers to buy your crap so I refuse to do it. That said, I live on the money I receive from book sales, so if you can find it in your heart to pitch in I would be immensely grateful.

I’ve written a lot of books sharing my odd view of life in hopes of helping others. My most notorious book is titled The Shoestring Girl: How I Live on Practically Nothing and You Can Too, but The Minimalist Cleaning Method is pretty popular as well. You can find them at the following places:

Barnes and Noble
Apple iBooks
Smashwords (non-DRM)

Thank you for your support!

15 thoughts on “The Problem With Wanting Change”

  1. You’re right. We’re all guilty. My question to you is shall we tackle them one at a time or should we take on multiple monsters at once. I speak of course on my own monster that abuses their people horribly. In my 3 years at my place of work… they have run through 4 store managers because they burn them out and they DO. NOT. CARE. My heart weeps for my store managers because two exceptional and beautiful souls have been burned out and their families suffered as a result of them spending 100+ hours in that store a week. They could have paid the workers there but wouldn’t. No… they used the one salary worker they had for free labor. They are NOT paid adequately for they work they do.

    1. I don’t know the answer to your question. I believe it is actually a personal decision for all of us to make. It all boils down to the exact same thing: if you don’t like what a business is doing, then stop shopping there. Stop working there. Stop being the reason that they do the things they do.

      Until we learn that lesson then nothing is going to change. Until we stop being part of the problem, we have no right to complain.

      I am currently targeting Walmart and the Walton family because I have personal issues with them, but my example translates across the spectrum. If you have a problem with something, the only way to be part of the solution is to cut off their food supply.

      What you do with that is up to you.

  2. In many small towns WalMart is often the only job available (especially for women) and they are proud to have the income.

    1. Good point but there is also no denying that there is a huge problem here. Walmart is just one of many. We can agree on this. Yes?

    2. Around here people take a Walmart job because that’s the only place hiring. Walmart ran all the others out of business.

  3. I totally agree. Change definitely takes work, especially when it involves breaking a habit or involves suffering. Living by your principles isn’t always easy. But as you write, you can’t complain about Walmart and other unethical corporations and still patronize them because that is hypocrisy- something you recently blogged about. The Walmart, Dollar General and Amazon business model is destroying our local economies and driving down the value of human labor. The way to break them, as you say, Annie, is to stop voting for them with your dollar. Money is power and even the single dollar has power. It may seem to cost more but, when you do need to buy something, patronizing local vendors is the only way to deter the national store chains. I changed my shopping and spending habits so that I could live by my principals and NOT shop at Walmart, Dollar General or Amazon. I reduced my ‘wants’ to needs. Really, I can’t think of any one thing I absolutely need at this time. And, if I do need something, the first place I shop is the local thrift stores. If I can’t find it there, I will look to the local vendors to buy new. And, if all else fails, I go online to the actual manufacturer website to buy it there. I haven’t done much with Facebook marketplace or Craig’s list but those are other options. As far as food, I am striving to purchase local food so I modified my diet to basically meat and eggs and I can buy that from ‘my farmer’. I email him with my order and he brings my order and the orders of his other customers to a place near downtown where we go and pick it up. Look for a local farmer through Grow your own food in your yard or, if you don’t have a yard, look for a community garden. Or start a community garden. There are also CSA’s looking for help in exchange for a share of the CSA. Annie, thanks for the great post and for putting my feet to the fire!

    1. You are more than welcome, Essie. And thank you for your wonderful comment.

      That said, I am puzzling over an issue that I personally face, an issue that I suspect many people face as well: What do we do when we look around for alternatives and there is nothing left? Where do we purchase the items we need when the businesses we hate have taken over our entire town?

      In my town, we have five choices for food. Each of those choices are owned by corporations that I have serious issues with. I cannot afford to go direct to a slaughterhouse to purchase my meats. I’ve yet to locate a source for eggs that would be kind enough to deliver. And none of the local options provide milk. So how do I locate an alternative when I lack a vehicle to drive to another town to shop?

      Because it will take a while to restore our local businesses. We have to create the gap by starving out the monsters first. As the gap widens, more and more people will face this same dilemma. As Sam’s comment pointed out, many people (especially woman) are FORCED to work for Walmart because Walmart has killed all of their other options.

      How do we fix that? We’ve got to eat. We need money to live. Does anyone have an idea how we can get through this without continuing to feed the monsters?

      1. Annie, you really have quite a dilemma. Thank you for sharing it. Sounds like you are between a rock and a hard place. Perhaps you will need to transition gradually from patronizing unethical corporations as other opportunities open. When I first moved here, I found an egg supplier who delivered by asking around on the buy/sell/trade Facebook group for this city. Then I looked up the locations for the farmer’s markets and starting hitting those up. Being without a car would present a problem for me to do these things, for sure. So, in having a car, I can avoid shopping at Walmart but yet I feed the greedy mouths of the oil companies. Sadly, it is all a trade-off. In our attempt to get more for less, we invited Walmart, Dollar General and other big corporations into our lives. Now we have to get rid of them.

        1. There are others in worse circumstances than I am, Essie. That said, I believe that if we can make a gap then small business will return.

          I don’t know how we will manage this. All I know is that if we apply a basic principle, the principle of starving them out by not shopping with them, that we can get this started. If we can get this started, if we can light the fire, hopefully we will attract greater minds than mine to sort out the details.

  4. Several decades ago Wal-Mart opened a store in the next town where my parents lived. A friend of my parents who was a single mother of three got a job there. The store kept changing her shifts and hours and made it impossible for her to manage child care or pay her bills. When my mom found out how they treated Bonnie, mom decided that she would not spend her money at Wal-Mart -and she hasn’t in all these years. I’ve only spent money at Wal-Mart a few times when I was in an area where they had wiped out all other options and I really needed something that couldn’t wait. It’s a horrible company and Amazon is beginning to be the same in how they treat employees…

    1. Good on you and your mother, Karen! I am so proud of you for sticking up for your beliefs! Your comment points out a serious problem, however: where do we shop after Walmart has killed off all of the alternatives? They have essentially created a monopoly in our towns, and we are the ones who suffer.

      And yes, Amazon is getting bad as well. But when the choice is between a company that you have personally seen destroy your town and a company that is doing things far away, what can one do?

      How do we fix this? Because I want to fix this but I don’t have the skills to make it happen. Do you have any ideas, or do you know of anyone in your circle who can provide some ideas?

  5. I broke up with Walmart last fall. A manager was screaming at a long line of seniors to go through self check out because not enough cashiers were available. It bothered me.

  6. The sad reality is that being able to do something about it by boycotting the destructive and greedy bargain chain stores is a luxury that many people do not have. They are stretched so thin with the corporations trying to milk as much money out of them at one end and pay them as little as possible at the other end. As the economic villain is also the economic savior for the poor when it comes to being able to offer cheap goods that are often literally a lifesaver for people really struggling to get by. Once somebody has fallen that low financially it is almost impossible for them to get out enough to be able to shop at more ethical stores which are forced to charge higher prices as being ethical involves paying your employees and suppliers enough to support a livable wage.

    1. You are exactly right, John. But if enough of us can afford to do it, then perhaps we can create a gap so that other businesses can effectively compete. As it is, many towns have become so overrun with these giant corporations that they don’t have a choice about where to work or shop. But if we could make a little difference, even if we practiced just spending less, it might be of service.

      I think it’s worth a shot, at any rate.

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