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Location: Kentucky, United States

Wednesday, August 20, 2003

Oh, What sad lives we lead

The biggest social event in a decade for our little town occurred over the last couple of days. Last night, at 6:00pm, our Wal-Mart, beloved temple of consumerism, turned off the spotlight on the American flag flying high above the parking lot, and closed its doors for the last time.

The store shelves were bare, and had been for several days. Customers bought shopping carts full of things they didn’t need or want because all items were marked down for the closeout.

At seven a.m. the following morning, just a few hundred yards away, a new stoplight began working. It was there to ease traffic congestion for the sparkling new Super-Wal-Mart. New and improved, Super-sized like the fries selling at the built in McDonald’s restaurant. People had been waiting in the parking lot for hours that morning wanting to be the first to see the inside of this wonder. Speeches were made, the high school band played The Star Spangled Banner, and several show tunes, and large cardboard checks were handed out to various charities and organizations; tokens from the new Caesar, to appease the gods of capitalism.

We had some actually shopping to do, but we waited till late in the afternoon before plunging into the crowd. Zack my youngest son, ala’ Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, decided that since all the Wal-Marts looked exactly alike, there really is only one. He said the front of the store is a façade. Upon entering you are teleported to some capitalistic galaxy for off in space to the one “real” Wal-Mart. This makes stocking a lot easier, but the cost of the teleporters must eat up a lot of the profits.

I think he may be right. I have certainly seen some odd things in Wal-Mart before. Then again, maybe it’s just me.

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