I was part of a movement of "dinosaur moms" when I lived in Maryland (Astrodon Johnstoni is the Maryland state dinosaur.) Which is nothing more than this -- dinosaur moms delight in the half-feral nature of the beasties they parent, even as they whisper Shakespeare and Kierkegaard in their ears at night.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

The British Wal-Mart

I don't shop at Wal-Mart. I'd like to say it's because my principles are so high. I do try to keep it local and quirky when I can. And I am pretty convinced the Walton family can only be stopped by a stake to the heart.

But honestly, I am not so all-fired conscientious about the source and content and what I buy anywhere else that I feel like morally I get to draw the line at Wal-mart. I just don't find shopping there easier or more pleasant than my current options. Even when it comes to groceries, which is a sore point in Laveen.

Laveen is a "village" of Phoenix that has just recently been zoned for big susburban development. We early adopters carry around in our heads a running tally of consumer options that we hope will be coming soon. At the top of the list is always more grocery store options. There's a little neighborhood grocer, still frequented by the local cowboys. We have a rudimentary but perfectly reasonable Fry's/ Kroger's. We were slated for a Safeway's, but then they had their financial trouble, leaving a big hole in the middle of downtown.

And then we got the category killer to end all category killers, Wal-Mart, which scared off other grocery chains while adding nothing that we couldn't already get at the Fry's. How I longed for the community to be able to support a Sprout's or a Trader Joe's. Our prayers were partially answered by Fresh and Easy, Tesco's foray into the US market.

Tesco is supposed to be the British Wal-Mart. I don't know how I'm supposed to feel about that, except I guess I hope it means that whatever deal with the devil they made has made them lean and mean enough to give Wal-Mart a run. They're supposed to be so cheap and organic. They're supposed to be inhumane and anti-union. I don't know about all that.

My first impression is that it will be a good place to grab some more exotic fare than I can usually come by at the Fry's, but not something to incorporate into my regular routine. Which is enough to make it a net gain.

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