Thursday, August 23, 2007


Today starts my new social experiment. To see if I can go two whole looooonnng months without shopping at Wal.Mart. No Wal.Mart until October 23rd. I really have a love hate relationship with that place. On the one hand, it is oh so convenient. You can buy everything in one place! And it is cheaper than anywhere else. On the other hand, it sucks the soul out of me every time I go in there. It has no personality. It is big and overwhelming and full of scantily clad college students. Gag. I drag my childen in there and emerge two hours later frazzled, tired, and broke. I go in with a list and usually come out with at least 5 things that were not on my list and that I did not realize I needed until I went in to Hellmart, uh, Wal.mart.
I would love to live like the Europeans who shop for their groceries every day and walk to the neighborhood butcher, baker, green grocer, etc. Unfortunately, that life style isn't as easy to emulate in small town, USA. For one thing, you can't walk to all the stores, they are too spread out. For another, once Wally world comes to town, many small businesses just can't make ends meet, and have to shut their doors. We are such an impatient culture, we want everything 10 minutes ago. We get irritated if someone pulls out in front of us, our blood boils if someone in the drive thru has a big order and we have to wait an extra minute to get our food. We shop at Walmart because we can get in, get everything, get out and be done with it. The pleasure and thoughtful planning and purchasing of our food is all but lost!
So, I am going to see if it is even possible to buy everything I need without going to Wal.mart. I am going to buy everything I can from privately owned (no chains or corporations), mom and pop stores. What I can't buy, I will make. I am going to document each week the things that I had to purchase, and from where. I am really skeptical that it is even possible anymore to find everything you need outside of Wal.mart.
These are the anticipated pros and cons of my experiment:
-I will be more intentional about the foods that I buy and prepare for my family...if I am only buying foods from the produce stand, bakery, and more junk food!
-Because it will be more expensive and time consuming, I will be more deliberate about what I am buying and more conscious of waste
-I will be more environmentally aware. The foods that I buy will be locally grown which means my food didn't travel hundreds of miles in a gas guzzling 18 wheeler to get to me.
-I will be supporting the local business owners and giving them my money, instead of Wal.mart share holders (not that I have anything against share holders in general, smart people!).
-I will be developing relationships with people in my community whose shops I frequent.
-Shopping will be a more pleasant experience
-I can break up my shopping into smaller trips, if neccessary (butcher one day, baker another), which will be easier on my children and myself

-It will be more time consuming
-It will be more expensive
-I will have difficulty finding some items such as some dairy products, baking supplies, etc.
-I will not be able to rely on quick-fix junk meals and will have to plan ahead

So, it will be interesting to see how it goes. The experiment begins today. I went to Wal.mart one last time b/c I had a gift card (they already had my money, I figured I should go ahead and use the card). As we pulled away, I said "Take a good look, kids, we won't be here again for a long time!" Woo hoo!
Wish me luck! Anyone want to join me? It would probably be easier to do this in a larger city, where you have more choices in where to shop. I would love to hear comments, suggestions, etc.


  1. I am truly interested to see how this goes and will be reading your blog regularly to find out! If anyone can do this, you can!

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  3. Christy Hulsey6:56 AM

    Laurel you are the BEST. I avoid Wal-mart at ALL cost. And, I have done this for years. I admit though, since Beatrice's arrival I have been there more times than in the last five years combined. The Dollar General Store has Milk and some foods. And, so does Walgreens. There is also a place in Brooklet called discount foods. I haven't been there, but I have heard good things. You can do it. I promise! May the force be with you...