50% Of Poll Respondents Chose Wal-Mart As Best Symbol Of America.

And if that doesn’t spell trouble for the old U. S. of A., then I don’t know what does. A massive retail giant that sells crappy goods that most of us don’t actually need, that don’t last the test of time and need to be replaced often, and that put a big portion of our population into debt each year as the symbol of America? Uh-oh. As if it is not enough that Wal-Mart comes into towns and puts small businesses out of business, or finds ways around paying for health insurance for their employees, or basically continues the cycle of poverty by selling their own cheap products to the very people who work there for minimum wage – now they are the “symbol of America” for nearly 50% of the respondents to a 60 Minutes/Vanity Fair poll. This is very disappointing.

This is, no doubt, a result of our consumer-driven culture to “get, get, get” as much as you can – which in my mind only leads to negative stuff like debt, depression, anxiety, and crime. Is it any wonder we are a nation of depressed, overweight, miserable people when our idea of a good time is heading to Wal-Mart or Target to go shopping for more stuff we don’t need? For stuff we want to use to try to impress others with? Not really – and seeing that 50% of people think a big-box store best exemplifies the U.S.A. is incredibly sad. We have become a nation of consuming sheep who go to jobs we don’t really like just to go shopping on weekends.

There is more to life than working and shopping – I just hope these people find it sooner rather than later. What do you think about this?

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Comments (12)

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  1. Matt Jabs says:

    Two of the best quotes I have read in awhile…

    “Is it any wonder we are a nation of depressed, overweight, miserable people when our idea of a good time is heading to Wal-Mart or Target to go shopping for more stuff we don’t need?”


    “We have become a nation of consuming sheep who go to jobs we don’t really like just to go shopping on weekends.”

    Amen and amen!

    To lift your spirits… know that I am wholly against WalMart and have been boycotting them for the last 6 months – and will continue to do so for the rest of my life! 🙂

  2. Glew says:

    Your comments shocked me. Anyone attacking WalMart for “crappy goods” and mistreating employees apparently prefers overpriced crappy goods produced and sold by union members with benefits that would make a congressman blush.

    I’m sure you don’t care, but you’ve lost one reader.

  3. Miranda says:

    My husband and I haven’t shopped at Wal-Mart in four years. The exception: We went last week, just to see the brand-new version that is supposed to have organic produce and what-not. After shopping there, we were reminded — on a number of levels — why we don’t shop there. Just ducking in every once in a while is a good reminder of how we don’t need it. It’s sad that it has become a symbol of America.

  4. Gene says:

    The good thing, maybe, is that the losing candidates were Google, Microsoft, the NFL and Goldman Sachs. Kind of reminds me of some elections I’ve voted in.

  5. David says:

    I agree – the few times I have stepped foot inside one reminds me of just how bad an experience shopping there can be. It’s one of the ugliest retail experiences to go along with their corporate behavior.

  6. Meg says:

    Glew, you REALLY think those are the only choices?! Now THAT is sad!

    I actually prefer well-made goods that last made by craftsmen who take pride in their work and sold by local business owners (often the makers) who will spend time explaining to you how to use and care for your purchase best and who are probably a lot less likely to cheat you considering that they have a local reputation to uphold.

    Does it cost a bit more? Yeah, sometimes. Is it worth it? Definitely — especially when you don’t have to replace your bookcase after a couple of months because it falls apart after if you dare to put hardcover books on it! And if I have to buy less cheap crap I don’t need to buy higher quality items that really serve my needs then I just guess that’s a sacrifice I’ll have to make!

    But alas, all those who are willing to sacrifice any bit of quality to save a few more cents are making it harder for local businesses to stay in business, especially in low population areas.

  7. Matt Jabs says:

    Around a year ago my wife and I committed to shopping at ALL LOCAL PLACES for as much of our needs as possible. The difference in our own lives has been amazing.

    Committing to this change was one of those triggers that sparked a whole lot of other awesome changes in our lives. Now we eat much better, save more, and feel really good about supporting the local economy. Great stuff! It’s all very patriotic actually… 🙂

  8. Annie Jones says:

    I guess I’m somewhere in the middle on this one.

    I don’t agree that Wal-Mart is the best symbol of America, but we do shop there once every couple of months.

    We aren’t generally tempted by their “worthless crap”, which they do indeed have, but go there to buy basics such as toothpaste, shampoo, oil and filters to do our own oil changes, school supplies and the like.

    Sure, all of those things could be bought at local businesses, and we do buy locally when we can, but sometimes every penny counts, and it’s the least expensive choice in terms of time and actual cost.

    To me, shopping at Wal-Mart is a lot like sticking your tongue in the whole where you just lost a tooth…you don’t want to, and you try not to, but sometimes you just have to…

    Also, to Glew: As a union ironworker’s wife, I have to say that not all union-made goods are overpriced and crappy, and while most union members do enjoy a nice benefits package, each union negotiates for their benefits; benefits vary widely from one trade to another. It’s blanket statements like yours that cause public misconceptions, not just about unions, but about many subject that aren’t fully understand by the general public.

  9. David says:

    Yes that is a sade commentary on the mentality of the general American public–which I have never had too much faith in anyways.

    Decent prices, but who can get beyond the non-cleanliness, the quality of the goods, and the inability to get checked out in less than an hour.

  10. Tina says:

    I am ashamed to say that I use to work for Walmart, back when I was young and foolish, I experienced first hand some of the tactics that help Walmart keep their prices down. I am as frugal as the next but the all mighty dollar speaks for me and my family. I don’t and won’t give Walmart a penny of it.

    Also being a union workers wife I know there are positive and negatives of unions but as previously posted all unions negotiate their own contracts so there are no givens in one union to another.

    Walmart as an American Icon, good grief.

  11. kitty says:

    This is so sad!

  12. Uncle B says:

    The great hulking American neanderthal, spawn of two hundred years of selective breeding by corporatists for the express purpose of rapid and profitable exploitation of the easy resources of North America has finally found themselves in WalMarts hopelessly addicted to the shiny beads that drove them forward all these years! Now China wants its piece of these noble beasts as they face demise in the modern, mechanized age! No longer in demand for their brawn and endurance, these great over-weight, cumbersome beasts wallow in air conditioned circumstance entertaining themselves with material things while the very fabric of their country is torn away!
    Sad to see the end of the Empire! Sadder still to see the noble altruism of the great humanitarian beasts dies with them. We enter a new age of differing moralities, sick values, sadistic and vicious corporatists some Asian, some domestic! Will America survive? Not likely!