I never thought I would be writing the following, especially on Thanksgiving of all days, but thank God for Wal-Mart!
This is not something you would expect me to say considering my anti-Wal-Mart rants on at least two past occasions. But on Thursday morning I unintentionally drove over a foreign object and soon heard a bad metallic sound coming from the back of my car.
I drove toward the closest shopping mall, eyes alert for any business open on this holiday. Along the way I pulled over and confirmed that the problem was what I feared – a nail deeply embedded in the rear passenger-side tire.
It dawned on me that Wal-Mart was the only car-repairing business open on this special day. So much for boycotting Wal-Mart, I grumbled.
As I pulled into the Wal-Mart parking lot I rejoiced — instead of doing my usual griping — about people shopping at Wal-Mart and enjoying the low prices that come at the expense of benefits for its store workers, directly, and, indirectly, workers in third world countries.
Part of me was asking the occupants of the 50-75 people in the parking lot: “What are all of you doing here on Thanksgiving? You can’t all have had deflating tires this morning, which is my feeble excuse.” Another part of me, though, was saying, “OK, I am a hypocrite but it’s time to set aside my moral differences with this giant of capitalism and get this tire fixed.”
This latter thought, my practical side, won the debate, which was good because the mechanic later told me the leak was so bad he could hear it from 15 feet away.
I would like to say I limited my spending at the Wal-Mart store to the replacement tire — my tire was beyond fixing, I was told — but that would be a lie. While alternating between two jobs lately I kept running out of time to buy some needed new pants. And here I was stuck at Wal-Mart.
I took that as a sign and picked up some Dockers and that new Beatles album, Love.
So now as I finish this piece I am wearing my new pants, listening to my new album and my truck, the Butkimobile, has a new tire. But my conscience feels dirty.
Forgive me, Wal-Mart opponents, for my transgression.
Consider this piece my attempt at absolution.