|Photo via People of Walmart|
About three years ago, a Super Walmart opened on the site of what was once a lovely suburban shopping center, the Levittown Shop-a-Rama. The center had a Pomeroy's* department store; a Woolworth's Five and Dime; Lobel's Youth Center (where our mother bought both my sister and I our scouting apparel); Carvel; Western Wearhouse; McCrory's and other assorted long-gone stores. In the early '90's, Uncle P worked at Boscov's in the former Pomeroy's building. The center also housed a post-office and the headquarters of the LPRA (Levittown Public Recreation Association), which oversaw the half-dozen or so public swimming pools that once dotted the region. Only one still exists, now run by a private corporation. The rest have been filled in and plowed over to make way for public parks. Just across the street was the long-gone Towne movie theatre, where my sister and I saw many Disney films for the first time.
On the site of the old Shop-a-Rama, now sits a very generic strip mall, anchored by a Super Walmart. It was there that Uncle P ventured today to purchase new computer speakers, among a few other things. I brought with me a short list of six items: Mustard; vanilla Silk almond milk; fish oil supplements; Afrin; contact lens solution and the speakers. I ended up leaving with 19 items, including a box of much-needed gravel for Skye; some amazing lemon poppy-seed muffins; a 4-pack of Stewart's Black Cherry soda and bananas. I almost fainted when my total came to more than $90.00.
I have to ask myself if Walmart is so clever at marketing that they can trick me into spending more than double what I had intended to spend, or I'm just a sucker. I generally despise Walmart's business practices, but their prices are so seductive that I can't seem to resist. Grocery items are often half of what my favorite grocery chain charges and their selection of general goods is usually quite expansive. And while I link to the photos posted on PeopleofWalmart.com quite frequently on Facebook as a joke, I still find myself there once or twice a month.
How did this happen? How did I become a -- gasp! -- Person of Walmart? Maybe I just need to move back to a big city, where the insidious retailer hasn't yet ensconced itself. Or maybe I should just stop complaining and reconcile myself to being an average suburbanite trying to save a buck or two wherever I can. Or maybe still, I need a trip to Barney's.
At least I can take comfort in knowing that I will (hopefully) never appear in a video like this: