For some, Wal-Mart signals the end of an era
September 2, 2007
What is it about Wal-Mart that brings out such controversy?
What is it about so-called superstores or box stores that makes many people want to tear out their hair and the hearts of others?
There's a lot of talk in Bath about too much traffic, environmental disaster, a threat to small businesses and probably the collapse of civilization, too.
To say that massive stores offering low, low prices (often with low-quality products to match) threaten civilization may be overstating the case.
But consider this: Isn't it a civilized thing to be able to walk into a local shop, know the proprietor, talk to him or her and feel enriched after leaving the place?
Isn't it fabulous to spend a few minutes in the local hardware store figuring out with the proprietor what you need for your particular problem?
Didn't it used to be wonderful to smell the flowers in a florist's shop and to know and trust the local pharmacist?
Wasn't it fabulous to select your cut of meat at the butcher's counter and to converse with your tailor?
The shopping life used to be these things, but unless you live in a major -- and old -- city like New York, it is no longer that way.
Maybe the loss of communal living is why the Wal-Marts of the world stir such visceral enmity.
Tuesday, September 04, 2007
Posted by: Michelle Conlin on August 30
Comes now the latest skewering of Wal-Mart…a musical called WalMartopia that was the audience coup de foudre at last summer’s International Fringe Theatre Festival. WalMartopia opens Off Broadway on—ahem—Labor Day in New York City’s Greenwich Village at the Minetta Lane Theater.
Judging from the music on the PR firm’s hold button, the tunes are Phantom’ish catchy. There is something in the dystopian theme song—rolling electronic organ riffs, dissonant chorus—that is reminiscent of Vincent Price on Michael Jackson’s Thriller album.
WalMartopia tells the story of one Vicki Latrell, a noble single mother who dares speak truth to power. After complaining about the sweatshop-like working conditions in her store (sound familiar?), she’s spun, Oz-like, into the future. This is a place Wal Mart has colonized. Think Urinetown meets Bentonville.
As a special, Labor Day wind-up, here’s the lyrics to aforementioned theme song:
We are one under Wal-Mart
Wal-Mart feeds us all
We were were born to consume
From the cradle to the tomb
Never may you fall
One nation under Wal-Mart
Wal Mart makes us free
And our minds are at rest
Mother Wal-Mart knows what’s best
Med-Mart has the pills to pop
When the nightmares just won’t stop
School-Mart teaches us to shop
How to stock and sweep and mop
News-Mart tells us what is real
What to think and how to feel
Smash our enemies all apart
at National Security-Mart
I AM WAL-MART!
WAL-MARTOPIA!HAPPY LABOR DAY EVERYBODY!