>> Thursday, August 30, 2007
Wal-Mart has chosen an outlet in my home town to make history. "This one location will be the retail giant's FIRST in Canada to remain open for 24 hours - except for Sundays, when provincial law will keep it from keeping the doors open around the clock," states a local newspaper. Wow, what a thing to be famous for.
Come on, are there seriously THAT many people who will be shopping at 3 AM that it pays to keep the power on and pay more people to work the night shift? What has become of our society that we need that much more time for shopping? (Other than being increasingly discontented and ungrateful for what we have, obviously.) I remember we survived quite nicely before we could shop on Sundays. Heck, here in the Valley, we've got ONE night a week when most retailers are open late, which is 8 PM 'round these here parts. And you know what? It took a little getting used to, us coming from the Big City and all, but we've survived. We've learned to plan and work around the Valley's retail schedule. The two grocery stores in town are open every evening until 9, but that's it. Can the highly civilized masses in urban centres simply not survive without being able to shop 24/7?
A spokesperson for Wal-Mart states the location was picked partly because there is an "abundance of shift workers in the area," including those working at a nearby hospital. This, I feel, is a weak argument. I have a sister-in-law who's a nurse and yeah, she works crazy hours, but I've never known her to be without something essential, even though she couldn't pick it up in the middle of the night. Because many of her shifts are 12-hr shifts, she generally doesn't work more than 4 a week and my math might be rusty, but I'm pretty sure that leaves 3 full days that she can run to the nearest Wal-Mart during normal daytime business hours. Not only that, in her 6-week rotation, she has numerous multiple-day breaks, so with a SHRED of common sense and advance planning, she can easily purchase everything she'll need for her upcoming workdays during a day (or week) off. Is this not logical?
Granted, she's a single gal, so life is a little less complicated than it is for some, but what working mother doesn't know how to plan ahead just a little to make her life and the lives of her family members run a little smoother? If nothing else, you ask your spouse, an older child, your sister or mother to run the errand for you. For generations, this kind of system has worked wonderfully. In a pinch, in the Big City there are a couple of Shoppers Drug Mart (large drugstore chain) locations that are open 24/7 and most essentials and emergency items -- like medicine for a child who's suddenly come down with the flu or a visiting aunt who's having an allergic reaction -- can be purchased there. Is there really enough need in that particular demographic to warrant another chain being open all night long?
But yes, now Wal-Mart is giving each and every purchase a sense of urgency, even if it's completely unnecessary and you've been sound asleep for several hours. I guess it'll be really handy for those who frequently wake up in the middle of the night in a cold sweat, thinking, "Oh shoot, if I don't run out and buy that new nose-hair trimmer and silicone oven mitt set this very minute, I might spontaneouly combust!!! THANK GOODNESS THERE'S A WAL-MART OPEN!"
I'm sure there are those for whom this is a good solution to a mildly annoying issue, but for how many? Are there really that many people who simply cannot shop ANY other time on any given week? And what effect will this have on the 'precious environment' that we're all seemingly so interested in fiercely defending and preserving? I'm curious to know by how much the store's electricity bill will go up. I guess being able to shop whenever we want is simply one of the growing number of things that is simply more popular than using common sense.
Makes this a bit of a joke, if you ask me:
But a 24/7 Wal-Mart experience certainly has its supporters. "That rocks! It will be like Shoppers Drug Mart -- but better," said one 17-yr old female who was interviewed by a local newspaper. Well, it's certainly tough to argue while writhing in the crushing grip of THAT kind of logic.