Keeping an Open Mind

Category: , By Christian
I guess I'll have to keep my "Wal Mart is Satan" shirt in the closet for a while.

Ok, so I don't actually have that particular shirt, but there have been times I wish I did. I don't shop at Wal Mart. I find some of their practices to be dubious at best, and I detest what they do to local businesses. That being said, there are a couple of recent developments that cause me to soften my stance somewhat.

I was talking to a architect friend of mine a couple of weeks ago, and one of his projects involves working with Wal Mart to make their buildings more environmentally friendly. I've heard it said that McDonald's is really in the real estate business with all of the property they own all over the world, and I think that Wal Mart is in the same boat in this country. They are in every town, and usually get sweetheart land deals to move in. If a country that size makes even a minimal effort to improve their environmental footprint, then you have to think that the efforts can make a large overall impact.

The second development was a bigger shocker to me. It actually doesn't involve Wal Mart proper, but rather Sam's Club. They have made the decision to switch their Premium in-house coffee over to Fair Trade Certified coffee. Their 39 ounce cans are going to sell for under $7, which is really a great deal. The word on the street is that this is one of the biggest contracts that Fair Trade coffee has secured, which raises two major questions:

1. When will other companies step up to the plate and follow the example of Sam's Club?
2. At a little over $2/pound, shouldn't churches be flocking to Sam's to buy their Sunday morning coffee reserves in a way that is both socially and financially conscious?

Which brings me to a strange place. Actually encouraging churches to support the empire that is Wal Mart. So here's the deal. I'll stop being huffy, sucking my teeth, rolling my eyes and muttering under my breath when people tell me that they are going off to shop at Wal Mart. I'll stop fasting and praying for their release from sinful bondage. I'll stop referring to Wal Mart as "Freaking Wal Mart (ugh)". I'm not ready to start shopping there, but I'll give them props for their efforts and will soften my militant stance.

Fair Dinkum
 

2 comments so far.

  1. Aaron and Page 12:06 AM
    I can relate to your struggles on both sides of that coin. Page and I have often wared with not going there. Recent activity they've begun: treating their employees better and giving better health insurance (as documented in 'the world is flat') and this new way of selling generic pharmaceuticals along with what you stated is changing my mind as well.

    This is the first time I've stumbled onto your blog, I look forward to reading it.
  2. kaytrey 12:44 PM
    One other news item that goes along with the Fair Trade coffee -- study grants for teachers to travel to Brazil and meet Fair Trade farmers. check out www.samsclub.com/fairtrade. Know any teachers who should apply?

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