Wednesday, September 30

Down With Wal-Mart

I have been interested in learning more about Wal-Mart ever since i read the book Nickel and Dimed: On Not Getting by in America. In one of the chapters, the author got a job at Wal-Mart and discusses the working conditions and the fact that workers at Wal-Mart are not allowed to unionize.

Then i watched the documentary Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Prices. It really got me thinking about what Wal-Mart does when they come into town. Not only do they drive out local businesses, but they also drive down the wages that workers earn. And because the wages are so low and the managers are told to keep as many people as possible to part time, many of the workers have to rely on government support to make ends meet. Then i got to the part of the movie that addresses the conditions of the workers that manufacture products for Wal-Mart in other countries. These workers work up to twelve hour days and have to pay for Wal-Mart housing, even if they choose not to live in it.

It was after watching that documentary that Andrew and i made the decision to stop shopping at Wal-Mart. We decided that there are enough negatives about the company that we could choose not to support them by shopping there, especially when we have other options like Target and Meijer that donate to the communities they are in instead of tearing them down.

Well tonight was the second time i've set foot in Wal-Mart since i stopped shopping there. Even though most of my family is aware of our anti-Wal-Mart feelings, Andrew's family is not, which means we received wedding gifts from Wal-Mart, which we wanted to return. We returned one batch and bought groceries that we would have bought anyway. Tonight we went to return the rest of the gifts we didn't need to Wal-Mart, but they were not willing to accept them because the barcodes had been cut off of the tags (since whichever of Andrew's relatives gave us that wanted to make sure we didn't know the price). Instead of simply looking up the item, the Wal-Mart worker told us we had to go find the same item so they could scan that barcode and then we could return them. Except they didn't have the same item in the store so we couldn't return them. Seriously!?! You have a website. You can look it up.

To make a long story short, it reaffirmed my decision to stop shopping at Wal-Mart and made me want to avoid setting foot in the store at all costs.

Thursday, September 17

All of these people keep asking me how it feels to be married. The truth is it doesn't feel all that different from before. Yes there are some major differences: i have another ring on my finger, he has a ring on his finger, and of course we can engage in an activity we didn't engage in before we were married (if you know what i mean...).

The truth is, being married feels really natural, and i think a large part of that has to do with our living together before we got married. While some people look down on that, i think that it was right for us because we got used to being around each other all the time. We got used to living in the same apartment and sharing our space and our time and ourselves. Instead of having to make a huge transition after our wedding, we simply were able to go back to our life together. The life that we'd already established and figured out. Except we're married now.

It's not that it doesn't feel different to be married. I feel much more secure in my relationship with Andrew because i know that we've made a lifetime commitment to each other. I know we are in this together and we're going to make it work. But i'm able to feel secure in those subtle differences because so many things are also the same.

And while i know most people take their honeymoons directly after the wedding, we've chosen to take ours later,
which has allowed us to come back to our normal life and connect with each other in that way. Instead of separating
ourselves from the rest of the world in order to relax, we're able to experience the rest of the world and come home to
each other in order to relax. And that's a wonderful feeling.

Monday, September 14