Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Walmart!

Many people do not find Walmart to be that special. The products all seem to come from China, the employees are not treated fairly, and other common complaints all taint the image of the company. Many have a Walmart near their house or even two and regularly make trips there.

Growing up, I loved Walmart. It was the place I could buy journals and picture frames inexpensively, and even buy $5 DVDs. When I went on vacation to the Lower 48, my family would always go to Walmart as the prices were better and there was a different selection. Hours were spent in different Walmarts in different states. As I prepared to get married, and after my wedding, it was the place to go to get cheap pancake flippers and other items we did not receive as wedding gifts. As I stocked up my kitchen, Walmart became the place to go to stock up on cereal and canned food. Everything sold in Alaska is incredibly expensive. Our cost of living is quite high, and the cost savings at Walmart are just too good to pass up for a lot of items.

Unfortunately, up until this past month, I was lucky if I made it to Walmart twice a year. Supposedly, my humble town was known as the farthest on the road system away from a Walmart, at over 200 miles away. In the past two years, whenever I darkened the doors of Walmart, I would often leave with an over flowing cart and a bill over $300...full of Kleenex and mayonnaise, among other items. The store clerks often looked at me funny, but when I explained my home location, they knowingly nodded.

In the past two years, the rumors have abounded, but they came true: a Walmart opened up at the end of March, 75 miles away from home.

It was highly amusing to watch Facebook as the weeks went by. Friends and family members went to see the famed building and were in awe and ecstatic to be able to get what they needed in a 2 hour drive instead of 5.

Mom and I finally made the trip last week. The new super Walmart was incredibly large. Bigger than the big city's one, I believe. We wandered the aisles, storing information away on prices and availability of items not available farther down the road. Most prices were not as good as they are in the Lower 48, but a lot were still cheaper than in small town Alaska.

I did spend a bit of money, but it was satisfying to know that I can get to Walmart more than twice a year now!