Rod Dreher

Writing in the (liberal) Texas Observer, Joe Lansdale, who lives in a small Texas town, says he used to think badly of Walmart, but now has changed his mind. Excerpt:

Why am I defensive about Walmart? Let me tell you about the long-gone downtowns, my friends.
Before I do, I know you have some wonderful, cheerful, perhaps tearful, stories about the downtowns of your youth. Me too. I don’t want to hear them.
Let me tell you, the late downtowns in East Texas burgs were usually small stores run by locals. They generally priced things three times more than they were worth. Maybe they had to, but I don’t care. I don’t want to pay $30 for a hammer and a fistful of nails. If I wanted a banana, I had to go to another store. If I wanted to pick up a pair of shoes, another store.
The parking was minimal, and the choices were few.
If you worked, by the time you got off work, many of the stores were closed. Saturday, they might be open, but Sunday they were closed again. So for the working individual, the mother or father who had a kid wake up in the night with aching gums from teething, and you wanted something to make it all better, you had to wait until the next day. If you noted it was 7 p.m. and you were expecting dinner guests at 8 p.m., but forgot to buy hamburger for the meat loaf, you were, once again, screwed.
If you’re poor and barely making it, or even if your income is middle-of-the-road, it’s good to get what you need at slashed prices, anytime of the day, seven days a week, in a big, ugly, over-lit store that closes only on Christmas and half a day on Christmas Eve. If you forgot to get a gift card and a six pack of tall boys, you have to think, “To hell with downtown.” What we got now in our downtown are specialty stores that provide things we can’t get at Walmart, like maybe a stuffed deer head for that special place over the mantle. The stuff we really need, hell, it’s at Walmart.

He references People of Walmart, an ultra-snarky site making photographic fun of weirdo sorts who shop at WM.

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