Blessed are those whose strength is in you, who have set their hearts on pilgrimage . . . They go from strength to strength, till each appears before God in Zion.
~Psalm 84:5

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Wal-Mart boycott update II

The following is a progress report on the Wal-Mart boycott that I basically began in June 2005. (For more details, see my blog entries dated 6/7/05 and 9/16/05.)

I am happy to report that even though I am living on a fairly tight budget, I have neither gone hungry nor broke since I have decided to stop patronizing the Wal-Martopoly.

To recap, this isn't a complete boycott of the Wal-Mart Corporation. I still have a Sam's card, even though I'm not able to visit Sam's Club as often as I used to. And recently I went online to to download music (but they didn't have the song I was looking for, so I downloaded it from iTunes instead).

I realize that many people depend on Wal-Mart stores to meet their limited budgets -- visiting the noisy, smelly Supercenters, risking their lives in the overcrowded parking lots, trekking on these grand shopping excursions, saving the few cents per item that they need to save on every grocery bill. But this fact only fuels my indignation towards these slum stores. Wal-Mart knows they're usually the cheapest, so they expect to have the lowest common denominator customer base shopping at their stores, which Wal-Mart staff keeps apathetically scuzzy, with atrocious customer service. In other words, they take advantage of poor people -- this is the gist of my theory.

But there is no need for the cheapskate Wal-Martopoly to put anybody out of business. During my boycott, the resulting bargain-hunting has caused me to find the shopping gene that I thought was missing from my DNA as a female. Using Target, Dollar Tree, and Tom Thumb, God has made a way for me to buy most of my grocery and health items and home decor (and also eBay for entertainment and misc. items) and still live within my means. (Alas, there are no HEBs around here!) It is fun to hunt for bargains, and refreshing whenever I find something on sale. To me, this is intellectually stimulating and rewarding. (Except I still hate shopping for clothes. Blech.)

I have also found that not every community in America is economically dependent on Wal-Mart for its survival. For example, according to one website (, Duncanville, a Dallas suburb, doesn't even have a Wal-Mart anymore. And Duncanville is hardly a ghost town.

So not everybody needs a Wal-Mart, and Lord willing, I certainly don't, either.

(Note: Most of my past Wal-Mart experiences were in Waco and Odessa. Since I just moved to the Dallas area recently, of course I have not visited the Wal-Marts in my area. I am only operating on the assumption that all Wal-Marts are the same.)

Prove me wrong, Wal-Martopoly -- show me sparking clean stores, stellar customer service, and an efficient shopping experience that will make me rush to your door every time I collect my paycheck -- and this boycott will be over. But until then, this chick is keeping her money where her mouth is.

P.S. Happy Easter, everyone! :)

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Keeping the Zoo

I have wanted to post a follow-up to my blog entry about zookeepers (posted on in June 2005), but I confess that I've procrastinated... I think I've been putting it off because it involves me talking about one of my least favorite subjects of all time: politics. (Blech -- too much yelling.)

I've got several ideas swirling around in my head. Please bear with me as they solidify into something (hopefully) coherent.

First, I need to clarify the definition of the word "liberal." At least, from my understanding, the word "liberal" should not be synonymous with "Democrat"; rather, to be "liberal" basically means to be totally open-minded about just about anything. (I've met some truly liberal people -- they're usually a lot of fun to be around because they are very accepting of other people and you can talk to them about Christianity without them telling you to get your Bible out of their face. Their filter is a little bit out of kilter, but still they can be neat to get to know.) So for the purpose of this discourse (please, no yelling! :)), allow me to use the term "left-winger" instead of liberal and "right-winger" instead of conservative.

Most of the time, I vote for right-winger candidates because they normally stand for the same values that I do. (Unless I think the Republican in a particular race is a total dork; in that case, I will vote for the Democrat.) In the most recent presidential election, I proudly voted to re-elect George W. Bush because I was pleased at how he would speak pretty openly about his faith throughout his first term. The only things I personally haven't been pleased about during his second term are his over-willingness to keep the Mexican border open (nearly half of my relatives are originally from Mexico, so that is another discussion altogether -- ¡Ay!) and that morning-after pill legislation he signed (whattup with that??). Hopefully, I have merely misunderstood his stance on those issues... But overall, I still support our president and am glad he is still in office. My prayer is that God will place another godly man or woman in the presidency in 2008 (hey, if Condi Rice were to run for president, I would vote for her in a second! :)).

That being said, of course, you can probably see how I am kind of a rare breed as an employee in the mainstream media. (Technically, I work for a media-service company, but for simplicity's sake, I am in the media -- and I have been for several years, in different outlets/venues.) Overwhelmingly, most of my media colleagues are left-wingers, and I won't repeat here the things they have said about our president.

So, logically speaking, I usually shake my head whenever I hear Christians, especially right-wingers, complain about the "liberal media" and how they're bashing President Bush or Republicans, etc. Um, hello? How many right-wingers do you know who work in the mainstream media? (Not counting Fox News.) Or, for that matter, how many Christians? Unfortunately, there are not many -- at least, not that I've found.

My theory is that that's just the nature of the business. I've noticed that right-wingers tend to be drawn to more conservative/traditional careers -- lawyers, teachers, business owners, etc. And left-wingers seem to be drawn to careers that don't always fit inside "the box" -- actors, writers, journalists, artists, activists, etc.... often they gravitate towards the media.

I say we should bring more right-wingers into the media whenever possible, at least to even it out a little bit and -- within reason -- expose as many people as possible to as many points of view as possible. (I think true liberals would love that, wouldn't they? :)) So, parents, instead of scaring your children away from the "liberal media," let me propose to you that God can use your child in just about any field -- even in the media.

Christians, hopefully you can see that there is a whole world full of people out there who are dying. Perhaps we should stop sweating the small stuff and just be the church that God needs us to be. In Ephesians 6, I read that our battle is against principalities and powers, not flesh and blood -- not even Democrats.

I truly believe that all of us -- right-wingers and left-wingers -- can learn a lot from each other. Right-wingers can learn that it is OK to be a little more open-minded about things sometimes, and that the problems we are facing in America today are NOT all the Democrats' fault. Left-wingers can learn that we could use a little more morality in our legislation; our society is really running amok in many respects, and it won't begin to get any better unless we start tightening the reigns.

That is my two cents. Instead of freaking out whenever a Hollywood actor makes an uncouth political comment, rejoice whenever anyone in the media shares your views. (Patricia Heaton (who, from what I've heard, is pro-life) is my new favorite actress. :)) The media are full of mostly left-winged viewpoints -- and frankly, unless we right-wingers lend the zookeepers a hand in reporting the news or performing in the arts, that ain't likely to change anytime soon.

Please feel free to add as many comments as you like (but please, no yelling!! :)), and thanks for reading. :)
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