Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Things that drive me to distraction

There are many things in life that drive me to distraction (or just plain crazy). This includes my medical crap. I mean I can stew and stress about it (which apparently I do, if you ask my husband). I really try not to but sometimes it just looms as the giant elephant in the room - particularly before doctor visits and before and after any follow up tests.

Instead of worrying about myself, I try not to worry about my friends either. I have too many friends with recurrences of their cancers. And some online friends who aren't here any more. It can be very difficult. What do you say to someone who is in their early 20's and has been told their cancer is now stage IV and very aggressive? Or another friend who has just been diagnosed with a third cancer? There aren't a lot of options here. I do try not to worry but that doesn't always work.

Then I try things like volunteer work. Where I get to meet more cancer people to worry about. I know I should only try to worry about myself but that's not as easy as you might think.

Today, I have a distraction, instead of worrying, I will be ticked off at Wal-Mart. This article this morning made my blood boil (and I didn't worry about anything for a few minutes while I fumed). The absolutely worst retailer in the country, or probably the world, and that would be Wal-Mart (in case you didn't know already). Apparently, they are getting more aggressive to take a larger share of the grocery business here in Massachusetts.

I am trying to think of one good thing about Wal-Mart.... I can't. In the early 1980's, I remember visiting relatives in the Midwest and having a Wal-Mart pointed out to me as this horrible new store that had come in and was taking away all the local retail business. That was 25 years ago in southern Illinois. I don't think they have changed much.

People say 'well, I shop at Wal-Mart because of the prices'. Their business model says move into a market, undersell all the local competition and force them out of business, and then raise prices. Then people say 'I shop at Wal-Mart because they are the only store around'. This would be a case of their business plan in action. Now that they are the only store around, they can charge what they want.

They also have dirty stores, long lines, poor employment policies, and sell lots of crap. I have never had a pleasant shopping experience in a Wal-Mart - I do admit to being in them a few times and don't think I could write about them if I hadn't - but make a point of avoiding them as much as possible. It is possible not to shop at Wal-Mart.

First, one must forget the notion of buying everything in the same place. I agree Wal-Mart may have some cheap prices but no store can give you a deal on everything. Check the ads, read the signs - every store has its deals. Buy things at the right kind of store - don't expect to have one stop shopping. Also, plan your shopping. Don't succumb to 'deals'. Do some research first - decide where to go and what to get where.

I don't do all my shopping in any given store. I go to a farm stand for produce weekly. I go to Costco (a/k/a the anti-Wal-Mart)every month or two for paper goods, cat supplies, and meat. I go to Trader Joe's regularly (daily??? because I am forgetful - but I have chemo brain so I have an excuse) for the basics. Periodically I actually go to a regular grocery store for a few select things I can't get anywhere else like waxed paper sandwich bags, seltzer, fish, Worcestershire sauce (they don't sell it at TJ's and Costco only has it in life time supply bottles), etc. If I go some place where there is only a Wal-Mart, I find I can usually shop ahead of time, find another store, and make do with out.

As the American consumer, we are spoiled in that we want one stop everything. But Wal-Mart is too high a price to pay. Did you see the movie 'Wall-E'... Funny how the big box company that had taken over the world had a scary resemblance.

Anyway, I just got to vent about something besides my health issues for once. I will say my blister is only a little sore today. Drastic bandaid/moleskin action may be required. Today I have to get my act together. I am going for a walk to make up for the fact that Sunday I only took a little bitty walk and yesterday I went to the gym and got there with only one sneaker (so I ended up on the stationary bike and lifted weights)!!!!! I was going to try to walk later or go to the gym but no I am going to motivate and go walk NOW quick, before I run out of time. I am overscheduled again today - I have a meeting at 930 and then have to go into Boston for a job interview (yippee) and want to meet friends for lunch first. Then I have my support group too. And I have to make the volunteer phone calls I forgot to do yesterday. Otherwise not much to do...

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