Once a week or so I rope Bethany into watching a documentary. We both read a lot, usually eventually reading many of the same books, but documentaries give us the opportunity to sit down and learn something together. Much of what we watch turns out to be politically motivated, economically biased, or just some nut’s desperate grasp at 15 minutes of fame. Once in a while we find something that forces a change in our lives.
Last week, we watched “Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price” on Netflix. It took us inside the methodology of the Wal-Mart empire, showing case after case of greed, corruption, and abuse of human rights. By the end of the documentary, we were faced with a very uncomfortable reality. We can’t, with clear conscience, shop at Wal-Mart any more.
Like most Americans, 84% of them, in fact, we shopped at Wal-Mart frequently. We probably averaged about one trip a week. Like most people, we liked the prices and the convenience. Sure, we heard the stories about employee mistreatment and Chinese suppliers, and in the back of our minds we knew what was going on but it’s easy to ignore what isn’t right in front of us. And sometimes we choose to ignore things that are right in front of us because they aren’t convenient.
We will no longer be shopping at Wal-mart, even though the store does carry some locally and naturally grown produce, and some USA made products. Even if we bought the sustainably and ethically produced goods, we would still be supporting a greedy, immoral corporation making its fortune from the misfortune of others. Even though it might cost us more money to shop elsewhere, and will certainly inconvenience us, we will not continue to support the Wal-mart empire. Will you?
If I haven’t completely scared you off with this post, please take the time to watch “The High Cost of Low Price”. It’s available on Netflix, and I think also on YouTube. If you don’t have a Netflix subscription, sign up for the free trial. It’s worth it to watch this, and a handful of their other documentaries. You can also check out the Wal-Mart facts here.