Richard S. Drake
My wife and I have done a fair amount of traveling, and inevitably on each trip we find we find we are running short of something, whether it be dog food or a replacement for the razor I always forget to bring. Like grim beacons in the night, Wal-Marts seem to dot the landscape every few miles or so.
More than once - in fact, on quite a few occasions - the clerk will ask us where we are from. "Fayetteville, Arkansas," we will proudly answer.
"ugh," will come the usual reply. "I hate Fayetteville.There is nothing to do there." Truth be told, none of the "associates" ever say, "God, I love that town!"
Like children, Wal-Mart associates are known for their honesty; just ask a cashier how they are doing, and they will often tell you, in graphic detail. It does my heart good to hear so much contempt poured on Wal-Mart's head at such moments.
It turns out that the reason so many Wally World associates have such disdain for the New York City of the Ozarks is that they feel shuffled around the town like cattle. They really don't get a chance to explore Fayetteville, or get a real feel for the town.
I suppose the only real excitement is when the well-fed white men from Wal-Mart's board of directors lead the shareholders in the Wal-Mart cheer.
TOf course, the annual shareholders meeting is good for business in Fayetteville - as fawning newscasters on television are fond of telling us. TV news folks fawn over Wal-Mart 365 days a year in Northwest Arkansas, where every Wal-Mart press release is treated like manna from Heaven.
There are the usual group of folk who protest Wal-Mart; they will get more attention from the local public access station than on commecial news programs. Unless one of them manages to get arrested - then the grim-faced reporters will act as though they are domestic terrorists.
Those interested in the side of Wal-Mart that TV news doesn't cover can check out againstthewal.net.