Thursday, December 06, 2007

The Walmart-ization of My Heart

I am the reason why local companies don't survive. The other night I went to buy a Christmas tree. I was on borrowed time, in a borrowed truck. I normally get the tree at Smith's Marketplace, but to save time I went to the little tree lot around the corner from my house.

It was 7:30 p.m. and when I pulled in I didn't know if the place was still open. After walking around the empty lot for a few seconds, a guy came out of the house next door and greeted me. I asked him how much he was charging. $30-$50. I could tell immediately that it was going to be a little uncomfortable.

I wouldn't be opposed to paying $30 or even $50 for the best tree ever. But all of the trees looked like the Charlie Brown trees that we used to cut down at my grandpa's ranch...for free. They were all crooked, barren little things. I wanted to support this unknown gentleman and his locally owned and operated tree farm, but I just couldn't find anything at all. "Uh, I don't think you've got what I'm looking for." I sheepishly got back in the truck.

I drove to the other side of town to the Smith's Marketplace. I went straight to the $20 bin and found just what I was looking for. And I felt completely horrible about it. Sorry, local merchant. You just can't compete with the selection and discounts of a regional chain.

On a happier note, Paige just recently discovered trees, thanks to the Christmas lights attached to them in the neighborhood. She went nuts when she saw a tree come in through the front door of her house. "Dad! What's that? Tree! Dad! What's that? Tree! Tree! TREE!! What's that? TREEEEE!!!!"

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