Monday, December 07, 2009

Dear Walmart

Dear Walmart,

I hate you. Not just hate like "I hate traffic" or "I hate Snuggie commercials." No, I loathe you.
I am not the kind of person who hates arbitrarily. It takes a lot to earn my loathing, but earn it you have.

I've known for several years now that you are an evil empire, but I have continued to give you my money. I mean, at least you aren't Kmart, right? They've allied themselves with the Antichrist herself, Martha Stewart. Recently though, I have come to believe that you, Walmart, are the spawn of Satan. Your doors are a portal to the Underworld. You are the corporate equivalent of the Taliban.

I tried to ignore the fact that most of your merchandise was made in foreign countries by underpaid (possibly underage) workers. I tried to overlook the despicable way you treat your American employees. This time, Walmart, you have gone too far.

It has become increasingly difficult for me to find the things I like to buy at your store. It seems as if every time I find a product I really like, you stop carrying it. First it was my body wash. I really loved that body wash. But it suddenly disappeared from your shelves and has never returned. Same thing with my ice cream, coffee, green tea, and a number of other products.

Why? Is there some kind of conspiracy to make me crazy? I bought that stuff all the time, so I know there was a demand for it. I was perfectly willing to give you my money in exchange for my favorite products, but no. You want more. One of my children perhaps.

Fortunately for me, there is my little hometown grocery store. They have all the things I need and so much more that you, Walmart, do not. It's not like I'm looking for something exotic or unusual (although my local grocery store carries tahini and prosciutto and Walmart carries neither.) I just want the basics: decent meat and produce at a reasonable price, good milk that costs less than and arm and a leg, and a little friendly service. My local grocery store has all of that. The produce is excellent, and most of it is locally grown. The meats are great as well, and very reasonably priced. I can get really good milk for less than 3 bucks. And to top it all off, the employees are helpful and friendly. The cashiers actually talk to you while they check you out. The baggers not only bag your groceries, they offer to take them to your car for you. At Walmart, I can't even get a cashier to put my stuff in my cart. They just pile it all up on the counter and expect me to juggle that, my money, and a three-year-old on my own.

Walmart, you have failed. You and your wilted produce and over-priced, poor-quality meats have fallen short. It doesn't help either that you've given rack space to the shrieking Harpy, Miley Cyrus. You call yourself a superstore, but you're really nothing but a bargain basement for all things unholy.

I thoroughly and completely detest and abhor you, Walmart. You've had the last of my hard-earned (or not-so-hard-earned) money. Farewell, you merchant of misery. I will see you at Armageddon.

Most Sincerely,

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Now that it's officially December I feel it's more appropriate to discuss holiday matters. Before December 1st it just feels silly. Since I changed the calendar and had my first eggnog latte of the season this morning, I'm feeling festive. So, here we go.

Radio stations have been playing Christmas music for a while now, and I have been preparing my Top Ten List of Favorite Christmas Songs. Most of the songs on my list have a special meaning to me. Some are just musically appealing, while others have special memories associated with them.

Number 10: Adeste Fideles sung by Pavarotti- Even before I was old enough to really understand who Pavarotti was, I adored this song. To me it represents the grandeur and awe that surrounds this season. Beautifully orchestrated, it always makes me think of the music of Heaven on that first Christmas night. And with the Maestro singing, it's heaven indeed.

Number 9: Let it Snow sung by Michael Buble- I love this jazzed up version of the classic holiday song. It makes me want to bundle up and build a snowman. Unfortunately, snow is a rare thing in these parts, and if it did snow I wouldn't get to build a snowman. I would have to join the throng at the grocery store to buy bread and milk. *Sigh*

Number 8: The Christmas Song sung by Nat King Cole- How can you not love the velvety voice of Nat King Cole singing about folks dressed up like Eskimos? Classic.

Number 7: Santa Baby- Madonna does a version of this song that, I must admit, makes me smile. It's such a cute song anyway, and when you sing it like Betty Boop it just gets better!

Number 6: The Twelve Days of Christmas sung by Jim Henson's muppets- Anyone who knows me knows that I'm a sucker for muppets. This song always makes me laugh. Especially Miss Piggy singing "Five Gold dum bum bum!"

Number 5: White Christmas sung by Bing Crosby- This song plays twenty-zillion times a day on the Christmas station, but twenty-zillion times a day I listen and sigh. Ahhhh...Bing.

Number 4: Jingle Bell Rock- A fond memory comes to mind whenever I hear this song. When my older son, Timothy, was very small, he loved this song. Any time it came on we had to stop and dance together. Any time. At home, in the grocery store, or in the middle of the mall, we had to dance together.

Number 3: Christmas in Dixie- Okay, so even though I live in this state, I'm not a huge fan of the group Alabama. I do like this song though. It reminds me of the years that I lived up North. During the holidays I would listen to this song and miss my grandparents so much. When I hear it now I have to smile because I get to spend Christmas in Dixie!

Number 2: Feliz Navidad- This is another song that plays twenty-zillion times a day on the Christmas station, but I love it! Every time it comes on I turn up the volume and "canto" my little heart out!

Number 1: O Holy Night- Whether it's Josh Groban, Michael Crawford, Celine Dion, Mariah Carey, or the Celtic Women singing, I love this song! It's beautiful in every way. The music is sublime, and the words are so powerful and moving. "A thrill of Hope; the weary world rejoices for yonder breaks a new a glorious morn." Wow. You can't get much better than that. Well, unless you get Josh or Michael or Celine or Mariah or the Celtic Women to sing it.

There you have it, my Top Ten List of Favorite Christmas Songs. What are yours?

*Soon to come: the Top Ten List of Least Favorite Christmas Songs: a compilation of songs that make Sam the Snowman want to sit in a toaster oven.

Merry Christmas everyone!