Friday, November 28, 2008

Buying the Wal-Mart Jesus

From Sacred Sandwich:

"The new Wal-Mart Supercenter just opened up in my town, and man, what a sight! It’s a mammoth structure of utilitarian architecture that houses everything from a grocery to a garden center, along with every dry good you can imagine from fashion wear to office supplies. And people just flock there because it’s one-stop shopping, famous low prices, and a quick “get in and get out” affair. It is an amazing achievement in the history of American consumerism.

Oh, and don’t forget about the official Smiley Face mascot greeting you on every sign. It just makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside as you spend your money to save money.

The only problem is that the former Wal-Mart building in town is now vacant since the retail giant moved its local operation to the new Supercenter facility. Hard to believe that twenty years ago this smaller Wal-Mart store was the shining Camelot on the hill for local shoppers. Now it’s just a castle ruin, an empty shell of its former glory as the company moves on to bigger and better things. Alas, a sign of the times, I’m afraid.

Prior to the beginning of this Sam Walton invasion, our town had a few Mom-and-Pop retail stores downtown, but they’re gone now, too. The first Wal-Mart that landed here soon priced those little shops right out of the market and made it too easy for the faithful customers of our local enterprises to be slowly seduced by the discount convenience of the new store in town. Hometown loyalty and one-on-one service be damned! Pretty soon, those slow-paced, family-run stores with creaky wood floors and clanging brass cash registers had to close their doors for good. Nobody valued their unassuming brand of commerce anymore.

So why do I bring all this up? Because it seems to me that many Christians today have been infected with the same corrupting consumerism that has given rise to the Wal-Mart Supercenter..."

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