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Yes, it is true. I did it.  I made a small scene in Carbondale, IL Wal Mart this morning. I was more mad at myself but I refuse to take the entire blame. 

 I don’t go to the Carbondale one very often because it is sort of out of the way for me. But this morning, after stopping at the farmer’s market in C’dale, I decided just to go on to the Wal Mart there, thinking maybe afterwards I might treat myself to breakfast at Golden Corral. (That didn’t happen. Too furious.) So I shopped for maybe half an hour. It was early and there wasn’t a lot of people in there so I was able to tolerate it a little longer than usual. 

Eventually, I wandered to the check out lanes, and there were NO CHECKERS. Only the self check out lanes were open. At least 8 of them and manned by two people who would help if you needed it.  So, I said to the helper….”There are no other check out lanes manned by people open?” and he said “no.”  “I hate these things.”  I said. But….against my own standard…I got in line for one and used it. The more I checked myself out, the angrier that I got. Angry at myself that I violated one of my own personal standards, and angry at Wal Mart for being so greedy. 

Make no mistake about this, people. Self check out lanes are NOT for the convenience of the consumer. They are there to cut labor costs so that someone higher up the food chain can pocket more money. Period. You will not see the labor savings reflected in lowering prices for their goods. (Its bad enough that they don’t pay their employees very much, let alone start eliminating their jobs.)

I bagged my goods. Paid. Walked towards the door, and there was the greeter and a cart guy standing there. Very politely I asked the greeter, would you please do me a favor? Please tell your manager, that I will not be visiting this store until real people are checking out customers. Then I walked away. The cart guy followed me for a bit and stopped and introduced  himself, and asked what the problem was. He was very nice. (So was the greeter.)  I repeated myself saying that the self check out lanes were irritating, and that “they” meaning the employees there would be the ones suffering when jobs are lost. He just smiled sadly and turned and walked back into the store.

Now, I am under no illusions that my refusal to shop there will change their policy. Perhaps, the message won’t even be passed on, and I will be blown off as some crazy old crank. I am ok with all of that, even though I might wish it to be different.

But here is the thing….I have to stand up for what I think is right, if I want to sleep at night. I may never lead boycotts, or marches on Washington, or make speeches to change the masses. Maybe my impact is small on the world at large.  But I can’t help believing that if every person stuck to their own personal standards, that the world could change. 

I get laughed at. People make fun of me for my “small” protests. I won’t knowingly buy gas that comes from the middle east and I don’t support self check out lanes. But they are my standards, and I live them, and it changes MY world….

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