Traverse City Record-Eagle

Business

June 25, 2014

Glenn Puit: The big box dilemma

I have a confession to make.

Before I make it, though, I’m going to ask you to work with me so I can stretch out the suspense. Envision me and my slightly pudgy, balding frame in my half-ironed clothes slowly working my way to the confessional booth, furtively looking over both shoulders to make sure no one is looking. Then, will you please picture me whispering ‘I’m here to clear my conscience. It’s the right thing to do,’ as I open up the creaky door and step inside?

OK, suspense thing is not working. Lets just get this over with. My confession is:

I regularly shop at Wal-Mart and I kind of like it.

I’m not joking when I say I feel guilty about it. I feel guilty because I live in a beautiful, vibrant region that has an amazing local food economy that improves every day. It's important to note this economy is succeeding in large part because of the work of tireless advocates, including the ones I used to work for, and the willingness of consumers to make choices to support their local economy. This local food economy creates jobs, sustains farms and offers a healthy way of living. The importance of this can't be overstated.

In other words, I totally get it.

That said, I confess I find value in Wal-Mart, especially during the summers. My three beautiful children spend their summers with me and after I pay the mortgage, car payment, gas, insurance, child support (italics denote extra emphasis), paying for food to feed three kids who eat like ravenous albeit very cute vultures can be brutal when they go through a gallon of milk a day. This is true even for someone like me who has a great job, a great wage and a great employer.

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