It's really disturbing and driving me crazy. The worse part, is there anything I can do about it without leading myself into financial ruin?
I go down the aisles to buy my dry goods, condiments, etc. and slowly start to notice that my choices have been whittled down to two or three: the top two major players and the Wal-mart brand. You want Cream of Wheat? You buy the Nabisco Cream of Wheat or the Wal-Mart brand. The end. You want the Quaker brand? Sorry. It's gone. Nabisco's is more popular, or you can buy the plain boxed brand. I am sure the generic is the same; most of the time it is packaged by the big players, but what happened to choice? Au Gratin potatoes in a box? Betty Crocker or the Wal-mart brand. Velveeta brand, Idahoan, Hungry Jack - nope. Milk? You get Wal-Mart and waaaaay over there, in a separate cooler, down near the ground, is the TG Lee, priced at a dollar a gallon or more.
And it kills me because I understand that it's done to save money. Do I want to go to Publix to get more choices? No, because I can't afford Publix/insert-your-local-chain-here. It's a self-perpetuating mess. We shop at Wal-Mart because they are so gosh-darned cheap. Because it's so gosh-darned cheap, we put up with the scary people, the angry people, the Wal-Mart people. It's either an ego-boost to go in there (it shows me how great I really have it) or it's a complete downer (it shows me how bad some children have it; they can't pick their parents. It breaks my heart.)
Have you been down the toy aisles? Our toy section shrunk by one row, and the toy I want to buy Isabel is not there. It *is* at Target though, just not Wal-Mart. Apparently, Wal-Mart doesn't think Fancy Nancy books and the dolls are popular enough for their shelves. Too intelligent, perhaps? :)