Episode-938- Understanding the Problems vs the Symptoms

Now This is a Problem

Now This is a Problem

Yesterday I included a response to a claim by a listener that Walmart was “destroying America”.  In doing so I didn’t claim Walmart was a fine company or that they should be supported.

I simply pointed out that all the big businesses that compete with them did the same types of things.  That a boycott of Walmart would accomplish little and we could actually use large companies like Walmart more effectively to get rid of specific products like “pink slime”.

Well, you guys say I have it wrong, really?  What do I have wrong?  My view is this is a deeper problem where a specific grudge and anger blind people to the truth.  Walmart isn’t the problem, it is but a symptom of the actual problem.

Going to war with Walmart in the current system is like giving a headache patient an aspirin and thinking it will fix the problem.  It might feel better but the problem remains.  This isn’t just a corporate issue, it is a government one and a monetary one, in fact that is the entire point.

When there is an illness if you are a good doctor the symptoms are used only to diagnose the illness and you correct the imbalance in the system that is the root cause.  The reality is if you only treat the symptom, the illness gets worse.  You can cut out a tumor yet a cancer patient will often still die.

Join Me Today As I Discuss…

  • What is a boycott and why they don’t work on large companies
  • Why 20,000 backyard chickens is better then 45,000 people avoiding Walmart
  • One time just so you get it, I DON’T THINK WALMART IS GOOD
  • Why I always say Monsanto, Conagra and Bayer not just Monsanto
  • Finding the real problem
    • Step one – follow the money
    • Step two – see step one
    • Step three – understand individual behavior
    • Step four – understand the total system not one component
    • Step five – see step one
  • What does work
    • Focus on the positives
    • Build and value community
    • Reduce and eliminate debt
    • Do business with the best company available
    • Accept that the debt based system is going to fail

Resources for Today’s Show

Remember to comment, chime in and tell us your thoughts, this podcast is one man’s opinion, not a lecture or sermon. Also please enter our listener appreciation contest and help spread the word about our show. Also remember you can call in your questions and comments to 866-65-THINK and you might hear yourself on the air.

64 Responses to Episode-938- Understanding the Problems vs the Symptoms

  1. robertdseals

    I, for one, would like to defend Walmart (no, I don’t work for them). I go to Walmart about once a week. It’s a “one stop shopping” for me. I get most of my food and other household items there. They provide jobs. Maybe not the best jobs, but many people in my community would not have jobs or would have to travel outside of the area to get a job if they were not here. They get discounts (sometimes through coercion) from suppliers so we get the products cheaper. During the recent wildfires they provided much in donations (as they do with other natural disasters. A lot of people with 401K or other type of investments might have Walmark stock as part of their portfolio and as such have been helped by the growth of Walmart. To quote Stevie Wonder/Paul McCartney, “there is good and bad in everyone”. Religion has done a lot of bad, but it’s also done a lot of good. I don’t fault anyone from being religious just because some bad has been done in its name. To each their own I say. Walmart fanboy, good for you. Walmart hater, more power to you. But at least try to look at both sides.

  2. Geeezus – proof positive of Walmart’s evilness:

    http://www.wimp.com/theday/

  3. I haven’t been able to listen to this one yet so I don’t know if you mention this but I always think it’s funny when people say Wal-Mart is bad and how they’re killing small businesses, importing Chinese goods and all of that and then when you ask them where they buy things like toothpaste, they’ll tell you they buy the same Colgate products at Target, because somehow that’s more socially conscious than going to Wal-Mart. Sometimes it seems like demonizing Wal-Mart over other similar retailers has more to do with having an axe to grind with Wal-Mart’s target demographics (lower socioeconomic class, white, rural, Christian, conservative, etc) than a genuine concern to curb harmful business practices.

    • My SIL is a big Target fan, and she’s said to us several times, “I have an ethical objection to Wal-Mart.” To her, I say, “I can’t AFFORD to have an ethical objection to Wal-Mart.”

      Wal-Mart is not an angelic corporate citizen, but that being said, without Wal-Mart, I’d have a much harder time feeding my family. We spend thousands of dollars per year at Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club to put food on the table here. Yes, we’re learning to garden, and yes, we have chickens, but the fact of the matter is that if I had to get all my groceries at Kroger and Marsh, our money would go half as far. Who does THAT help?

      Some of you can afford an “ethical objection” to Wal-Mart. I cannot. Just something to think about . . .

      • Modern Survival

        @Sarah, some questions to ask her would be,

        Exactly how is Target better then Walmart, given Target won’t even let the Salvation Army fund raise on their property at Christmas time?

        Does Target do any more charity per dollar raised then Walmart?

        Does Target pay its low and mid level employees any better?

        Is there any less product on Target shelves from overseas then Walmart?

        What exactly do I get form Target over Walmart vs a slightly prettier store, slightly higher prices and a slightly smaller selection?

        I mean if her so called “social concious” was causing her to shop at the Farmer’s Market or CSA or something like that or to grow a garden, I get it. But Target, REALLY? What makes them in any way a better choice for the socially conscious.

        Perfect example of why Walmart bashing is generally pointless.

        • Modern Survival

          By the way I prefer to shop at Target for some things. I do have to say the stores are nicer looking but that doesn’t make them morally superior.

        • Another one I hear a lot is “Wal-Mart doesn’t allow its employees to unionize”

          What union are Target employees, Amazon employees and the employees of virtually every other retailer/food service place, including the small local ones a part of?

        • @Modern Survival — Unfortunately, she expressed her “ethical objections” to Walmart at a time/place where debate couldn’t happen. I’m certain that if I’d made your points (which I certainly would have had the situation allowed it), she wouldn’t have had any good come-backs.

          She grew up in a household where Target was the end all and be all, and only poor people shopped at Walmart. To her, growing up, I’m convinced it was a status thing. When she got older and moved to MN though (where Target is headquartered, I think), it got a lot worse.

          I couldn’t agree more though that the Walmart bashing is pointless. It doesn’t GET us anywhere, regardless of whether or not folks have good points or just tired rhetoric.

    • Isn’t shopping at Wal Mart or Target a bit like choosing between Democrat and Republican? They give you two big box stores to exercise your freedom of “Choice”?

      I choose to not shop at either. I have figured out how to support the businesses that I DO LIKE. I may be buying the same stuff, but more of the money is staying in the community and I’m supporting REAL competition.

  4. We have a WalMart being built now in our county. Many people said “it is going to run the small guys out of business.” I’m into truth not politics and I would ask the question, “which ones specifically are going to got out of business?” I usually had to repeat that question at least two more times because they could only talk in general terms of what happened at some other place. Finally I would start naming companies, stores, dealerships, etc that had (had – is past tense) been in business in the county. They have already gone out of business before the WalMart was ever proposed. The Food Lion(s) had already run both of the independant grocers out of business years ago. Hardware store , been gone for two years, etc, etc. I was DAMN glad when Wally World got approved! Never could find ONE PERSON WHO COULD NAME ONE STORE IT WAS GOING TO DRIVE OUT OF BUSINESS IN OUT IN OUR COUNTY. Many of the store owners that went out of business just got old and there was no one to take over the business.

  5. rancher1school

    Jack, thanks for providing a wonderful show today. I personally have stopped shopping at WM (Wal-Mart) and done my best to support local business, my local produce stand and others. Your show today helped open me up more to the ideas of permaculture. I will try sharing this show with a friend of mine who has done his best to stop going to WM.

  6. Hurrraaay Jack!!
    Splendid. The only thing missing with these two episodes was a “To be continued” yesterday.
    Thanks for the fun and insight. Truly outdid yourself.

    “We are the issue.” J. S.

  7. thewarriorhunter

    loved the show. i especially liked the metaphor with the kids and video games. i used to play my PS3 all the time… to a point where it consumed me and i started to neglect my family.

    i finally realized what an ass i was being and got rid of everything. i guess in a way gaming is a type of system (like debt, financial, etc) and when i removed myself from it it was amazing. the time i had on hand and the focus i was able to provide for other areas of my life was incredible. my wife and i are currently working on getting out of the other systems and i can’t wait for the feeling to return again when we do.

  8. Laura Hildreth

    Jack Sensei Spirko – thanks for being such a great teacher!

  9. Jack,
    I was thinking of making a similar blog post to what you covered in the podcast tonight, though inspired by different source material. A reporter has written a new book that is predicting civil war in Afghanistan after we pull out. The reason is a lack of cohesion among the people and the government there.
    This lead me to think about the coming economic troubles we as a nation are likely to face in the near future, and it caused me to worry because our societal bonds are not as strong as they were in the Great Depression.

  10. Hippiesteader

    Good heavens! With all of the “righteousness” around this topic, I don’t even want to listen to the podcast.

    Perhaps another 10,000 years of evolution will help. ;>

    Oh no! Did I start another controversy?

    Peace, Joy, and Abundance to all 🙂

  11. Zane D. Clark

    You made a comment that we are the source of our own problems. It reminded me of an incident in the dojo some years ago. My Aikido Sensei had a box and he said that inside the box was the source and solution to our own problems. When the box came to me, I opened the box and looked down into a mirror.
    z

    • Roundabouts

      I had to laugh. Yup I know I am my own worst enemy. I create to many problems for myself. Till I get fed up and go off. Me Myself & I argue all the time. Then wise up and get the heck out of our own way.

      Just last night was having the conversation with hubby wondering why we create so many of our own problems as if life wasn’t hard enough we have to either build mountains out of mole hills or make up problems. Just crazy.

  12. Good points about symptoms vs the actual problems! Getting to root causes is what needs to be realized. I am not a huge fan of Walmart but I do shop there for non food items. Why? They often have sales and I am trying to save money! I don’t love the big conglomerates. I try to also frequent the small town stores, the local fleet supply, for instance! It is a good show, lots of good points.
    Thanks,
    Shawnne

  13. If you dont like Walmart dont shop there. We have like 3 Walmarts within a 50 mile radius. We have a TON of smaller grocery stores as well as some mom and pop places. Some have went out of business but there are still many doing well. Spend YOUR money as YOU see fit

  14. Matthew in Gooseneck Ga

    Jack did you say the place in Texas is 8 or 80 acres?

    • Modern Survival

      @Matthew 8 and after walking a lot of land I now have a new respect for how big 5 fully workable acres are. We visited one place with 10 and all wooded and and laid out as a narrow strip, it felt small. Another was 5 and laid in a nice sloping field and it felt huge and I could see many possibilities.

      There was one with 20 the idea of that much land really excited me. The place I have an offer in on thought has a detached garage and work shop and horse barn, all have water and electricity to them. There are some trees near the house but the rest is a blank slate but well maintained as pasture by the horse and goats. So it is damaged enough to warrant permaculture repair but not so damaged that it will take years and years to recover.

  15. We consistently find cheaper prices and better quality products than at WalMart. We rarely shop there but do cruise the aisles to compare. If any big box store is to be boycotted it is Best Buy. They deserve bankruptcy for all their institutionalized lying to customers.

    • Hahaha oooohhhh man do I agree!! There used to be a great site called bestbuysucks.com that was always good for a laugh but i don’t think it exists anymore. I worked there for about a year once and it was the worst job I ever had…I never even made enough money there to buy their overpriced crap! They then said another associate claimed I was stealing candy of all things and that they were going to send me to jail and they wanted me to cash my last paycheck and bring them all the $ to pay for stolen goods….I never did.

  16. epic show.

  17. I don’t like things I have heard about wallmart being a cuthroat operation and try not to shop there very much. I will admit though that Jack saying they had quality organic food kind of threw the whole concept off a bit. Other than that, I do think there’s lots of other bad industries that are worse, though I might not compare banks with retail stores anyway.

    I do think that if wallmart is bad and they are hurt in some way such that target, home depot or some such get more bussiness, I have less of a negative impression of those places anyway and would be ok with that.

    I do think CEO pay tends to be too high, and I don’t believe that in many cases they deserve all that money despite if they may work hard and are smart. Lots of people are smart and work hard and don’t make that much. I believe it has to do with manipulation and things of that nature more than the hard work, or it may be hard work at manipulation ..

    • What does is matter if Walmart wants to pay it’s CEO’s big money? Why don’t they deserve it? Lots of smart, hard working people don’t make that much. Life isn’t fair.

  18. There’s almost nothing better than a good community! I moved last year and am really enjoying my community and like-minded people. I will shop at the bigger stores, but where there is a choice, I’ll shop at my neighbor’s stores. Loved your show today!

  19. Timmy Eadis

    Who’s the person saying “Meh” in the photo? Is that Jack or someone else?

    (and greetings from Antarctica)

  20. Sierra Dave

    I shop at Wallmart but don’t buy certain things that are poor quality. Jeans are of inferior quality. I have started buying them at a local store that specializes in them.

    IMHO, Wallmart coming to your community means you have a loss of cash to the community. A cash outflow means less money circulating which means economic decline.

    I go there mostly for food.

    Sadly, the Albertsons nearbye sells the same canned goods at near 70% mark up. I told the manager they were subsidizing Wallmarts reduced prices.

    Sierra Dave

  21. Studies were done in Universities in the 1970’s about what came to be known as ‘The Bystander Effect’, link posted here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bystander_effect
    Many people only act to give assistence in public if others do first. This speaks to community leadership, and I applaud you for the time and effort to explain what is the problem. Self education and community are the big keys. Regarding Permaculture you speak of, the concept of least effort for maximum effect sounds a bit capitalist. Wage slaves in other countries mean less effort for us and a bigger effect, but I get the way you are using the term. Great show. What Permaculture sites or publications do you recommend for this kind of knowledge and perspective?

    • Modern Survival

      OzMan, on what publications, any of them, how about the designers manual? It isn’t what they say it is expanding the principles in your own mind. Did you ever listen to my business podcast on permaculture capital?

      Speaking of principles if you think having employees is anything approaching “minimum effort” I am guessing you have never owned a business before. For every one really good stellar person I had I also had 10 whinny, complaining, underachieving and unable to make a decision adult children. The sad part was this made me rely on and go to my good people far too much.

      What I often would do though is go “Bob could you absorb Sam’s responsibilities”, if it was yes and if I believed it I would fire Sam in a millisecond and give his responsibilities over to Bob along with a raise of about 40% of Sam’s salary. Thing was though you could just never find enough Bobs to compensate for the dozens of Sams.

  22. timfromohio

    My take is that Walmart might play hardball with suppliers, but they have gotten really good at responding to the market. People want low prices on a wide array of products at one location and Walmart caters to them. Look at what the “Super Walmarts” have done with food – they used to just stock what I consider garbage food, but after seeing the consumer demand for organic products have started stocking an increasingly larger fraction of organic products. I’m not completely sure, but I think it was in the “Food Inc.” movie where a portion of the movie profiled one of the big organic champions or brands (maybe it was Michael Pollen or Organic Valley – can’t remember) who everybody viewed as a sellout b/c their products were now available in Walmart – their own take was that having their products in Walmart was a victory as it garnered increased exposure for organic, etc. That’s my take – we (the people) should use collective purchasing power to drive the change and Walmart is a leading indicator of success. For example, if consumers could collectively get Walmart (via purchasing habits) to eliminate the selling of _________ product b/c it’s (1) not sustainable, or (2) made in China, or (3) whatever other reason then it should be viewed as a correct function of the market – the market is responding to consumer demand.

    • I don’t know if you caught the end of the Food Inc. movie (I know I’m a little late on the thread so sorry if someone brought this up already). At the end of the movie, the Walmart exec said based on consumer demand they removed all milk products produced from cows given growth hormones…

      Love the show Jack. Big fan.

  23. Anybody have a link to the chess piece poster that Jack was talking about?

  24. I live in Maryland, Baltimore specifically, where the “I hate Walmart” mentality is very strongly held. So strongly held that many residents fought endlessly to stop Walmart’s plan to build a store in a part of the city that for about 10 years has been sitting vacant. It was once a sight of multiple car dealerships that no one has reopened and it would be a great location as there are no hardware shops or grocery stores anywhere near by. Like so many other inner city areas most poor residents have no grocery stores to shop at and get their groceries from corner stores. So it would be great… jobs and actual real food for people to buy. However it was not to be, people that did not even live in that section of town fought the plans and insisted that ‘local’ mom and pop stores should fill the area. This has been going on for about 2 years now and no stores have opened and the site is still sitting there.

    We may still average 200 homicides a year here in Baltimore but at least those folks on 25th St do not have to worry about Walmart and their horrible wages and benefits.

    Is Walmart nice, I doubt it. Do they put profit before people, all companies do that is why they shut stores down and lay people off. Would they have made a difference in a place the city of Baltimore has ignored for 10 years, hard to argue they wouldn’t.

  25. I completely agree with Jack regarding “us” being the problem and not the big corporations like Walmart and McDonalds.

    I work in a small office, probably about 9 of us total, and I would say that 2 of us (myself included) are health-conscious, 4 are aware but not disciplined, and are completely ignorant. Over the past 4 years, the healthy habits of 2 of us have permeated our kitchen/breakroom and a lot of the junk food that used to be there is no longer present. I just had a client visit the office, and we didn’t even have a single package of sugar for their coffee. Plenty of artificial sweeteners and diet drinks, but its a step in the right direction.

    Just an example of how if you engage with your neighbors and demonstrate your healthy habits, rather than trying to directly convince them, change may just occur over time. It will inevitably affect peoples’ shopping habits and thus will influence the behavior of the corporation.

  26. May be the best show ever! Well, until the next best show comes along. Thank you.

  27. Well, have you ever been 100% convinced you are absolutely right and the other person is 100% wrong only to find out it just ain’t so. That is how I now feel, I have and likely always will vehemently hated Walmart. I don’t shop there and I won’t but I have to now admit a few things.

    First the companies I am shopping at are mostly no better, which sucks.

    Second and damn I hate saying this none of these companies are the problem, we are. Now look we all know this but this damn show is a 2×4 to the fricken head about 60 times in a row beating the reality into you.

  28. Ronnie in Iowa ~Veronica Deevers

    I finally got to finish listening to the podcast this morning and Jack did a superior job of describing the WMT system with the chess scenario. Even though the CEO makes more in one minute than most ‘associates’ make in a year, he will still never be a Walton billionaire and they will use him until he is no longer an asset to them at which point he will be disposed of (just like the last CEO they had).

    In my opinion, what put a stick into this hornet’s nest is that Jack often inadvertently and unintentionally ADVERTISES for WMT by saying “hey go to WMT and get this or that” rather than saying a generic statement of “hey go to your favorite shopping place and get this or that”. Like a few other listeners, every time he would mention WMT, it would go down my spine like a bolt of lightening.

    Of the millions of cancer cells that form a tumor, WMT does have a healthy ownership in those cells. Cancer cells devour everything but eventually kill the very host they live in.

    Thanks Jack for handling this situation with your usual ingenuity, intelligence and hit between the eyes facts. My applause.

  29. I’m surprised that there are a lot of Wal-Mart haters in this audience, just like I was surprised to hear there were many sympathizing with the Occupiers. Maybe I don’t fit in here, after all…

    • Modern Survival

      @Tom don’t focus on the negative, that is the game the people in control play. We don’t all have to agree about everything for us all to “fit in”, that is a lie being sold to you.

    • Jeff Vervier

      There are no haters or sympathizers here my friend, just thinkers. This is a strong healthy comunnity that constantly asks questions. Not agreeing or agreeing is not the point, thinking is. Come up with your own beliefs and you will fit in just fine.

  30. Ronnie in Iowa ~Veronica Deevers

    Modern Survival | July 11, 2012 at 12:16 pm | Reply
    @Ronnie, saying I got X at Walmart isn’t an advertisement, just the truth.

    I understand that Jack, but when you refer to them by name you are promoting them. That may possibly be part of the issue here. Remaining ‘generic’ as in: “I got this at a big box store” or something like that may sooth the restless natives. Shop where you wish and say whatever you want…it’s YOUR podcast and I’m not going to stop listening simply because you shop at BigBoxMart. However, I have discovered by NOT shopping there, I find great deals at the other stores who have specials and sales that kick WMT’s loser assclown rear end. Sadly we are all at a fast pace and it is ‘easier’ to just run to WMT. And they are quite skilled at their end caps. You will rarely leave only with what you went in there to get. I detest shopping so I plan it out carefully to get the best bargains possible and know I’m just going to have to spend the time by going to more than one store. One of the mom & pop shops we have had a drawing for $25 in merchandise and I won! Won’t see anything like that in WMT. Target (who is just as bad as WMT on their employees) now offers a 5% off debit card….that almost covers the sales tax in Iowa. Target also does careful placement of items and has attractive end caps. You have to really study their shelving placement to make sure you are getting the most product for the least money. Manufacturers are putting less in packaging. It “looks” like the same amount you have always been getting but it’s not. But you’re paying the same price you were before. Smart shopping takes time and effort.

    BTW, when I talk about your podcast I refer to you as THE SURVIVAL PODCAST. I am promoting TSP when I do that and am encouraging people to listen to your show and hopefully become a member. Same difference when you mention WMT by name.

    Still, it is your podcast and you can say whatever you like and we’ll all still love ya anyway!! ;- )
    I think we all made our points about WMT….and we’ve beat that horse long enough.

    • Modern Survival

      @Ronnie LOL if you have to answer “where did you buy X” a few hundred times a week your perspective changes.

    • I also detest shopping. I factor in my time and the cost of gasoline. That means that I can’t run to every place for the best deal. It is a better deal to economize the whole outing. I guess that puts me in the minimum input/maximum output camp. I will make three stops instead of five and maybe hit WM 1 out of 10 trips.

  31. Jack, I’m only part of the way through this episode but I have to say… GREAT SHOW TODAY.

    I probably come at a lot of these issues from a very different starting perspective from you (much more left than right), but as I was listening to you I was struck by the way that your analysis proceeded almost directly along the lines of the Classical Trivium (grammar, logic and rhetoric) — the core of a true liberal arts education. You started by trying to accurately define the subjects of discussion (grammar). You proceeded to try and accurately describe the relationship between those elements, and discounting inconsistencies in your thinking (logic). Rhetoric is simply the tool by which you transmitted your grammar and logic to others with the aim of convincing/persuading them.

    Like I said, I probably have arrived at my conclusions from a much different starting point than you — but what consistently amazes me is that if you consciously try to apply the principles of the trivium to your thought processes, it doesn’t matter what your starting point is, you will quite often arrive at a very similar conclusion to those who start from a very different initial perspective. I used to rail against Wal Mart, international finance and trade organizations, large corporations in general, etc. Ultimately I realized that not only was this not doing any good, but that I hadn’t adequately analyzed the situation and landscape to truly understand it. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve adopted much more the outlook that Paul Wheaton expressed on several occasions — I wanted to stop telling people to stop being bad, and instead work toward providing an example of how people could be good.

    Keep up the great work, even (especially) when I don’t fully agree with you, because you almost always make me THINK — and that’s a good thing.

  32. Is there a link to get the cartoon of the pawn working hard to be king?

  33. Ronnie in Iowa ~Veronica Deevers

    @Ronnie LOL if you have to answer “where did you buy X” a few hundred times a week your perspective changes.

    You are right. And like I said…it’s YOUR podcast and I still luvya even tho you shop at Loser Assclown Mart!!

  34. Great show!

    Walmart gives more back to our community than several other stores. However there is much I simply don’t buy there even if it is closer to my house. Their bikes are junk along with much other stuff. They cater to the crowd I call Walmart mentality, max out your credit cards on junk and spend everything you get the minute you get it. Have your taxes done, get instant $ after paying a hefty fee (save a couple hundred by waiting 2 weeks), spend it all before you leave the store.

    Produce I avoid except maybe bananas. Too often it looks good on the outside and inside is either pale and tasteless or rotten. My husband picked up a can of biscuits (yep, not best thing to eat, ) which exploded on him the next morning, little bits everywhere. I called the store as a favor to them, to let them know their stuff has issues and they need to check their shelves. Only response I got was bring it back for a refund. I didn’t want a refund, I wanted them to fix their store. I doubt that message went anywhere. Same attitude when I told them about lousy produce. Produce is funny as I do buy organic baby carrots and spinach from Sam’s. You’d think they both could do a decent job. I do buy local produce several places.

    Too many places the employees don’t want to work on solving problems. I was looking for something at Lowes this week and couldn’t find it. Had to ask 4 different people to get an answer. Instead of calling the department they thought carried the product, they simply said department xyz may have it, check there. I should have asked them to check with xyz before heading over there.

    Be glad we can each choose where to spend our money. I don’t always tell a store when I find a problem with how things are done. Often a waste of my time. Our local Sam’s has better managers. On the way out the door, we noticed they hadn’t charged us for a higher priced but small item. My husband had us go through the door where they count your items and mark your receipt. Never noticed the extra item. We went back in the store and told a manager that we needed to pay for the one item and that no one noticed. He was surprised, took our money, caught up with us 2 minutes later and offered to buy us each a meal at the snack counter (declined as we’d just eaten) and visited with us a while, thanking us again, and asked what we liked and didn’t like about the store.

    However, debating about whether to shop at Walmart or not is missing the bigger picture explained nicely in this podcast.

    I once taught a class and 2 ladies next to each other, didn’t realize they were next door neighbors (for several years) until they noticed the address on each other’s forms.

    Ask anyone on a route, meter readers, etc. Some neighborhoods are ghost towns during the day and hermits at night, some are quite toxic-neighbors taking each other to court, calling police instead of working out problems, a few are neighborhoods.

    I remember talking one lady into waiting 2 weeks for her large EIC/tax return. (It saved them almost $300). First she threatened her husband with not signing the joint return if he didn’t agree to the costly instant money. I asked her what she’d do with the money if she could spend anyway she wanted. She’d always dreamed of her and her husband going to a spa, getting a nice massage, etc but they could never afford that. It was enough $ for the local spa trip she had in mind. Told her she was throwing that experience away by not waiting 2 weeks. Asked her husband if he was OK with her spending their extra $ that way. Yes! Again I asked will you wait the 2 weeks. She agreed. But it was very, very hard for her, visibly agitated, almost backed out several times, kept having her picture her spa trip. Didn’t matter to me where or how they spent their money. Told them that again, it was theirs to do with as they wished. Her very relieved husband thanked me.

    Depressed people who say if only such and such would happen then they would be happy. If such and such happens they still aren’t happy, it is if only the next such and such happens.

    Mistaken belief that those who “got ahead” got there because they were either lucky or cheated someone else.

    All that matters is the next level of that video game, or what is going on in the next TV episode. Or any other addiction.

    Or why try, it doesn’t matter. No one cares.

    Attitude adjustment needed. Eyes that need to be opened. Still wish for a can opener for the mind where I can simply open a few up and get them to see the whole world around them, the interconnections, etc.

  35. Ronnie in Iowa ~Veronica Deevers

    Author: Jeff Vervier
    Comment:
    There are no haters or sympathizers here my friend, just thinkers. This is a strong healthy comunnity that constantly asks questions. Not agreeing or agreeing is not the point, thinking is. Come up with your own beliefs and you will fit in just fine.
    …………….
    Best comment of the whole thing….in my opinion. :- ) Thanks Jeff. You rock.

  36. You know, you can make arguments about good or about bad but I’ll bet you’d have a rather nasty taste in your mouth had you actually been through it. The town that I grew up in is written about in this article published by the NY Times in 1995. http://www.nytimes.com/1995/03/05/business/when-wal-mart-pulls-out-what-s-left.html?pagewanted=all&src=pm
    See, the fact is I did a good majority of my growing up int he 70’s in NW Arkansas so I drank the WM koolaid. We moved to Oklahoma and WM was still king in our eyes. For example, at our local WM I could go into the sporting goods section and ask for a certain fishing lure and the manager of that department would get it for me the next week. You go ahead and try that now a days.
    Right or wrong, good or bad, I’m not gonna take part in it unless it’s something absolutely necessary or, just so good a deal that we can’t not. (kewl double negative eh?)
    I took this shot for my project365 in honor of April Fools 2010, with a little help from photoshop of course. http://ufoznbacon365.wordpress.com/2010/04/01/april-1st-2010/
    As an aside the building is recently purchased and has a great farm and home store called Orcheln open for business. Our local farmers market is held in the parking lot on Saturdays.

  37. Ask yourself this: How many hundreds of thousands of pounds of chemical fertilizers did Wal-Mart remove from the earth by signing Stoneyfield Organic dairy products? How many small NE dairy farmers does that now support? And how many people now have a safe, organic dairy option in their hometown because of that? I’m not Wal-Marts biggest fan, but I don’t hate them either. And because of them, one of the best (if not the best) grass based dairy cooperative in the country is thriving. And hundreds of small dairy farmers who are farming the right way are thriving right along with it. I always choose to shop at my locally owned shops first when I can. But when Wal-Mart offers the best option, I go there.

    The fact of the matter is, they are playing within the rules of the system.

    • Modern Survival

      @Darby this is because you THINK vs just REACT! It is much like Geoff Lawton stated about Monsanto, “well I would sure like to have their budget for good purposes”.

      The reactionary warrior meets force with force and only wins if he is the strongest, the intellectual warrior redirects his opponents own energy against himself and hence can win even when his opponent is much stronger.

      Folks I don’t know if you have paid attention but WalMart is very big and very powerful, if you want to right the wrongs around the brand then redirection will work much better than brute force.

  38. Just a bit of an observation, I live in a small town. Before walmart came to town the small mom and pop stores were either closing up or having serious financial issues. After walmart came here these shops stabilized and revenue while not as high as it once was has remained steady enough that they could remain open. So I can’t speak for other places but here at least walmart has been a force of economic stabilization in a striking small town.

    • That is very interesting – that shatters the conventional wisdom and a misconception – thanks for pointing that out. I can see how that could happen, although it seems like the reverse would be true more of the time.

  39. Great show Jack,
    I choose not to shop at Walmart.
    The only thing I have bought there in years was a bottle of salad dressing.
    It was a regional brand called Dorthy Lynch that cant be found in my area.
    I knew that Walmart changed things and have seen small stores close because they could not compete. The grocery store in Argyle Wi has almost gone out of buiness ssince the new Super Walmart opened. I usually try to support the local grocery stores.
    I liked you talking about Walmart being the symptom rather that the diese. It made a lot of sense.

  40. This principal can be applied to politics as well. Obama is not the problem, he is the symptom of the problem. This is true across the board with politicians. Just like electing Romney or Paul isn’t the solution.

    The problem is us. A society that has grown to expect to be taken care of by Unkle Sam. Well… Here it is. The solution is not at the polling place, it’s in YOU.

  41. Best show I have ever heard – spot on indications of truth, and totally inspiring!

  42. Isn’t supporting big box stores more like planting a couple HUGE MONOCROPS on your land and letting your diverse polyculture die away? I believe that I would neglect the huge undesirable plants and begin cultivating that diverse polyculture in and around the undesirables.

    By supporting the plants you want and ignoring those you don’t you work in the positive rather then the negative and ultimately get what you want. In permaculture we want a diverse polyculture.

    Truth be told, I pull plants that I don’t want out and mulch them under the plants I do want. How nice 😉

    Good show Jack. We need to “occupy” ourselves and fix this problem!