Friday, September 28, 2007

A Slight Urge to Repent

Okay. Here it goes...

“We admit, Wal-Mart, that we swore we would never get caught dead passing through the portals of your consumer world of yellow smiley faces and falling prices. We hate your imperialist conceit that so brazenly crossed the border to trample down our shopkeepers and vanquish the homegrown businesses of our home ‘on’ native land. We even prided ourselves on our faithful resistance, never as much as even turning our gaze in your direction ..

And then .. We were tired .. It was late .. And there wasn’t a campground in sight. Your huge sign above the highway called to us saying .. Come, stay here. You can rest from your weariness in our parking lot, and we are open til midnight with everything you might need to restore yourselves physically.

We came because there was no other place. Mary smiled at us at the door and engaged us in subjects of mutual interest regarding “RV’s”. She told us how her husband and she had wanted to travel like us, but he had died at age 63. She sent us off with her blessing. Joy, the manager, true to her name, showed us how to use a phone card so we could talk with our family. Nice boys and girls in blue pinafores walked kilometers under tube lighting to show us where we could find baking soda and a skinny waste basket that fit perfectly between our pop-out and our kitchen counter. And in Woodstock, New Brunswick, at 10 PM, Mabel, the ‘People Greeter’, a kindly grandmother who belonged in bed, smiled at Peter in his nautical hat and guessed that he had been a ‘fisherman’ in his working life.
(Could it be, Mabel, that you might be an angel in your working life?)

Wal-Mart (can you believe that your name is even in ‘spell-check’?), though we still have big troubles with your founder and elders and many other realities you represent, we are sorry for our total rejection of you in light of the kindnesses of your local people. It is time you upped your prices and their salaries and reduced their hours. It is time you understood us Canadians more authentically. And, it is time we acknowledged our own self-righteousness and superiority.

When we needed a neighbour, you were there.”