Monday, April 16, 2012


Because I received an awesome bike trainer for Christmas this past year, I have the luxury on a cold morning to ride my road bike inside. Usually as I spin my wheels, I catch up on various news programs, and I am always amazed at the spin that is thrown my way. 

The fact that a mother and father are mourning the death of their child is indeed incredibly sad, and I pray that I would never experience the grief and heartache that is now a part of their life. And yet as I have watched the news reports of Trayvon Martin’s death, I have felt frustrated by the media’s bias in their reporting. It is hard to know what the truth is anymore. It certainly seems that George Zimmerman acted irresponsibly, but I don’t believe that justifies the media altering video footage, misleading the public in their selective airing of portions of the 911 phone calls, and using only the photos that would invoke their desired sympathies. On the day he was taken into custody, one reporter said that Zimmerman was finally arrested showing his frustration that it hadn’t happened sooner.

If Trayvon was my son, I would demand a full investigation as his parents have done and want justice for my son’s death. But on the flip side, if Zimmerman was my son, I wouldn’t want him tried in the media and convicted to appease the thousands of protesters. Certainly there needs to be justice as the many protesters have demanded, but shouldn’t that go both ways. Impartiality should be something we ought to be able to expect from the media.

Clearly there is a line drawn between those who believe Zimmerman and those who want him hung, and then there are the many others who are trying to profit from this tragedy. In a perfect world, we wouldn’t need a neighborhood watch, be scared of an unfamiliar young man wandering our neighborhoods wearing a hoodie, or feel a need to carry a gun to protect one’s life and property, but unfortunately until circumstances inciting those fears diminish, more deaths of young men like Trayvon will likely happen. The dialogue should turn from vilifying George Zimmerman, the need for gun control, and the injustices of profiling and racism to how we raise children who respect life and liberty of all. It seems rather simplistic, but when we actually believe and live by the ideal that “all men are created equal”, the rest will take care of itself.

Spin that!

Friday, April 13, 2012

My Life without Wal-Mart

This week, an article in my newspaper ranked 52 grocery stores. Two of my favorite local stores were not on the list, but Wal-Mart was. To my surprise it was ranked 51 out of 52. I think its low prices saved it from being dead last. Excellent was its rating in the pricing category but failed miserably in customer service, cleanliness, and perishables. One shopper commented that he doesn’t need a smile when purchasing a banana. It isn’t necessary, but it sure makes the shopping experience better.

I always leave Wal-Mart much grumpier than when I entered the store. After my last trip during the Christmas shopping season, I made a commitment to forgo the frustration of poor customer service for at least one year. The last time I set foot in a Wal-Mart store was December 9th, and I just may never shop there again. My husband is a big fan of the store, so I am not sure what will happen if he pulls in the parking lot while on a vacation. 

It’s not that I want to see Wal-Mart fail; I just want other stores to be able to succeed as well. I don’t want Wal-Mart to become my only option. I love Harmon’s, and had they been on the list, they might have scored low in the pricing category but would have scored very high in cleanliness, customer service, and perishables. I LOVE their produce. And yes, that banana does taste better when it comes with a smile.  Until my recent Wal-Mart ban, I hadn’t given WinCo a chance, and now I am a fan. I think it could clearly be the low price leader. I have to bag my own groceries, but now if my bread is smashed, I am no longer annoyed with the Wal-Mart employee because it is my own fault. And, I can easily correct myself. 

Might I spend a little more? Probably, but when fresh produce, a helpful employee, great selection, and cleanliness make me a happier person, you could say that is simply priceless!