This morning, after I made my grocery list for the week, I decided to go to Wal-Mart instead of King Soopers (the Kroger-owned grocery store next door) since I needed some underwear too.
Groceries at the Wal-Mart Supercenter (about 2 miles away) are much cheaper than at King Soopers, but the selection is somewhat different. It may be that the selection is of equivalent quality, but I don't shop there as often, so I don't know how to fully exploit it. They don't have items as consistently as at KS, and of course, the place is a madhouse.
But I did well today. In fact, so many things were significantly cheaper than at KS that I ended up stocking up and thus spending more than I had intended. Because I am always thinking about you guys, I lined everything up when I got home and took a picture (which will expand if you click on it):
All of this together, plus a package of gum that went straight into my backpack, was $43.48, which is pretty cheap for Colorado. The organic beans at Wal-Mart are particularly cheap at 88c/can, hence my willingness to buy them.
A lot of people hate Wal-Mart, for both rational and aesthetic reasons. I think the aesthetic reasons mostly come down to a kind of classism - Wal-Mart is filled with poor people with all their kids, and they don't have cute upscale stuff like Target does.
As for the rational arguments against Wal-Mart (for instance that they kill local businesses, underpay and don't provide enough benefits for their workers, and so on), I think Wal-Mart does more good than harm. If people were so fond of local businesses that they were willing to pay a premium to shop at them, they would - and in many cases, of course, they do. And for every person who works at Wal-Mart for "substandard" wages (i.e., the best wages that person was able to obtain, but not as much money as would be ideal), there are 50 or 200 or 1000 people who are able to live better lives because of the money they can save by shopping there.