Proud Member of the Proletariat
As I've mentioned in this space numerous times, I have not set foot in a Walmart store in over twenty years. I have also given up two other common addictions: cigarettes (over forty years ago) and carbonated beverages.
I quit Walmart for several reasons, but primarily I resent the fact that the giant retailer of Chinese junk essentially shut down Main Street and cut the heart out of every small town in America. Norman Rockwell, rest in peace. To add insult to injury, the Walton family is known for being less than a good example when it comes to charitable donations - and the American taxpayer is often called upon to supplement the sub-minimum wages of Walmart "associates" through public assistance.
But Walmart is not the only business enterprise owned and operated by the Arkansas Waltons. Jim Walton, one of Sam and Helen's spawn, bought the old Bank of Bentonville (Arkansas), changed its name to Arvest, and commenced buying small banks all over the Ozarks and placing them under the Arvest banner. Over the past twenty years Arvest has spread like liver cancer and extends across the Missouri-Arkansas Ozarks and as far south as Little Rock and north to Kansas City. It is quickly eating its way into becoming a major banking corporation, one that will rival the big boys like Chase and the unpleasant Bank of America.
I do my banking with Arvest, something which may seem odd considering my antipathy to Walmart. I didn't join forces with Jim Walton's bank voluntarily - my business was "acquired" when Arvest purchased the State Bank of Noel (Missouri), the institution where I had banked my entire life. History aside, I would have again severed ties with the Walton family if not for the fact that the staff at the Noel Arvest was so darned personable and nice. When I retired to West Plains last year, Arvest had just opened a branch here - not far from my little farm. And wouldn't you know it, the staff at the West Plains Arvest turned out to be extraordinarily nice (and helpful) also!
So I guess I am stuck doing some business with the Walton family.
Yesterday Rosie and I went to the drive-thru at our local Arvest. Rosie loves going there because the nice tellers always give her a dog biscuit. In order to get her treat, I deposited a rebate check from one of my health insurers in the amount of eight dollars and ninety-nine cents. After that business was concluded, the teller asked if I would like a hamburger or a hot dog. She said they had a cookout at lunch and had leftovers. Not having had my own lunch yet, I opted for a hamburger - which I consumed as we were driving off.
Thanks, Jim, for the burger and the dog biscuit. Something tells me that the big, smelly camel standing at the gates of Heaven contemplating the eye of a needle just got a fraction of a hair smaller. Sadly, pal, you still have a helluva long way to go.