Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Newest in the War for Corporate Proliferation...

I visited my aunt the other day, and noticed a notepad on her fridge.

A WAL-MART notepad.

I knew that she shopped at WAL-MART. That is not the surprise. The surprise is the corporate evil that it is spreading.

This particular notepad, which is in French, is called, "Coin gourmand", which literally means "greedy corner".

Along the two sides of the front of the list are 2cm boses with images of various name-brand products, such as Coca-Cola, Oatmeal crip, and Cheez Whiz. At the bottom of each box is written "Quantity _____". There's nothing like paying more for extra advertising, isn't there?

I should backtrack.

Good books from evil sources

For "Christmas", my dad's girlfriends' siblings gave me a total of $45 in gift certificates to Chapters (yay, big box store!)

I found this to be a stupid idea for a present (I would have settled for nothing, really), as I am an university student, and have enough shit to read that I don't have the time or energy to.

Eventually, when I finished bombing my classes (with contributions from the abovementioned dad's girlfriend), I went to this oversized store and looked at what social-environmental books there were.

I settled on a book by the Sierra Club's Watershed Media called "Paper or Plastic" with some sort of subtitle. I also bought "In Praise of Slow" by Carl Honoré, which I haven't started yet.

Anyway, this book "Paper or Plastic" led me to understand that despite drinking my Caffeine-free diet Coke from aluminium cans, which are 100% recyclable, they still require raw aluminium to produce, as there are high consumption rates and only moderate recycling rates. In addition, lots of energy is spent re-processing the aluminium, as well as in the form of fossil fuels to transport the cans of mostly water.

Don't get me started on bottled water.

So anyway, as I gradually finished my stash of canned evildrink (I am not opposed to drinking it from fountains, as this is derived from more concentrated syrup, despite Coke being evil), I switched to No Name grape drink from concentrate and Orange Gatorade.

The problem is, going from drinking a litre or so of sugar-free beverage a day to a litre or so of mostly sugar and water a day (not to mention the Aspartame withdrawal) has caused my body to get really really fucked up.

I am very very tired, nauseated, and some other things. Now I don't know what I'm going to drink. I might have to make my own stuff. Plus I still have this container of sugar-drink mix.

Evil Corporations whoring other Evil Corporations

So anyway, getting back to this WAL-MART shopping list.

Another thing I learned from "Paper or Plastic" is that big chains (of big stores) like WAL-MART require items to be packaged in a particular way such that the goods are difficult to steal from their very large stores.

Very often, this requires the use of unrecyclable plastic blister packs that are many times the size of the product itself, and are hard to open and can cut the consumer with its sharp edges.

Companies that sell products to such large stores are required to bend to the stores' demands, because then want to get into the gigantic market that it entails. This will likely lead to the product line being converted entirely to this type of packaging.

Even when this type of packaging is recyclable, it still requires the municipality (or whatever jurisdiction) to pay to collect the packaging and send it to be down-cycled into materials for a lesser product. (Unlike aluminium, plastic from raw petroleum products cannot be recycled into the same type of plastic). But this just enables such overconsumption.

Companies that don't give a fuck about where their products' packaging ends up are usually rewarded by companies like WAL-MART, such as by featuring them on "Greedy Corner" shopping lists.

These companies are the same ones that spend hundreds of millions of dollars of advertising, and pass the cost on to the consumer. This is why store brands (like No Name) can sell similar products for much much less.

One final bitch
It is a well-established fact that WAL-MART's advertising is misleading. It leads low-income customers to believe that they are getting the best price that they can.

However, WAL-MART will feature one product per aisle, and sell it at a very low price. Many of the other (perhaps more popular) products in that aisle may in fact be much more expensive than at other stores. Even when it does cost less than the same product at a different store, a name-brand version of the same item at a different store would probably cost less.

This is, in part, why WAL-MART and its blind disciples are a bunch of (to borrow a friend's epithet) fuckheads.

- RG>

1 comment:

jason said...

That sugar will fuck you up. Try Crystal Light. Unfortunately it's made by Kraft, ie. Philip Morris. But it's sugar-free, it's tasty, it's got your aspartame, and you can mix it up in nalgene bottles or whatever.

If you make your own drink, you could try using stevia, a super sweet low calorie plant that the anti sugar crowd seems to like. And splenda is staging a comeback too.