The Ravenous

In this Christmas season cheery, while out browsing, growing weary, Ent'ring chain and specialty shops with merchandise and products galore, I sought to purchase with my plastic, something utterly

In this Christmas season cheery, while out browsing, growing weary, Ent'ring chain and specialty shops with merchandise and products galore,

I sought to purchase with my plastic, something utterly fantastic,

When suddenly my thoughts went spastic, spastic in my yule-stressed gourd.

"This stuff's full retail," I declared, a drastic gnawing at my core,

"No one pays that anymore."

Ah, distinctly I recall it, dashing from the pricey mall (shit!)

Through the parking lot I hauled it, stopping at my rusty Ford.

Eagerly I wished for savings, wanted merchants rashly shaving

Prices and intently waving, waving me in their front doors,

No less desperate for my traffic than a crack-addicted whore.

(That's poetic metaphor.)

Driving now I sensed an essence, to my right I felt a presence:

Full of malice, oozing goat scent, this was not to be ignored.

A man, from nowhere, did appear, red of flesh, with horns and beard.

Yes, 'twas Satan's loathsome leer o'er by my passenger door.

"For low, low prices," Old Scratch sneered, "You must surely know the score:

Get thee to a Wal-Mart store."

Presently my soul grew weaker (Prince of Darkness? Total freaker).

"Sir," said I, "an alteration of your mandate I implore.

'Course I want to find gifts cheaper, but that place is owned by creeps, sir.

Owned, in fact, by mother(bleep)ers. (Bleep)ers that I do abhor."

His response? "Don't dis my minions." Then, in manner most hardcore:

"Get thee to a Wal-Mart store."

Satan's order sent me flying to the store of volume buying,

And with a spell, the lord of hell, compelled me well through sliding doors.

There before me loomed a fogey, probably pre-dating Bogie,

Could the man be old and logy? Not to go by his loud roar.

His call of insincerity rang throughout the bland décor:

"Welcome to (this) Wal-Mart (store)."

Crazed and anxious swarms of shoppers ("Look! I see a deal on jodhpurs!")

Roved the aisles with carts and baskets, eyes aflame, like troops at war.

Surely, thought I, in upheaval, this retailer's utter evil,

Borders on the medieval, black heart beating at its core.

For a raft of concrete reasons, I this mega-dump deplore.

Wal-Mart pisses me, d'accord?

Unpaid overtime is one sin. Two, their glass ceiling for women.

Three, they use sweatshops in China, getting rich on Asia's poor.

Wal-Mart's known for bait-and-switching — buyer beware of bewitching —

And if you should bother bitching, you'll be swiftly shown the door,

Chased by cries of, "Get out. Stay out. You're unwelcome, 'Michael Moore.'

You've blasphemed a Wal-Mart store."

Mom and Pop shops quickly closing, 'cause they've taken such a hosing

From the biggest big box seller, retail's coldest carnivore.

Use of predatory pricing is the Walton family's icing

And is fatally enticing, bleeding Mom and Pop's cash drawer

'Til it's empty and the future's something too cruel to endure.

That's strike five for Wal-Mart stores.

Number six is how they're sprawling, mauling farmland, so appalling.

Paving over far and farther, ex-ing great from great outdoors.

Backlash from their land denuding? Increased noise and air polluting.

One cannot keep from concluding 'bout this chain of discount stores:

Just in terms of Mother Nature, they've a lot to answer for.

Curse the blight of Wal-Mart's spoor.

Paltry pay for staff employees sparks reactions like "Oy!" and "Jeez!"

Plus they offer health insurance that their workforce can't afford.

Add to that discrimination, spawn of an investigation,

Not to mention litigation brought by persons of colór.

Wait! There's also union busting; one more misdeed to explore.

Haughty, naughty Wal-Mart stores!

Mostly whipping up my choler how they chase my every dollar,

Growing unchecked, with abandon, and in every "categore."

Driving our consumer culture, with the morals of a vulture,

Unrepentant in their stirring up the howls of "Moremoremore,"

Burying in deep, deep doo-doo credit lines and FICO scores,

While on Wall Street their stock soars.

So we stood, the Devil and me — my heart sick; he seeming dandy —

Gazing 'cross the depth and breadth of countless acres of sales floor.

I could hear my conscience screaming, outraged by Arkansan scheming,

It was giving me a reaming, strongly urging a detour.

So to Satan, with defiance, I turned, spoke, said "Hey, señor,

I detest your Wal-Mart stores.

"With their scads of corp'rate failings, I'll not buy nor be availing

To this monolithic monster and their motives so impure.

I will shop with ethics, bucko, leave these aisles unto the schmucks. Oh,

My how this whole chain does suck, though. I can't stand it anymore."

Thus I spun, retraced my steps while Satan's eyes upon me bore.

I to Wal-Mart, quote: "Up yours."

Would Lucifer soon punish me (Did he still work with P&G?)

For offering my great disdain and spurning his top vendor?

Honestly, it hardly mattered. Let him shatter, splatter, batter,

Make me poorer, dumber, fatter, for my choice of Christmas stores —

Stores not out to crush or cripple, with fair conduct at their fore.

Go to Wal-Mart? Nevermore!

CONTACT BOB WOODIWISS: bwoodiwiss(at) His column appears here the last issue of each month. His book, Keys to Uncomfortable Living, a collection of humorous and satirical essays, is in bookstores now.

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