Two camping chairs. One candle. One pillow. That’s what we needed.
We were in the town of Rodgers, Arkansas, birthplace of Walmart. Walmart is the largest retailer in the world. Walmart is the biggest private employer in the world. Each week nearly 1/3 of the entire population of the U.S. will visit a Walmart. 90% of US residents live within 15 miles of a Walmart. Walmart is a big deal.
As we’ve begun to learn about the massive amounts of garbage we produce in this country and where it ends up, I think Phil and I both feel that cutting down on what we require is necessary if we are going to take trash issues seriously. So, practically for the consumer, this can mean simply needing less, and buying things second hand. Since there are TONS of camping chairs out there in the world that people don’t need or want anymore, why buy two more?
Our plan was to hit the Saturday morning yardsales of Rodgers.
We found a lot of cool things at the sales too.
But after all that browsing, we didn’t find one of the items we needed. And we had spent our whole morning. Yardsale-ing didn’t prove to be efficient for the things we needed. Perhaps this had something to do with the type of things we were looking for. Maybe it was just bad luck.
But the thing about Walmart is that there isn’t a lot of luck involved – it is pretty reliable. In a 15 min trip to Walmart we found all we needed. In fact, we found overwhelming choice on every item we were interested in (not necessarily a good thing for indecisive people like us).
So what kind of system could we come up with that would make it actually possible for me to connect with two used lawn chairs quickly, easily, and cheaply? Garage sales are hit or miss – they don’t seem all that practical when you have a timeline and a specific goal. Craigslist is the best idea I know of to connect buyers and sellers… but my experience of Craigslist is that it takes a LONG time to find what you want, a long time to contact people, and still involves some risk in quality. None of that happens to me at Walmart. Are spending more time shopping and accepting some lesser quality in our items just some of the things we need to put up with to change our culture of waste? Do we need to change our expectations? Or is there some brilliant system we haven’t come up with yet?