Bizarro is brought to you today by Bark Vadar.
This cartoon combines one of my most hated activities with one of my most cherished ones; I hate franchise shopping––which in most parts of the corporate utopia that is 21st-century America is all that is left––and I love hallucinogenic journeys of self discovery.
It is true that gigantic, franchise stores are very convenient. They have everything you want and need under one roof and the prices are lower. But they steal your soul and enslave your community. Once you’ve got a Walmart in your town, you are doomed to a bleak future of mind control and blind obedience. It is the proverbial “Deal with the Devil.” Here’s how it works:
Because they are huge, buy in bulk, pay their employees very little, and know god personally, they easily run all the small family-owned stores out of business. They simply can’t compete. These recently unemployed shopkeepers and their employees are then forced to find new jobs. But with their resume, the only place hiring within a fifty-mile radius is Walmart. Congratulations. And because they now make precious little money and have no benefits, they can only afford to shop at Walmart, which only makes the leviathan stronger and better able to conquer the next town down the highway. It’s like having your village burned down by Vikings and being taken back to Norway to serve as their slave, contributing to their economy and helping them prepare for their next barbarous assault.
One of the things I love about NYC is that they have not allowed Walmart to roost here. You have to cross the river to New Jersey or travel out to Long Island to find one of these eyesores. New York is a city where small, family-owned shops outnumber franchise stores by a thousand to one (probably). Still, it pains me every time I see a Target or Old Navy open up somewhere here. Eventually, this place will look like the rest of America, too. It’s inevitable.
But this is the homogenization that comes from a free economy. If I could magically drop you into a shopping area in any city in the U.S., you would have no way of telling what city or state you are in. Gap, Appleby’s, Lowes, Bed Bath & Beyond, Target, Sears, over and over and over again as far as the eye can see in every direction. Are you in Minneapolis or Baton Rouge? Seattle or Tallahassee? No way to tell.
Hallucinogenic journeys of self discovery, on the other hand, are always unique. For now, at least. If Walmart can find a way to take control of that market, you can bet they will.