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Monday, October 15, 2012

"Wal-Mart Moms"

I first heard the term “Wal-Mart Moms” last week, when a commentator was talking about both political parties in the U.S.A. courting their vote. As an American who lives abroad, when I heard the term, all I could think was how wonderful it would be to be a Wal-Mart Mom! (If you prefer another store, it’s okay with me. You’ll understand what I mean as you read more.)

In most of the world, the closest thing to Wal-Mart is decidedly not anything close to a Wal-Mart. We have some supermarkets that are nice. No doubt about that. But there is nothing that compares with the variety, convenience, and prices you find in this most normal of U.S. stores.

I have so many memories!

We came to live in Europe almost thirty years ago. At that time, children’s clothes here were very expensive—and beautiful, I might add. A little girl’s dress would cost several hundred dollars. (It was hand-smocked and long.) Most little girls here had one or two such dresses. After one of our five-year missionary terms, our daughter had grown a lot and was down to one or two dresses (not bought here) that were more than a little worse for wear. We were making our first trip to Wal-Mart, and I was buying other necessities like underwear and socks, exclaiming too loudly about the low prices, the variety, etc. Our daughter was extremely embarrassed! For her sake, I tried to contain my excitement. I think we also bought her a couple of Sunday dresses, one with a matching jacket. It was unbelievable to be able to fill a shopping cart with quality clothing for such a price.

Another wonder at Wal-Mart was ready-made curtains. Terrific! If you know the size you need, all you need to do is pick up the right package.

Such variety! T-shirts in six different colors and two different necklines! A whole section of men’s socks! Underwear of every description, size, and fabric! Things for the home: picture frames for a dollar, plastic storage for the kitchen, candles, pillows, sheets, lamps, etc., etc.

For you who live in the U.S., it might sound like my ravings are nutty in the extreme. But, you have no idea how hard it is to find the most basic things, especially in the size you need them, somewhere else in the world.

Simple home furnishings like candles cost several times more here, and the scent isn’t nearly as strong. Picture frames, too—more expensive, although today you can actually find something comparable. Plastic containers for the kitchen: you can buy a package of them for very little at Wal-Mart. Here, one container costs the same as the whole set.

Something must be said for the friendliness factor. When you enter a Wal-Mart, a cheery person says, “Good morning” or “Welcome to Wal-Mart.” I don’t think I ever got welcomed here to anyplace! I remember once wishing my Wal-Mart checkout lady a good day, and she replied with a huge smile, “Thank you. The Good Lord’s just been blessing me!” I was blown away! I almost cried. Here, almost no one even knows the Lord, let alone openly talks about Him to others. She blessed my day.

So, the next time you see a truly crazy Wal-Mart Mom, think. She just might be someone who lives abroad and hasn’t been home in a while!


  1. It would be fun to walk behind you on your first Wal-Mart trip after a furlough. :-)

  2. You might be embarrassed at me, too! But, I am sure we'd have great laughs and wonderful fellowship!

  3. Next time I'm in Wal-mart, which will probably be tomorrow (I go several times a week usually), I will think of you and wish you could be here with me - stocking up on all those useful items you can only seem to find at Wal-mart. I enjoyed reading this (:


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