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$4.95 (and where does it go?)

updated mon 24 jul 06


Lili Krakowski on sun 23 jul 06

There is an economic theory, that it does not matter WHO has the money, it
matters how much money is in circulation. I do not know who invented this,
but it sure does apply to this discussion...even if some are "disgusted".

Someone earns $240 a week...basically minimum wage. And, ignoring taxes,
$100 goes for rent, and $10 for utilities and $30 for gas (petrol to Brits).
So $100 remains. $30 of that goes to pay off dentist, or optician, or like
that. A whopping $70 remains for food, clothing, toiletries, laundry etc.

Now,according to some,this poor person is supposed to count pennies in order
better to support American Crafts. She sits there and ponders: "I need a
present for Thelma's wedding, and Pier One, or Wal-Mart, or Ikea has these
lovely items for $4.95
so I can buy a 'honeymoon set' for $11 (taxes, always taxes) Or I can
spend $50 buying same item from A Famous ClayArt Potter Who Won a Ribbon In
the Biggest Bestest Art Show? Why do I need to eat this week, anyway?"

Right! NOT buying at Wal-Mart is a luxury, my dears, few people can
afford! And Wal-Mart does a lot more to support the local economies than
ClayArt claims to believe. Because the farmers, mechanics, the people who
pump gas, and pave the streets, wait table at the diners, cut hair,
baby-sit, and mop the floors at schools and hospitals DEPEND on Wal-Mart,
Dollar Stores, etc. And when I go to the local stores for pliers, or shoes,
or whatever--most are made in China, and what is not made in China comes
from India, or Macao (which MrK keeps telling me where it is, and I keep
forgetting) In other words, what the local stores sell ALSO is made in

Sure. If the kids wanted to go out on the lake one could buy an
Adirondack Canoe. But reality is,that a plastic
one made Heaven knows where is what one can afford. Would you really have
normal, average people sacrifice their children's summers (so short, so
fleeting--both childhood AND summers) while they are saving for a genuine,
handcrafted Adirondack canoe?

If you want to support the local economy, barter! Yup. A face cord of
dried stove wood for You Name the Pot. That supports the local economy fair
and square. But this criticism of Wal-Mart, and the suggestion that I am
disgusting (which I do not quarrel with, by any means, but not for
WalMartian reasons) because I shop at Wal-Mart all the time...really. Am I
not entitled to spend my money as I choose? Is that not a basic liberty?
And who is anyone to suggest that saving money by buying a tzatske
at Wal-Mart means one does not spend the saving on a museum membership or
give it to charity?

Furthermore: there are people like me on Clayart who remember not being able
to afford more than two pairs of socks and two pairs of underpants at a
time, because of cost. And wearing damp socks and underpants in winter
because the unheated room did not allow them to dry fast enough.....And
people like that DELIGHT in the cheap and affordable--be it thrift shops, be
it Wal-Mart--that make it possible for the poor to have certain decencies.

I could not find a place in this rant for "elitist", "snobbish",
"contemptuous". But this rant cannot leave without them. Please sprinkle
them liberally.....

Lili Krakowski
Be of good courage