Well, here';s a big pile of junk lying on my suitcase. I am leaving on Wednesday and I have too much to pack. Giant afghan squares and 6+ flapper hats notwithstanding. 10 points if you see Gangle.
So tonight I watched the documentary "Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Prices". It's easy to find this for free online, so if you haven't seen it, I'd suggest doing so. I've heard a lot about it and I'm actually annoyed at myself for not seeking it out sooner.
I got more and more furious watching it - its methods of destroying the towns it sets up in, driving other businesses to close, its ruthless policies on just about EVERYTHING you can think of. Sexist, racist behaviour, encouraging its employees to go on welfare because they don't provide affordable health insurance for them, not offering overtime but making their employees work stupid hours... I could go on and on. I was BRISTLING. Encouraging their employees to donate a portion of their paycheck to an "emergency fund" to help other employees - which they DO, to the tune of millions - meanwhile the owners of the company are millionaires and only donate their money to support the political campaigns of other rich bastards who will keep the system running in their favour - it's horrible. There is too much to outline, really. Watch it.
The thing that made me the most sick is that, while touring, we go to Wal-Mart ALL THE TIME. At 3 AM, driving out of a city, that's what tons of bands do. They go on a Wal-Mart "run". To stock up the bus with cheap food and supplies. I mean, fuck: I've put on my slippers and track pants gleefully, relieved that there's a Wal-Mart so I can grab a few things along with the guys. It's hard to find time, or shops, when you're in a small town in a remote neighborhood with time constraints. I KNOW Wal-Mart is evil, but I have literally SKIPPED HAPPILY into one of their giant superstores (thank god we weren't attacked - watch the documentary for more on that hideousness). I've always wanted to boycott using a Hilton or Hilton affiliate hotel while on the road, but it isn't practical. Not only do you have to make do with what's there and what's cheap, but when you're touring with eight other people, not everyone is going to give a shit, even if you do. And thus, Wal-Mart shopping becomes a weekly event on tour. And we give them hundreds of dollars.
God, I wish there was something I could do. It's pathetic. I don't want to be part of the problem, but a lot of times there is no alternative, and I think a lot of people fall victim to this and go with the flow because there is nothing else they can do. I mean shit. Even in Toronto, if you want a good selection of cheap yarn, you basically have to go to Wal-Mart. I know I will shop there again, and I hate knowing that. But I can just imagine trying to tell the guys, and our tour manager Jack, that we shouldn't shop there. It wouldn't make SENSE in that situation to try to boycott going there. The band needs food and supplies. Where the hell else are we going to get them on the road? At a gas station?
By the way, in the documentary I noticed that Guelph, Ontario, is one of the cities that has successfully fought against having a Wal-Mart set up in the city. I didn't know that.