Thursday, February 25, 2010

The Walmart Syndrome

I was watching the health care summit this morning. You know the one where the President, the Democrats and the Republicans are sitting down and trying to speak to each other without growling or snapping like rabid dogs.

I started watching it on MSNBC because none of the other local network television stations are carrying it. Apparently Rachel Ray, Dr. Phil and Good Afternoon Arkansas won the sweeps this week. Go figure.

Anyway, when the President was speaking into his microphone and not leaning over to a nearby ear, covering his mouth and trying to converse with his neighbor while someone else who had the floor was speaking, MSNBC coverage was there, in the moment, broadcasting every word. However, when Andrea Mitchell wasn't particularly interested in what a particular speaker had to say, MSNBC would cut the sound, move the video of the featured speaker to the corner of my television screen and Andrea would cut in and introduce someone else who was not a speaker or participant of the health care summit to give his opinion of what was transpiring. His OPINION! As if I was unable to develop an opinion of my own. Well, screw that! I grabbed the remote and started searching... Nothing on network. Voting on C-span (House of Representatives). Jokes and some other form of frivolity on C-span (Senate - yep, our senators hard at work). Not CNBC. Not Bloomberg. Jesus, is MSNBC the only one out of 800 channels carrying this??!!

I have a rule. I will not watch the ultra-conservative, frothing-at-the-mouth, hate and fear mongering Faux News. Is Fox Business the same? I don't know. I've never watched that either. But that was the only channel carrying the health care summit live AND uninterrupted. So, I broke my rule and I watched part of there and until I had to get something else done and turned it off.

No, none of the above has anything to do with the Walmart Syndrome. I promise I'll pull it all together. You'll see.

We used to live in a society where you were innocent until proven guilty. You didn't punish a kid for stealing a cookie before dinner unless he had crumbs in the corner of his mouth. You didn't ground your teenager for knocking over the potted plant until you found potting soil in between the carpet pile. You could walk into a store, browse, shop and make your purchases, go home, put on your new jeans, light the new candles and pour a glass of the nice bottle of wine you just bought. Those were the good old days.

Then things changed...dramatically. Everyone is suspect - browsers and shoppers alike. Signs like "NO LARGE PURSES OR BACKPACKS ALLOWED" assault customers in nearly every store at nearly every entrance. Well, crap! I've always carried a large purse. I have a lot of crap. What are they gonna do? Snatch my purse from arm and toss it outside?

My photo is now archived in every single store in my city, not because they think I'm cute, but because they think I will steal from them. Walmart records every move I make even before I enter their store and can replay video documenting my shopping habits, removing everything from can openers to cereal boxes from the shelves, then replacing it or putting it in my basket or, God forbid, putting it somewhere else that it doesn't belong because I've changed my mind and don't want to take the time to go back and put it where I found it. Sam's Club, another Wally World company, does the other stores even one better. You're considered so freakin' guilty that you get the shake down before you're allowed to leave the store. You can only exit Sam's Club through one door and you must be pronounced "clean" before the doors open and you are free to re-enter society. The only exit is monitored by a stern looking woman donned in a red vest wielding a large yellow highliter. You, the shopper/thief, must stop at the rolling California stop must come to a complete stop or she will grab your basket and stop it for you. Snatching your receipt from your fingers, she begins to scan your basket for items, moving the loaves of bread, bags of chicken wings and boxes of canned goods to make sure there's nothing hidden [read:stolen] underneath, and quickly matching the your basket full of assorted mostly unnecessary crap with the list on your receipt. Your ticket to freedom is your receipt marked with a long wavy, yellow stripe down the middle. Not Guilty.

I think the vast majority of the Republican members of the our Congress have worked for Walmart or Sam's Club at some point in their lives and have been infected with the Walmart Syndrome.

This morning I watched Senator Eric Cantor (R-VA) voice his opposition to allowing the removal of the pre-existing condition clause insurance companies use to deny coverage to people who have previously been treated or are currently ill. His rationale? Americans are cheaters and thieves. He didn't use those words, but that is what he meant. What he said was if the insurance companies weren't "protected" by a pre-existing condition clause, people (meaning us - you and me and our families, friends and neighbors) would not purchase insurance until they were sick, then run out buy insurance to cover the treatment for the illness, then drop their insurance once they were healed or healthy and those poor, poor insurance companies would nearly go broke and the very few honest American insurance policy holders that were left would bear the brunt of the increased cost. We will steal. We will lie. We will cheat and then we will all give each other high-fives because we were shrewd enough to pull off such a great sham. We are Guilty...Guilty...Guilty.

Next thing you know, schools will be putting cameras on all their computers in order to monitor our kids private lives...

No comments: