Saturday, March 04, 2006

There's Got To Be A Morning After

Wal-Mart, those loveable builders of cozy little shops that house real, honest-to-goodness Mom-'n-Pop-style pharmacies (if your Mom and Pop were the sort whose idea of birth control was an aspirin held between the knees, that is) have announced an interesting reversal of their emergency contraception ban.

They're now going to sell it (bolds mine):

The announcement comes after Massachusetts last month ordered the world's largest retailer to stock the so-called Plan B pill, following a lawsuit by three Boston women against Wal-Mart.

Illinois also requires pharmacies to carry the prescription drug, and those are the only two states where Wal-Mart has so far stocked emergency contraception.

"We expect more states to require us to sell emergency contraceptives in the months ahead," said Ron Chomiuk, vice president of pharmacy for Bentonville, Ark.-based Wal-Mart.

"Because of this, and the fact that this is an FDA-approved product, we feel it is difficult to justify being the country's only major pharmacy chain not selling it," Chomiuk said in a statement.

It's about the money, as always. Still, it's a bit of good news for women who live in areas where Wal-mart is literally the only game in town.

I used to live in such a place, and although I absolutely hated doing it, I bought many a packet of diapers at Wal-Mart after the Publix supermarket, like the used bookstore, the tiny fabric shop, and the vitamin outlet before it, closed its doors and left our little hamlet with nowhere to buy essentials. Nowhere nearby, at least. And when the spate (covey?) of hurricanes sent us into hiding back in 2004 and we were forced to spend an awful lot of time indoors with only enough generator power to run the refrigerator, a handful of lights, and the DVD player, Wal-Mart was the go-to place for the family-friendly-yet-still-tolerable-by-adults Mike Meyers movies that got us through.

Weird, isn't it: just when you think the Almighty Dollar has hammered its last nail into the lid of optimism's coffin, it turns around and redeems itself, if only ever so slightly. I keep hearing Wall Street's Gordon Gecko: Greed is good....greed is good.


  1. one of my finer memories is when i lived in brussels for 15 months. i would spend my afternoons, having coffee with friends, while strolling home i would stop at the various stores/stalls/carts (each one an independant specialty) to purchase the needed items for dinner (with or without company). each vendor knew his stuff and would often hail me from a distance because something was exceptional. the wine guy knew what the other guys had and would gently steer my selection, sometimes not so gently, sometimes he'd just tell me what i wanted. most of the time he was spot on. or the butcher would, upon seeing me enter, say, "you must try these. . ." it was so much more than mere shopping. i miss that. i fear it's gone forever. i still haunt the farmer's market (sometimes i even sell my chocolate truffles), but even that is becoming more corporate and faceless and less mom and pop. but much as i hate the whole wal-martification, i can't see spending the extra bucks for a lot of the stuff they sell. if the marketplace forces them to make a moral decision, fine. i have been expecting a christian scientist to graduate pharmacy college and then refuse to fill anything. i don't subscribe to "doing the right thing for the wrong reasons" at all. if you're doing the right thing, cool. the example i use is when i quit smoking in the house. it wasn't because i cared about those who lived with me. it was because i had some expensive paintings. the bottom line was, my kids lived in a healthier house.

  2. I agree with you about the right-things-for-the-wrong-reason philosophy. We all beat ourselves up so much--and for things that we often can't control--over whether we did something with noble intentions or simply because it made sense (or was convenient, cheaper, etc.) I shopped at Wal-Mart sometimes because, truth be told, there wasn't anywhere else that didn't require an hour-long drive. And as a mother of three, convenience can be a very bright flame to an exhausted, time-crunched moth(er).

    That said, I try to support small, independent shops as much as possible. Small bookstores, one-shop coffee houses as opposed to Starbucks, that sort of thing. I don't think Florida will ever have the idyllic European market sensibility you describe (I wish), but there is a definite trend, in some areas anyway, toward village-style master planning with living spaces built over street-side shops, nice landscaping, and everything being within walking distance so people use their cars a lot less and interact with each other a lot more.

    Of course, the prevailing mentality here is to rip out all the trees, splatter a huge development of poorly-built cookie-cutter houses all over the place, and line the main drag with superstores like Wal-Mart. It's encouraging to see communities come together to fight the construction of yet another Wal-Mart--that says a lot about people's awareness, as well as their appreciation for independent, Mom-&-Pop businesses. And that gives me hope (hey, I'll take hope whenever I can find a shred of it to cling to).

  3. Thanks Brit - excellent post - I left a heavy-duty comment over at ShakesSis.

  4. Thanks, Blogenfreude. I appreciate your trekking over here to comment!

    Hope your weekend is going extraordinarily well.


  5. don't let the trolls chase you luv. rather than rational thought and argument, you might take a more outrageous or silly tack. i prefer to go flying spaghetti monster with creationists because the fact that they're creationists means facts won't touch them.

    with the rape defenders, it's hard. without being a rape victim they can't know what's really at stake. being a rape victim, you can't wish it on anyone else, even those vile shitheads. so there we are.

    your voice is needed out in this wilderness. there are poems to discuss, recipes to share, giants (only the dysfunctionally rational call them windmills) to fight.

    lick your wounds and come back when they've scabbed over.

    speaking of poems, here's one of my favorites, i'm sure you know it. it says better than i ever could why i became a musician before i sold out of course.

    Dylan Thomas

    In My Craft or Sullen Art

    In my craft or sullen art
    Exercised in the still night
    When only the moon rages
    And the lovers lie abed
    With all their griefs in their arms,
    I labour by singing light
    Not for ambition or bread
    Or the strut and trade of charms
    On the ivory stages
    But for the common wages
    Of their most secret heart.
    Not for the proud man apart
    From the raging moon I write
    On these spindrift pages
    Nor for the towering dead
    With their nightingales and psalms
    But for the lovers, their arms
    Round the griefs of the ages,
    Who pay no praise or wages
    Nor heed my craft or art.

    have a better day. . .hug your kids, kiss your husband, love yourself.

  6. Thank you for that unspeakably beautiful poem, Stephen. Thomas is another favorite.

    You're right, I have been feeling really down, what with all the swirling and sad memories--mine, and those of everyone who, in good faith, contributed stories and thoughts in an effort to make some sense of things.

    I'm not relgious, only spiritual in a nebulous sort of way. For example, I hear Mozart and think, okay, I guess there is a God. Somewhere.

    You've reminded me that art is all the evidence we need of that God, or god, whomever he or she is. Wherever he or she may be.