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They just can’t win…

I’m not passionate enough about my shopping to have a strong opinion, but it sort of seems like Wal-Mart just can’t win. The mass media seems to be full of people grasping for any possible reason to criticize them, and every move they make is grounds for new criticism.

The latest example on my radar is their new line of organic stuff. Apparently they’ve made a committment to increase their inventory of organic products (both food and things like clothing from organically grown cotton).

My reaction was “Cool!  A huge market player is going to be shopping for organic foodstuffs on the global market – that’ll increase the pressure for more farmers to adopt healthy, sustainable practices! And their tradition of competitive pricing will make organic food available to shoppers who simply can’t afford places like Whole Foods Market!”

But what do I see written about this move?  Well, the US organic farmers are pissed because Walmart might buy some of their organic produce from somewhere other than the US. And the general WalMart bashers are certain WalMart is doing this as part of an insidious plan to lower the standards for what is “organic”. Oh, and the monopoly alarmists are concerned that once WalMart supplies organic food, well, there’ll be no further reason for any other stores to exist so they’ll all go belly-up – at which point I suppose WalMart will cackle gleefully, jack their prices through the roof, and start sacrificing virgin babies?  (or is that Microsoft?)

To me, this just seems like people who can’t stand to admit that their favorite enemy has done something right.  Or am I missing something here?

On other fronts…

At work we all got set back by a major system crash – long story involving a major software vendor who pushed an upgrade on us without bothering to mention the upgrade was known to be unstable for groups with more than 200 users.  In all, about 3 days of information (about 4000 patient encounters) were lost and will have to be manually reloaded; there was also a lot of lost productivity because people were fighting with the system instead of seeing patients most of those three days.

At home we proceed forward with our off-beat wedding planning; it turns out that the makers of tungsten carbide rings generally assume that females won’t want their product.  At least, I assume that’s why all the designs have names like “Thor” and only come in size 7 or above.  But we found some pretty rings that seem to be available in smaller sizes, and so that’s another problem solved. I’ve let the house get messy again; need to get back on top of the clutter race even though NaDeCluMo seems to be over now.

School… well, my advisor just returned my paper draft with an email explaining that there’s no fewer than 30 comments on it and “you might find that some of them are rather contradictory depending on when I added them”…  OK, guess I can try to sort it out if he doesn’t want to go back and clear up his contradictions.  I’m trying to screw up the courage to look at the actual document – probably after a good night’s sleep. I tend to get really depressed and discouraged at perfectly reasonable feedback, then have to crawl into my cave, lick my wounds, remind myself that concrit is good for me, and whimper a while before regaining my self-confidence.  Committed to meet with him to review on Tuesday, so that keeps me from going into total shut-down avoidance mode (I hope).

Social – enjoyed the Lights in the Heights on Saturday night.  For those who are not from here, this is a local event based in a part of town where most of the homes are classically Victorian in style – big porches, gingerbread detailing, peaked roofs… the neighborhood residents block off their streets for the evening that they first turn on all their Christmas lights.  People walk the streets checking out all the lights; local musical groups perform from the big old porches, residents invite all their friends for parties… it becomes a big spontaneous street festival in true Houston style.  It’s one of my favorite events of the year – I hang out at the house of a good friend who’s a very talented hostess; I get to go watch


entertain the crowd with their singing, I get to drink spiked eggnog…

Health – was worried I was getting sick Fri/Sat because was exhausted and coughing, but slept 11 hours last night and have been more productive today.  Also remembered that I tend to really need to seek out sunlight this time of year.  When it gets grey and cloudy and the days are so short anyway, I fall into the doldrums and don’t get anything done.  Give me some sunlight and I can get back on my feet again.

Life is good. 


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