Decisions, decisions…

I have a problem. Here is the situation:

  1. Black Friday (the awesome day of sales after Thanksgiving) is coming.
  2. I really, really need a new laptop. (my current one is a ’95 Thinkpad on its very last legs.)
  3. Rumor has it that a certain retailer will be selling awesome laptops for about $400.
  4. That retailer is Wal*Mart.
  5. I hate Wal*Mart with a burning flame of passion. Seriously. Hate Hate Hate Hate.

So now I have to decide what to do. Set foot in the dreaded stronghold of all that is evil in corporate America or continue bitching about the fact that I can’t afford a new laptop. A few things that I have figured out:

Reasons to buy Reasons not to
I need a new laptop.
Apparently these laptops are Wal*Mart’s loss-leader, so I’d be costing the bastards money.
It’d be nice to have a new laptop — yanno, one that booted in less than 10 minutes, ran WindowsXP, and had a USB port.
I’d get Wal*Mart cooties by going in the store.
I’d be tacitly supporting Wal*Mart by purchasing something there.
I can get by without a new laptop.
Shopping on Black Friday is INSANE.

I am having a LOT of trouble deciding what to do. On the one hand, I don’t want to compromise my principles. On the other hand, I really want a new laptop.
Arrrrrgh.

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9 Responses to Decisions, decisions…

  1. fling93 says:

    I think the fact that it would cost them money is the clincher. And I think this post more than offsets the tacit support of the purchase.
    Then again, I don’t believe Wal*Mart is evil. Corporations are single-minded entities with the sole purpose of maximizing profits. The entire concept of morality does not apply to them any more than it applies to a perl script.

  2. Guy says:

    You best be sure it COMES with Windows XP, if that’s what you expect to run on it. At that price, it may be Linux.
    Not that this is a bad thing, but if you want to spend $400 AND run WinXP, you may be in for a surprise.

  3. Antwon says:

    I’m not sure swapping out “evil” for “amoral and decidedly unethical” – “sociopathic” is the closest single word to the mark I can think of – really helps Wal*Mart’s cause any. :-)

  4. fling93 says:

    Demonizing Wal*Mart is an unproductive oversimplification of the situation. It’s a lot like the Katrina situation. You want a bad guy to blame for bad things. Isn’t always that simple.
    In short, it’s unrealistic to expect corporations to act like people. They are not people, weren’t designed to act like people, and thus do not face the same incentives.
    I’ll elaborate further on my blog (easier to cheat on my Nano wordcount that way — I leave way too many comments to make it worthwhile to track them all down).

  5. Ealasaid says:

    Fling – I would say that morality *does* apply to companies because they are capable (through their CEOs/Boards of Directors) of thought. Perl scripts are not.
    And while I don’t expect any company to be a paragon of ethical standards, Wal*Mart goes beyond the pale. They actively wield their immense corporate power for evil. They could use it for good (see Starbucks, which pays incredibly well and gives awesome benefits to its employees), but they don’t.
    As an aside, I don’t see a parallel between Wal*Mart, which actively does bad things, and Katrina, in which numerous people/organizations responded ineffectively to a natural disaster. (And don’t tell me I want a bad guy for Katrina – I haven’t even posted about Katrina much at all and while I think Brownie is a moron, I don’t think he’s to blame for the idiots who didn’t at least try to evacuate.)
    I’m not mad at Wal*Mart because they’re an easy scapegoat for the failure of mom’n’pop businesses; I’m mad at Wal*Mart because they treat their workers and customers like crap, bully their suppliers and local governments, and are generally evil.
    I’ll look forward to your blog post. :)

  6. Rave says:

    I would go. Shopping on Black Friday is insane, but for a new and cheap laptop that would actually be a loss to Wal*Mart I think it’s worth it. Just be aggressive. :o) Besides, once you get it home and it boots up in 27 seconds you’ll soon forget about the Wal*Mart cooties.

  7. Wyrdsister says:

    Hre’s a suggestion: buy the laptop, then set the store on fire. That way you can get what you want on both fronts. :D
    I completely agree with you on the whole WalsMart thing. “Oversimplification” theory, be damned. ;)

  8. fling93 says:

    Got a bit side-tracked last night. One more section to write. Should be up sometime this weekend.

  9. fling93 says:

    Well, I’ve decided to spend more time on research to make it less of a knee-jerk response than my comments.
    But in regards to why Wal*Mart reacts differently then Starbucks, this is because their markets are different. Starbuck’s customer base is much less sensitive to price (inelastic demand) than Wal*Mart’s because they are already paying a high price for a luxury. So they can pass on the higher costs of maintaining a more positive corporate image without losing market share.
    But while I have my own pet theories about the question of corporate behavior, I think I oughtta ground these thoughts with some research rather than misinform anybody. Thanks for your patience.