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The Wal-Mart Effect: Expectations

September 11, 2007

The final post in a series on The Wal-Mart Effect.

I was standing in line at Walgreen’s, it was a long line, and I guess a lot of people were sick. My wife had called her doctor because her strep wasn’t going away. It had been a long week and she wanted to be well.

It was 10:00 p.m. and there was a line at Walgreen’s pharmacy. Thankfully my wife had called to check before I went because it seemed that they were a little short handed that night.

That is truly the Wal-Mart effect. The very fact that I was standing in line at all at ten at night shows just how much things have changed because of Wal-Mart. My wife called her doctor and two hours later I had her medicine and this all took place after 7:00 at night.

As I was standing in line several people in front of me were grumbling, they were not happy and in fact as they talked to each other they had some unkind words for Walgreen’s. As I stood there I just thought about what we expect. It was 10:00 at night on a Friday and because there medicine wasn’t ready exactly when they needed it they were not happy.

Twenty years ago if my wife was sick she would have had to wait until the morning, maybe even Monday morning. Instead of that the medicine kicked in and by the morning she was feeling better. That is huge but it has brought a change in expectations.

So, are we Christians or consumers or is it both? As I stood in line I was just thinking how crazy it was that I was even in a line at 10:00 at night. The pharmacy had five people behind the counter working to fill orders. I kid you not, five people, and yet they were apologizing for being short staffed. Some in the crowed were turning into an angry mob all because their medicine wasn’t ready when they expected it to be ready all at 10:00 at night.

I think as believers this can be hard. As people impacted by this new attitude how do we handle situations when a store is short staffed? How do we respond when they don’t seem to have enough check out lines open? Do we respond like Christians or consumers?

I think it is a hard question. Yesterday at lunch the service was slow, the food took forever, what message do I want to send? Did I want the waiter to know I was a consumer, I have expectations or a Christian, and there is more to life than all of this?

What about you, if you had to look at your past experiences which would it be, consumer or Christian?

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