Now that the temperature has soared above 40 degrees here in northern Florida, I'm hoping to spend less of my winter vacation in Wal-Mart.

I've always looked at the Wal-Mart where I live on Cape Cod as just a store the Wal-Marts in Florida, the kind that have risen like churches on main routes, are surreal.

To begin with, many stores are open 24 hours/day. (But beware, if you're expecting to use the pharmacy, optician, portrait studio, or auto care center, you'll be much more restricted.)

This means that you could pretty much do everything at Wal-Mart. First, take the car for an oil change. Then, enter the main part of the store in time for your beauty parlor appointment. Plan to drop off your prescription while you have your portrait done. Then it's on to your banking, followed by your eye appointment. By now, it's past time for lunch, so head right into the Blimpie Xpress (in the U.S. of Wal-Mart you can gain another size fast).

After lunch, it's time to check the Gift Registry (now that everyone has been laid off, Wal-Mart has replaced the Pottery Barn as the place to register) to see what your friend has selected and nearby you can have your watch battery replaced.

Keep your eye on the clock, the kids will be home soon and your still have to buy the craft supplies for the school fundraiser, cards for Valentine's Day, and a few articles of clothing. Last, of course, you will do all your grocery shopping and pick up flowers.

Think you missed anything? It isn't exercise; you've walked two miles criss-crossing the store.

Most of what we're hearing and reading these days is about the desperate need to stimulate the economy. It seems that if consumers don't start consuming again that the whole economy will collapse. As you walk out the door of Wal-Mart (having saved a phenomenal amount of money shopping there), turn around and look behind you.

Can we possibly need all this stuff?


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