As I have noted before, I do a good bit of shopping at the Evil Empire. Not proud of that fact especially, but you can often get things a bit cheaper there. I annoys me that a good bit of the stuff there is Red Chinese junk and I am just not convinced that they are very ethical with their labor practices. If you remember, a few short years back, they were caught using a illegal alien contractors to do some cleaning/maintenance work. Did corporate know about it? My guess would be yes.
Now lately I have been doing some grocery shopping at a couple of national and one regional chain. I like an aesthetically pleasing environment when shopping and these stores fill the bill. Until very recently you could count on paying just a bit more for most items then at the Empire and thus I chose to do most shopping in the den of evil. Lately though I have noticed that if one looks around and uses the "customer cards" that two of three of these chains offer, then one pays near the same and indeed in some cases a bit less than comparable items at the Empire. They are still higher on many items of course but if one is discriminating the check out price should be not that much different. Combine that with "pretty" stores, good merchandise and less clutter I will chose to shop more often at these competing chains. One thing the Empire is not is aesthetically pleasing. Cluttered and junky most of them I have noticed. Perhaps inflation is starting to take its toll on the Empire and the others are trying to match prices. Plus, and this is the crux of the matter, I have recently fallen in love with Sushi (I used to call it bait) and I have never seen one of the Empire's outlets offer this for sale. Come to think of it I have never seen hummus for sale at the Empire either. On a sad note though I did notice some Red Chinese crawfish and shrimp for sale at one of the more upscale chain stores. That saddens me.
While on he subject, I have noticed that one can get many comparable items at various "dollar stores" with prices very close to those at the Empire. Pretty quick in and out at these small outlets and they are pretty conveniently located and very price competitive. I like that.
It looks like the Empire may have a problem. Sam Walton might be rolling over in his grave.