Should We Boycott Wal-Mart Watermelons?

I just returned home from shopping at the Wal-Mart store off Tascosa Road in Amarillo. Among the items I bought was the above watermelon—price $5.98. Let me say unequivocally that this watermelon was not worth a damn! This is not the first sorry watermelon I bought at the same store. The other one wasn’t worth a damn either. I called the store and complained about this sorry watermelon and they told me to put it in a bag and bring it back to Customer Service. I’m tired. I’ve been dealing with the heat and humidity all day. I’ve been battling the weeds in my yard and garden all day. And, I have other responsibilities. I just drove across town, parked, walked in the heat, shopped, walked back to my car in the heat, load and unloaded a 10 pound watermelon, plus other items—now they want me to put it in a sack, and bring it back, with a receipt.

Let me ask this general question. What is the problem with produce these days? The cantaloupes are sorry, no taste, and you need a knife and fork to eat them because the meat is hard. And, they are not ripe—they are as hard as baseballs. The same goes for other produce especially strawberries that have no taste. Is produce being harvested before it is sufficiently ripened on the vine in order for the truckers to get it to the Wal-Mart stores? If so, why are we consumers paying for produce that is improperly harvested? Why are we paying Sam Walton’s heirs for unripened and tasteless produce because of their corporate harvest-delivery schedules? Don’t we deserve better than this? Of course Wal-Mart knows that when a consumer buys sorry produce that they will likely grumble and then throw it away and not drive miles across town to return a cantaloupe, or strawberries, or watermelon. Especially a watermelon that you don’t know whether it’s ripe until you get it home and cut it.

I grew up in East Texas. My grandfather grew watermelon—big old Black Diamond watermelons. When they were ready to pull we would follow him through the watermelon patch and watch him thump the melons. But he did more. He would take out his pocket knife and cut a triangle plug in the melon and taste it for ripeness. Then he would cut a plug for us. So what is the problem with today’s crop of watermelon growers that they are harvesting unripened produce and shipping it to stores? Are they under pressure to meet some artificial stocking schedule for Wal-Mart and other stores that forces them to harvest produce before it is ripe? Does Wal-Mart have its vendors over a barrel so much so that the Wal-Mart suppliers are taking short-cuts to get the merchandise to Wal-Mart on Wal-Mart’s terms and schedule? Do we need to boycott all Wal-Mart watermelons until we get what we pay for?

My dilemma is returning this sorry watermelon to Wal-Mart or just throwing it in the dumpster. My time, energy and gas are worth something. Why should I add more to the $5.98 price I already paid for this sorry watermelon just to get a refund or a replacement? My time is worth something Wal-Mart. The wear and tear on my car to return this sorry watermelon is also worth something—you Sam Walton heirs. Gas is not free. So do I just curse and throw this sorry watermelon in the dumpster or return it for another possibly, just as sorry watermelon, or a refund. I think Wal-Mart should pay double to any customer who returns a defective product. Why should we go in the hole spending our time, energy, gas, and wear and tear on ourselves and our cars to return something to Wal-Mart for the same price we paid? Wal-Mart is pulling one over on us and we should fight back. So, I say boycott Wal-Mart watermelons. Don’t buy them. Find another fruit to eat for the 4th of July. Boycott Wal-Mart watermelon–let the Walton heirs eat these sorry watermelons.

Copyright 2014 – L. Arthalia Cravin. All rights Reserved. No part of this commentary may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without written permission from the author.

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