Saturday, July 25, 2009


While I'm out and about doing errands one of my usual stops is Walmart. Many people criticize their business practices and employing people for minimum wage keeping them under full time hours and not having to provide benefits. This is not what this post is about.

I live in St. Lawrence County which is rather rural, off the beaten path, with individuals tending to be hearty souls who brave very challenging winter weather and then are rewarded with (mostly) amazing summers and the Adirondack mountains in their backyard. There are a few subcultures including old hippies escaping the city life in the fast lane and enjoy hiking and the outdoors. Many of the locals continue to maintain small family dairy farms. Unemployment is staggeringly momentous and many young people leave the area for college and upon graduation choose somewhere else to live due to the lack of jobs. There are a few colleges in the area which at least provides some culture and opportunities. We also have an extraordinary number of prisons. What better place to dump society's miscreants.

As I ramble on here and make my point, we have a large Amish population which most of the local people are used to seeing on a fairly regular basis and are very casual about their presence in the community. Motorists slow their cars down not so much to gawk but to give them a little extra safe distance to steer their horse and buggy down the road. For awhile they were patronizing a little convenience store a few miles away and the owner of the store asked them to shovel the horse droppings while parked in the lot. Apparently a misunderstanding developed and the poops were not picked up so the owner banned them from his parking lot. It made the local newspaper. I think alot of people thought the Amish should pick up their horses's crap.

Since I am a regular but guilty patron of the big box store known as Walmart the first time I observed the Amish in Walmart I was a bit taken aback. What could they possibly be buying? Let's face it most everything in the store reeks of consumerism and plastic which seems counter to their basic beliefs of rejecting modern society.Although curious, I kept a respectful casual distance, not making direct eye contact. There was a teenage Amish boy wearing a straw hat in the greeting card section checking out the wrapping paper and bows. What occasion could possibly warrant his interest? They don't observe any "English" holidays I am aware of so who knows what that's about until a little while later I encountered an older Amish women whose age I could not discern because her bonnet shielded most of her face and she was in the aisle looking at pain relievers, Tylenol and Motrin. So was I. I need my Tylenol Arthritis to keep some of my aches and pains at bay as needed. She did not seem unfamiliar with the products and knew what she was doing so I guess Amish people medicate with over the counter medicine.

I wonder if they scoop their horse's poop out of the parking lot while visiting Walmart or if some young kid who chases the shopping carts has to go out there with a shovel and perform the task? I bet the young kids who take turns out in the parking lot fight over whose turn it is to remove the equine droppings?

1 comment:

Madame DeFarge said...

Fascinating insight into where you live. It sounds a wonderfully eclectic mix.