The Icky Side Of Miles

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The miles game is a wondrous thing.

Travel for nearly free, by leveraging (dangerous/predatory) credit card sign up bonuses, and improve your credit score in the bargain…

You had me at “free travel.”

But full disclosure:   it’s not all sunshine and lollipops. Nothing is without cost.

One of the most distasteful aspects of this pursuit is the fact that in order to play it, one frequently becomes well acquainted with Walmart.

At the risk of sounding classist, prior to beginning to play the miles game, I had never set foot in a Walmart store.

I’d heard about its misery. But had never experienced it for myself.

Some fun facts about Walmart:

1. The Walton family enjoys as much wealth as the bottom 41.5% of all Americans.

walton-sam0001Everyman in Truckers Hat

2. The average Walmart employee makes $8.81 an hour.

3. Prior to the affordable care act, Walmart did not offer its employees any realistic chance at health insurance.  Pawning off this expense to taxpayers.

4. It is estimated that Walmart sales alone constitute 11% of the US trade deficit with China.

I’d like to say that my negative view of Walmart is the result of all these negative sociopolitical factors.

But the fact is, going to Walmart is palpably and demonstrably miserable.

From the smell of synthetic subway bread that greets you as you walk in, to the fluorescent lighting, to the cheap displays, to the average Walmart worker who appears miserable doing his or her job (I wonder why), the place just gives off the stench of human misery.

And yet, I now go there three or four times a month now to load up my trusty Bluebird and GoBank cards.

I console myself by telling myself that Walmart makes no money off of my transactions. But I must admit that some part of me just feels dirty doing any sort of business in Walmart at all.

If only Powells Books allowed you to reload bluebird cards.

Life is good, but it’s not that good.

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