So, my vacation was more stressful than I'd hoped. In fact, getting back to work proved to be less stressful. I spent a few hours in the office on Monday then hopped a plane to Bentonville. It was a trip full of political landmines but it was a good trip well worth the time and effort.
A Bentonville trip is always an unusual one. One one hand, every person you meet is wonderfully kind and friendly. Everyone is smiling and there is no traffic and God knows the eats are good. It's all so quaint and kind and even Jesus seems to love Bentonville. A "Traveller's Prayer" card is left on your pillow each night. Local commercials remind you to remember the true meaning of Christmas with a Bible quote. There are three humongous crosses standing in front of a church on the highway near your hotel. They are intimidating to say the least. They are the perfect symbols to remind you just where you are.
You meet your co-workers in the lobby of your hotel each morning and inevitably run into several other people you know because if you're in manufacturing, you're in Bentonville. I find that being in Bentonville means being lulled into the safe, warm, strong arms of Walmart. Then, just as you're beginning to relax into those fabulous arms, something happens that snaps you back into reality. You suddenly remember that the place holds so much influence and power that it's scary.
It's a very conflicting experience. We all know about the Bully of Bentonville but the people I deal with just don't seem to be those bullies. They are very nice and patient and great to work with. Still, I don't shop at Walmart. On a personal level I'm against many of their business practices. However, because my job is completely dependant on American consumerism I am inextricably tied with and dependent upon Walmart. I'm a hypocrite and I hate it.