Friday, February 19, 2010

Mama Bean posts links on Friday - February 19, 2010

- Wal-mart is dropping a bunch of name brands, to cut costs, and increase sales of their own Great Value products. At first, it makes sense to streamline and simplify the consumer's life - "Do I really need to decide between 15 different types of toothpaste?" Overall, though, I think the implications could be pretty dire. If smaller stores keep stocking multiple brands, they will incur the greater cost, which must a) be passed onto customers, who will leave, or b) lead to lower profit, if they try to keep their prices competitive (which they can't, because it's freaking Wal-mart.) Stores fail, and people lose their jobs. Meanwhile, as Wal-mart increasingly becomes the only game in town, and is dropping contracts, manufacturers drop employees, and ultimately fail, also. Consumers may be happier in the short-term, and Wal-mart will certainly happily make more money, but basically all this means is a lot more unemployed people. Unless these major brands can do what they've done thus far; find a way to survive. Maintain brand integrity and find new ways to sell their stuff.

- How old were you when you got married? Will age be a consideration when you do get married? Or education, debt-load, career path, etc? Do you think marriage is undersold or oversold by your culture? Your religion? This Catholic blog post discusses the dangers of overselling early marriage (in response to this Wall Street Journal article) by implying it is easy. I liked how he urges us to resist the temptation to teach kids about doing the right thing by overselling it unrealistically. Mostly because he urges us with sarcasm:
And yet, living in an age which seems to believe more than ever in the quick fix, and that if it feels good it must be good, the temptation seems almost overwhelming to tell people that it will all be fun and easy if only they'll do the right thing. Chastity is sexy. Marriage is one big adventure. Having more kids is easier than having just one or two. NFP is a sure thing, and it's romantic and divorce-proofs your marriage too. And please try out our new chocolate fudge diet - it's the fastest way to lose weight.
- Papa Bean is entering a tough profession. I will be charged with building him up, and encouraging him when he goes through times like this. (If I were a pastor, I would struggle with entering a building project, also.)

- I don't love the way conservative Christians organize and categorize gender roles and marriage. On the other hand, I do agree with this summary. I guess because, even if Papa Bean weren't entering the Ministry, I am still charged with building him up and supporting his purpose. And I do need to feel needed. (And vice versa, which may be what this interpretation of marriage is missing; that it is likely both spouses occupy each role, and require the other person's appropriate response.)

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