I'm thinking the hardware store example may be directed at my post since I brought it up. I may not be that old but I grew up in a small town and used to buy from the small hardware stores. I've found that the big chain hardware stores have much less selection. Many times I have drived to three different ones to find a simple part such as an odd size bolt. The stores today are concerned with selling high profit items, grills, riding mowers, etc. Growing up in the small towns we would buy our lawn mowers from the same store we bought our tractors and keep them for years and were able to go back to those tractor stores and but parts to fix anything we broke or wore out. The big chain stores of today sell disposable items and won't even order the most basic of parts. Its not the fault of Walmart or Home depot though, we are short term thinkers, we want to buy what we want now, don't want to wait to order it, don't want to research it, don't care if it lasts, just go to the store and buy another. The job issue is something I see problematic in the small towns. My father works in a manufacturing job and as products become more complex and factories more automated it takes more skilled labor, instead of sewing the shoes we have to learn how to program the CNC machine to sew the shoe and fix and maintain it. As we continue to shift more and more manufacturing to the other countried their technical levels will increase as they learn how to operate and fix the equipment. What I see happening in my own home town is as the stores close down the employees that were their for 25 years or more loose their returment and are forced to go work at walmart type of stores who force them to work part time to avoid paying any benefits. Soon the small towns become employees and shoppers of walmart and the economy of those towns begins to fail as the employees of the only store are unable to purchase enough products from that store. The small town becomes and import only area where the few poeple on retirement and government support are the only ones with a steady income and young and able to work are forced to relocate leaving empty homes. I don't blame walmart or whomever, its the comsumers at fault. I personaly will try to find products still made in the US myself even if it means I have to pay more or do without. For example I saved up and bought one Arc AAA or a mag lite instead of the 10 for $10 contry comm flashlights because I would rather make a couple sales to American conpanies that just bring in more stuff from China. I'm nat saying anyone is wrong for it, just asking you to think if its worth it to save a $ or 2 here and there. I try to decide if I really need something before buying, justify it and have a place to put it/store it/use it. A good example is my mother in law who feequents the dollar stores and buys all kinds of stuff because its so cheap. She has a house full of dollar store junk and always thinks I'm rich because I can spend $30 on a flashlight, but she has at least 30 $1 items collecting dust and another 30 $1items that will get thrown away and another 30 $1 that will get given away. To try to get back on topic a bit since I've started down the road of being equipped and prepared I started out with the same dollar store syndrome. i would buy a bunch of supplies/gear and put them in the garage. I got so much I was always having to move it around, pile it up, never could find anything when I needed it, breaking it, whatever. Since then I've looked back at all the $ I spent and realized how little I have to show for it and started getting real picky with my stuff. I will research a long time to buy the perfect gear and it all has to fit together, where I store it, how I maintain it, how often i will use it, etc rather than just buying from whatever is available on the shelf at one store. now with that attention to detail my stuff works better and is more organized, things aren't getting broken from being piled up or left in the garage floor and I know where something is when I need it. Thats my point of the whole walmart exmaple.