Saved $16 but feeling a little guilty - Mothering Forums

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Old 07-27-2007, 08:23 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I don't typically shop at Walmart, infact today was the first time I have been in one in many years.

We have recently cut a good part of our income out and are working hard to be more conscience of the ammount of money we spend.

Walmart has all their school supplies on sale right now, and while my kids are only preschoolers and don't need actual school supplies, we still use lots of art supplies at home.

Crayola washable markers were on sale for 78 cents a pack. Elmers glue was on sale for 17 cents. Craoyola colored pencils were also 78 cents. Crayola crayons, the 24 pack, were only 20 cents each.

We use a lot of these things during the year...and typically pay at least $3.00 for each pack or markers or colored pencils, and at least 75 cents or a dollar for each thing of glue. Crayons are typically a 1.50 or more.

I checked Target and a few other stores to see how their sales were, and they were at least 50% higher if not more or each item.

So I went to Walmart, and I bought $22.00 worth of art supplies for only $5.50.

I won't have to buy more of these items for at least a year, and I feel good ammount saving my family $16 or so.

But, I hate that I "caved" to the allmighty dollar and shopped at a store whose bussiness practices I don't believe in. I guess I just don't hate it enough to pay 3 or 4 times more money to get the same items elsewhere.

What would you do, or have you done?

ETA: I should include that we have tons of shopping options around us. Walmart is not at all the only place for me to shop. In fact, it is about 10 minutes further than Target, lots of drugstores, office stores etc. Also, for our family, the $16.00 savings was really nice given that we are cutting almost $50,000 from our budget, but not anywhere near determining if we could pay our mortgage, buy food etc. My point is that even though I appreciated the savings, it was still a choice and not really a nesessity for me.
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Old 07-27-2007, 08:33 PM
 
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But, I hate that I "caved" to the allmighty dollar and shopped at a store whose bussiness practices I don't believe in. I guess I just don't hate it enough to pay 3 or 4 times more money to get the same items elsewhere.

What would you do, or have you done? Also, for our family, the $16.00 savings was really nice, but not anywhere near determining if we could pay our mortgage, buy food etc. My point is that even though I appreciated the savings, it was still a choice and not really a nesessity for me.
I think you answered your own questions right there. Sorry Mama, my ethics can't be bought for 50% off.
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Old 07-27-2007, 08:33 PM
 
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I've been trying to really tighten up and be super-frugal, and the Wal-mart thing has indeed crossed my mind. I'm trying to fight it, though. I know I could get basic groceries there for much cheaper than what I pay at Kroger. Whew, and now you bring up school supplies. Yikes. Dd is starting kindergarten this year, and I know I'm going to get a list of what she needs. I know I could get it so much cheaper at Wal-mart. For now I'm sticking to my principles and avoiding it like the plague. The thing with me, though, is that I CAN afford to not shop there. I don't really like Target either, but I'll probably end up buying school supplies there. I totally know where you're coming, though, and it's a tough call.
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Old 07-27-2007, 09:12 PM
 
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Our budget is super tight, so tight that we often get behind on bills, but we don't shop there unless we absolutely have to. I would rather spend the extra couple dollars somewhere else, than contribute to Wal-Mart.
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Old 07-27-2007, 09:24 PM
 
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I know I could get basic groceries there for much cheaper than what I pay at Kroger.
Are their prices really *that* much lower? It seems like some things are cheaper, but some are more expensive, and it doesn't really make a huge difference. But I've never actually gone through and priced out our regular items to the penny.
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Old 07-27-2007, 09:27 PM
 
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Our budget is pretty tight now, but we still won't shop at Walmart. For one thing, they really aren't any cheaper than other stores (in my personal experience). Another thing is there just aren't a whole lot of things we really *need*, kwim? We make our own cleaning supplies, use cloth rags/wipes/etc, and just try to all around cut back on what we buy.
I just refuse to shop at Walmart. I will not support them. Period.
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Old 07-27-2007, 09:45 PM
 
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Are their prices really *that* much lower? It seems like some things are cheaper, but some are more expensive, and it doesn't really make a huge difference. But I've never actually gone through and priced out our regular items to the penny.
Yes, many things are *that* much lower (even $1/item adds up when you are buying weeks worth of food. Also, walmart price matches the ads of other stores, so you can get all the stuff in one stop.

I do what I can, but I will shop at walmart when needed.

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Old 07-27-2007, 09:50 PM
 
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I have a hard time with this too. I'm also financially comfortable, but always trying to be smart/responsible (socially and frugally) with my money. We shop at a local farmers market, a community organic Coop, and buy our dairy/meat direct from the local farm. Other than that... where to buy things like crayons? I honestly don't know of ANY store within a 20 minute radius that sells miscellaneous household items that isn't a major chain.

Crayons... would it be preferrable to buy them at Target, CVS, Office Max, Staples, rather than at Walmart? Are any of those stores really any better? Other household... Linens n' Things, Bed Bath & Beyond, Williams Sonoma, Amazon? Unless there were truly a locally owned, locally run business that sold the things I need, it comes down to a discussion of where is the "lesser evil" place to shop, as there are no good options.

Sigh... the problem with Walmart and other major chains is that they put the small mom & pop stores out of business. Now that all the mom & pop stores are gone, where's the socially responsible place to shop?

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Old 07-27-2007, 09:59 PM
 
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I don't play the good mega-company/bad mega-company. I shop indy business whenever possible and keep my trips to the Wal-Marts, Costcos, Sam's Clubs and Targets of the world to a bare minimum.
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Old 07-27-2007, 10:04 PM
 
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I'm with Aven. I have no clue where to shop for household things.
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Old 07-27-2007, 10:06 PM
 
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I don't make enough money to be snobbish about Wal-Mart. It is my experience that they are significantly cheaper, except for groceries. In the case of groceries, they're only a few cents cheaper on most things, so I stay local for that. The only other discount store in this city is Target (well, actually they're in a small city just north of here), it's not very close to me, and I can't afford to burn the gas for the joy of paying more. If it wasn't for Wal-Mart, there's a lot of stuff I just would not be able to buy. Wal-Mart gives greater economic power to those on the lowest economic rungs. When they came to town it made an immediate & very noticeable difference in my mother's budget (she is on a very fixed income). I have no qualms about paying prices I can actually afford. (I never could afford those Mom & Pop stores.)

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Old 07-27-2007, 10:10 PM
 
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Are their prices really *that* much lower? It seems like some things are cheaper, but some are more expensive, and it doesn't really make a huge difference. But I've never actually gone through and priced out our regular items to the penny.

That's a good question, and I DO know that Wal-mart doesn't carry some of the things I buy at Kroger anyway. So, I would have to go to two different stores, and just walking into Wal-mart (or Target, or any other store that has isles and isles of junk) just about gives me an anxiety attack. When, visiting my parents, I have to go to Wal-mart occasionally because it's the only grocery store within an hour and a half. So, I know that the yogurt ds eats is $.30 cheaper, and the pasta sauce I buy is $2.00 cheaper. Those are the only things I've bought there, though.
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Old 07-27-2007, 10:20 PM
 
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For things that I can't get locally, I prefer Target to Walmart. Dh used to work for a diaper making company. Target was the *only* one of hundreds of companies they supplied generic diapers too, who would regularly come check out dh's company to see how many hours people were working and if they were working more than 40 wanted to know why and make sure they were being compensated.

I personally dont' have a problem with a global economy or big businesses. I think they can do good.What I have a problem with is the ones who don't choose to do good. If you speak with people in China, they will beg to keep America's business. Even tho we think (know) we are treating them badly, it's better than their own companies treat them and it forces their own national companies to raise standards.

As for local goods, one can compete if they have products that are unique or better than the chain stores. We buy a lot of things locally or from mom/pop stores online for that reason.
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Old 07-27-2007, 10:40 PM
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You THINK you are getting more economic power. Actually, you, and your whole community, in the long run are getting LESS. Wal Mart has an extremely negative effect on local economies, and for that matter on the national economy if you want to get right down to it. They put everyone else out of business, kill those jobs, and then go back and raise their prices after everyone else has had to close shop. Not really giving you much power when you think about it.

That said, I have found myself in there on occasion because sometimes I can't find it anywhere else.

But most of the time, I have found that I can find the same things elsewhere if I look around at the local hardware store, drugstore, etc. To me it's worth it b/c I always feel sick when I set foot in that place. 99% of the time I would rather go without an item than buy it there.

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I don't make enough money to be snobbish about Wal-Mart. It is my experience that they are significantly cheaper, except for groceries. In the case of groceries, they're only a few cents cheaper on most things, so I stay local for that. The only other discount store in this city is Target (well, actually they're in a small city just north of here), it's not very close to me, and I can't afford to burn the gas for the joy of paying more. If it wasn't for Wal-Mart, there's a lot of stuff I just would not be able to buy. Wal-Mart gives greater economic power to those on the lowest economic rungs. When they came to town it made an immediate & very noticeable difference in my mother's budget (she is on a very fixed income). I have no qualms about paying prices I can actually afford. (I never could afford those Mom & Pop stores.)
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Old 07-27-2007, 10:53 PM
 
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I don't make enough money to be snobbish about Wal-Mart. It is my experience that they are significantly cheaper, except for groceries. In the case of groceries, they're only a few cents cheaper on most things, so I stay local for that. The only other discount store in this city is Target (well, actually they're in a small city just north of here), it's not very close to me, and I can't afford to burn the gas for the joy of paying more. If it wasn't for Wal-Mart, there's a lot of stuff I just would not be able to buy. Wal-Mart gives greater economic power to those on the lowest economic rungs. When they came to town it made an immediate & very noticeable difference in my mother's budget (she is on a very fixed income). I have no qualms about paying prices I can actually afford. (I never could afford those Mom & Pop stores.)
While I understand your situation, I resent that you are referring to ethical boycotts of Walmart as "snobbish". It's not about being a snob, it's about not contributing to a known human rights violating, environmentally exploitative company.
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Old 07-27-2007, 10:59 PM
 
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While I understand your situation, I resent that you are referring to ethical boycotts of Walmart as "snobbish". It's not about being a snob, it's about not contributing to a known human rights violating, environmentally exploitative company.
: I was trying to think of how to say that, but just couldn't get it right.
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Old 07-27-2007, 11:09 PM
 
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I am a huge believer in letting my money speak.

For example, I couldn't boycott Disney if I tried. They own everything.

http://www.cjr.org/resources/

I am not a fan of walmart, but where I live we have little choice. I shop there. I also shop at my farmer's market and the local grocery, but I can't afford to buy all of my groceries there because their markup is insane. I shop at Costco and Safeway, Longs, Kmart, and wherever else I pass on my route home if something is on sale. But Walmart and Costco get the bulk of my money.

I save my boycotting energy for Nike, Adidas, designer clothing and various name brand items.

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Old 07-27-2007, 11:24 PM
 
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The fact that they buy from companies that use slave labour is the only reason I need not to shop there.

I can't stand thinking about poor folks working hard for very little money so I can buy my stuff cheap. These are mothers like us. These are children who work in factories so our children can afford cheap crayons.

If you really want cheap crayons and glue, plan ahead and look for sales or the craft area at thrift shops or garage sales. I run a non profit art studio for our local affordable housing and I get my main supplies from these sources. It just takes some planning, that's all.

Check out this movie when you get a chance.

http://www.walmartmovie.com/
or you can find the whole thing on youtube
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Old 07-27-2007, 11:28 PM
 
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Being that our bills add up to 90% of our monthly income and we're considered poor to begin with, I have no qualms about shopping at Walmart. I wouldn't do it if I didn't have to, but I do have to. We shop at Walmart, CVS Pharmacy, and Giant Foods--in that order, and the other 2 only when we have coupons and lots of them. When we can do better, that is when we have more money, I'll find another place to go. But until then, it's Walmart for me b/c that's literally all we can afford.
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Old 07-27-2007, 11:32 PM
 
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I don't make enough money to be snobbish about Wal-Mart. It is my experience that they are significantly cheaper, except for groceries. In the case of groceries, they're only a few cents cheaper on most things, so I stay local for that. The only other discount store in this city is Target (well, actually they're in a small city just north of here), it's not very close to me, and I can't afford to burn the gas for the joy of paying more. If it wasn't for Wal-Mart, there's a lot of stuff I just would not be able to buy. Wal-Mart gives greater economic power to those on the lowest economic rungs. When they came to town it made an immediate & very noticeable difference in my mother's budget (she is on a very fixed income). I have no qualms about paying prices I can actually afford. (I never could afford those Mom & Pop stores.)
:
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Old 07-27-2007, 11:32 PM
 
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I just finished managing a Fair Trade store. I am on an exceptionally small budget. Probably smaller than most here.

I could go on and on about why Wal-Mart is an abomination, and damning those who shop there but it comes down to this:

My WANT of cheap CRAP does not outweigh the life needs of those who produce those goods. The biggest EXCUSE I see for people who shop at Wal-Mart is the glorious category of "household goods". Screw that, things like toilet paper, laundry soap and scrub brushes are not a life need. They just aren't. Those things can be improvised in one fashion or another and I would rather do that than compromise my morals and shop with the devil.

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Old 07-27-2007, 11:47 PM
 
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I do what I can, but I will freely admit I shop at Walmart. I don't like it.. but the choice is not there for me to just "spend a few extra dollars someplace else."

Those few extra dollars really might be the difference between my children eating or not. Which to me, means shopping there IS a necessity. To the OP it sounds as if it isn't. If I had money to shop elsewhere, or travel elsewhere.. I would.

ETA: and I see I now have compromised morals because I choose to buy toilet paper. Whatever.

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Old 07-27-2007, 11:51 PM
 
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It would be a compromise of my morals if I chose to buy toilet paper at Wal-Mart instead of switching to cloth if it came down to that. It sure as heck would. investigate ALL the harm that Wal-Mart does. All of it. I did, and it bothers me enough to do something.

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Old 07-27-2007, 11:54 PM
 
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While I understand your situation, I resent that you are referring to ethical boycotts of Walmart as "snobbish". It's not about being a snob, it's about not contributing to a known human rights violating, environmentally exploitative company.
Perhaps after a million Walmart threads, those of us who do have to shop there feel a bit defensive about having our morals questioned and being told how we could always just "do without" if we really wanted to.



We get it. Walmart sucks. I've read about it. I've watched the movie. I think they are a big UA. Unfortunately we are poor. We don't have any choice. Not, we have a choice and I'm lazy. We do. not. have. any. choice. How the heck do you think threads that talk about the horrible people who shop there really make us feel anyway? You want us to be respectful and not call what you all do as "snobbish" but the respect doesn't go both ways.

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It would be a compromise of my morals if I chose to buy toilet paper at Wal-Mart instead of switching to cloth if it came down to that. It sure as heck would. investigate ALL the harm that Wal-Mart does. All of it. I did, and it bothers me enough to do something.
Again. Read it, watched it, and I get it. That doesn't change my situation.

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Old 07-27-2007, 11:57 PM
 
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We do not shop at WalMart. I would have to go out of my way by many miles to get near to one for one thing and for two, it is just not worth it. One reason so many are having financial trouble is because in an effort to make everything cheap, we have shopped ourselves right out of jobs and security in the first place. We all decide what is best for us but I agree it is not snobby to make different money and ethics choices.

For me if eating at all means shopping at places I don't like, I suppose I would choose to eat. However, I can live without most other things sold anywhere and I have enough money to make other choices. I see families the same size as mine spend WAY more on conventional processed foods than we do on organics at the co-op all while saying they would eat organic but it is too expensive. That boils down to marketing and habit, not need.

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Old 07-28-2007, 12:15 AM
 
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I don't shop there. I have a bunch of other options where I live though.

When we did our cross country trip two years ago, I discovered what people mean when they say there is no other place to shop. Holy cow! Town of population 3,500 with a super Wal-mart and no other options but the 7-11 the next town over (20 minute drive on the highway) population 7,000 has a Wal mart a Piggly Wiggly and a Best Buy. That's it. So I can no longer say everyone has a choice. Wal-mart took that choice from so many by moving into these small towns and putting all the local shops out of business.

But for me, no way no how. I don't look at their circulars, and I have never been so I can't tell you price wise comparisons. For me it's not so much of a "Well yeah, you can afford it" Which yes I suppose I can. But more of I don't even know what I'm missing or not missing. Normally I price compare and pay the least amount I can for things. I am very budget conscious. I live in a large city and I have so many other options Wal-Mart just doesn't exist for us. But frankly I don't buy that much at big box stores in general.

I started a thread about it that summer, let me see if I can find it. Okay here it is http://www.mothering.com/discussions...d.php?t=307041
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Old 07-28-2007, 12:30 AM
 
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I'll have to watch that later.
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Old 07-28-2007, 12:48 AM
 
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Perhaps after a million Walmart threads, those of us who do have to shop there feel a bit defensive about having our morals questioned and being told how we could always just "do without" if we really wanted to.



We get it. Walmart sucks. I've read about it. I've watched the movie. I think they are a big UA. Unfortunately we are poor. We don't have any choice. Not, we have a choice and I'm lazy. We do. not. have. any. choice. How the heck do you think threads that talk about the horrible people who shop there really make us feel anyway? You want us to be respectful and not call what you all do as "snobbish" but the respect doesn't go both ways.



Again. Read it, watched it, and I get it. That doesn't change my situation.
I don't think you needed to use the eye rolling smilie. It's dissmissive. I didn't question anyones morals. I told the previous poster that I understood her point. I simply challenged the notion that those of us who boycott Walmart are snobbish.
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Old 07-28-2007, 01:18 AM
 
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So, is Kmart just the same?
What about Longs Drugs?
Walgreens?
Safeway?

My question is, is it only Walmart? Everywhere I go, things are made everywhere but the USA.

I know Walmart is an evil empire, but I don't think they are the only one. And we are not like most states that have a whole lot of choices. We are sparsely populated and must drive long distances to get to anything. I don't have a lot of mom and pop stores to choose from. My local market is a chain also, and is a tourist trap.

I am not arguing that Walmart is great, I know they aren't. I'm saying where I live I don't have as many options as I did in a booming metropolis. And I don't know anything about the factories where my Costco merchandise comes from either.

The reality is, I am not going to pay shipping so I can buy from the mainland. I have Walmart, Kmart, Safeway, Costco, Longs, some farmer's markets and fruit stands, and a chain called Malama Markets. It is a 2 hour drive to get to anything, and if it is out of stock, I can't get it for anywhere from 2 months to never.

I'm not a huge fan, but if Walmart has what I need, I will get it there. I'm not happy about it, but I'm running out of options. They say we will have a Target in 2009, but they have been working on a highway improvement project that was supposed to take a few years for something like a decade, so who knows?

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Old 07-28-2007, 01:23 AM
 
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Location: Murrysville, PA
Posts: 8,869
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I try to spread our dollars around to local businesses as well as WM. Some WM spending frees up $ for the local farm market and such.

Now when the nearby Target goes up in the next year or so, we can spread the $ around more, without having to burn gasoline. Maybe DS can get a job and walk even.

"What will you do once you know?"
Meiri is offline  
 
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