People who shop at stores like Wal-mart aren't evil or wrong. They aren't contributing to the death of their small-town life. They are simply rewarding Wal-Mart for being the most efficient and effective retailer of certain merchandise. That's called capitalism, and it's supposedly the American way. Basically, the fight against Wal-Mart is a fight which cannot be won because it is a fight against a fundamental shift in how Americans shop and view their responsibilities as consumers and citizens. We don't eat at Joe's Corner Diner or the local Italian eatery anymore; we eat at McDonald's or Pizza Hut. We want conformity. We want to know that the food we eat will taste the same no matter where we eat it. Similarly, there is a feeling of comfort when you walk into a "different" Wal-Mart and it has the same products in the same location as your own local Wal-Mart. Big merchandisers, with large advertising budgets and distribution centers, can make sure that we all have access to the same products at the same time and the same price. Thus, since they can't meet this need as efficiently as the big retailers, the future of small town or local merchants will be entirely dependent on understanding what the big chains can't or won't supply. The future for small stores lies in becoming an alternative to the big stores, not in trying to compete.