Friday, June 29, 2007

Of Walmarts, SOBX and necessity

My daughter who lives in Reston, Virginia tells me that Walmarts in that part of the country are not very nice.

In her college years at Sweet Briar, she and her friends considered the Lynchburg, Virginia Walmart one of the cleaner spots to shop.

On the Crystal Coast of North Carolina, often known as the Southern Outer Banks, Walmart is a necessity whether you are furnish a new house or picking up things for your boat.

Traveling to shop has been a way of life in remote coastal areas is nothing new.

We were shopping for both the boat and house recently. We spent a couple of hours in the Morehead City Walmart. I found everything I wanted except a boat anchor, and I think they were just out of them since I got the anchor line and chains. The store was clean and bright.

There are things that Walmart does not carry so later I still stopped by one of our local hardwares where I do most of our shopping anyway. I needed some lag bolts.

It looks like we might be getting a Walmart in Cedar Point to go along with our new Lowe's Home Improvement Store in Cape Carteret. I suspect the damage to local business will be minimal since both have been available within fifteen to twenty minutes driving for a long time.

I can only take Walmart in mid-week and only about once a quarter. My contact lens solution was $2 a bottle cheaper, and I do not even want to think how much cheaper the anchor line and ropes were than if I had bought them at one of the specialty boating dealers who get plenty of my money anyway.

I think good local businesses can survive the competition from Lowe's and Walmart, they just need to specialize in quality products and maintain high levels of service.

I'll go to a local hardware store anytime over Lowe's. Recently I was pleased to find a local Ace Hardware that carried Echo trimmers. Lowe's doesn't carry them or the freshly roasted Methodist peanuts that all of our local hardwares have on their front counters. An Echo trimmer is the only kind I will use.

The challenge with Walmart is that we didn't have anything local to compete with it anyway.

Still when I am walking across the giant Walmart parking lot, I can only think about how nice a boat ride would be or maybe a walk on the beach.

The Southern Outer Banks are no Reston when it comes to shopping, and it is going to be a long time before we get much beyond Walgreen's, Lowe's, and Walmart.

In the Emerald Isle-Cedar Point-Cape Carteret area, we do not have a single chain restaurant beyond a few fast food ones. That's just fine with me, the restaurants and services we have are just about right for someone who doesn't like to shop anyway.

I figure 17 miles is about as close as I want to be to a Best Buy anyway. Anything for my photography addiction can't even be found in Reston so there is little hope ever for it here on the coast.

I think we might even escape the iPhone hype which is good since a bunch of them would screw up my new AIBRS.

Friday, June 08, 2007

The steam is here

The first days of June have exceeded expectations for heat.

I checked temperatures for Northern Virginia on June 8.

The high temperature was 97 degrees Fahrenheit.

Fortunately I am not in the land of suits but on the Carolina coast.

I managed to jump in the pool slightly after 7 am. The air was already warm on the walk over to the pool.

By the time I drove from Cape Carteret to Emerald Isle, the temperature was already over 80.

We were lucky it did not get much hotter during the day. I am thankful for sea breezes off an ocean that has yet to reach its summer maximum temperatures.

The water temperatures of around 75 degrees and the breezes they generate help to cool us down nicely in the evenings.

The best way to tell that summer is really here is when I get out of the air conditioned car and my glasses immediately fog up. It also happens to my cameras.

The fogging of the sun glasses happened this morning, and the camera fogged up tonight, so it should be official that summer and its steam are here.

It is a good thing that my blood has thinned. Well the weather is great for growing tomatoes.