Pinched, some seek bargains at Wal-Mart

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We asked readers if their view of Wal-Mart had changed in the past year, and if they were shopping at the discounter more often amid rising prices for staples.

Here’s a sampling of the responses; some have been edited for length and clarity.

I have to admit that I have been forced to shop at Wal-Mart more than I ever wanted to. Granted I am not exactly "suffering" and I could still "afford" to shop elsewhere, but I feel that my child should have the same life (or better) that I did … I find that when I shop at Wal-Mart I can save nearly one-quarter to one-half of the price that I typically pay at any of the other grocery chains here in town. This savings allows me to buy the basics and also allow "treats" or other nonessential things that my daughter would like. … I often find myself worrying that by spending such a significant amount at Wal-Mart, I am actually doing more for the economy of China than I am doing for the economy of the United States. What is a single father to do?
— D.J. McMenus, Cheyenne, Wyoming

I never shop at Wal-Mart. Their treatment of employees, their desire to make a profit at any cost (and) their involvement in overseas inhumane businesses are so reprehensible that I could never give them even one dollar. No matter how much Wal-Mart promises I will save, the end cost is too high. To save money I shop local markets, small stores and use coupons.
— Edie Madden, Rochester, N.Y.

Yes, my view of Wal-Mart has changed. It continues to get more positive! I see Wal-Mart working hard to keep prices low unlike the energy companies which have tripled the price of gas in the past few years.
— John George, Angwin, Calif.

No. Wal-Mart used to have a huge gap between them and other grocer outlets but Kroger has really narrowed that gap. The savings you get anymore isn't worth the time you spend standing in line.
— TJ House, Centennial, Colo.

The Wal-Mart near me has the best gas prices for the area, so I have been filling up there. It's a little farther to drive, but 15 to 20 cents less a gallon makes it worth it. I don't go into the Wal-Mart store as much. I'm not shopping mindlessly anymore.
— Carolyn Oakes, Pontotoc, Miss.

No, I still avoid Wal-Mart whenever I can. I always leave angry due to long check-out lines, inconsiderate shoppers and lack of product choices. Their prices are not always better than other places, either. It's not worth it to me. I'd rather pay a little more and avoid it all.
— Billie Lovell, Clayton, N.C.

Yes, I have to buy more things there now to save money. I lost my job over a year ago and have been unsuccessful finding a new one. I have never been a fan of Wal-Mart due to many of its operating practices, especially in the labor area.
— A Devlin, Cape May, N.J.

I have always shopped at Wal-Mart. All of their prices are so much lower and quite honestly it helps my budget. I work two jobs and need to get the best buy for my dollar.
— Kathy Ericson, Scotia, N.Y.

Most definitely! I can see the increasing food prices every time I go to the grocery store. My husband is out of work, and I have to watch every penny!
— Michelle S., Farmington Hills, Mich.

I won't shop at Wal-Mart unless and until they quit sucking the life out of the USA and its employees. Now, the other big boxes all do it too, which isn't right, but Wal-Mart was the instigator. I am trying hard not to send my dollars overseas but these retailers have got to use American or pro-USA suppliers, and they don't. So I only know to quit spending, period. … We need a lesson in frugality, and that goes for me, too.
Steve Glauser, South Salt Lake City, Utah

Yes, I don't like to shop at Wal-Mart because of long waits at check-out lines and screaming kids, but I am forced to because of the cost savings.
— Cindy L., Ocala, FL

No, my view of Wal-Mart is exactly where it has been for the past decade. I hate Wal-Mart and everything it stands (and doesn't stand) for. I wouldn't step foot or spend one dime in a Wal-Mart store. Wal-Mart has single-handedly driven an economic dumbing down of wages, benefits, corporate responsibility and quality. Any hit Wal-Mart can take is a good one.
— Debra Silverman, Melrose Park, Penn.