Saturday, February 12, 2011

Wal Mart - The Next Borders?

I don't go to Wal-Mart much. Mostly because it's like Black Friday every day when I go there. I know it saves me nearly 30 additional cents on every ten dollars I spend, but it just isn't worth it for me to stand in line for 45 minutes so I can buy a gallon of milk for $5.19 instead of $5.29.

Also, every time I go there I witness something weird. I just don't like being there. Today of course I walked up and down the length of checkout lines hoping that I would find one without either 40 people standing in it waiting to purchase their goods, or with one person pulling two carts filled with items from every corner of the store. Either way, I know my precious day will be wasted standing in line. As it was I ended up spending 10 minutes searching for the line which I felt offered the shortest wait only to have the cashier drop a bottle of febreeze over the scanner and have it explode. The aisle filled with the scent of lavender and lilies and his scanner was ruined.


But because the missus needs some storage containers for her burgeoning stained glass empire and I couldn't think of any place else in town that not only has them, but has aisles dedicated to them. As I wondered through the store I thought I wouldn't mind checking out the latest season of the best show on TV (PSYCH , if you must know) and their DVD shelves were almost totally empty.  Like, nothing there at all. Seems weird to me to have aisles full of nothing. I wondered around there store some more, looking for other signs of spare real estate.

Wal-Mart: The gold standard in retail

I found some. (Edit - an actual picture taken by me today btw) I can't help but scratch my head and wonder if the fine folks that used to work at my local - soon to be bankrupt - Borders that used to present me with empty shelves there took over at Wal-Mart.

Borders: Those shelves don't seem so empty to me now
Empty shelves amaze me. I can see running out of an unexpectedly hot product, or having a supply truck break down, a vendor fail... that sort of stuff happens. But having entire aisles being empty confounds me to no end. How is that possible? Especially knowing at least a little of how Wal-Mart's supply chain works I can only imagine they had a complete meltdown somewhere.

Anyway, empty shelves don't seem to deter the crowds. It was packed in there like a rock concert. I can only guess it makes the crowd want to hurry up and buy everything else that isn't tied down before it disappears. It's like what my father used to tell me about how he would sell candy bars door to door when he was a kid. He would hid all the candy bars except for a couple and go knock on the door with a near empty box and tell the homeowner that he just needed to sell the last couple and he would be done. If he is to be believed then it worked like a charm.

So who knows, maybe they're geniuses.

Anyhow, time to get back to work on my crappy novel.


A Beer for the Shower said...

Well, you already know how we feel about wal-mart, but to avoid that rock concert sized army of special needs folks, the missus and I go late at night. Same quality of weirdness in their people, just less volume.

Oh, and easy answer: the empty shelves are where the homeless sleep.


Francesca Amendolia said...

I don't like Walmart either, but I have been told rather firmly that this makes me classist. Hmm. I might quite have liked to see an exploding scanner, however.

In any case, hello from a fellow crusader.

KarenG said...

The DVD shelves were empty? That's so weird. And so un-Walmart-like. Usually that place is not only crowded but cluttered, jam-packed with stuff, I think to confuse the shopper psyche to make us spend more.

Wannabe Writer said...

Nice to meet another Pysch fan! I am completely addicted. There is no other show on TV right now that makes me laugh so hard. Except maybe Community, that is.

I wonder if the last plastic bag is a little like the last cookie in the box. No one wants to be the jerk who takes it.

Rusty Webb said...

Bryan - thanks for stopping in. I really don't plan on going during regular hours on a weekend ever again if I can help it. A deep dark secret from my past is that I actually worked there for a few weeks many years ago. It was the most soul crushing endeavor I ever went through. I'd rather be an enema tester than go through that again.

Francesca - the scanner thing was actually funny. I just plopped right down and watched the folks trying to disassemble the scanner to make sure the lasers didn't get ruined.

Karen - Actually, this particular wal-mart has always seemed out of stock. There are several within a 5 mile radius of me (give or take a mile or two) and only this one in particular seems so disorganized. I should have taken a picture of the DVD's there though. It looks awful.

Wannabe - funny enough for me, I never even heard of Psych before a couple of months ago. I can't stop singing that song now. I know/you know/I'm not telling the truth...

I could sing it all day.

Lois D. Brown said...

Who'd a thunk? Walmart. Anyway, I'm stopping by from the Crusade going on at Rach Writes. It's good to meet another blogosphere friend. My blog is at

gideon 86 said...

Pretty shocking.

Hopping over from Rach's crusader's list... to say hello.

I should be great!


Hart Johnson said...

I hate Wall-Mart--mostly because they are EVIL, destroying the retail climate in small towns in a single bound, but something that possibly you didn't know which MATTERS... discount stores like Wall-Mart (or groceries) that sell books significantly under the retail price, only end up trickling a FRACTION of the money to the author that the author makes from a book store or Amazon. Repeat after me, NO BOOKS FROM WALL-MART!

Mister Sharaf said...

nice post

Im BACK  >>HERE<< and  >>HERE<<

~Nicole Ducleroir~ said...

Hi Rusty! Nice to meet a fellow Crusader!

I have a love-hate relationship with Wal-Mart. I should say 'hate-love,' since I hate it more. I'm on a roll right now; been avoiding it for weeks. It can't last, though. This I know.

Best of luck writing today!

Raquel Byrnes said...

That's weird about the shelf space. And here we are writers wanting nothing more but to eek out a sliver of said shelf space for ourselves!

Stopping by as a fellow crusader...following.
Edge of Your Seat Romance

Rusty Webb said...

Thanks everyone for stopping by. I hope to see much more of everyone soon.

Margo Kelly said...

LOL... is that sad to laugh at empty shelves and exploding scanner? Whatever. You wrote it well. I'm a fellow crusader and a new follower. Nice to meet you.