The Emptiness of Wal-Mart

My wife works at the local Wal-Mart, one of the anchors of the local mall. Wal-Mart is pulling up stakes and mov­ing to a new loca­tion, a con­geries of box stores on the flood plain named the Cor­ral Centre.

So Wal-Mart is in a peri­od of rare tran­si­tion. The store at the mall is still open, but it’s near­ly emp­ty. The shoe sec­tion has about 1½ aisles open, but all that’s left are wom­en’s shoes on clear­ance. The toys have been relo­cat­ed to where the sea­son­al can­dy usu­al­ly goes; half the store is blocked off with peg­boards lashed togeth­er with zip ties, and the mer­chan­dise remain­ing in the open side would­n’t quite fill a store half again as small. It’s a lit­tle weird, wan­der­ing the aisles and hav­ing plen­ty of space because almost all the four-way dis­plays have gone to the new store.

Mind you, there’s still no short­age of peo­ple in there, all of them fran­tic to find some­thing, any­thing, that’s on sale. It’s a zoo, but it’s a kinder, gen­tler, more open zoo than it was before. Or so it seems.

I don’t envy the employ­ees. I’m sure they deal with all man­ner of ques­tions from the hordes of cus­tomers. How come you’re out of deter­gent? Where’s the shoes? When does the new store open*? Why aren’t there any [x]?

In fact, select­ed excerpts from my wife’s Live­Jour­nal (for more, click T’Other Half under ‘Roll:

To All Wal­ly World Customers:

No, we don’t have than in stock right now, you will have to wait a week.

Yes, we are mov­ing to a dif­fer­ent location.

We will be open AUGUST THE FOURTH and if you look ANYWHERE in the store you can find that out.

No, I can’t help you find ______ and maybe if you had come in more than 3 days before the wed­ding / par­ty / what­ev­er, I may have been able to help you find cloth­ing / footwear / presents / cards / what­ev­er. Since you did­n’t, I guess you’re screwed and will have to wait until August the fourth.

Just so you know.

Today was The Big Move at work. I’ll take pic­tures of our new space soon, and post ’em. Look for it in the next few days.


* August 4th, judg­ing by the NEON PINK signs post­ed every six feet on every ver­ti­cal sur­face. The cus­tomer may or may not be right, but they sure don’t like to read signs.