People of Wal-Mart

This is the name of a website ( which features both photos and videos taken of Wal-Mart shoppers, mostly surreptitiously.  It’s a little mean-spirited, in that it doesn’t seem fair to do this to people who have no idea you’re doing it.  It’s like the paparrazzi who are so fond of taking pictures of sex goddess movie stars without makeup, slimy looking hair, and cellulite. 

On the other hand, here’s my take on it:  if you don’t want someone to take a picture of you looking like that, don’t go out looking like that.  Celebrity or not.  If you don’t care, then you’re home-free.  Go any way you like.  So that would be me–I don’t care. 

Therefore today, I think I might have made a good Person of Wal-Mart.  T-shirt, gym shorts, flip-flops, no makeup.  But not a very good one.  First of all, I would have had to weigh at least double what I do.  But you don’t always have to be fat to be a Person of Wal-Mart.  There was one photo I saw where a woman is walking her poodle in the parking lot, between giant piles of banked-up snow.  You can’t see her face, but she has nice-looking long blonde hair, is thin, and is wearing pajamas and socks and bedroom slippers.  You get the point.  There is a certain mind-set to being a Wal-Mart person. 

So, you might ask, what the hell was I doing at Wal-Mart?  The short answer is, I needed a newspaper.  Today marks exacty the third time I’ve been there since it opened four years ago.  The first two times were for emergency purchases of Ibuprofen.  By my calculations, I’ve now spent around $7.00 there.  It’s an empty protest to be sure, but it makes me happy.   

I do a lot of empty protesting now that I think about it.  Probably it’s because I’m too realistic.  I don’t kid myself that I can change anything substantially.  But I still do believe that I might say something  that plants a seed that might eventually sprout.  Really, it can, and sometimes does.  It’s such a more hopeful way to live than simply giving up and saying nothing you do makes a difference. 

So I tried not to go to Wal-Mart.  I went first to my corner convenience store, where my favorite weekend Rwandan engineering student was on duty, but they were out.  He said, go to Wal-Mart.  So I blame him. 

The reason I needed a paper was that today, an op-ed came out by a former dog rescue person regarding certain changes the County is trying to make to its Animal Control ordinance.  I was there the last time they did it, I will be there again.  You have three minutes to comment before the County Commission.  I need to make it work.  So I needed to see what was already said–no need to repeat it.  The Commissioners all read the paper. 

The big issue is tethering.  The County is proposing minor changes to it which mostly involve the type of tether that can be used.  But there needs to be a sweeping change.  As long as we tolerate dogs being tethered outdoors 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, tweaking the kind of tether is like arguing about what color to paint the walls of Hell.  Which I plan to say.

11 responses to “People of Wal-Mart

  1. That’s the problem with the out of control nanny state. Doing things like regulating what kind of dog tether to use….give me a break. They have more important things to do than passing laws that take away a little more of your freedom to use whatever kind of tether you want to use. Give them hell:)

  2. IF I needed the Tallahicky Demagogue, which is rare indeed, I’d go to a Shell station that gives you the paper and a cup of coffee at no more, and possibly cheaper, than the paper’s price alone. Such as the one on Monroe and Allen Road, across from the mall. At least they used to.
    The paper is so desperate for sales, they give it away.

    Speaking of op ed, I need to find the op ed I wrote many, many years ago opposing City / County consolidation. I had written a short letter opposing it when the proposal first floated and so they called me when the time came for the op ed. Beth Swisher of WFSU interviewed me for her radio show too. Consolidation went down in flames. I like to think I helped that, as there was no organized group opposing it. So yes, one person can sometimes have influence.

  3. And spencercourt, did you know that it costs $9.95 per month to access the Democrat’s website? That is so outrageous. So I was going to spend $2.00 for a 24-hour pass, BUT…it would not let me in using my old password, and it would not let me re-register with my same email address. It said if I continued to have problems to call them. No thanks, I’d rather poke out an eye with a sharp stick. $9.95 for the lamest website on the planet.

    • > did you know that it costs $9.95 per month

      Unfortunately, yes. Some years ago, TD was so desperate they handed out a year’s subscription for $1 a week. I went in for two years. I figured they were giving it away so they could boost the subscriber base to charge more for ads. (That deal was between Thanksgiving and Christmas, and they may do a similar (but not as low) deal this year.)

      • It is a numbers game, for sure. They do have to show advertisers that they have a sufficient number of subscribers to make it worthwhile to the advertisers. So they are gambling that if they get enough subscribers at a cheap rate to entice the advertisers, they will make up the revenue losses. That is a very, very risky strategy. You are teetering on the edge of a precipice. In my opinion, the fact that they started charging for online access is proof that that strategy failed. With your expertise in poker, I can’t see you ever making a gamble like that…or if you did, you would be smart enough to get out quick. The TD is not “too big to fail”, so I hope they just go ahead and die.

  4. Jeff 🙂 I almost see your point. It would save a lot of valuable time if we could just shoot people who tether their dogs 24/7. Plus it would do wonders for the gene pool.

  5. There are a few things I still read in the democrat, but as I emailed Bob Gabordi I can read the Washington Post and the NT TImes free so I refuse to pay for on line subscription. Here’s how to read the stories free. Simply google the paper and scan it for the suff you want to read. Then copy the lead line and paste it in your google search engine and google it. The article will come up almost all the time.

    • > Then copy the lead line and paste it in your google search engine
      > and google it.

      And if it does not, try clicking on the “cache” version when you’re in Google, which is on Google’s server, not TD’s.

  6. Wow…good info pt. I knew there was a way to do it, but didn’t know how. Every weekday I buy (!) the Democrat at the newsstand price, for business reasons. If you subscribe, it’s cheaper, but your options are 7 days per week or weekends only. There is no Mon-Fri option. Plus, it’s absolutely incredible how thin the paper has become–and that’s even with the AP and USA Today reprints in it.
    I understand why, but still, I think their business model boils down to “Shoot self in foot.” Charge more for less is not a good marketplace strategy. It so reminds me of K-Mart (my favorite example of how to fail in business without really trying). They started losing money, so they cut back on personnel. So soon, you could go at the busiest time of day and they would have one checkout lane open with 50 people in line . To find someone to help you in the aisles, you would have to have had GPS. So more people quit coming, and voila…bankruptcy.
    It’s interesting to me that Home Depot was headed in that direction too. But the last time I was there, I couldn’t walk down an aisle without tripping over an “associate”. I was so pleased and impressed. And they were well-trained. I think I stopped someone in hardware and said, where do I find bird food? And he said, that’s on Aisle 7, against the wall.

  7. I am a fanatic about good, well-trained people. During the recent re-bid of our contract, I had to do the budget and my boss said I needed to lower payroll. We knew that the other companies would cut it to the bone by hiring all new people at mininum wage. Or else, hire our people if they agreed to work for minimum wage. I didn’t exactly outright refuse (bad career move) but I said, give me a chance to explain it.
    I have people in what most people would consider relatively menial jobs who have been with me for 6 or 7 or 8 years. There is no substitute for their experience, savvy, knowledge of the city. customer service skills, etc. And it worked.

  8. pt, I don’t know if you recall this but the NYT also went through a period where they were going to charge for access to certain areas (specifically, the op-eds). That lasted about as long as it takes you to blink. See: K-Mart, and shooting yourself in the foot.
    Now, having said that, you do have to subscribe to their “premium crosswords” section, which is $35 a year. And I do it, gladly. It is a great value to me. But $120 a year to access TD’s website? Not in this lifetime.

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