Apr 11 2010
Who: Agent Charles
Where: Wal-Mart in Central Park
Weather: a comfortable day of shorts and t-shirts (but high allergies)
When: Thursday April 8
This was my favorite class trip so far.
I am a terrible, terrible person but I go to Wal-Mart frequently – I was actually there this morning. I know that it’s bad but I simply cannot afford much else. I always feel an enormous cloud of guilt when I shop at Wal-Mart, but since I didn’t buy anything on Thursday I didn’t feel bad. However, that is mostly because I forgot my entire wallet that morning so my plan to buy allergy medicine didn’t work out very well.
Most of our time was spent in the toys section, and a good portion of that time was spent looking at Barbies with Prof. Moon. Something that she pointed out was that while most Barbies are $15, the collectors Barbies (“Vintage”) were more like $30, and that was because adults buy the vintage ones to collect. But, here’s something that I thought about: that Barbie probably barely cost more to manufacture, and it probably isn’t worth much since it wasn’t actually created years ago, but instead in a sweatshop during the past year. Mattel is smart to make those cost more, and people are not thinking correctly when they buy them.
Things I noticed: There were about 5 Barbies that were not white (of 30+) and these 5 were black. One of these dolls said “She’s Black! She’s Beautiful! She’s Dynamite!” It reminded of blaxploitation movies like Undercover Brother.
Something else I noticed was in the boy’s clothing section there is a giant pirate ship to advertise for a movie involving dragons. Remember how I said that it was in the clothing section? On the pirate ship there were Oreo’s, soda, and candy. GENIUS. While the parents are shopping for clothes the kid will walk like a zombie to inspect the giant PIRATE SHIP inches away and then discover SUGAR. As we learned about in Born to Buy, kids want sugar to get hyper and annoy their parents. After finding the sweets on the pirate ship the kids then associate the movie with the delicious foods that they already love. These people are geniuses.
More with the dragon: when Sadie bought a kid’s meal at the McDonald’s in the store it came with a little plastic dragon toy. Daniel had a grand old time with this toy, and it illustrated how the kids are when they find toys in their meals. After seeing the display in the clothes section and then seeing the toy in McDonald’s, what kid isn’t going to pester their parents to see the movie?
And then it’ll all start again next week.
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