Mar 18 2012

Wal-Mart Fieldtrip

Published by at 10:53 pm under Reflection Blog

On our second class field trip we went to a place known to many, Wal-Mart. It was 11 am on a Friday the sky was overcast and the temperature was mild. Now this is not my “local” Wal-Mart so I am not as familiar with this particular one in Central Park but most are generally the same except the parking lot seemed extra crowed for a weekday morning. after we finally parked at the very end of one of the rows we made the trek up the slight incline of the parking lot, as I was looking around I happened to see a male mallard duck eating what I can only describe as a large cardboard box that was obviously trash. This seemed a little unusual since you normally only see small sparrows and seagulls eating parking lot garbage. So I guess even multiple bird species are indiscriminant Wal-Mart users.

As for transportation, if you are as unlucky to not be a bird, the only way to get to Wal-Mart is to drive or take the Fred bus. I looked to see if there was an actual stop at this store, I did not see one but I could be wrong but there are bus stops close if not. Shoppers could also walk but there are not very many neighborhoods within walking distance from this store. For the transportation of goods into the store Wal-Mart has their own distribution centers and tucks as well as independent venders such as Coors Brewing Company which uses the Premium distributing Co here in the Surrounding Fredericksburg area.

After the duck incident had worn off I made my way into the oversized, inexpensive, warehouse space with bright almost floor to ceiling advertisements for items, that is the calling card of Wal-Mart. When I went in I was not greeted until my 4 year old daughter stopped to talk about a movie poster for the New Alvin and the Chipmunks, that is when one of the greeters decided to chime in about how great the movie is and how cute my daughter is.

My observation of the shoppers seemed to say that the majority of the people shopping at this time of day were retired women and couples. But Wal-Mart is open 24 hours a day so that is just a fraction of who is using this space. It just seems that this is when this demographic chooses it shop maybe because children are still in school so things will be quieter and less hectic and most young adult do not go out until after work or the weekends when they have free time.

Now what does Wal-Mart sell? Everything but the kitchen sink (at least at this one). But this mega store sells so much it even has stores within itself.  Located in the front there is a McDonald’s, a nail salon, hair salon, portrait studio and then there are the departments throughout pharmacy tire and lube center garden and so on. So Wal-Mart has essentially packed every store you could possibly need into one space. The seasonal section alone could fit into a small retail space and that is just chocolate bunnies and plastic eggs.

In one of the class discussions we had brought up the sporting goods department and how at this particular location they do not sell firearms anymore. So I figured I would go to the source and ask an employee. So I looked around for a while and did not see anyone so I waited at the counter. A few moments later Jason, a Wal-Mart employee came to answer my question. And his response was that his manager told him that firearms are not selling well, so they took them out. Jason himself did not know if that was the actual reason but that is the one that he was given by his superiors. It seems that hourly employees are only given information on a need to know basis and are kept in the dark about most of the actually activity that goes on within the location. I would also assume the shrinking of the craft and fabric section is for the same reason. I could not find anyone in that department to answer my questions. After that I wondered around a little longer before feeling awkward that I had been in this store for almost an hour and had not bought one item.

I would have to say that generally I try to avoid Wal-Mart, I personally do not agree with big business and would rather spend my money with smaller privately owned store. But they do make it hard with their low prices and one stop shopping. I will even admit I tried to give Wal-Mart up for a year and that was short lived because they really do have everything you need for prices that you cannot get elsewhere. But I limit what I buy and how often I go. Overall my fieldtrip was a successful one and I think for the first time ever I went into a Wal-Mart empty handed and came out just the same.

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