Belly up to the butt end of America
Wal-Mart may have a social conscience (as witnessed by their removing corporate ads from Glenn Beck’s programs), but that doesn’t mean they aren’t still pandering to the lowest common denominator. While the constant comment would be that people shop at Wal-Mart because it’s more affordable for families during tough times, I would argue that what we sacrifice by shopping there – siding against organized labor, supporting items made cheaply outside America, saying yes to the corporate giant over mom-and-pop store and buying into the disgusting maelstrom of mass consumption, to name a few – makes the little bit of savings at the register far from worth it. And since they’re overspending and creating a need for installment loans for bad credit anyway, Wal-Mart simply doesn’t make sense.
Let’s go even further than that, however. Not only does making Wal-Mart your sole shopping destination do all of those things, but it also shows that you, like so many others, have stopped caring. At first, you may dress well when you go there, but eventually things start to slip – including your pants.
You become one of the People of Wal Mart
Letting it all hang out, telling the world you’ve stopped caring about your appearance and scarfing down hunks of cheese and greasy pizza as you parade about the aisles in search of cheaper ice cream and a new pair of Dickies to disguise the cigarette burns from your last Saturday night blowup with the missus. That’s the scene at your local Wal-Mart. But wait, let’s not forget parents who scream at their children and constantly hold the threat of physical punishment over their heads while they curse into their prepaid cell phones. What chance do kids have of behaving appropriately in that situation when the People of Wal Mart are their role models?
Time asks why the People of Wal Mart often don’t dress or act appropriately, why their clothing choices range from lazy to eccentric, bronco busting to burlesque. Why have they stopped caring about putting their best face forward?
The Web site has no answers, only more questions
But if you’re either a masochist or somebody who appreciates slice of life Americana they way Edward Hopper did when he painted “Nighthawks,” you’re sure to enjoy the People of Wal Mart Web site. People of all (generally larger) shapes and sizes and states of undress can be seen there, and you know that the voyeur in you wants to take in this train wreck. The founders of the site aren’t so much fascinated by the stereotypes at play here, but they definitely have a taste for the unusual. Andrew (they only list their first names) put it this way: “We want to document the kind of stuff that when you see it, you immediately have to call someone and be like, ‘Dude, I’m at Wal-Mart and I just saw a goat.’ ”
Meanwhile, at a South Carolina Wal-Mart…
Governor-for-now Mark Sanford was not there purchasing gifts for his soul mate Maria Argentina, but Andrew did document a young mother wearing a profane T-shirt who was leading her two-year-old child about the store with a harness that looked like a dog leash. I’ll tell you who the dog was there: not the kid. I’ve seen this at Wal-Mart in San Diego and Spokane as well. It isn’t region specific. In fact, I’d wager that parental abuse of children is common in Mr. Walton’s family chain of consumer dump sites. I’ve even gotten involved long enough to ensure that the child is going to be safe. Certainly not what Mr. Walton would have wanted in his stores, but it’s what his family gets to enjoy – even though they discourage it as any right-thinking business would.
Now People of Wal Mart is viral
They’re mentioned across the World Wide Web. Recently, their traffic increased 700 percent in a single day. People began submitting photos like crazy and the site has crashed more than once.
“Isn’t this all a bit too much exploitation?” you might wonder. Thankfully, People of Wal Mart doesn’t go too far. Adam, another of the founders, comments that “We have limits. We won’t make fun of the people who can’t help it.” Thus, they won’t publish of people with disabilities or employees who can’t help the degrading situation they’re in – at least not while they’re on the job. In addition to people with disabilities, Adam told Time People of Wal Mart won’t ridicule religious groups. Why, I wonder?
Bad hair, tats and clothes are fair game
But people who dress in odd costumes, bring goats into the store or whose overall demeanor signifies NASCAR groupie with the gas fumes to prove it are worthy of ridicule. If nothing else, perhaps they’ll begin to see their folly and work to improve themselves. It’s what America would want, if it spent less time shopping at Wal-Mart for installment loans for bad credit. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but at some point your budget has to bear fruit.