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Wal-Mart 2.0 vs. Wal-Mart 1.0: America’s Not-So-Little Secret

July 20, 2010
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New Wal-Mart

Wal-Mart 2.0 - The planters say, "Kindly avoid driving too close to our doors." Also, a palm tree...like in Beverly Hills!

The class divide continues to grow in America and nobody seems to be giving a bigger middle finger to those Americans who fall behind than Wal-Mart.  While most other large American chains such as McDonalds and Walgreens offer a nearly identical experience regardless of location, Wal-Mart has morphed into two distinct versions of itself.

For those that live in a shiny burb near a Red Robin, Bed Bath & Beyond and DSW,  yay for you! You get the upgrade to Wal-Mart 2.0, complete with landscaping and some version of stone facade reflecting your neighborhood’s aesthetic.  But if you live closer to the center of a medium-sized Midwestern city, or if you live in a rural area whose Wal-Mart is located on the main highway through town, then you still shop at a Wal-Mart 1.0.  Y’know, the classic Wal-Mart.  The one with the blue and red store front.  The one that doesn’t sell vegetables.  And if you’ve ever wandered the refrigerated section of your Wal-Mart only to finally ask an associate where you can find the cheese and were led to a shelf at room temperature three aisles over displaying Velveeta, then you know you aren’t doing as well as you should be.

Old Wal-Mart

Wal-Mart 1.0 - The concrete pillars say, "Don't go driving into our store just because you're suicidally depressed." Also, aliens are real!

The most difficult transition for Americans already reeling from the recession may not be job loss, home depreciation, foreclosure and bankruptcy.  It may very well be the shock and trauma of moving from a Wal-Mart 2.0 to a Wal-Mart 1.0.  Allow me to point out a few of the differences.

Wal-Mart 2.0 – A parking lot with clearly painted parking lines.
Wal-Mart 1.0 – Parking spaces only separated by chewed pieces of discarded gum and the occasional random flip flop.

Wal-Mart 2.0 – An entry housing a photo studio and a bank branch.
Wal-Mart 1.0 – An entry boasting a giant claw arcade and a CoinStar. Both are out of order.

Wal-Mart 2.0 – HD video monitors greeting guests with fancy graphics and special savings
Wal-Mart 1.0 – A toothless door greeter offering carts, but never sanitizer, to passing guests.  (Actually, the greeter is totally throwback. Score one for 1.0)

Wal-Mart RV

RV-approved Wal-Mart 1.0

Wal-Mart 2.0 – Most likely on the list of “No Park Wal-Marts” who don’t allow overnight RV camping in their parking lots, a long-standing Wal-Mart tradition that has allowed RVers a safe, free place to park for decades.  It’s like almost as traditional and important as Wal-Mart’s “Made in the USA” campaign.  Uh….wait.
Wal-Mart 1.0 – Still allows a little time to enjoy the evening on the front porch of your RV.

Wal-Mart 2.0 – Make your own frozen yogurt.
Wal-Mart 1.0 – Make your own dog tags.

Wal-Mart 2.0 – An entire aisle of scented candles, floating candles, votives, pillars, canisters, potpourri, sconces, incense and mirrored plates.
Wal-Mart 1.0 – Two candle choices: Jesus or Mary.

Wal-Mart 2.0 – A fairly strict no shoes, no shirt, no service policy.
Wal-Mart 1.0 – A fairly loose no shoes, no shirt, no pants, no bra, no tasteful tats, no basic hygiene, no pride, no problem policy.

Wal-Mart 2.0 – A variety of food choices, some actually green (naturally).
Wal-Mart 1.0 – A limited “food” section. Whole wheat bread not available. Light buttered popcorn also not available.  Note: Only green food found by the author was Shrek 4 Fruit Roll Ups.

Wal-Mart Candles

Purchasing any of these candles in Arizona requires immediate proof of documentation.

Wal-Mart 2.0 – Anti-theft devices on large ticket items.
Wal-Mart 1.0 – Anti-theft devices even on free items, like shopping baskets.

I’ve avoided my own neighborhood Wal-Mart 1.0 for nearly two years.  On my first trip there after buying our not-2.0-worthy home, a woman waiting behind me in line volunteered that she was buying nail polish to cover up the ends of her fingers where her fingernails had all fallen out. “I just paint the skin, see?  Just paint it right on there.  Ohhhhh wow! How old is your baaybeee?” As she reached in to touch my infant’s cheek with her painted flesh stubs, I quickly turned my back, blocked the baby access and pretended to be deaf.  I also vowed never to return.

But I needed some small American flags a few weeks ago for my son’s July 4th bike parade and I couldn’t think of anywhere else that might offer affordable, tiny flags made in China.  I also needed to pick up some sandwich bread and light-buttered microwave popcorn.  After hitting pay dirt on the mini flags, my luck ran out when I discovered an entire selection of nothing but white bread and only butter and extra-butter popcorn.  That’s when I started taking pictures.

The disparity between Wal-Mart 1.0 and 2.0 has only grown over the years, just like America’s class system.  And just like America, Wal-Mart has some splainin’ to do.  I mean, what’s with the dingy lighting and lack of Garden Centers?  You don’t think average people like lettuce or a stone facade?  Have you walked into a Walgreens anywhere lately that still looks like 1989?   C’mon Wal-Mart!  I’d be willing to bet that a majority of your most loyal customers have to shop at a Wal-Mart 1.0.   You owe them an upgrade.  Besides, all the 2.0 shoppers will always like Target better, no matter what you do.

Two choices: Heart attack or heart disease?

This insult would never fly at a 2.0.

Wal-Mart Bread

A lack of choice is a lack of trust.

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5 Responses to “ Wal-Mart 2.0 vs. Wal-Mart 1.0: America’s Not-So-Little Secret ”

  1. bostonbetty on July 20, 2010 at 12:21 pm

    I’ve apparently been a victim of this corporate crime for some time now & didn’t even know it! Living in the metro boston area, I have been relegated to coping with the 1.0 version, while the folks on the North Shore get the 2.0 version. Seriously, how do they get away with that in this day and age?! (By the way, go to peopleofwalmart.com for photographic proof of your story.)

  2. CJ on July 20, 2010 at 1:36 pm

    Betty – I LOVE me some People of Wal-Mart! I actually was looking for my own submissions last night as I strolled around my old-school store. But I was too jittery with the camera…afraid of getting beat up by a 1.0 thug. The shot I took from my car of the RV didn’t turn out as I had hoped. You can’t see it but two people were sitting outside the RV, both lounging in deck chairs and talking on cell phones. Classic!

  3. SA on July 22, 2010 at 6:44 am

    Very true, I will never love the Walmart 1.5 I seem to have nearly as much as Target (pronounced Tar- jay). Seriously though, my Walmart has a greeter, an arcade, and still manages to have HD offers and (frozen) vegetables (though only after the “transition.”

  4. waitress on July 22, 2010 at 9:33 am

    I’ve been boycotting WalMart for years since seeing the documentary “The High Cost of Low prices,” you should check it out. I even lived across the street from one for a year and only ever bought one thing there.

  5. Grace on July 26, 2010 at 7:57 am

    Hilarious. And I think I live by the same Walmart as you! It does have a garden center, but I go to the one at Lowe’s anyway.

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