There’s always something to howl about

Black Friday? Grey Thursday? Before the flood, a pensive Wednesday night at Walmart.

I love Walmart. I am very happy to call myself a member of the middle class, and I take huge delight in cruising the aisles at Walmart, scoping out all the incredible deals.

I don’t buy a lot of stuff, though. Away from TechToyz, I lead a pretty Spartan existence. But I love to see all that incredible wealth stacked floor to ceiling, knowing that it is the much-maligned engine of freeish-market capitalism that makes all that stuff available to me.

I’m not a Black Friday kind of shopper. We’re not all that Christmas-y, and I do not like to be crowded, not ever. But the phenomenon of Black Friday, especially at Walmart, is fascinating to me.

We had to stop in at a Super Walmart late Wednesday night, and I took the opportunity to snap a few dozen photos of that store’s preparations for Grey Thursday and Black Friday. Every wide aisle in the store was lined with pallets full of shrink-wrapped merchandise, millions of dollars worth of stuff waiting to be sold between now and Monday.

There were more staffers than customers in the store, and they were all busy getting ready. Black Friday takes its name from the sad fact that the day after Thanksgiving is the day most retailers reach the stage of profitability for the calendar year. In other words, storekeepers large and small work almost eleven months of the year before they make any profit at all.

Walmart might do better than that. Apple’s retail presence does a lot better. But retail is a hard way to make an easy living, and my bet is that it will get harder as the parasitic weight of government crushes more and more of the economy.

Meanwhile, smug people like to sneer at Walmart for selling Americans goods they want to buy at prices they want to pay. I’m happy that some people are so rich that they can afford to spurn and scorn Walmart. But I’m happier still that Walmart is around to provide incredible values every day for people who work hard for their money and want to make it go as far as it can.

Happy Black Friday, Walmart. You treat us better than we deserve.


7 Comments so far

  1. Teri Lussier November 22nd, 2012 5:53 am

    I think Walmart usually smells unpleasant, and it’s not a place to go if you want pop in and out quickly (quick exists are always on the top of my shopping list), but I’m with you on praising Walmart for giving its customers exactly what they want- cheap crap 24/7. People will wonder if that’s a sarcastic comment, but it’s not. Walmart is a great example of a business knowing its customer and delivering the goods. If you don’t like it, shop elsewhere. God Bless America.

    Happy Thanksgiving to the entire Swann/Collins household!

  2. Greg Swann November 22nd, 2012 12:17 pm

    My view of Walmart may be colored by the prosperity of the neighborhoods I shop in, too. OTOH, the Walmart we shopped at in Orlando was the same predictable experience I was expecting. I even knew the layout of the store.

    Later today, Walmart shoppers will be able to claw their way to a 32″ flat-screen television for $148 — twenty hours of light toil at minimum wage, quite a bit less for the people who will actually be doing the clawing. That kind of value is simply amazing to me.

    > Happy Thanksgiving to the entire Swann/Collins household!

    Same to you, Jamie and the kids!

  3. Thomas Johnson November 22nd, 2012 1:43 pm

    Best wishes to all for the feast day

  4. Jonathan Browning November 27th, 2012 1:52 pm

    I am not sure I have ever liked any of your posts more than I like this one, all the way from your categories to your truth talking about smug people. I like having a choice of choosing Walmart or Publix. They are both at to opposite sides of the spectrum, but its nice to have the choice.

  5. Ashlee Anderson November 28th, 2012 2:31 pm

    Proud to be a middle classer too. Although we did good (a few TVs and and IPad), I can’t say that were a fan of having it on Thursday. It was way more packed (good for Walmart) and we really didn’t like the idea of going on Thanksgiving night, but it didn’t stop us.

  6. William Miller December 4th, 2012 8:09 am

    For me this day is like an obsession, a zombi apocalypses. When people get mad about simple things that are cheaper than yesterday. They may not need these things at all!!
    I don’t do any shopping these days. I earn enough money to take my time and not look for places with the cheapest prices.

    p.s. don’t judge me, please)

  7. Greg Swann December 4th, 2012 10:33 am

    > p.s. don’t judge me, please)

    Everyone gets to be who he is. 😉

    FWIW, I shop almost not at all, not for anything, but I love to watch people doing things. At, I’ve been crawling the malls, just to see what’s going on. As it works out, if you want to shop in the real world, this Christmas may be your last chance to do that in a big way.