Walmart, the hippest latenight hotspot?

A very interesting report was released today and reported on NPR that Walmart adjusted its replenishment strategy in reaction to the high demand for bulk items at midnight on the 1st of every month.  Why, might you ask? Is this a marketing strategy to bring in insomniacs? Not so much- it is actually a question of need.  Governmental support such as food stamps are activated at midnight on the 1st of the month, which means there are actual lines of customers waiting at the Walmart check out at 11:59pm with multiple carts filled to the brim with food, supplies, diapers, etc. counting down the seconds as if it were Times Square on NYE.

I must say that this makes me sad. In what world are we living in that people are working 3 jobs and still are counting the seconds until they can afford to buy food for their children?  At least Walmart gets to play the hero and eat more market share by making sure that its beyond-competitively-priced goods are on the shelf waiting to picked up when people can actually afford them!  Heck, I bet if I scanned the line at 11:59pm on October 31st, I will find the nice couple who used to own the “Mom and Pop” grocer down the street who just couldn’t continue to compete with the Walmart Megastore and now are on foodstamps, waiting with anticipation for the clock to hit midnight to buy food they used to sell!

Thoughts?  Do you guys think that Walmart is helping those who are struggling by offering “save a lot, live better” pricing or are they exploiting the needs of those hardest hit by the economic downturn to take a more monopolistic position than it already has?

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One response to “Walmart, the hippest latenight hotspot?

  1. I think you have to approach this from an immediate vs. long term analysis. Currently, many people are living day to day and the savings acquired from shopping at big box retailers like Walmart make a major difference. However, there is no question that Walmart’s growth is a result of it feeding off smaller stores on the retail food chain, which undoubtedly has a long term affect on local economies in that as smaller stores close, the entire supply chain sees a reduction in commerce as well. Once the U.S. gets out of survival mode, Walmart may see a backlash, but for now, meeting human needs takes precedence.

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