Wal-Mart increases poverty

posted by Adam (Southern California) on May 22nd, 2006

A regression analysis shows that the presence of Wal-Mart in a county increases family poverty.

posted by Adam (Southern California) in Wal-Mart | on May 22nd, 2006 | Permanent Link to “Wal-Mart increases poverty” | No Comments »

49 hours at Wal-Mart vs. 39 hours in an abandoned building

posted by Mark Dixon on December 21st, 2005

Editor’s note: This is our 100th post.

In the heart of the dead (as advertised) but employees can’t find it, the inventory number is missing, the bar code won’t scan, ‘Price check on aisle one nineteen!’ they have promised again and again so we are here to collect: health, happiness, fulfillment, quality and especially savings in the isles of the only home we know.

The statement also applies to the 49 hours I had previously spent at Wal-Mart. Despite the ironic tone, those Wal-Mart pieces were an experiment in compliance. In Wal-Mart, I endeavored to accept the offers of consumer culture—health, happiness etc.—as if they were made in earnest. I decided that the intense, extreme, adventurous and sublimely happy life displayed in product advertisements was the thing for me.

Wal-Mart was a perfect site for the quest because it is the ultimate experience of abundant promise and dismal reality: the products versus the customers. There, amidst a crippling one billion choices, the perfect item is said to lurk; as customers our mission is to find it. My visit to Wal-Mart was an act of total compliance with that mission. The stipulations I brought were a sincere expectation of achieving that goal and a preference for process over product. In the end I felt successful for having made good on their false promises.

On the one year anniversary of the 49 hours I spent at Wal-Mart, I endeavored to colonize another modern fixture, the abandoned city building. Beginning on the evening of Thanksgiving 2002, I operated under the following procedure:

  • I will illegally enter an abandoned building.
  • I will have the door locked behind me.
  • I will have no prior information as to what is inside.
  • I will bring the clothes I wear, flashlight, paper, pen, camera, water, food, chalk, pliers, screw driver, and a two-way radio.
  • I will remain inside the building for 72 hours.

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Thoughts on “My 49 Hours at Wal-Mart”

posted by Mark Dixon on December 20th, 2005

Rumor has it that you can get anything at Wal-Mart. That is one of the many reasons to avoid it. But on the day after Thanksgiving, 2001, I endeavored to submit entirely to the world of Wal-Mart. My intention was to hyper-accept the offers of consumer culture—health, happiness, fulfillment, comfort, etc.—as though they were made in earnest. On the day after Thanksgiving I entered a Super Wal-Mart planning to stay continuously for seventy-two hours or until I was thrown out.
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My 49 Hours at Wal-Mart: an announcement of possibility

posted by Mark Dixon on December 17th, 2005

Letters to the outside:

Hi drew,

Believe it or not, I am writing you from Wal-Mart. I am now well into my thirty-seventh hour of continuous occupation. My plan was to stay for seventy-two hours but I have had absolutely no luck finding a suitable place to sleep—go figure! Actually I just got busted trying to bed down. I guess the camping section manager saw the rack of orange camo cover-alls wiggling as I tried to get comfortable below. Just as I settled down I saw a pair of feet approaching. “What are you doing under there?” she asked. I assumed that I’d be escorted out the front door (or worse) so I didn’t bother with an elaborate excuse. “Hiding,” I said as I climbed out and waited, like a good criminal, for the firing squad. But the strangest thing happened! She just stood there looking at me. I know she wanted to open the application but she didn’t have the right program. After a few seconds I just walked away. I took off my wig and spent the next few hours hiding in the magazine section. Now the “Radio Diner” is open again and I’m back in the booth where my “refill” cup hides… I think the whole thing’s blown over.

Always Wal-Mart tm
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