It’s time for us to address the elephant in the room. We at the Slow Harbor Center for Retail Analytics have been hoping to avoid it, but someone has to ask the question: What the hell is going on in Walmarts these days?

Specifically, of course, we mean Walmarts currently located in what you economics-challenged, AOC-worshiping Yanks call “The South”. Have you ever noticed there is always something fun happening in the Southern U.S.? We know we have, and not just because we live here. Nope, we’re literate, too, as far as you know, which means we pay special attention to keywords in headlines like Walmart, South, Tennessee, Scooter, Waffle House, and Beer. And you think the South won’t rise again. Please. Where do you get your news?

Not from Slow Harbor, obviously. We’d bet you go right to MSNBC, which while a shame, is entirely predictable. It means in all likelihood you’ve missed hugely important stories lately, like the fact there was no collusion, or that some people still pray, that a few members of the general population were actually born heterosexual, or that a lot of strange things seem to be happening in Walmarts everywhere. We don’t begrudge your utter lack of informed balance; we see it as an opportunity to help. And since you already get your medical care there, we know this is important to you, our, err, reader.

This is why, as much as it pains us, we feel a professional responsibility to pull back the curtain on what can only be described as an epidemic. The central theme, we’ve found, is that Walmart is always involved. Why, you ask? Why indeed.

To understand what’s happening, you first must understand the typical Walmart customer. You may refer to her as Uncle Ducky, or perhaps Skeeter, depending on where your house is parked. Walk into any Walmart today, close your eyes, spin around three times, and when you’re able to stand again, you will see various family members, bingo partners, and pajama wearers, all of whom you know. Pick one at random by pointing vaguely and saying, “hey, Junior!” He or she will respond. This is your typical Southern Walmart customer. Now that you’ve dispensed with pleasantries (allow 4 to six hours while standing directly in the center of the aisle), you should ask it what it’s been doing lately.

Bad things is the likely answer. Take for example the recent headlines made when an entire family unit, consisting of a mother, son, and dog, only one of which was named “Bo”, entered a Walmart and a) tried to steal things, b) attempted karate moves, c) got naked, and d) knocked a lot of things off shelves. And don’t bother asking which family member did what. It makes no difference; the actors and offenses are absolutely interchangeable. Only the dog, as a first offender, wasn’t charged, although he did receive a stern warning.

Now, you may be thinking, “yeah, but this happened in Wisconsin of all places”. And you’re right – the family was in fact on vacation. Those with fewer motorized travel options, however, will note that recently a woman in Tennessee deftly piloted a Walmart scooter all the way to a Waffle House. The woman needed coffee, for heaven’s sake, and who wouldn’t at four o’clock in the morning? This seems pretty reasonable when compared to the woman in Texas, who, against all odds, was caught riding around in a Walmart parking lot at 9:00 AM drinking wine out of a Pringles can, which of course screams out the following questions:

  • Did she purchase the Pringles can?
  • At Walmart?
  • Were there Pringles inside it?
  • Did the scooter have a cup holder?
  • Chardonnay or Merlot?

We may never know. Although we do note with some suspicion that Walmart recently introduced its own wine label, no doubt aimed at true connoisseurs and snooty New Englanders. But this seems tame, responsible even, when you consider the Florida couple who stole a Walmart scooter and drove it down the highway to a bar. That’s just reckless. Besides, everyone knows you don’t have to leave the parking lot to get a drink.

Clearly Walmarts, particularly in the South, have a scooter security problem. And while we don’t encourage security officers at Walmart to actually shoot at suspected thieves, something has to be done. LoJack? Something stronger?

(Wait, Walmart security officers are strapped? Dear god.)

In the meantime, we have little doubt Walmart already has teams of professional minimum wage employees assigned to working groups, researching these events and how to make Walmart and it’s scooters enjoyable for all customers. Lord knows they’re not busy helping people in stores. But we know Walmart’s Senior Leadership, in Arkansas of all places, will right the ship. They’ll take care of this problem with the same compassion and attention to community health they employed a few decades ago, when they wiped out every single main street shop in the country.

For now? We recommend a fun and affordable summer vacation, because everyone needs to “get away” from time to time. Just find a week you can step away from the daily grind of unemployment, drive your house over to the Walmart parking lot, sit back and relax. For mom and dad, there are chips and drinks aplenty. The young’uns, and the dogs, will find hours of enjoyment on the free scooter rides. You can even splurge one night on dinner at the Waffle House. Trust us, you’ll be talking about this vacation for the next five to ten years. Just stay away from the Red Light District.