The area I live in is not new to hard economic times. It cycles in and out of recession like it’s a fashion trend.
There’s not a lot of shopping because of it. So when the first Walmart Super Center opened in Hibbing about eight years ago, it was THE place to be. It was a mecca for depressed shoppers starved for stores.
Because people had not had easy access to discount shopping, they instantly became drunk on the savings. It was common to hear people admire something and the response would be, “Oh, I got it at the new Walmart.”
Flash forward eight years and now the locals are used to the Walmart SuperCenter. It’s just another store. It’s where they get their shampoo and laundry detergent. They’re no longer buying stuff like it’s going out of style.
A brand-new Walmart SuperCenter recently opened about 35 miles away in Grand Rapids. What struck me about this new SuperCenter, was that now Walmart was trying hard to be a bit more upscale than its competitors. There’s brick on the front of it. It’s a nice tan color (instead of blue and gray), and there’s wood laminate flooring in certain sections of the store. The fence around the garden area is wrought iron instead of chain link.
But the people patronizing this new Walmart SuperCenter had the same dazed look those shoppers did at the grand opening of the Hibbing SuperCenter eight years ago.
They wandered the aisles, blissfully crying, “Oh, wow! I need one of those. And that’s a good price.” As if they need a giant plastic golden retriever or a hot pink laptop case. And there’s still a lot of bragging about the new store: “I hear it’s the biggest in the state.”
What I noticed with this Walmart phenomenon was that it is very easy for shoppers to get caught up in all the marketing and hype and end up buying things they don’t really need.
To me, it’s just another place for me to save money. You still have to be able to differentiate wants and needs.
It’s really just a really big Walmart. That’s all.