I thought that Wal-Mart was supposed a “customer connected, always tuned it” kind of retailer, with virtual electrodes tied into the consumer consciousness so that if North America wakes up wanting green peanut butter on Monday morning, they’ll find it at Wal-Mart on Tuesday.
Tonight we went to Wal-Mart to buy a fan for Oliver’s room. We went to Wal-Mart because it was 8:41 p.m. when this need struck us, and we knew Wal-Mart was open later than anywhere else.
Because we shop so little at the store, the layout of Wal-Mart doesn’t exactly make sense to me. I know where the diapers are, and the Oreos, but everything else seems randomly assigned to zones that don’t reflect my stuff classification guidelines.
So we wandered from “small appliances” to “housewares” to “hardware” to “sporting goods” — all possible locations for a fan — until I gave in and asked a clerk.
“No, we don’t have fans,” he said.
“Don’t have them right now, or you don’t carry them at all,” I replied.
“No, we carry them, but they’re out of season right now. Would an air cleaner do?”
It is 11:24 p.m. It is August. It is 22 degrees outside right now, down from almost 30 degrees earlier in the day. If there is a season for fans, this is it.
We drove up the hill to Canadian Tire. We forgot they were open until 9:30, and found them open. They had about 25 varieties of fans in stock running from $12 to $160. We bought a Twindow, our 4th — it’s a well-made dual fan with several speeds and thermostatic control that fits between the window and the sill.
Is this an aberation, or is Wal-Mart not all it’s cracked up to be?