I actually went up to Redstone without a substitute teaching gig. I was looking forward to actually having time to spend up there rather than spending most of my day at school. On the agenda was a stop at the Copper Cafe, a trip to Walmart to pick up a Site2Store order and fill a new glasses prescription, and heading over to to Snippy-Snip to get a haircut. As it would turn out, I arrived at about the time I would have gotten out of school anyway. I figured that since I didn’t have to get up at 5:30am and didn’t have a day full of trying to manage a classroom, I would not need as much time at the Copper Cafe to unwind. As it would turn out, I didn’t care and stayed there until close anyway. So that had me getting out at 6pm and rushing to try to get everything done.

When I got there, I looked at the hours of the eye center and the hair cut place. I don’t typically get my hair cut at Walmart, but figured I might this time just to consolidate my chores into a single location. The eye center was open until 8 (an hour later than usual) and the hair place until 9. Perfect. I went to Site2Store first, where there was nobody managing the station. I waited there for about twenty minutes before someone coming off break noticed me there and (though it wasn’t her department) kindly offered to help me out. She didn’t know what she was doing, though, and so it took me half an hour to realize that the stuff hadn’t arrived yet. By and large, Walmart was not living up to the convenience that I have come to expect from it.

This was compounded by the fact that the eye-center was not open until 8, but rather was closing at 7. Fortunately, the lady there was really nice and stayed after to help me order the new pair of glasses. I had initially intended to get two pairs, a regular pair and prescription sunglasses. My current glasses are transition lenses, which I like okay but Clancy thinks looks impossibly goofy. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that my sensitive eyes really do need all the help I can get to protect them from the Giant Ball of Torment in the sky. So I got another pair of transition-lensed glasses. Maybe a pair of prescription sunglasses at a later date. The cool thing was that the frames I chose were all of $9. It came down between a $9 pair of Puritans vs an $84 pair of Wrangler (apparently, they make glasses frames). I prefered the latter, but not to the tune of $75. We’ll see how reliable the Puritans are. Puritan actually makes pretty decent slacks. They outlast Dockers so long as the button thread doesn’t become loose.

There was a 30-45 minute wait at the hair-care center, so I took care of some shopping while I waited. Apparently, they don’t sell my prefered boxers anymore. I wasn’t sure if they were Hanes of Fruit-of-the-Loom, but I previously got one of those two and liked them and then the other and didn’t like them. I felt inside the bags to see which ones were the more clothy, but both were made of the same stuff from the ones I didn’t like. And none of them had the neat designs (both now only offer plaid and camoflouge, it would seem). I’ll live. I got a couple grocery-type items that the Callie Safeway was without, saving quite a bit along the way (even accounting for the Safeway card). I don’t shop at Walmart for the low prices, generally, but it’s a nice benefit. On groceries in particular. With that, a huge container of laundry detergent, some toilet paper, and a poster frame, I was done and ready for my haircut.

Having never gotten my haircut at Walmart before, but having been an off-and-on Walmart shopper for some time, I expected two things from my haircut: it would probably not be very good, but it would probably be pretty cheap. I was wrong on both counts. It was a full $2.50 more than I would have paid at Snippity, and it was actually a really good hair cut performed with minimal guidance on my part (I usually have to request more be taken off the back at least once and that my sideburns be evened out, she did both without prompting). With the tip it was $18.50, but I’ll take that over a bad hair cut for $15.

Category: Market

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4 Responses to Adventures at Walmart

  1. Peter says:

    Just one company, the Italian company Luxottica, controls a huge share of the market for eyeglass frames, with a vast number of different brand names. It’s entirely possible that it made most or even all of the different brands you saw in Wal-Mart. People complain about Wal-Mart as a monopoly, it doesn’t come remotely close to Luxottica in that respect.

  2. stone says:

    The services you describe (I’ve seen but never used them) seem to be performed by outside vendors who contract with Walmart, not actual Walmart. I think the only “convenience” is that you’re at all able to get such diverse services at the same location where you shop for household items and (at some locations) food.

    There’s a reason the stores called “convenience stores” are little ones, like 7-11. A trip to Walmart is never a stop-by thing because it’s so huge. What it is is cheap and abundant. Having kids to lug along hugely changes the equation of how many places you wish to get to. It’s people like myself they’re aiming those extra services at, not so much people like you who have more freedom to schedule various services at the best providers.

  3. stone says:

    I do a lot of food-shopping, so I can say with expertise that Walmart’s grocery offerings are decent but not as good at I’d get at a high-end supermarket. But it’s good enough to be worth doing my week’s food shopping there if I need to go to Walmart for household/yard items that a supermarket wouldn’t have (and I love their “Blue Bunny”-brand bomb pops, which are unavailable anywhere else).

  4. trumwill says:

    Sheila, I agree with everything you say, except that (1) even for people like me, Walmart is extremely convenient and it’s generally convenience that has me going there, and (2) while you’re right that they’re independent contractors, they still fall under the Walmart umbrella to me and if they’re not keeping the hours they’re supposed to be and all, I hold Walmart as being somewhat culpable.

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