Monday, August 31, 2009

Change, change, change

This weekend, I felt we needed to make our monthly pilgrimage to Wal-Mart, now called Walmart. Like most trips to Walmart for us, this was mostly based on laziness at not wanting to hit maybe 3 stores for the entire list. We needed Walgreens type items, grocery items that could be bought at Aldi, and a few grocery items that can only be gotten at a name brand store. When I first said to Hubby that I needed him to go to Walmart with me, there was a definite snarl on his face. I have no idea how much of that was "Walmart" and how much was "with me" but it was there none the less. I explained the need for Walmart and then explained that at 35 weeks pregnant, I needed him to help me cut down on how many miles I would have to walk within Walmart.

The plan: I split up the list between the Walmart side and the grocery side to avoid unnecessary mileage between the two. We got two baskets, had our cell phones, and planned on meeting up again at the checkout.

The problem: They've re-organized the whole freakin' store!

After a whole lot of time walking around this new, frustrating layout, the only organizational pattern I could find was that there is now a "frequently purchased \ consumable items" side and a "might only need it once a year" side. Otherwise, why would you put the produce near the health and beauty aides?

The tone of the customers can be condensed into two groups of people: 1- harried people with long lists looking frustrated and a bit angry and 2- whole families who have come to wally-world with plenty of time and are enjoying going down every aisle and blocking traffic for the rest of us. The larger group is the first group.

The whole time I'm searching for the photo albums (never found them - they're not with the picture frames) I keep thinking, "well America, you said you loved change. Do you love this kind of change?!" I wish I could have taken an exit poll of customers when they first encountered the new layout.

"Hello, ma'am, how do you feel about the new layout of the store today?"
"I couldn't find a ___ thing?! Do you people even sell cuz-cuz any more? There's six things I don't have off my list only because my feet are tired and I want to go home. Why did you change it?"

"Hello, ma'am, how do you feel about the new layout of the store today?"
"Look, you people could at least warn us when you're going to do something like this. It's taken me twice as long to get my regular groceries this week. I didn't have time for that today! I'm supposed to be at church in 30 minutes! Why was the layout changed?"

"Hello, ma'am, how do you feel about the new layout of the store today?"
"I walked every stinkin aisle of this place twice today with three now-cranky kids and finally have everything off my list. Plus no telling how much random stuff the kids put in the basket when I was searching for the yeast and baking chocolate. I would have left them at home if I had known you'd changed everything."

"Hello, sir, how do you feel about the new layout of the store today?"
"I had three things on my list and it took me 45 minutes in this ___ place today. Pimentos, cream cheese, and beer. I needed the beer by the time I finally found my wife's ___ pimentos, much less the cream cheese. Did y'all just change everything hoping we buy more impulse purchases?"

While waiting 25 minutes in line to check out, (did I mention that I loved Walmart?!) Hubby and I talked about how, in reality, humanity hates change. It causes stress, takes more time, and only about half the time makes anything any better in the long run. Just ask anyone involved in a computer program upgrade at work. But you put a charismatic orator on the TV often enough touting anything, and suddenly America wants it.

It reminded me of the JibJab cartoon that went around the internet last summer. It was before the presidential primary and poked fun at all three (Hillary, Obama, and McCain) candidates' foibles and issues. Obama's part of the song included this priceless line. "There's the change we must change to the change we hold dear. I really like change, have I made myself clear."


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