Always Low Prices

Yes, that’s right. Walmart. When I saw the familiar sign (and slogan), I couldn’t help but check it out. Soon I was on an upward sloping escalator taking me to the first of four floors in what is the largest Walmart I’ve ever seen. To my left and right on the escalator were product after product in huge bins. There was also a woman with a microphone barking directions about what I presume to be the use of the escalator.

The first floor leads in with a fresh seafood area. The space is huge, complete with a U-shaped ice display and no less than 40 large live fish tanks. Moving out of the seafood area, I found every food imaginable. I laughed as I passed recognizable meat hanging from hooks–I guess Walmart has a different set of rules to play with in China. It was overwhelming how much food I was clueless about, but in true American style there were tasting stations set up for various places.

The second floor proved a bit more familiar with packaged foods. Kraft is everywhere. You can’t go far without seeing an oreo product in this part of the world. There were also displays on cooking popcorn and blending drinks. In China, they have infomercial type personalities armed with a headset and some sort of made for TV product. This isn’t reserved for only Walmart. Take a left down a sidestreet and you may here someone preaching the virtues (and demonstrating them) of a set of new knives.

I made it to the third floor before I began to get that feeling I usually have being in a Walmart. Exotic foods had given way to Procter and Gamble toiletry products and I decided to leave.

I probably spent a couple hours in Walmart, observing the people and picking up a few purchases. You can’t argue with their slogan. I paid a fourth of the price that I usually pay for a bottle of water here in China. It was probably an interesting time to visit as the Chinese New Year is upon us (February 18th).

As much as I don’t enjoy Walmart in the US, I was rather pleased with my experience in China. How did it all end you ask? I shot baskets at an arcade style basketball hoop set up outside of the store. It was plastered with photos of Yao Ming and as my score continued to rise, a growing crowd of Chinese onlookers watched with interest.

Only in China.

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One Response to “Always Low Prices”

  1. Dad and Mom Says:

    Ed,

    We loved your observations about Walmart! It sounds more like an amusement park of sorts! Dad wants you to know that he goes to Walmart here in the U.S. for one reason alone….. dogfood!

    Love you.

    Dad and Mom

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