Checking Out Walmart : The Quintessential American Experience
Patel describes supermarkets as patented inventions that respond to a specific need at the time and place of their conception. This essay develops this assertion by explicating Walmart as a tightly curated set of variances reflective of the socioeconomics and culture of the geographical space it inhabits. The Quintessential American Experience
The first thing one sees when walking toward the superstore in Waterville is the American Flag hoisted on top of the building, waving in the wind. For the past two decades, Walmart has marketed itself as a space for the consumer to “Buy American.” However, to Buy American is not only a consumer choice, but also a consumer culture. To Buy American is to step into the store, carefully choose the kind of cart one would like to push, grab a coffee at Dunkin’ Donuts, peek at the Morning Sentinel and begin one’s venture into the maze.
A harshly-lit warehouse is transformed into a space for consumerism by weaving the daily coffee, paper and tasteful muzak into the shopping experience. Hence, while shopping at Walmart may appear to be a routine chore for the household in Waterville, it serves as an important contributor to the quintessential American experience on the larger scale. Therefore, Walmart is an important case-study in understanding American consumerism because it helps one analyze the demographic trends of consumption, the market visibility of certain consumer groups over others, and the dominant…