Saturday, September 12, 2009

Walmart ... again

I read an article recently about how Walmart is, in the current economy, trying to squeeze the last bit of life out of all of its competitors/potential competitors. It is doing this by revamping its apparel offerings, listening to customers' complaints about floor layout, etc.

One of the changes the article pointed out is that the aisles are wider and that shoppers can now see multiple areas of the store from certain points for optimal navigation. As I walked into my newly renovated local Walmart, I got to experience the results of this "new look."

There is definitely more breathing room. For example, when you first walk into the store, you have a direct line of sight all the way from the far right to the far left end of the store. This fact comes into play because, as you walk inside, directly to your right is the sanitary napkin/douche/condom aisle. First of all, these items never used to all be in one aisle. Secondly, WTF? It's as if Walmart corporate was like: "Hmm, maybe we should put all the embarassing products in one aisle. And then, wouldn't it be great if we positioned that aisle strategically so that as many people as possible could see the customers in that aisle?"

I think Walmart had better be prepared for their condom/tampon market to take a hit.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Who moved my bread?

It's standard protocol for Walmart to update its look every three years. Or at least that's the explanation a Walmart associate gave for the overnight relocation of the pharmacy into a newly-constructed gray wooden box-room ... and for the fact that the bread has moved from the second aisle to a corner at the back of the store.

You heard me right. They moved the bread. This has caused major disgruntlement among Walmart clientele. I overheard one customer ask an associate whether the bread could be re-relocated because, and I quote, "Everyone is complaining about this."

As if a Walmart peon has control over the store's layout. Ha.

My dad works as a consultant for Target, and he says that store layouts are decided on by analyzing massive amounts of customer traffic data.

"Why do you think milk is at the back of grocery stores?" he asked.

"Because that's where it's supposed to be," I answered, confused.

"No," he explained. "There was a time when milk was at the front of the store, so that customers who just wanted to run in to buy milk could. But then stores realized that it was better for business if customers were forced to walk through the entire store."

So, if you go into the Conley Road Walmart in Columbia, Mo., and wander around looking for bread only to discover it after you've picked up five other items, now you'll know why Walmart corporate put the bread in the corner.

Friday, June 19, 2009

An experiment

I just waxed my legs for the first time, and I'm feeling a little Bridget Jones-esque: brilliant idea spirals into frustrating -- yet slightly humorous -- catastrophe. Think blue soup.

So, there's wax everywhere. In my microwave. On my sink. On my bathroom floor. Somehow on my arms.

The newspaper I put down to protect the floor is sticking to my feet as I traipse back and forth, back and forth to the kitchen to remicrowave the wax.

The only redeeming fact is that it seems the amount of hair on my legs is indirectly proportional to the amount of wax lurking unsuspectingly on everything I touch.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Which president would you date?

My roommate and I have been watching The Presidents, a History Channel DVD set we got from the library that provides a 15-minute biography on each of the presidents. Droll, you say? Not if you play the Which-president-would-I-date? game. So far, my judgment has been very poor on this subject.

When Andrew Jackson started making appearances during the first few presidents' biographies, I was a little starstruck. He was the Defender of New Orleans against the French, he fought off the Indians and the Brits in Florida and claimed her for the United States against the Spaniards...and he had awesome hair (How did he get such big hair in an age before hair products?). I announced my crush to my history-buff friend David, who immediately cried "Folly." David said that I had not chosen wisely--Andrew Jackson was practically guilty of genocide. Thousands of Indians died when Jackson had them uprooted and sent on The Trail of Tears.

David was right. The next night I watched Andrew Jackson's biography. He was a crazy man. He let the U.S. Bank--the bank that prints U.S. currency--die just because its supporters were his enemies. He courted and wed a married woman. He disagreed with a Supreme Court ruling--the ruling that allowed the Cherokee Indians in Georgia to stay on their land--so he ignored it and sent the Indians packing anyway.

This was an unwisely placed crush.

You might notice a crush theme in my postings. All I can say is that the crushes are getting progressively less realistic: first my neighbor, then famous writers, then a dead guy.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Naomi's Field Guide to Coffeehouse First Dates

Signs that you are witnessing a first-date-in-progress at your local coffeehouse:

1. It's late on a Saturday afternoon, and the two arrive separately. Scratch that. If it's a guy and a girl at a coffeehouse late on a Saturday afternoon, it's probably a first date.

2. When the two in question meet, they hug. Briefly.

3. The couple sits far from the other patrons.

4. The two appear similar in age, style, socioeconomic status and attractiveness.

5. The guy doesn't drink straight black coffee. He drinks a slightly girlier drink, like a cappuccino.

6. The snippets of conversation you catch include sound bytes like, "I lived for two years in Dallas..."

7. Animated conversation seems to be followed by brief, intense pauses that are broken with comments about the weather or the drinks they're each drinking.

**If you identify two or more of the above signs, you are most likely witnessing a first date.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Hunter gatherers, angst and the economic crisis

This economic crisis has explained a great mystery to me: why our hunter-gatherer forefathers had so little angst.

If you were worried about putting food on your table (literally), probably you didn't have time to worry about what the people in the next hut were saying about you or why your buddy from many moons ago de-friended you at your favorite prehistoric social-networking site.

(Actually, who am I kidding? I'm sure gossip was alive and strong among the hunter gatherers...assuming they were linguistically advanced enough to talk.)

You see, I've found that worrying about putting food on my table (or realistically, paying medical bills and funding my imminent post-graduate-and-unemployed lifestyle) is very freeing. I spend less time psychoanalyzing myself. And I think we can all agree that the less psychoanalyzing going on in the world, the better.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Marital Advice for a Complete Stranger

Today I told a guy I barely know that I don't think he should get married.

Cheeky, I know. But someone has to be the female voice, telling him that we women don't want his type.

(Due to my hesitancy at being chosen to utter this truth (think Moses), the words did not flow out smoothly; he initially thought I was pre-emptively rejecting any marriage proposals from him.)

This guy's in my journalism class, and we were having a class discussion about journalists' roles in reporting international affairs. When violence breaks out in a foreign nation, the journalists there often send their families away to safety. Sometimes the journalists themselves also leave. This male acquaintance of mine claimed that it would be selfish for a journalist to evacuate with his family and abandon his post--his calling--as a journalist.

All I'm sayin' is: Don't marry and procreate if you plan on abandoning your family and putting yourself in danger for the "higher calling" of journalism. How about the higher calling of being around 'til your son graduates from high school?