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The Wal-Mart Blitz

At Wal-Mart they call it the Blitz, and slip-and-fall artists stay away. It’s America’s version of the Running of the Bulls, and instead of being trampled by bovine, those who stumble are subject to a beating by discount shoes.
On the biggest shopping day of the year, the Friday following Thanksgiving, the store peddles much of its bargain holiday wares at once, thereby thinning the numbers of determined shoppers to be dealt with for the rest of the holiday season.
It begins at 6 a.m., and by 10 a.m. things are already pretty much back to normal.
In football, a blitz occurs when one or more defensive backs rush the passer. A couple weeks ago, the blitz broke the jaw of Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning, but for the rest of us, the Blitz means a 25-inch TV for $149.97.
It’s hard to say who was more surprised by the blitz: shoppers or Poland.
Poland probably wasn’t as well organized as some shoppers. Consumer commandos hit the ground running Friday morning, sometimes in teams communicating with two-way radios, issuing “high-priority taskers” on Green Power Rangers and Tickle Me Elmos.
When teamwork is used effectively, one consumer unit can engage the enemy, taking out the heel or even an entire shoe with a shopping cart. That buys time for the teammate to intercept a Teletubby, establishing a beachhead into the hearts of little children.
An item off the shelf is still a long way from home under the tree. The sovereignty of a shopping cart means nothing to a post-Thanksgiving shopper. Besides, it’s much better to start the Christmas season with an unscrupulous act than to spoil it by not having the right toy.
When smart shoppers map their route through the store on the eve of the Blitz, they include a swing through the automotive department for a pair of jumper cables and a car battery. The soft hum of a cart carrying a current is seldom audible among the sounds of the Blitz.
Having a little intel about the toy being plundered is also important. Stealth counts for very little when swiping a motion-activated, singing Furbee from a shopping cart.
Those who collected the spoils of the Blitz eventually found their way to a layaway line stretching through domestics and as far as the dairy cooler. Impulse shoppers had a choice of Mini-Blinds, comforters and Harry Potter waterbed patch kits while they waited. Pure marketing genius.

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