The Walmart People
The People of Walmart
I have heard of happy people, lonely people, power to the people and even the village people, but not until presently had I ever heard about the people of Walmart. It was first bought to my attention by my daughter, and ever since then I have come to realize that there are a bunch of people highly addicted to these Internet sites. So who are the people of Walmart? For those of you like myself who have never heard of this, I have no better way of explaining it then by quoting the official site. Yes, there is an official site! The site describes them as follows: “You know that creature that you spot every time you go shopping at a certain chain department store? It's like spotting the loch ness or big foot. That's the people of Walmart!"
They claim that the idea is basically the same as spotting those rare creatures. Go to your local Walmart with your cell phone and have it ready. When you run into someone strange or someone dressed inappropriately you snap the picture and upload it unto the site. This website has created so much commotion, and has such a huge fan base that both CNN and TIME magazine have felt the need to write about it. Time's article voted Walmart "the worst dressed big-box retailers."
Once a year, Time magazine does a sexiest person cover. Just like the magazine the people of Walmart have decided to do the sexiest 25 people of the year. If you feel the need to go check out the website, please allow me to stop you right now. The pictures of the 25 are anything but sexy, and they are all tagged with some pretty warped comments. The madness however does not end there. Available for your viewing pleasure and amusement are the people of Walmart YouTube videos, weekly photo contests and Facebook fan page.
In the past two years I have personally known people who have been photographed by complete strangers at Walmart. Even though police were called out on each account, both parties were told that public photography by strangers in this public establishment is not illegal. My neighbors beautiful, fashion conscious, teenage daughter was greatly traumatized by this whole event. Not because she felt violated by a middle-aged pervert, but because she was afraid that she would wind up on the people of Walmart website! I find it a bit disturbing that unless a camera is in a bathroom or aimed up my skirt, I can be legally photographed without my permission or consent. We have become not only the land of the free but also the insane. How is it illegal to ride your camel down the highway in Las Vegas, but it's perfectly legal to photograph complete strangers with your cell phone and then humiliate them on a public platform?
The website, however does seem to have some human morals and decency. They don’t want any photos to be uploaded of anyone without full consent that their being photographed or anyone under 18 years of age. Also frowned upon are persons with disabilities or current Walmart employees. After taking the time to search through the site for a while, I can assure you that only the last two categories are being honored. The site is full of customer pictures which have been shot from behind, and accompanied by children.
The site has drawn so much attention that both the website and the logo have been trademarked. There are dozens of other websites now competing with the site and catering to the craze. It's almost like a train wreck; it's a horrible sight, but you cannot stop yourself from looking and staring at it.
I think that if your one of the people taking time out of your busy day to go to Walmart, take a picture and upload it onto a website, then you need to keep a few things in mind. Everyone has a tendency to judge people by the company that they keep. So therefore, I think that it's only fair to judge these photographers by the places that they shop, and the people that they shop next to. Next thing to remember is that when you start judging and making fun of others, it has a tendency to come back to you, so you can’t get upset when others start judging you.
I believe that Walmart could easily end this abuse by simply posting signs in their stores stating that photographing customers with cell phones within their Establishment is illegal. Then again, I honestly don't see that happening anytime soon because stores love publicity no matter how they go about getting it. Maybe they will capitalize on it even further, and have the folks from “What not to wear” come out and start doing shows on location at the stores. Perhaps even I might capitalize on it, and head down to my local Walmart with cell phone in hand, sit at one of the benches and snap photos of random people going by as an experiment for my next article. The article will be about how many people lose their minds while being photographed in public or how I bailed myself out of jail with the money I made off the pictures. Either way I’m going to title it: An experiment gone wrong.
It really is all rather sad and pathetic when you think about it. But honestly, what do you expect when you're running a dishonest, God fearing, Christian, Republican store, which sells merchandise from third-world countries, whose products are made by children earning pennies an hour? Top that off with paying your employees minimum wage to sell it at rock-bottom prices, and you're guaranteed to attract a few loonies.