With Amazon shutting out brick-and-mortar retailers, Sam Walton’s franchise must think outside the cardboard box–starting with how Americans get their groceries.
Walmart has teamed up with Waymo, Google’s former self-driving car program. They are currently testing self-driving cars in Phoenix. Those “early riders” who choose to participate in the pilot program will get to ride in a shuttle to and from Walmart to pick up grocery orders they’ve made online.
Now, we’ve all read the articles about how bad Walmart is for the environment and small businesses. But, moral dilemmas aside, everyone shops at The Blue Devil from time to time. (Except for maybe you, Gwyneth Paltrow, because you’re too busy getting caviar facials to mingle with the Plebeians or whatever.)
Point is, Walmart shopping is going to happen. And soon, it will be much more convenient.
Now, you may be asking yourself, “Why wouldn’t I want to just go in person and roam the aisles of Walmart?” Oh, I can think of a few reasons:
1) Three words: People of Walmart. You guys. YOU GUYS. There is an entire website dedicated to the tacky-ass shoppers of Walmart. Feel free to peruse a few pages and get back to me.
Go ahead. I’ll wait.
Welcome back. By now you’ve realized that the People of Walmart website is a time-sucking wormhole, and you’ll never retrieve those hours you just wasted looking at the train wrecks of society. You feel simultaneously smug and disgusted with yourself, don’t you? I’m sorry. We’ve all been there. Walk it off.
Anywhoo, where were we? Oh yeah, the many reasons ’tis better to procure your provisions from Walmart via self-driving car, rather than braving the weird, wild world of Wally.
2) The ubiquitous, plumber-cracked stock guy who seems to be re-shelving baked beans every hour of every day, causing a shopping cart traffic jam.
3) Those wonky carts. I can’t be sure, but I believe they come shipped from the factory complete with a wad of hair wrapped around the hind wheel that causes you to veer left so that you must use extreme bicep power to keep yourself from crashing into a display of Pork Rinds every five seconds. Try as you may, you’ll never find a Walmart shopping cart that drives straight. They don’t exist.
4) Chatty Cathy at the register who asks you lengthy, personal questions in audible range of 52 strangers while your hungry, irritable kids whine and embarrass you.
5) McTemptation coming from the mini-McDonald’s at the front of the shop. Someone please explain why a chocolate milkshake sounds so compelling when you walk by WalDonald’s?
6) What is that smell coming from the lawn & garden department? Seriously, though. What. Is. That. Smell?
7) The fact that you feel compelled to bathe in Purell as soon as you cross the automatic door threshold.
8) The barefoot children. Why aren’t they wearing shoes? Shoes are like 50 cents at Walmart. Oh shit, mom’s not wearing shoes either. This is how staph infections happen, folks. Listen, for all our sakes, go get some flip flops. Put them on my tab. I insist.
9) Omnipresent Brenda who insists on talking with her phone ON SPEAKER AT FULL VOLUME so that everyone in a four-mile radius knows the Jerry-Springer-esque details of her recent breakup.
10) I once saw a flock of pigeons in a makeshift nest community in the rafters. Reader, it was like a low-budget apartment complex for lice birds. They made themselves at freaking home and the good workers in the blue vests just turned a blind eye.
So yeah, where do I sign up for the grocery pickup service?
This is obviously not a glowing endorsement for Walmart. But let’s be honest with ourselves: Walmart is a part of life. Why not make the experience as painless as possible?
True, if the self-driving cars are anything like the products I purchase at Wally-World, they’re probably going to break down after about three days. But that’s another problem for another day.