What Walmart Can Tell Us About Ourselves

Walmart knows more about us than we do, according to ABC News.

They know that people in the Northeast eat bagels for breakfast and prefer brown eggs to white. They know that people in Austin, TX eat a lot of doughnuts.

They know what Americans buy.

John Fleming, Wal-Mart’s executive vice president and chief merchandising officer, said it should be no surprise that Wal-Mart reflects who we are as a nation.

“The Wal-Mart shopper is really everybody in America. We have 138 million customers who shop in our store every week,” Fleming said.

Wal-Mart says frozen pizza sales have increased 12 times in the past 10 years. But frozen food no longer has to mean bad for you.

America is a nation that’s increasingly health conscious, and that’s reflected in the products lining the frozen food aisles in Wal-Mart stores across the nation.

Sales of steamable vegetables and readymade, low-fat meals are on the rise. When it comes to fruit and vegetables, we prefer ours fresh.

The No. 1 selling item in the entire store may surprise you — bananas!

Ew, we hate bananas, but we love tea—which means we belong in Pennsylvania. PA drinks 5 times more tea than any other state.

What Wal-Mart Knows About You [ABC News]
(Photo:jwalsh)

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  1. Dead Wrestlers Society says:

    You don’t like bananas? I don’t know anybody who doesn’t like bananas. What’s wrong with you!

    I saw the CNBC Age of Walmart special a few months back. Pretty interesting. They were talking about how sales of pop-tarts shoot through the roof whenever a hurricane is approaching.

  2. blue_duck says:

    I buy things like deodorant and such there, personally…

  3. busrider says:

    One of the more popular item combinations to buy at midnight is Baby Diapers & Beer

    ..wife sends me to the store at midnight you better believe I’m buying something for myself =)

  4. bnet41 says:

    I work in the IT side of retail, and Wal-Mart’s data mining and trending abilities are amazing. It’s one of the things that makes the so successful.

    Wal-Mart has made their success in a lot of ways. Some good, and some bad. One good though is they know to invest in IT. So many retail companies cut IT budgets to the bare minimum and don’t realize how much this hurts them.

  5. blue_duck says:

    Yay, bananas nonetheless.

  6. girly says:

    I don’t particularly like bananas either, and I’ve never bought any at walmart…I’ve only shopped there twice

  7. Nemesis_Enforcer says:

    @public enemy #1: I used to love Bannanas but I developed an allergy to them so now I can’t make the favorite treat of the king…peanut butter and banana sandwiches…

  8. mantari says:

    Wasn’t Wal-Mart’s IT department the one that had the Internet famous fortune cookie ‘incident’ regarding the nice cake?

  9. hebear mcghee says:

    Can anyone verify a country of origin for those bananas?

  10. blue_duck says:

    @hebearmcghee: Bananaland

  11. stubblyhead says:

    @public enemy #1: I really like bananas, but they make my mouth and throat really itchy after I eat one. Someone told me that organic bananas might not do that, but I haven’t put it to the test.

  12. realjen01 says:

    @public enemy #1: That CNBC special was like the longest running commercial for Wal-Mart ever! I had to turn it off before I became brainwashed.

  13. ElizabethD says:

    Mmmm, I just had a banana with my lunch. Packed with good minerals and stuff! Just don’t let ‘em get mushy.

  14. full.tang.halo says:

    Wal-Mart bananas are the worst down in FL, they are never more than 1 day from going bad.

  15. Consumertaz says:

    Bananas are nasty. Id much rather have a kiwi…. or a steak for that matter; but not from walmart.

  16. protest says:

    @

  17. jaredgood1 says:

    Bananas = good.

    Banana “flavoring” = dog crap

  18. protest says:

    @STUBLYHEAD i read somewhere that organic bananas are worthless because they have such thick skin, nothing can get inside to the fruit anyway, so save your $$.
    it’s creepy that walmart knows so much about us, i hope this all doesn’t turn into a trapperkeeper ending.
    also: why the hell does PA drink so much tea? thought “the nation’s penis” would have us beat on that!

  19. captainvegetable says:

    Rock on, fellow banana haters.

    And what Wal-Mart knows about us could fill an ocean, but it still reads like a press release.

  20. veganthankgoodness says:

    “The Wal-Mart shopper is really everybody in America…”

    From what I’ve seen at my local Walmart, this also means America is disgustingly obese, has about three kids it can’t afford, and uses food stamps to pay for beer.

  21. skittlbrau says:

    ew. i hate bananas. the bananastrings really gross me out.

    and the mushy consistency. i would much rather eat grapes.

  22. texasannie says:

    I call BS on the donuts in Austin. It’s breakfast tacos all the way! When I lived there, I had a hard time even finding a donut shop, except for the gas stations selling the famous Round Rock Yellow Donuts. Wal-Mart’s just mad because when they try to build Supercenters in Austin, they’re met by protesters and lawsuits.

  23. trrwilson says:

    Glad I don’t work there anymore.

    Wal-Mart’s bananas come from different countries. The two stores I worked at, we only stocked Chiquta brand. Usually, the country of origin is stamped on the case, or at least on about half the cases on a pallet.

    I remember my first day working in the produce department…The dept. lead held up a banana and said “This is your paycheck” He then explained that bananas made up 40% of our department’s sales, with everything else being the remaining 60%

  24. UpsetPanda says:

    I like bananas, though I don’t buy them at Wal-Mart. I try not to buy anything at Wal-Mart, not since reading “The Wal-Mart Effect.” Though that has less to do with knowing Wal-Mart’s business practices for sure and more with the principle that if they ARE being shady with their employees and suppliers and manufacturers, I don’t want to contribute to the success that allows some of the heads to feel like they can do such things.

  25. bohemian says:

    No this tells us what people who shop at Walmart buy. There is a considerable segment of the population that will not set foot in a Walmart or only buy a select few certain things there. This throws off any data they have.

    I just love their new commercials telling you that since your totally broke buying overpriced gas you should shop at Walmart to save money.

    Drive less, buy less crap, don’t shop at Walmart.

  26. Nemesis_Enforcer says:

    @stubblyhead: Dude! The exact same thing happens to me when I eat a banana. My Doctor told me it was a allergic reaction, I tried organic nana’s and I still got the same sensation. It also makes me nauseus after I eat them.

    I miss pb and b sandwiches…(sniffle)

  27. MameDennis says:

    I’d call BS about the Pennsylvania tea thing, except I was drinking some while reading the post.

  28. Youthier says:

    @jaredgood1: For real!

  29. stubblyhead says:

    @Nemesis_Enforcer: Do you have hay fever at all? There’s something called oral allergy syndrome that causes some people with pollen allergies to have mild reactions to some foods as well. Bananas and melons are common problem foods. I understand that you won’t have a reaction if you cook the problem food, and I can eat things like banana bread with no problem.

  30. kellyhelene says:

    @Nemesis_Enforcer: That can be a precursor to a latex allergy, I’ve had the same thing since I was a kid, and now even elastic in my clothing irritates my skin. Watch out!

  31. @busrider: Hahahaha!

    How much beer do you buy when you have to buy feminine hygiene products?

  32. Anitra says:

    I’ll join the league of people with banana allergies. It’s the only allergy I’ve got (as far as I know), and it goes away if I cook them (like banana bread). A lot of diet/nutrition books & blogs say how great they are, which makes me sad. I always look at them longingly when my husband asks me to buy some.

    I wouldn’t buy any kind of meat or produce at Wal-Mart.

  33. harshmellow says:

    Back when we occasionally shopped at Wal-Mart, we bought some (cheap) steaks there, and they were utterly disgusting. I am pretty sure we ate donkey meat…

    That was the last time I bought any food at Wal-Mart. I guess what that says about me is that I am smart. Not to shop at Wal-Mart.

  34. harshmellow says:

    @Nemesis_Enforcer: I don’t know what I’d do without my occasional PB & B sammiches! I was eating those before I knew who Elvis was…and ironically, years later (but years ago), I worked at Sun Studio and they served them. Lots of them!

  35. cedarpointfan says:

    @protest: Wrong. Pesticides and such that are sprayed don’t just stay on the surface, they drip and mix with the water that the bananas are taking in.

  36. Bill Brasky says:

    @public enemy #1: I’m with you… (Rallying cry):

    BOOOONAAAANAAAAAAAAA!

    I feel better.

  37. doctor_cos wants you to remain calm says:

    Fuck wallyworld. The only thing they know about me is that I don’t fucking shop at that chinese shithole.

  38. Adam291 says:

    I absolutely refuse to even step into a Walmart. I don’t think any modern corporation has done more harm to American than Walmart. Not only have they been a big reason for the trade imbalance, they import absolute crap. Worse still, they’ve given Americans the impression that the prices they offer are the real price of things. No, tshirts are not a dollar. They only cost that when children make them for a half a penny and they’re shipped to stores with illegal and abused workers.

    What I hate is when people with a comfortable monetary situation shop there, when they can afford real prices. If Walmart exists, it should only be for people who absolutely cannot afford necessities anywhere else. It’s not a question of being cheap or thrifty, but a good human being and a good American versus a bad human being and a bad American.

  39. zolielo says:

    @bohemian:

    No this tells us what people who shop at Walmart buy. There is a considerable segment of the population that will not set foot in a Walmart or only buy a select few certain things there. This throws off any data they have.

    I too do not frequent Wlamart as well. I am part of the demographic that nearly shops exclusively at Costco (or as some said the anti-Walmart). Not all Costco stores are the same but as their shoppers are relatively homogeneous it is not that great of a various from store to store. P.S. If I remember correctly wine is the best seller at Costco.

  40. UpsetPanda says:

    @Adam291: I agree with you on this one.

    I’d love to say that people who can afford a lot of other things should be able to know about what Wal-Mart is up to and go somewhere else, but money talks. If a person save even a quarter every time he or she needed to buy shampoo, it seems like that person is saving a lot, especially since if going somewhere else to buy the same shampoo at a higher price takes more gas. Personally, Target and another grocery store are in the same shopping center as Wal-Mart so I don’t ever go to Wal-Mart. But boy do I (sarcasm) LOVE driving through the throngs of people haphazardly walking across the street, not understanding there is a VEHICLE coming. They just continue walking…”must…go…to…Wal-Mart, must…feed…urge..”

    At the same time, I think a lot of people would stop shopping there if they really, truly knew and understood what Wal-Mart does for the community – and that even if it is a good thing they do, nothing comes without a price, whether it is children working for pennies or Wal-Mart putting the squeeze on manufacturers to push down their prices at the expense of quality.

    You know, I don’t often feel any fear for my life…the Wal-Mart where I was at college, however…that’s a different story.

  41. Alan Thomas says:

    Regarding the Pennsylvania/tea thing…
    Is the analysis that Pennsylvanians buy five times as much tea as anyone else (unlikely, but cool) or that Pennsylvanians are fives times more likely to buy tea at Wal*Mart (not so cool)?

  42. blue_duck says:

    @jaredgood1: Steak ‘N’ Shake banana shakes are amazing…

  43. BrockBrockman says:

    I’m going to have to side with Walmart on this one.

    Why? Why not? I want to see what it’s like to side with Walmart at least once in my life. I’ll probably never, ever, ever, ever side with Walmart again, and this one seems pretty innocuous.

    Hey everybody! Look at me! I’m a Walmart shill! Yay bananas and bagels!

  44. YokoOno says:

    Oh.My.God. I get so sick of the “I hate Wal-Mart! Boycott Wal-Mart!” shit every single time Consumerist mentions their name. We get it. Color us deeply impressed. Now shut up already.

    P.S. I like bananas. And I sometimes buy them from Wal-Mart.

  45. bdgbill says:

    @Adam291:

    You may want to check with those poor abused people making t-shirts for 2 cents a day in Indonesia before you take their jobs away.

    A shitty job is better than no job.

    At least Wal-Mart passes the sweatshop savings on to it’s customers.

  46. doctor_cos wants you to remain calm says:

    @YokoOno: No. You don’t get it. You still shop at the fucking place. When every fucking shithole wallyworld is gone from the face of the planet, then we’ll shut up.

  47. dandd says:

    Personally, I like shopping at Walmart. Some of you might like spending hours and traveling to numerous stores to purchase your needs. I do not, one stop shopping as much as possible for me.

  48. YokoOno says:

    Doctor_Cos, get a grip. They aren’t going anywhere, so fuck off and get over yourself, please.