|Guess where this photo was taken.|
(Originally published November 13, 2011)
People often make a big deal about the fact that big box stores homogenize our society and make everything the same. To a certain extent, it's true. They often bring a certain level of standardization to things. But as easily as you can identify the connecting threads like logos and signage that exist from store to store, there are often very telling divides that exist when you examine a single retailer with stores in several communities. Anyone who has ever flipped through pics on Wal-Creatures or wandered into a Walmart in Mississippi knows what I am talking about.
Although they are only 11 miles apart, the Hartford and Avon Walmarts might as well be run by different companies. The inconsistencies between the two stores can create a fascinating, consumerized lens that spotlights the differences between the two communities as a whole. Community wealth, ethnography, cultural preferences and societal issues all come to life when you juxtapose the two stores. To help you better make sweeping judgements and gross oversimplifications of the complex socio-economic forces at play in our great state, we've created a handy guide to help you understand the difference between the Avon and Hartford Walmarts. We're sure you could probably do the same thing if you looked at the respective school systems of the two communities, but that level of access is much harder to come by and the contrasts are far more bleak.
So without further ado, the Sad City Hartford Guide to Understanding Class Disparities Between Hartford and Avon by Examining Their Respective Walmarts.
The Parking Lot
Obviously the cars in that fill the parking lot of the Avon parking lot are different from the cars in Hartford. Beyond simple automobile value, the vibe is different. In Avon, Girl Scouts and their mothers sell cookies at folding tables with linens. Carriages are orderly stowed in the carriage return. Gardening supplies sit unsecured on the sidewalk. The loudest sound you will hear is a toddler throwing some sort of tantrum. In Hartford, a rent-a-cop cruises around the parking lot in a dented security car with flashing yellow lights. Bass from car steros vibrates in the background. Guys perform oil changes and other small car repairs in the far end of the lot. Dozens of carriages litter the lots and provide random obstacles as you try to park.
|Hartford always has grape soda at the front of the store. That's messed up, right?|
In Avon, the greeter is typically some good natured retired gentleman who took the job because he wants to remain active. In Hartford, the greeters don't so much as greet as they audit the receipt of each exiting, non-white customer. Seriously, watch what happens in that exit line. It's pretty messed up. Also messed up is the way the Hartford Walmart always seems to have large displays of grape and orange soda right as you walk into the store. I know that this touches on a very sensitive topic, but you would never see that same display set up at the Walmart in Avon.
|Perhaps the source of Hartford's mattress problem|
The shelves in the Avon Walmart are orderly, well stocked symbols of abundant supply and efficient management. The shelves in Hartford feel like they were organized by meth heads with ADD. The order is random. Half the shelves are inexplicably bare when others are piled sky high. Random boxes are everywhere.
|Hartford Walmart apparently sells crumpled up boxes. Awesome.|
Why the heck does it always seem like the Hartford Walmart always seems to have random children under the age of ten wandering the store after 9 p.m. on a school night? You know that kind of crap doesn't go do in Avon.
Avon Walmart carries an abundant supply of t-shirts that features wolves, eagles and large-mouthed bass. Hartford Walmart has more than 62 varieties of Jesus and Mary candles. Nothing else needs to be said.
Check Out Lines
Other than the lack of order, the complete understaffing and the fact that a fist fight can go down at any minute the Hartford Walmart's check out line is very similar to the Avon Walmart's checkout line.
|Avon checkout lines in all of their glory.|
|Experience the joys of the line at the Hartford Walmart.|