Since the beginning of the month, select Wal-Mart stores in Canada have been open 24 hours a day for the holiday shopping season. This must make sense for Wal-Mart financially as I can’t see them doing this just for the hell of it.
I went to Wal-Mart tonight because I needed to stock up on essentials. With all the OT I’d been doing, I hadn’t been there in while. I easily could have gone earlier but it’s always a madhouse at Wal-Mart, so the prospect of shopping in relative peace led to my 1am trip.
Pulling into the parking lot, I was surprised to see as many cars as I did. I was prepared to be the only one shopping but there were easily 15 fifteen cars in the lot. Granted, many of those could have been employee cars. When I walked into the store, I was greeted by a security guard which made sense since Wal-Mart probably didn’t want any 5am shenanigans going on.
At 1am, it was clear that there was a lot of re-stocking of shelves going on. Many aisles had open pallets in them, as workers were busy putting product back on the shelves. In this sense, I had to shop around this process. It wasn’t too inconvenient and I realize when a store is open around the clock, re-stocking and maintenance has to happen some time.
I quite enjoyed the rather peaceful nature of shopping in a nearly deserted Wal-Mart. Usually, this location is jammed full of riff-raff during day and that leads to massive lines at the checkout. In contrast, I was free to flitter from aisle to aisle, without the need to dodge carts and undesirables at every turn. I found myself in one particular peaceful moment as I perused the dark chocolate selection while the soothing vocals of Aaron Neville bid me a “Silent Night” over the PA system. It was then I knew Wal-Mart was onto something.
The store wasn’t exactly deserted but there sure wasn’t a whole lot of people. There was one person who I couldn’t tell if it was a man or woman. There were a few couples here and there, mostly older folks. There was one group of twenty-something dudes, they looked like they were mostly bored. There was easily more staff than shoppers on hand.
With two checkout lines, I paid for my stuff in less than a minute, which has to be a record for me at Wal-Mart. This was the most pleasant shopping experience I’ve had there. If you hate the crowds at Wal-Mart, I suggest you try shopping at the Lougheed Town Centre location well after 1am.