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About Amy Umble: Amy Umble writes about religion and social issues affecting the Fredericksburg community.
Local Walmart makes NPR
NPR featured a local Wal-Mart in a recent story on how middle-of-the-night shopping is linked to poverty:
Take a trip to one of those 24-hour Walmarts on the last day of every month, and you’ll get a glimpse into the lives of low-income families trying to get by. At one location in Fredericksburg, Va., at around 11 p.m., families start to load up on necessities like diapers and groceries.
The story is an interesting snapshot of the latest economic times (that period between recession and recovery). I assume it comes from an earlier NPR blog post, which I had saved as a future story idea. What struck me from that post (a quote from Bill Simon, head of Wal-Mart’s U.S. operations):
And you need not go further than one of our stores on midnight at the end of the month. And it’s real interesting to watch, about 11 p.m., customers start to come in and shop, fill their grocery basket with basic items, baby formula, milk, bread, eggs, and continue to shop and mill about the store until midnight, when … government electronic benefits cards get activated and then the checkout starts and occurs. And our sales for those first few hours on the first of the month are substantially and significantly higher.
And if you really think about it, the only reason somebody gets out in the middle of the night and buys baby formula is that they need it, and they’ve been waiting for it. Otherwise, we are open 24 hours — come at 5 a.m., come at 7 a.m., come at 10 a.m. But if you are there at midnight, you are there for a reason.