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I went to Singles Shopping… or at least tried.

July 23, 2005, 5:38 AM

I went down to Roanoke on Friday evening after work to visit the Wal-Mart on US 220, where, you may recall, I wrote in this space about “Singles Shopping”, the place for desperate singles to tie a red ribbon onto their cart and try to find true love.

So after traveling 90 miles from Stuarts Draft to Roanoke, I arrived at Wally World way down in Roanoke, only to find out that Singles Shopping was cancelled, and that they wouldn’t be having it anymore. I knew something was up as soon as I got in, considering there was no signage for the event, and saw no red-ribbon carts. I asked the greeter, who, after enthusiastically greeting me with a hearty “Welcome to Wal-Mart!” (major plus points there), told me it was cancelled. Turns out that earlier in the day, the store received a directive from Home Office in Bentonville: Do not have Singles Shopping tonight, and do not have it again. Drat. And I was looking forward to it, too. I, along with several others, put in comment cards about how we traveled distances to see this, only to find it was cancelled. Some even came from West Virginia, though from Roanoke to West Virginia isn’t as far as from Roanoke to here. All the store associates I spoke to were very apologetic about it, from the managers and right on down, since this was their great idea, and Bentonville nixed it (though I was told that some associates absolutely HATED the concept). After all, it got such wonderful press in the Roanoke Times (linked in the first entry I posted on this topic), and via the Associated Press to other papers. Jay Leno even made fun of it on his show.

Still, even though there was no official event, it didn’t stop people from coming, and those of us who showed up got to kind of talk for a while, if nothing else but to be unhappy together about the event we traveled to attend being cancelled on last-minute notice. One guy even went to Fabrics and Crafts and bought a red ribbon, and wore it on his wrist, standing by the Radio Grill. The people trying to participate looked well-educated, and likely would have been great people to have a conversation with. Too bad we all didn’t plan better and go somewhere as a group or something when we found out it was cancelled. Oh, well. It would have been fun.

I especially feel bad for the store, since it seems that they got it rough from both ends. Bentonville came down on them about having it. The customers were upset for their having to follow the directive from Bentonville. The associates in that store spent so much effort working on getting everything all together, and then it all goes kaplooie on them, after getting national attention for it.

I still have to say, though – if you’re going to Wal-Mart and find love accidentally, that’s one thing. But if you are going to Wal-Mart looking for love, you are desperate.

Web site: Roanoke Times article on the Singles Shopping. Note that while it was nixed in Roanoke and also in the rest of the continental US, Wal-Mart is trying it elsewhere, in Puerto Rico, Germany (where the concept originated), the United Kingdom, and South Korea.

Song: Wanna Be My Lover by Labouche

Quote: Richmond Times-Dispatch article about the cancellation. Still, the line that I most closely associate with this event is from "Different Town" on Homestarrunner.com: "And this little weirdo would be a modestly hot girl to help me through the hard times… you know, the kind that are only sorta hot so they don't mess around with other guys!" (DaAaAaAa, I'm forever your girl!)

Categories: Roanoke, Walmart