I created this blog for my Media 2.0 class, which has been quite interesting.
Before I begin-
Site Guide: WMWM = West Memphis Wal-Mart
I picked my blog topic because I want to study where culture arises and how people function in certain cultures where they are brought up and I’m really into food. This Walmart off Exit 298 on Route 55 is a hub of activity, or actually the hub of activity for its locals.
Before I moved to Memphis, Tennessee, the only thing I knew about West Memphis was The West Memphis 3– a cause de celebre. I saw Winona Ryder and Jello Biafra (from the band Dead Kennedys) speak outdoors at an art gallery in downtown Los Angeles about these young men convicted of murder because of their musical choices (heavy metal) and “pagan reading habits”. It’s not even safe if you’re white. You have to be a certain kind of white.
There is still a sign up half a mile from the Walmart asking for tips about The West Memphis 3:
I’ve spent most of my grown up life in Los Angeles. I don’t think most people from LA know that West Memphis is actually in the state of Arkansas. I’m not sure I did. I grew up in small towns on the East Coast and then in the giant one on the West Coast. I have never experienced life as a middle American and didn’t even know The Mid-South was a technical region. Now I know.
It’s really crazy to find out that over the Route 55-North in West Memphis that The Super Walmart is the center of everything. It’s is a drug store, grocery store, Home Depot/Lowe’s, craft store, pets supply store, bank, office supply store and more rolled up into one.
I asked a clerk there if he knew of any pet stores near by and he said, “Mamn, maybe over there in Memphis, otherwise there’s nothing here except this.” Down the street is a bunch of hotels, a Cracker Barrel, a dog racing track and truck stops. I believe that is it until you get to Little Rock. I may be wrong. Driving cross country, I saw that in tiny places, on weekends, it was a big thing for a family to go eat at The Subway at the local truck stop off the 40.
It’s really easy for city folk to say big chains are evil because they have tons of neat little boutiques, but some places that just can’t happen and there is only one place to shop and hang out.
I grew up part of the time in the swamps of Southern Maryland outside of Washington, D.C. and in the 1980’s, we had one K-mart and that was it. We drove 30 minutes to get decent groceries. Then the three lower counties (that the rest of Maryland likes to forget about) got one mall to share with four department stores. That was retail progress back then for us.
As we get into the holiday season, I suspect the items Walmart will carry will get more specific and intriguing. For the next couple of months, I will post entries mostly about the Southern food in the store that I have not seen offered in Los Angeles, and occasionally non-food items and bits about Walmart in the news or other people’s views about the mega-store that is such a huge part of so many middle American communities and totally drives their local economies.
… and apparently even over seas communities. I had no idea there are wacky international Wal-Marts until I did images searches:
This one’s in China. World domination for realz.
WMWM has everything. I’m shocked they don’t sell WMD’s too.