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People of Walmart Is a Hit Walmart Can't, and Shouldn't, Stop

Best Thing to Do Is Stay Quiet, Let Hoopla Die Down

By Published on . 16

People of Walmart is a new blog that lets people upload, rate and comment on photos of oddly dressed people seen shopping at Walmart. And it would seem there's not a damn thing Walmart can -- or should -- do about it.

Walmart should be a good sport
If Walmart tries to squash the site, they'll quickly become the laughing stock of social media. If they laugh with the site, they'll be accused of laughing at their own customers.

PeopleofWalmart.com
PeopleofWalmart.com
They're better off to stay quiet and let the hoopla die down. Which it will, eventually, if Walmart doesn't get heavy-handed. It's not a site that's likely to do lasting damage to the brand, or help it. It's a joke that's gone viral.

But my bet is that Walmart won't suck it up and be a good sport. Time will tell.

Look closely, this woman is subtle (sort of)
The caption on this photo is "You know you don't have to dress as the logo to shop there, right?" Look closely. This woman is subtle, compared to other featured shoppers, most of who are anything but.

People of Walmart was launched in early August by 23-year-old Andrew Kipple, his brother, Adam, 25, and their childhood friend Luke Wherry, 23. The site has since gone viral, been covered in mainstream media, and attracted more than 15,000 Twitter followers. There has been so much traffic that they had to move to bigger servers.

We just want to have some fun
The founders say they draw the line at people who are handicapped: "We don't make fun of people who can't help their appearance. ... Let's face it; we all have seen the people who obviously don't have mirrors and/or family and friends to lock them in a basement, and they all seem to congregate at Walmart."

Humorless Walmart spokesman David Tovar declined to speak to ABC News, saying that "it doesn't seem likes it's news that there's a website that allows people to post photos on it."

Social media, defined
What gives the site its viral appeal is the universality of the joke. The site makes you laugh and that makes a lot of people want to share a good giggle with family and friends, as well as their Twitter, Facebook and MySpace communities. In a nutshell, that desire to share something you like, or dislike, defines social media.

"It's not everywhere that you can shop for milk at 10 a.m. next to a 400lb mother of 6 wearing a pink tube top, leopard tights, and hooker heels," says the site's "About" page, which also notes that "This is purely for entertainment purposes and strictly limited to the outrageously bad / ugly / creepy / crazy shoppers. ... We are trying to have some fun here."

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B.L. Ochman is a marketing strategist and blogger and can be found Twittering, at WhatsNextOnline.com or with her newest venture, Pawfun.com.

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