Walmart has always been ahead of its time. The Godzilla of Capitalism not only discovered new and interesting ways to exploit child labor, strangle local businesses, and drive the Average Joe gonzo with savings, but it’s stayed firm in its quest to feed our ids.
Now Walmart is taking its Americana approach to new heights by installing wine vending machines and partnering with Homeland Security to crack down on checkout-lane terror.
“Rot-Gut Red in Aisle Three”
I live in Massachusetts, a state still gunky with puritanical blue laws. It was only within the last decade that packies could sell on Sundays. That’s right—we couldn’t even enjoy football until now. Therefore, I had no idea wine vending machines existed outside classy robo-sommelier liquor stores.
Well, they do, and Walmart wants in.
It makes total sense: these booze-pumping wonders of modern invention pair our country’s two greatest loves: convenience and escapism. Who better to provide mother’s milk than the world’s number-one retail giant?
According to a report from CBS Pittsburgh, Walmart has preliminary approval to install wino kiosks in seven Pennsylvania towns. Presumably conscious of its, well, “particular” variety of customers, the machines have measures to prevent Randy the Dirt Farmer from plugging his mouth with merlot and retching on the flannels:
The machines require customers to swipe their driver’s license and even give a breathalyzer test before they can choose between more than 50 varieties of wine.
Hopefully wine kiosks will get a broad seal of approval and stretch across the United States. I can see other retail establishments dispensing unsupervised sweet goodness, like Costco (buy in bulk!), PetSmart (drown out the howls of abused cats!), and AT&T stores (play with iPhones and drunkenly concede its shitty service!).
Don’t forget to stock up on guns and ammo after a couple glasses of Shiraz. Apparently you’re gonna need ’em …
“Terror in Aisle Three!”
The War on Terror is a big dumb joke—a joke that Homeland Security officials are just now chuckling along to. The freedom-quenching governmental paranoia apparatus—Bush’s proud legacy—announced a partnership with Walmart to fight terror.
Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano wrote on the department’s blog:
Homeland security starts with hometown security, and each of us plays a critical role in keeping our country and communities safe. This partnership will help millions of shoppers across the nation identify and report indicators of terrorism, crime, and other threats to law-enforcement authorities.
(Side note: it’s hilarious to me that a government entity’s blog is powered by Google’s Blogspot.)
Homeland Security plans on making this endeavor viral. According to MSNBC, by the end of December, 588 stores in 27 states will be participating in the program. To up the creepy Big Brother flavor, Napolitano will appear on TV screens at select checkout lanes, glowering with hate in a tasteful pantsuit, asking Walmart shoppers to suspiciously eye that guy with the weird hat and the different-colored skin, then freak out and contact law enforcement … or quietly mosey on over to the hunting aisle.
Walmart employees won’t receive extra training, which seems half-assed to me. If my grocery bagger can’t dismantle a pipe bomb in 13 seconds flat, I really don’t see the partnership’s point.
Walmart thinks it’s a great idea, though. Spokesman Dan Fogleman says:
Walmart is a place where people gather, it’s a place where you sometimes see your neighbor the most. It is important to Walmart that it help protect the safety of its community.
Does the line “where you sometimes see your neighbor the most” smell funny to anyone else? Could your neighbors not be who you think they are?
Not to arouse suspicion, of course. On an unrelated note, the weapons are in aisle four.