Day 5: Wal-Mart
Today after visiting the Beijing city planning exhibition we went to a Wal-Mart. Let me say that the atmosphere in Wal-Marts in China are much different than the Wal-Marts in the United States. Having spent a lot of time in Wal-Mart in Hibbing, MN during my senior year in high school (Not much else to do besides stay home or go to a movie) I noticed many things that were different between the countries super-super markets such as Wal-Mart.
The first thing I noticed upon entering the Wal-Mart here is there is a lot of smaller shops. Whether or not they are owned by Wal-Mart, I do not know. The next difference I noticed is that there are 2-4 employees standing in every aisle of the store with the exception of the food section. From a business standpoint this makes me wonder how much each employee is paid, having so many, what seemed to be, idle workers. Another difference I noticed is that their deli is strictly comprised of different meats. There is very little if any salads, pastas, or other dishes. Also in the food section, the meat is chopped and hung unwrapped out in the open unlike in the United States where everything is wrapped up tightly or behind glass. The last main difference that I noticed is their is very minimal "impulse buy" sections in the store. The first one I noticed was on the escalator going down into the personal care/cosmetics section, which had various products along the sides of the railing going down and up the escalator. I figure that this only gives the shopper a few seconds to choose whether he or she will want to buy the product or not and I assume the majority of the time that human impulse behavior will allow the person to buy the product more often than not. The next impulse buy section was at the checkout and guess what was on it ... American candy and gum. The racks were very small too, I assume this is set somewhat proportionally to the number of Americans that shop at the store. And of course ... many of us couldn't resist the temptations of Snickers and Skittles.