Shopping after midnight: a Walmart experiment

It had been a long week with far too little sleep, but last night I wasn't yet ready to head to bed. Either I could get more work done or do some of the errands that I needed to get done this weekend.

It was 11:30pm at the time, but nonetheless I decided to do a little shopping. In Canada the phenomenon of the 24-hour walmart is relatively new, although they've been around in the US for some time. There are roughly 20 24/7 Walmarts in Canada, including the one nearest me. I have a love/hate relationship with Walmart - it's a bit annoying as far as lineups are concerned, and some of its business practices I don't like. However, sometimes it's just a little too convenient.

Naturally, I decided to walk down there - after all how often do you get the chance to go for a walk without having to worry much about noise pollution. (People forget just how loud internal combustion engines are). Its about a 20 - 25 minute walk from my place.

Sure enough, as predicted, when I hit the checkout at Walmart at about 12:15 and, as always, had to wait 10 minutes or in line. Also had to sidestep a bunch of folks restocking shelves when walking around the store (after all they have to do that sometime). I'd have to say that it was busier there than I expected - 3 checkouts open and all with lines. However, it was only a short while after midnight on a Friday. Showing up at 3am on Tuesday might be a little bit different.


My after midnight Walmart experience has been in stores that weren't open to the public. The afterhours staff are extremely annoying, and sometimes very irritable. The restocking crew regularly blocks aisles with their carts making it difficult to get around. And when it comes to janitors, they get very angry when you walk where they are trying to wax, even though they didn't properly block off the area they were working in, and despite they were told NOT to wax any floors that night.

Customers can be irritable too. Yes it sucks that there aren't more lanes open, but when complaining to someone wearing a Walmart name tag, check first that their name tag doesn't say "VISITOR". Third-party contractors also work in the store at night from time to time, and we don't have much control over store operations. (certainly not as much as we should)