Wal-Mart Announces In-Store Freeway System

Fake News written by Martha Throebeck on Sunday, August 12, 2001

from the city-within-a-city dept.

In a move designed to reduce traffic jams and eliminate "aisle rage", Wal-Mart announced today that future stores will contain an elaborate system of freeways to better move customers and shopping carts around.

"We've been receiving a large number of complaints about gridlock in the more popular sections of our Supercenters," said a Wal-Mart representative. "Just in the last week, we've had over a dozen incidents where belligerent customers got into a fight over who has the right-of-way at aisle intersections. The insanity must stop."

Under the proposed system, shoppers can take advantage of three different methods for getting around a store -- by freeway overpasses, by basement subway system, or by traditional ground-floor aisles.

"We're going to build a network of elevated ramps for customers to push their carts across," explained a Wal-Mart engineer. "These freeways will have convenient interchanges with other ramps and aisles to maximize cart flow."

The Wal-Mart engineer unveiled an "artist's rendering" of how the freeway system will work. The picture shows three lanes of carts traveling down "Route 12" towards an interchange with the "Women's Clothing Bypass". An overhead sign says, "Sporting Equipment, Cheap Romance Novels, and Diamond Jewelry -- EXIT 25 FEET".

The engineer also demonstrated a modernized shopping cart with a GPS receiver and route-planning software. "We've had numerous reports of customers getting lost in our stores, wandering around for hours looking for 'canning supplies' or 'pogo sticks' or some other obscure item," he said. "This should help eliminate that problem."

Customers will be able to punch in their destination, and the cart will give verbal commands on how to get there. For example, "Turn left at Aisle 129 and go through the Dog Food section. Make a left turn for the onramp to the "Electronics Cut-Off Viaduct" and take the third exit to arrive at the 'Outdoor Supplies' department. Total distance: 1,152 feet. Estimated travel time: 5 minutes, 29 seconds."

Wal-Mart also unveiled plans for an underground, high-speed subway system capable of transporting customers from one end of the store to the other in 1 minute flat.

Said the Wal-Mart engineer, "Customers will take an elevator down to the basement and then hitch a ride on a series of conveyor belts. It's fast and efficient... and the kids will really get a kick out of it."

The company hopes to build the first Supercenter with freeways and subways within the next six months. According to preliminary blueprints, the new store will occupy at least 5,000 acres.

In the meantime, Wal-Mart will offer free atlases to help guide customers through existing stores and parking lots.

"It's about time," gasped one shopper we interviewed. "I just spent ten minutes fighting a nasty traffic jam over by Frozen Foods. This place really needs to start investing more money on in-store transportation."