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The Widening Gyre | Manolo's Shoe Blog

The Widening Gyre

Over The Knee Boots Are in This Season!

Manolo says, this photo is from what is perhaps the most depressing/hilarious/alarming/hilarious/distressing/depressing website the Manolo has ever seen, People of Walmart.

The Manolo has always tried to avoid comedy which mocks the downtrodden and impoverished (see the Manolo’s review of Borat). Intelligent people who tell such jokes, even if the jokes are funny, give evidence of their meanness of spirit. For the Manolo, the best humor is that which mocks the high and the mighty, exposing their foibles to the humanizing power of laughter.

But what the Manolo sees here, at the People of Walmart is so distressing that he cannot look away. It is the cautionary tale writ large, the portent of societal destruction, and even as he laughs, he still finds it one of the most depressing websites he has ever visited.

And now, allow the Manolo to here further quote Yeats.

Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

Browse People of Walmart at your own peril.

20 Responses to “The Widening Gyre”

  1. enygma October 30, 2009 at 10:04 pm #

    While I admire your principle, poverty and/or lack of education is no excuse for the way some of those showcased in the website look. If they’re going to go out in public like that, they’re fair game.

  2. klee October 30, 2009 at 11:35 pm #


    I don’t I can sleep now….

  3. Sandy October 30, 2009 at 11:46 pm #

    Oh Manolo! Thank you for that. I laughed til I cried.

  4. Manolo the Shoeblogger October 31, 2009 at 12:57 am #

    While I admire your principle, poverty and/or lack of education is no excuse for the way some of those showcased in the website look. If they’re going to go out in public like that, they’re fair game.

    What somewhat mollifies the Manolo is the knowledge that ridicule can have the corrective effect.

    Something the Manolo finds particularly egregious, and worthy of strong ridicule, are the obscene t-shirts and hats. Twenty years ago, not even the Hells Angel would have gone out in public in those items, and now, tiny grannies in Walmart wear hats telling their fellow citizens to “Go F*** Yourself!”

    The disappearance of common civility depresses the Manolo most of all.

  5. Jenifersf October 31, 2009 at 1:16 am #

    That’s been one of my favorite websites for a little while now. It’s definitely train wreck can’t look away stuff. I like it because I seriously thought I had lost the ability to be shocked.

  6. Kristin October 31, 2009 at 1:06 pm #

    If it’s any comfort, the state of the poor has been causing people to lament the end of civilization since at least the 1700s.

  7. LaHolandaisa October 31, 2009 at 3:06 pm #

    I think there is something to be said about lazy some of us have become with our appearance. I do not necessarily find this website funny; it is more about the shock factor. I often take the metro and people watch. Sometimes I think to myself “why would someone leave the house wearing that?” and have to stop myself because fashion is subjective.
    But Oh how I long for the days of my grandmother in Europe with her Mink Coats, Chanel Suits, oversize sunglasses and sundresses, a time when overindulgence did not exist- it was more about indulging in the beauty of things, a time when people would dress up to go on an airplane, when appearance was taking care of, when music meant something…
    Welcome to the era of consumerism where everything looses its magic the moment it is brought home and little after completely discarded. I yearn to find treasures when I shop however malls are filled with chain stores and stuff that will break in little time. Luckily, on my last trip to Europe with my mother we were able to salvage most of my grandmothers wardrobe with a few alteration and remodeling….all to keep the dream alive.

  8. Lilly Munster October 31, 2009 at 9:58 pm #

    I swear, I will NEVER set foot in any Walmart – ever.

  9. buysportshoes November 1, 2009 at 9:20 am #

    Oh Manolo! Thank you for that. I laughed til I cried.

  10. jelodi97 November 1, 2009 at 3:20 pm #

    Hey, hussies need to eat and save money too!

    Seriously, this working girl needs to keep an overcoat handy for shopping trips.

  11. class factotum November 1, 2009 at 8:11 pm #

    My husband’s socialist, atheist, leftist (their words), Birkenstock-wearing, Mother-Jones subscribing, protesting, activist, union-supporting Wal-Mart haters?

    Shop at Wal-Mart.

    You just can’t beat those prices.

  12. La BellaDonna November 2, 2009 at 10:25 am #

    La BellaDonna is somewhat bemused by La Holandaisa’s statement, a time when overindulgence did not exist- – surely that is the hyperbole, for the dramatic effect, yes? There has NEVER been the time, since civilization began, when the overindulgence did not exist. There was a time when fewer people could overindulge, and perhaps other people’s current choice of overindulgence does not appeal to you, but that does not mean that it never existed before.

    That said, of course La BellaDonna, she prefers “dress attractively” to “swear words on T-shirts and ball caps”. However, she takes some comfort from the fact that the young lady in the photograph, she appears to be shopping in the vegetable aisle, and this is the good sign, is it not?

    Hola to the Class Factotum! La BellaDonna, she has read that although the Walmart, it beats its suppliers into the ground whenever possible, not all of the items sold by the Walmart are the less expensive. Sometimes the savings, it is the three or four pennies; sometimes the cost, it is MORE. Caveat emptor, as always.

  13. Jane2 November 2, 2009 at 11:21 am #

    Hmmm…the site reminds the Jane of the lipstick on the pig…it is still mocking those of less status than the exalted internet denizens who ostensibly never cross the Walmart’s threshhold, unless at the midnight when it is safe that the friends are not looking. I am waiting for the “People of Saks.com”….the black, the botox, the beige…..

  14. mrl November 2, 2009 at 12:43 pm #

    Ayy, Manolo. You picked the only pic on that site that was easy on the eyes. Totally inappropriate dress for vegetable shopping but still niiiice.

  15. mrl November 2, 2009 at 12:49 pm #


    Watch the Manolo’s head ‘splode! Crocs + Snuggie = Horror

  16. Lori November 2, 2009 at 4:02 pm #

    I don’t see this as laughing at the poor *because* they’re poor. Even the poorest people in the U.S. manage to put on pants and avoid vulgar messages.

    A few years ago, Walmart advertised several articles of clothes that would have been perfectly presentable in a nice office. Likewise, thrift stores are full of decent clothes. People at all levels have choices in dressing themselves.

  17. Virginia Postrel November 3, 2009 at 12:11 am #

    These aren’t a random sample of Wal-Mart customers. They’re the extremes. The Manolo can take comfort in the Law of Large Numbers. As my husband tells his MBA students, Walmart is so big that anything that can happen in a Wal-Mart will happen, so managers need to be prepared to improvise. This is the example he uses: http://www.qconline.com/more/regs.html

  18. class factotum November 3, 2009 at 6:25 pm #

    La BellaDonna, I agree that the WalMart prices are not always the best and why bother to drive so far just to save a few pennies, especially if shopping at such an establishment so violates one’s principles. :)

    I am a Target shopper, myself. Actually, I prefer the Will of the Good and the Bay of the e.

  19. dangster November 3, 2009 at 7:07 pm #

    I am a Target shopper as well. In my town, Target and Wal-Mart are directly across the street of each other. I detest going into this particular Wal-Mart because the parking lot is so poorly designed (often causing traffic jams–in a parking lot!), and the store layout is atrocious. By going to Target, I save myself half the time it would have taken to get the same items at Wal-Mart. Sure, I may have saved a few pennies at Wal-Mart, but my time is worth much more than that.

  20. raincoaster November 3, 2009 at 11:59 pm #

    All over that shizznit: