Wal-Mart has a computer facility to store the equivalent of all the data on the WWW.
Several times over.
And they won’t talk about it, and discourage others from talking about it, and won’t even let local government inside to inspect the building–not without a nondisclosure agreement.
Actually, I find the whole thing quite nice, in a pro-active customer sort of way.
For instance, when I was home last week, I needed to go to Wal_mart to get some batteries for my flashlight and my wireless mouse. Figured we’d pick up some film for the camera as well.
We parked, and as we were getting out of the car, this nice young employee comes up to the car with a basket. He said, “Mr. LiveOnAPlane, thank you so much for shopping at Wal-Mart! We have your batteries here, AA for the wireless mouse and Ds for your flashlight. Here’s a 10-pack of ASA 400 film for the camera and a 5-gallong gas container as well. We’ve already ran the VISA card you use with us, and here’s the ticket. If you’ll just sign it, while I load this into the trunk, you can be on your way!”
I pointed out to him that our flashlight takes C batteries and we wanted to get aSA 200 film, not 400.
He said that our MagLite, which we bought there two years ago, really does take D cells, and the 400 speed would be better for our candlelight dinner tomorrow.
And, damn, he was right on all counts!
Only thing that worries me is the home pregnancy test kit that he also had in the basket…
Doesn’t surprise me. When I worked at Wally world, there were cameras everywhere and no one not affiliated with Security (which they had at my store, not sure about everywhere else) was allowed in there. Also, they kept the most outrageous employee files - I was there three months and my file was like six inches thick. And I didn’t do anything, good or bad. I was really worried that somewhere in there there was notes on when I lost my virginity, how much money my father pays for porn per month, and whether or not I bought my car from a dealership or a drug addict.
In a local prosecution of a Wal-Mart cash office lady, their files included the fact that she was corresponding with a felon in an Ohio prison, and they lined up the cash disappearances with money she sent to his little “prison bank account” deal. Their only physical evidence besides the money being missing at certain times was a single CCTV shot of her with her hand down her shirt… she says she was scratching, they say she was stuffing pack of $20s down there.
Given the amount involved, the local cops wouldn’t have bothered to research it that thoroughly, which means Wal-Mart’s lawyers and security people actually managed to find out about the felon and which prison he was in, along with his actual identity.
I don’t really like shopping there anymore. I don’t like doing business with anyone smarter than me.
I hate shopping there, partially because I feel like I’m supporting something that may take over the world some day, and partially because there are almost always at least three thousand people at the Wal-Mart in my town at any one given time of the day (although, I’ve noticed a sharp drop down to about one hundred at 2 a.m., which is when I try to go).
But when you only make $10 an hour, you can’t exactly do all of your shopping at the high-end department and grocery stores.
What will happen when the wall-mart system becomes self-aware. Instead of the t-100 we will have that little smilie face guy traveling back in time to slash Sarah Conner’s prices, if you know what I mean.