Monday, January 31, 2011

The Ultimate Snow Job

Our local weather sources - TV, radio, online - are sponsored by Walmart. You won't see or hear ads for the discount giant during a newscast, but that's who pays for it. It happens six or seven times each winter that we will get a forecast for severe weather, an inch of snow, six inches of snow, a foot of snow, a hint of snow, and everyone who lives within 20 miles of us will go to Walmart to stock up on groceries, toilet paper, ice melt and batteries.
Most of the time, the forecast turns out to be highly inflated, if not flat out false, but no matter, by then we've all made our raid on Walmart. It's all you can do to even get onto their parking lot when snow is predicted. Then, when we don't actually get any snow, everyone is so relieved that no one notices that we've been hoodwinked, once again.

Today was no different. Walmart has been packed for two days solid, everyone anticipating bad weather. We are under a winter storm warning for the next 36 hours or so, but the actual forecast is extremely vague. Kelly and I watched one local weather guy who explained that as of 1 pm, he still had no idea what kind of winter weather we would actually get tonight and tomorrow, but, he said, "you'll want to get out to stock up right away." How's that for proof of the real purpose behind our weathermen? His best guess prediction was "anywhere between 1 and 18 inches" of snow, or, he said, "we might not get anything but a bit of ice," depending on where the wind blows.

Oh brother! In the meantime, rain or shine, weather or not, Wally Walmart wins again, the ultimate snow job.

Now, we may get two feet or more of snow tonight. We may be stuck in our home for a week. Or we may not be. But the local media are taking no chances with Walmart's money. One news channel's web site has a huge headline, "BLIZZARD 2011" with a subhead, "Storm Of Historic Proportions Possible." Possible, just possible.

It's 40 degrees outside and a bit damp and overcast, but the warning is just in time for everyone to make one more trip to Walmart. Remember the old days, when news was reported AFTER something happened? It's not that way now, not around here. Now, the weather comes the Walmart way.


  1. Wow. Someone has on his cranky pants today.


  2. This post cracks me up. We just moved to Bentonville, AR (the homeplace of Wal-Mart) and everything you just said is soooooo true. Except I wasn't laughing when the first storm hit and I ran out of Diet Coke. It got scary there for a few days.