One of the best parts of shopping during the holidays is the people watching. People that you don’t normally see out are shopping in full force, and you can often find funny, unbelievalbe looking people out and about. And if you are a fan of people watching, you might have heard of the very popular website called People Of Walmart - it is people watching at its finest if you are in to the funny, bizzare, strange, or weird. They are also being sued right now.
So what is People of Walmart and how did it come to be? Well, it’s a site full of pictures taken from Walmarts across the country. Photos on the site show ”people in their native shopping habitat.” These photos include people who wear T-shirts with tasteless slogans, revealing clothing (who wears a bikini into a Walmart?) and other uglyor inappropriate clothing.
If you’re lucky enough to hit a Walmart where goats stroll down the aisles or somebody brings their pet parrot or monkey with them, this is the kind of picture you’d post to the site. A couple getting married in one of the aisles? Perfect picture for the site. I think you get the idea…
The people behind People of Walmart are three friends. Two are brothers, Andrew and Adam Kipple, and their friend Luke Wherry. The three grew up together in Harrison City, Pennsylvania. The success of People of Walmart has enabled Mr. Wherry and Adam Kipple to quit their day jobs. Andrew Kipple continues to contribute while going to classes to finish up a law degree.
Where did the inspiration for the site come from? When all three were living in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, they had all went to a Walmart together. They saw a woman dressed like a stripper, who had a kid on a leash, and the image stuck with them. “Every time you go to Walmart, you see something like that, whether it be 2 in the afternoon or 2 in the morning. It could be in Pennsylvania, D.C. or Iowa. It doesn’t matter. There’s always that person.”
Soon afterwards, they started taking pictures of the strange people they saw in Walmart and posted them online, mostly to amuse their friends. Within weeks, people from across the country were sending in their own Walmart photos. The site went viral soon after its September 2009 launch. They even got coverage of the site on CNN and Yahoo.
There aren’t only pictures on the site. In the ‘Stories’ section, people can post horror stories about Walmart shopping experiences. Believe it or not, many of the stories are posted by either current or former store employees. There’s even a ‘Hate Mail’ section from people that are not fans of the site.
The website’s notoriety even led to a book deal. “People of Walmart.com: Shop & Awe” was published in September 2010 and is sold through the website and major booksellers. Roughly 70 percent of the photos in the book were new photos that hadn’t appeared on the website.
The site gets about 250,000 hits a day, and they have more than 629,000 Facebook followers.
Have you ever been on the People of Walmart site? Are you a fan or would you send them Hate Mail?