Midnight Shopping On The Brink Of Poverty – NPR Article

October 3rd, 2010 by | Tags: , , , | No Comments »

NPR posted an interesting article about how people who are living on the brink of poverty level shop at the end of each month, as soon as they receive their check for food.  What’s incredibly fascinating about the story is how analysts interpret why and how people shop during certain times such as at mid-night at the end of each month:

“Wal-Mart noticed that sales were spiking on the first of every month. In a recent conference call with investment analysts, Wal-Mart executive Bill Simon said these midnight shoppers provide a snapshot of the American economy today.

‘And if you really think about it,” Simon said, “the only reason somebody gets out and buys baby formula is they need it and they’ve been waiting for it. Otherwise, we’re open 24 hours, come at 5 a.m., come at 7 a.m., come at 10 a.m. But if you’re there at midnight you’re there for a reason.’

And so Wal-Mart has changed its stocking pattern. It brings out larger packs of items in the beginning of the month, and smaller sizes toward the end. It makes sure shelves have plenty of diapers and formula.

‘It’s definitely an indicator in terms of people who are struggling,” says Charles Fishman, journalist and author of The Wal-Mart Effect. “That tells you there’s a large swath of America that is still very carefully calculating how much money is available and how they’re spending it on even the most basic things like diapers and milk and bread. That’s not the sign of an economy that’s shaken off the recession.'”

I have always pondered why stores would open for 24 hours especially since it’s so costly for businesses and a large number of people would be sleeping from midnight until around five in the morning; however it appears that there are those who do indeed benefit from shopping at midnight…

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