Saturday, March 5, 2011


I went shopping at a Menard’s yesterday. I was reminded of that movie, Idiocracy, in which everything from basic groceries to a college education can be purchased in one, gigantic supermarket.

Walmart’s taken on the role of a superstore for several years now. The company is still often vilified for its business practices and over-corporate image, but I was always somewhat satisfied by the unbelievable selection of products available. I thought to myself, “this place has electronics, clothing, and groceries—what more could I need in a store?” I thought that Walmart was the end of the expansion of the supermarket. Oh, how wrong I was.

Enter Menard’s. It’s advertised as a home improvement store, so I went into it thinking it would have the same set-up as a Lowe’s or a Home Depot—and to an extent it was very similar. But I immediately noticed it was far, far larger—as big if not bigger than our entire mall. There are separate buildings on the outside housing an ungodly amount of lumber, drywall, and rental construction/repair equipment, a gardening section around the outside, and an interior that you can (and will) literally get lost in. I found the usual home improvement stuff—nuts and bolts and wires and anything and everything to DIY your home into whatever the fuck you want it to be. But there was more. More appliances than I’d ever seen before, toys, furniture, entertainment, and groceries—yes groceries! It’s as if Walmart had kept its intimidatingly large selection and grew a back doorway to a Home Depot.

Right now Menard’s stores are only located in 13 states, but if I were a betting man, I’d say it’s set to grow further. And it makes me wonder… how many more stages in the evolution of a superstore can there possibly be? I thought Walmart was the end of the line, but apparently the market progression is still advancing. How much bigger can stores possibly get? How many more products and services will they be able to cram in there? And how long until competition slowly fades away, leaving only one, city-wide store to supply us with anything and everything we could ever need or want?

It’s scary to think that far ahead, and it does seem logically unlikely that economic competition could ever truly die out. But I’ve been wrong in my company instincts before… so I have to acknowledge it as a genuine possibility.


  1. I know that in Europe, where I live, market regulators tend to jump in if one company gets too much control over a market, but they failed before with Microsoft taking over much of their chosen market...
    I don't know if those sort of institutions even exist in America.

  2. Great post! Followed!

  3. great stuff, you totally have my support.

  4. We neither have a Walmart nor a Menard's in the Netherlands, but they sound pretty darn impressive. Don't think we have anything nearly as big as those.