Monday, 21 July 2014

Review: People of Wal-Mart: Shop and Awe by Andrew Kipple, Adam Kipple and Luke Wherry

Goodreads synopsis:

As Americans, we hold these truths to be self-evident: We will shop. And when we do, especially at our favorite supercenter, we will wear and do the most bizarre things possible.
From the wildly popular website, this photo collection of Americans in their natural shopping habitat (70 percent of which is brand new and never before included on the website) presents people of all shapes and sizes wearing and doing everything imaginable in full view of their fellow shopping public.
Plus, for the first time brand-new fan-submitted stories offer the most random experiences you can imagine!
So welcome to a world where no shoes and no shirt are no obstacles, where parking lots are filled with dead deer, Bengal tigers, and old men in thongs riding bikes. Once you meet the People of Walmart, you are sure to fall in love.

My Rating: 1 star

This book is not much of a book, really. The pages consist of mainly photos with boring captions that aren't funny, usually pointing out the horror of people being overweight or daring to wear short shorts and bright clothing. There are a few stand out photos of folks that are a bit over the top, but many of the photos are kind of boring and just show a spectrum of real life people. So what there are a couple of people who wear shirts with rips in the back? That's a fashion thing. Another few photos of goth people. That's news? Some people wearing tie dye. Also not interesting. It's almost as if we are trying to make fun of average people for not living up to their obligation of being eternally 18 year old lingerie models.

How is this funny or even interesting?

Sure, there are some folks who really just seem to tip the scales in favor of mentally unstable (those who go to the store with no pants for example. And I mean no pants at all.) Most of the photos were of overweight people and their various bodily protrusions and unfortunate selection in clothing sizes (always on the side of "too small".) But I'm not completely sure what's FUNNY about them. I feel kind of sorry for some of the people, like the man who was obviously homeless and pretty filthy (the authors referred to him as "PigPen" from Charlie Brown.) Sure he's dirty, but is being dirty FUNNY? Not to me.

Another item that the authors seem to like is the mullet. Several photos are of people with mullets and sometimes with rat tails. Again, not funny. It's a mullet, so what? I don't get the funny there.

                                         A woman shopping. What am I supposed to be criticizing here?

I don't think the authors have a really good ability to sort and choose photos that are actually funny. They seem to go for very low brow stuff, anything sexual or vulgar is their cup of tea. They highlight gross sayings on people's T-shirts a lot but again -- not funny.

Some folks were shopping while wearing pajamas or costumes and face paint. Weird a bit, but not funny.


Maybe I was expecting this book to be humorous and entertaining, but it was quite boring. Even the anecdotes sparsely interspersed between the photos were a real let down. A couple of the stories didn't have any entertainment value at all and I wondered why they were included. It felt like the authors had a very small pool of letters from which to choose and just sort of accepted anything.

Here's a particularly pathetic example:

I thought the book was supposed to be funny and mostly I found it just kind of sad and boring.

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