Random Thoughts: 50 Shades and Wal-Mart

September 7, 2012 Random Thoughts on Books and Blogging 26

PhotobucketRandom Thoughts on Books is going to be my new Friday feature.  It sounds exactly like what you think it is – my random thoughts on anything book related.

Fifty Shades of Grey & Wal-Mart

This isn’t really random, more like a planned investigation. See the other day I was at Wal-Mart shopping for groceries when I checked out the book section (please don’t tell me y’all don’t do the same thing).  When I saw this…

photo 4

And I was like “what? Fifty Shades at Wal-Mart? Am I in some kind of alternate universe?”

Let me step back a moment. Back in 97 or 98 (yeah, I’m that old) when the first Eminem CD came out (yeah, I listened to Eminem) a friend and I went to Wal-Mart to buy it and we opened it and popped it into my car and… it was edited. I was super pissed.  So we went in to try and exchange it but of course they wouldn’t so we went to the shelves to buy another one and there were no non-edited copies  Wal-Mart does not sell “Parental Advisory Warning” CD’s. This is still true today, I checked. No Parental Advisory Warnings to be found.

It’s completely shocking to me that Wal-Mart would carry Fifty Shades when they won’t carry other things, but they are in the business of making money so I get it, but as I walk by the shelf I notice something else…

photo 5That’s right! They are shrink wrapped. This made me LOL for real. Only Wal-Mart would shrink wrap a book. But then I walk around to the other side of the shelf and notice this…

photo 2

Right next to the Fifty Shades trilogy is Pleasures of the Night by Sylvia Day (erotica) and below it is Beauty’s Release by Anne Rice (erotica) and The Siren by Tiffany Reisz (erotica). None of these books are shrink wrapped.

I wonder what Wal-Mart is thinking? Are they thinking that by shrink wrapping Fifty Shades they are preventing those under the age of 18 from picking it up (intentionally or unintentionally) and reading it, assuming also that they are too stupid to see the book right next to them that says “If you liked Fifty Shades, you’ll like this book” that is not shrink wrapped.

And just in case you are wondering (because I was), Wal-Mart does not check ID for the book, which I think makes the shrink wrapping even more ridiculous.

What are your thoughts on Wal-Mart and Fifty Shades?


26 Responses to “Random Thoughts: 50 Shades and Wal-Mart”

  1. Felicia

    Haha. That’s hilarious! My Wal-Mart is 50% stocked with 50 shades trilogy too! But our books aren’t shrink wrapped like that. Makes me think of a condom… like they’re trying to protect the kids from it! lol.

  2. ....Petty Witter

    Not a shop we are familiar with here in England so I can’t really comment on the shops policy BUT I can say that of all the places I have seen 50 Shades sold (from garage forecourts to supermarkets) I have yet to see a copy that was covered in this way.

  3. Katie Pomroy @ KT's Reading Rainbow

    So weird. I’m going to have to go to the Walmart at Short Pump this weekend and check it out.
    Is 50 Shades in libraries in Virginia, I wonder?

    Why don’t they shrink wrap The Story of 0 or My Uncle Oswald (which was, in a way, raunchier than 50 shades)? I guess just because it’s “popular” now? Sheesh.

  4. Cindy Smith

    Kim, I have to admit that I go to walmart and I always check out the book section cause its cheaper then a book store LOL as for 50 shades we have a huge display as well but I never noticed if they were shrinked wrap but now I want to go and check LOL Its crazy that they are but the others aren’t.

  5. Bittner

    I might be wrong, but I’m pretty sure that the Walmarts here in the Bible belt are still not selling erotica or at least not 50 Shades. Again, I could be wrong, but when my book club was reading it we all had a hard time finding them because the more mainstream places weren’t selling them. I know our Target does sell erotica but I’m not sure about walmart.
    I would think that the shrink wrap is because little old ladies that watch day time tv know what those are specifically and so they want to see them wrapped up, but because they don’t know those other books are erotica then Walmart is hoping they will just ignore them. That is my guess.

    • Kimberly @ On the Wings of Books

      I wonder if Walmart is carrying them now? It was a couple weeks ago that I first saw them here. Probably now because it’s so popular.

      I’m sure they are only wrapping 50 shades because people know what it is, I just feel it’s shady (ha ha) because they are “protecting” 50 shades, but not the other ones, because they want you to buy them so they can get your money.

    • Andrea @ The Overstuffed Bookcase

      I think I’ve seen 50 Shades in a Wal-Mart here, actually. Because I thought the same thing–why the hell are they selling it when they tout “family values” and won’t sell CDs with strong language? I learned pretty early on in my teen years not to shop at Wal-Mart for music. I totally understand bleeping out cuss words or editing the lyrics when songs are played on the radio, but Wal-Mart really is censoring the music they sell, which is ridiculous.

      But the shrink-wrapping? That’s pretty excessive. I can see the people who ban books getting up on their soap boxes and demanding that those books be treated like porn, therefore Wal-Mart should shrink-wrap them. But I also could see it happening as a reaction to the fact that probably lots of people would go up to them and open them and the copies would get a little bent and worn. Still stupid, though.

  6. fakesteph

    hahahaha. This makes me crazy too!!!!!! Also… maybe, it’s because I live in Fredericksburg, but people just totally tore the shrink wrap off half of them.

  7. Alexia561

    This is too funny! I remember all the drama about WalMart refusing to sell certain CDs, so it’s a little ridiculous that they’re willing to sell this book. Love that its shrink-wrapped for our protection! *L*

  8. Kate@Midnight Book Girl

    Bittner, Fifty Shades is just NOW at Wal-mart here, so you might see it in yours.

    You know, I wonder if the shrink wrap is a marketing ploy to get people to buy more copies because it makes it even more “forbidden”? Although, I think Walmart is just stupid. The Sleeping Beauty series by Anne Rice is true erotica, and I can’t believe Walmart would carry it. I don’t know if I should be proud or pissed that they are that ignorant when it comes to the books they carry. I hate stupid people (yes, I am aware that by making that statement you’re wondering if I dislike myself, but I assure you I still love me.)

    Great post, Kim!

    • Kimberly @ On the Wings of Books

      Maybe it is just a marketing ploy. It doesn’t matter, I’m still upset that they are selling erotica books and won’t sell Parental advisory CD’s. (And yes, I totaly realize that that happened over 10 years ago and I should be over it by now).

  9. Jenny

    This just makes me giggle! I love that you asked all these investigative questions. All I know, is I won’t be reading the Fifty Shades books. Just not a huge erotica fan.

  10. Vyki @ On The Shelf

    I agree, Wal-Mart doesn’t make any sense. They don’t ID for an Erotica book, but they carded me for a book I had to be 17 to buy and I was 23 at the time. It’s ok to buy an erotica book, but not a CD with curse words. No sense!

  11. Christina

    Dude, that is SO ridiculous. Also, I had that same experience with a CD, though I don’t remember what artist it was. Oh wait, yes I do. It was Blink-182. Bahaha.

    What really gets me about the display is HOW MANY COPIES THEY HAVE. Holy crap! Their book sections aren’t that large, so 50 Shades is like half of it. Not cool! No book should be that large a percentage of the collection. Even if it was The Fault in Our Stars, I would be looking at it askance.

    Also, I think the shrinkwrap must be to discourage store readers. You don’t want people to start reading there to decide whether it’s good enough to buy. That could cut down on purchases.