I remember in 1996ish, I was producing fishing programs for ESPN
Outdoors. I was hired to work on the FLW Tour, a professional bass
fishing series. The tournament's title sponsor was Wal-Mart. Every
other weekend or so, I'd be flying into some part of the country,
renting a car and ending up in a Wal-Mart parking lot. The large
television tent where we broadcast the tournament results and
weigh-ins would be constructed in the parking lot of each location.
Because the set-up was the same in each location, there would be times
where I couldn't remember what city I was in. I don't know how many
times I'd go strolling through Wal-Mart before and after my work. The
craziest thing would be arriving somewhere that had turned very cold.
We'd haul into the Wal-Mart and look for gloves, long underwear, and
ski masks. It was all to prepare for the early 6am launches where
you'd be in a bass boat with a top bass fisherman and filming him (or
her) as they sped off to their fishing hole. Something about going 60
and 70mph in a boat at that time or morning made my teeth grind.
Holding on for dear life, one hand on the handle, one holding the
camera, I would think over and over, "how did I exactly get here?"
Bass fishing is extremely large. I remember a quote several years ago
that were over 50 million recreational fishermen in the United States.
Bass fans would pile into the Wal-Mart parking lots all over the
country when we'd come into town. The local Wal-Mart would always
played a big role in the event, and their community would show up in
hundreds to catch a glimpse of their favorite bass fisherman.
I'll never forget the first supercenter we travelled to with the FLW
Tour. I walked in and my jaw dropped. I remember thinking, if you
forget your bread, there's no going back once you get all the way
across the store to fishing supplies. For someone with ADD, the
supercenters were always a fun challenge.
It's been been over four years ago since I retired from I called my
"bass boat beatings."
It was fun to explore the parking lots and people of Wal-Mart again
this year, not from a bass fishing adventure, but from a documentary
looking into the "WHY WAL-MART WORKS."