‘People of Walmart’ blog holds up mirror to middle America

Initially conceived as somewhat of an inside joke between (genuinely Wal-Mart loving) friends, the blog “People of Wal-Mart” has become a viral sensation.

People of Wal-Mart is a photo blog devoted to America’s mightiest retailer, a compendium of the strange combination of OMGWTF and “oh, huh, well- it’s Wal-Mart” that you experience walking through any of the retail giant’s locations across America at any time of the day, evening or middle-of-the night. The newish blog has been hugely popular since its inception, and a new piece in Time means that even getting to the photos is a bit of a challenge with all the traffic. A site founder explained the impetus behind the site:

Andrew, his brother Adam and their friend Luke started People of Walmart after a shopping trip to a South Carolina branch earlier this month. “We turned a corner to see a stripper — at least, I think she was a stripper — with a shirt that read ‘Go F___ Yourself,’ and she had a 2-year-old kid in one of those child harnesses that looked like a dog leash,” says Adam. They turned another corner and saw a guy with a ZZ Top beard.

The guys behind the site are surprisingly respectful in assessing their subjects, employing some basic ground rules and refusing to publish people such as those operating motorized scooters (“I can’t tell you how many people send in pictures of overweight people on motorized scooters. But we won’t post them because some of those people need scooters for a reason,”) the Amish (who are actually forbidden to appear knowingly in photos) and Wal-Mart employees who are “just doing their job(s).”

Just bear in mind that if you’re heading to Wal-Mart today, you might want to forgo the non-existent shorts or Captain America costume.