Wednesday, June 29, 2016

The Walmart Museum and Eureka Springs

The Walmart Museum

Did you know that Walmart has a museum?  It is located in Bentonville, Arkansas at the site of the original Walmart store (Walton's).  Bentonville is now the headquarters of Walmart, with many huge buildings housing headquarters workers, distribution centers, a Walmart fitness center, Walmart stores, a Walmart art gallery, and this museum.  A huge employer in the area – don’t dis Walmart here!

Walmart Museum

The story begins in 1945 when Sam Walton began running a Ben Franklin Five and Dime.  He was quite successful, but when his lease expired he was unable to reach an agreement on continuing the lease, so instead he opened his own “Walton’s Five and Dime” where the museum now sits.  In 1962, he opened “Walmart Discount City,” and over the years expanded to the 11,527  stores that now ubiquitously dot the landscape. Sam Walton died in 1992.

The displays are what you would expect: happy Sam and Walton family members, early products carried by Walmart, and a listing of ever increasing store openings complete with maps showing the Walification of America.  Walmart has a special place in the heart of RVers because they often let us stay the night in their parking lots.  Staying without hookups is called "boondocking"; staying in Walmart's lot is often referred to as "Wallydocking."

We made name tags that show our names written in “bar code.” John, the pin collector, checked out a board of flair pins that employees have worn. We gazed at Sam’s office as it looked the day he died, and we put a sticker imprinted with a “Walmart Spark” on a map showing where we were from.  Did you know that logo is called a Spark?  We have another term for them -- “What row did we park in?”  “The one that ends at the Walmart A**hole.”
Our Names In Barcodese
A Wall of Pins
Sam's Office

It's Called A SPARK

A fun display was some items customers have returned, and why:

  • A Wilson tennis racket, obviously crushed by a heavy weight (the top of the racket was bent causing the racket to look like a heart shape, and the vertical strings beneath were warped to the point of being unstrung), came back with this explanation: “Customer could not serve well with it.”
  • According to the defective-merchandise slip, a pencil sharpener was returned because it “doesn’t sharpen any ink pens.”
  • A customer returned a hand mixer because it was “possessed.”
  • An outdoor thermometer was returned to a Walmart store when the customer complained, “it never had the correct time.”
Looks Like 9 Minutes After 2 to Me

Ah Walmart. You never cease to amaze.  And then we had ice cream at the Walmart Museum’s “olde -timey” soda fountain (next to the "olde-timey store and gift shop).  Yum!


“Closed Due to Sanity”

Said the sign on the shuttered restaurant on the road out of Eureka Springs.  I think everyone who decides to own a restaurant must feel this way at some point.
"Downtown" Eureka Springs

Eureka Springs is an adorable little town in the Ozarks, with twisty, hilly, meandering streets that are so narrow two modern cars would have difficulty passing each other.  But our GPS, left on the “RV” setting because we hadn’t gotten around to changing it to "car", saw no problem taking us down one after another of those streets as we tried to find the restaurant we had picked for lunch. Fortunately, we met no other cars, but we did drive right pass the restaurant on the first try, so we got to experience even more quaint streets that never seemed to go in the same direction we were going.
Garmin Likes This Road for an RV

"you are in a maze of twisty little passages, all alike"

Eureka Springs’ history revolves around the belief that the waters there had curative powers. Today, the entire town is on the National Register of Historic Places, and is worth seeing. Victorian houses, some of mansion size, dot the landscape and the center of town has a European feel, causing the town to be nicknamed, “Little Switzerland of Americas.” Now it has all of that, plus a quirk or two.
Will the Cigar Store Indian Be At the Wedding Ceremony?

Our restaurant, Oscar’s Cafe, was quirky and the food tasty. A Belgian Waffle with lemon curd and sour cream was recommended by Yelp, but I chose Artichoke and Goat Cheese quiche with a cup of Cilantro Cucumber soup.  John had a lox and bagel, and everything was delicious. Carole Schneider, who accompanied us on this adventure, also had the quiche.  

The restaurant was eclectic, with mismatched antique tables and chairs, chalk board topped tables for the kids, and rooms papered with pages from old books. Our room instructed us on knitting and crocheting, and the bathroom reading was the Handyman’s Guide, so you could read about hanging wallpaper or roofing your shed as you peed.  The floor even had some pages imbedded that seemed to have something to do with beings on Planet X peering through telescopes at Earth.

Oscar's Cafe
Book Pages Paper The Wall

Art Hung On Book Page Wallpaper

On the way into town, we pulled off the road across from this cliff for a few minutes.  I looked over, and noticed something… unnatural…. About it.  Can you spot it? Look about a quarter of the way from the left, and slightly more than ½ down from the top (clicking will embiggen the picture, or look at the second picture).
Rock Face... wait, what is that?

Is the view really worth the trip?

How do they get down there to enjoy the view? And only a single chair? And why?


Nancy said...

A single chair....."I vant to be alone"

sundog06 said...

Ahh! Eureka Springs! The only town of 2,000 I've ever gotten lost in - several times!