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wal-mart: Does it trigger panic attacks?

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posted on Jun, 2 2008 @ 06:41 PM
As far as I know, this topic hasn't been posted:

Does Wal-mart trigger panic attacks? It seems to. I would like to see if any health professionals have noticed increases.

I don't have a ton of evidence to back this up other than some first hand experience with my own episodes of panic and some anecdotes from a relative regarding a friend's spouse.

I have General Anxiety. For the most part I just live with it. I have learned to accept feeling overly weird and uncomfortable in certain social situations. In many ways, it is a positive "problem". I often notice much much more of what is going on around me than someone who is "comfortable" and thinking about other things.

There has never been a store that makes me more uncomfortable than wal-mart. I suspect this happens to me for two categories of reasons:

1. WAL-MART'S PHYSICAL MAKEUP IS UNSETTLING. Simply, there ARE a lot of cameras in wal-marts. We've all most likely had the creepy feeling of "feeling watched". So, it stands to reason that walking into a wal-mart plays into this phenomenon.

And what about the store design? Banks are set up to project "authority." This is to make us feel that our money is safe. But it also projects authority over the bank customers as well. Similarly, wal-mart uses design to influence us and our buying behavior. An awareness of being manipulated can be unsettling.

Before I stopped shopping at the stores, a new w-mart opened in my small town. It was even creepier than normal, because employess usually outnumbered customers in the late evenings when I went. Also, many just seemed to be "shipped in" from other communities.

By this I mean that they just weren't familiar seeming people. This is odd in small town midwestern settings (and I don't mean creed or race). Simply, you usually run into employees in stores that you know, or recognize accents, or just sort of get a "local vibe". I'm also sure that w-mart initially places "veteran" workers from other stores into newly opened stores. Not always a negative thing, if at all. But when a huge new store opens and you don't recognize anyone, seems the wal-mart dropped in from some other universe or dimension. Unsettling if you think about it.

So, I REALLY felt the urge to leave as soon as I got there. I had already limited my purchases to necessary computer-related stuff...stuff that I can't get anywhere else in town. I'd be looking forward to getting the cable or whatever that would allow me to use my home pc the way that I wanted to...but as soon as I got in the store I wanted to run.

Another Lady, the spouse of my sister's friend, had her first ever panic attack in a wal-mart. This lady seemed to have the "usual" amount of anxiety over regular things for most of her life, or at least the years that her husband had known her. But one afternoon, the husband got a call from his wife. She was weeping and needed her husband to leave work and to pick her up because she was afraid to move.

She was calling from a wal-mart changing room. She felt "safer" there and wouldn't leave alone. And there was no discernable reason for her "breakdown".

So, this category can be summed up as: Due to the number of cameras, and watchful employees, and attention paid to surveillance in general, and maybe even the store design itself (like the high ceilings, etc.), wal-mart can cause or antagonize feelings of anxiety or panic.

2. WAL-MART IS "EVIL". Maybe my "spider-sense" goes off in w-mart because we know the company's practices are unhealthy to the overall well-being of American citizens (I am writing this in the U.S.). By being there we are aiding-and-abetting the Chinese government, a government that severly oppresses its people, i.e. limited religious and philosophical freedom of speech, mandated offspring limits, poor working conditions, etc.

Also, wal-mart was the primary pusher of the Bar Code after its creation and is now THE LARGEST proponent of RFID technology. Privacy is at stake.

More info here: Consumers Against Supermarket Privacy Invasion and Numbering.

I mentioned that General Anxiety has some benefits in that it often causes me to "take in" more of my surroundings in detail. A small bit of paranoia never killed anyone, right? I have noticed that I am often "hyper-aware" compared to people that are more comfortable in situations. I have talked about this with them.

Whereas a comfortable person might be thinking about other unrelated-things (with regard to being in a wal-mart), I on the other hand am apt to be thinking only about the experience of being in the store: where are the people, cameras, why is the store layout designed this way here?, etc.

I have been told to be, and found myself to be, intuitive in a number of situations. I just want to mention this, without sounding self-serving hopefully, that I am a good judge of character (of places and things in addition to people) and so forth. And wal-mart totally creeps me out like a person that my "spider-sense" warns me about.

It's kind of like when you get "older" and "wisened" enough to listen to that little intuition you get in certain situations. Like: Leave this bar, a fight is going to happen. Or: Leave this restaurant, the food and service will not be good. Or: That little kid is going to run out into the street. When I was young, I kind of ignored it because I hadn't yet had enough experience to know that I should instead LISTEN to that bit of intuition. That "voice" speaks to me in wal-mart.

So, I stopped shopping there of course. The cons outweigh the pros tenfold where wal-mart patronage is concerned. Saving even a few dollars isn't worth driving independent competition under, often in areas where only one or two stores compete with the 'Mart Titan. It isn't worth saving a few dollars when I learn how the Chinese government treats its people. It made me feel guilty after I shopped there.

Now I feel better supporting a locally owned grocery store. Or seeking out an American product. Or a Japanese one over a Chinese one if that's the option.

So, is this "panic in wal-mart" a noticeable phenomenon?

[edit on 2-6-2008 by 2nd Hand Thoughts]

posted on Jun, 2 2008 @ 06:42 PM
it does with me sometimes, but i think that is because i dont like large groups of people.

and the sheep flock to wal-mart..

posted on Jun, 2 2008 @ 06:43 PM
that is bad marketing as most people with panic feel a need to run or get away

how can they sell you crap when you are in a hurry to get away or out of there?

posted on Jun, 2 2008 @ 06:48 PM

Originally posted by MurderCityDevil
that is bad marketing as most people with panic feel a need to run or get away

how can they sell you crap when you are in a hurry to get away or out of there?

easy they dont sell to me cause i dont shop there, it has nothing to do with marketing. it has to do with time managment with me. i dont have an hour to stand in line when i can buy the same thing off the net for half the price and no line to wait in..

posted on Jun, 2 2008 @ 06:55 PM

Originally posted by DaleGribble

Originally posted by MurderCityDevil
that is bad marketing as most people with panic feel a need to run or get away

how can they sell you crap when you are in a hurry to get away or out of there?

easy they dont sell to me cause i dont shop there, it has nothing to do with marketing. it has to do with time managment with me. i dont have an hour to stand in line when i can buy the same thing off the net for half the price and no line to wait in..

well my answer was in general

if you dont shop there then it wasnt hardly directed at you per se

I dont shop there either but it seems like bad marketing or just paranoia

posted on Jun, 2 2008 @ 07:01 PM
For me it's always been the 1 entrance / exit into the Wal-Mart parking lots that I just can't handle, and smaller towns seam to have more people shopping there causing yet less space to get in and out of their lots. However I still prefer buying from the local mom-n-pop stores cause I know it stays in the community verses heading over seas, except I have to usually pay more. I too have issues with large crowds, except concerts... for some reason I can handle being on the floor surrounded by head banging bodies over going to Wal-Mart.

posted on Jun, 2 2008 @ 07:07 PM
Interesting experience, I also stay away from wal-mart as much as possible.

I have to say that Wal-Mart stores are overwhelming, because they are so big and try to encroach their custumers within their walls so people do not escape to buy somewhere else.

That is what Wal-mart is all about, it kidnap the consumer to suck the blood and money out of them

[edit on 2-6-2008 by marg6043]

posted on Jun, 2 2008 @ 07:07 PM
How come they are just talking about walmart and not making target a target?haha just a bit of humor aside.Tareget is no different then walmart or any other huge supercenter store.

posted on Jun, 2 2008 @ 07:08 PM
wow , this is very strange.

a few years ago I went with a friend to Walmart and she
had to get out of the building because being inside was giving her
a panic attack...
I thought it was odd because we had been in many other department stores before and this had never happened .

she did not understand it either.

[edit on 2-6-2008 by Maya432]

posted on Jun, 2 2008 @ 07:15 PM
I joke around about how the greeters should hand out xanax at the door. I'm glad I'm not the only one. If I'm there for only a specific few things, I park at the automotive center or the gardening center. Generally there's shorter lines and they are easier to get in and out.

posted on Jun, 2 2008 @ 07:42 PM
I have panic attacks in the parking lot before I even get into the store!

Maybe it is just me, but I swear, after I have spent 5 minutes in a Wal-Mart store, my nose starts to run. I can't go into one without making sure I have kleenex on me! It doesn't matter what Wal-Mart I go in to. I have had this happen in a few different states! I must be allergic to them, or something they have in them!

posted on Jun, 2 2008 @ 07:52 PM

Originally posted by alienstar
How come they are just talking about walmart and not making target a target?

I feel fine walking into Target, mostly cause most of the Target stores where I live are OPEN, not as cluttered and again, there's always at least 2-3 entrances/exits into their parking lots.

posted on Jun, 2 2008 @ 08:01 PM
hahaha the OP mentioned watchful employees. I work at wal mart and we definitley don't watch customers. at all. That's why it's so easy to steal from wal mart.

posted on Jun, 2 2008 @ 08:26 PM
I haven't been inside a Wal-Mart store since 2005, but I used to feel sort of panicky shopping there because I'd go in to buy one or two items and come out with $100 or more worth of impulse buys. Not good.

I mostly shop online. I search for free shipping sales and buy exactly what I need. Nobody's watching me and I don't have to deal with a bunch of weirdos.

posted on Jun, 2 2008 @ 08:28 PM
I think there is some truth to this. I've noticed walking into the super-sized stores that the feeling hits you right after walking past the greeter. This point in the store is where the ceiling or lack of become apparent. Most stores including olde town WMs have the traditional acoustic suspended ceiling that gives a better depth perception to the mind and a sense of direction. The open beam and purlin structure with wires, lights and HVAC ducts in the SWM is a state of chaos to the mind. This is similar to a forest that you don't recognize. Sure you know where you are (a SWM somewhere you know) but the instinct is thrown off. Now that this has set, in suddenly the people and merchandise is blocking your escape. The human brain is faster at realizing a sense of danger then the best search engines can find the subject with there X1000s of servers. This danger puts you on edge while your shopping list (now scrambled to the back of your mind) drags you further into the forest. At this point the mind kicks into the next step to look for tools and weapons and you start picking up crap you originally had not though of. The impulse feeds on the now confused mind and you leave the place with $127 of what stuff that will sit on a shelf, the hall closet, laundry room or somewhere. That's where the guilt complex hits and said Why did I buy the stuff, I went there for a stupid bag of trail mix and a music CD that I forgot pick up. Next trip already in planning.

Some people are immune to this but will still find themselves getting stuff they don't need but that's for another discussion. What is at play is the brilliant marketing folks that figured out what gets people to spend money. Where did they discover this phenomenon. The very malls they almost annihilated. The mall is no longer effective. Most of them have made it too calming to create the effect WM has perfected.

Why does this not happen in the Home Imp. Centers then, well you will notice the shelving nearly reached the ceiling defining a strong sense of locality but may still mess with some peoples minds. Those places have a lot of chemicals and VOCs in the air that cause a lot of people problems from itchy eyes to running noses and headaches.

Oh the other thing you were supposed to get... the refill for your Xanex meds.

posted on Jun, 2 2008 @ 10:42 PM
First, great post there Alabamacajun.

Second, I would have mentioned that I don't feel this way in stores like Target and others, but I ran out of space in my original post!

Yes, I know they too are filled with stuff from China and that I'm being surveilled in them. I can get to where I want to get out of those stores too, but any "problems" I have are dwarfed by the regularity with which I was bothered by being inside, or outside even, a wal-mart. (Except maybe Best Buy and...*shudder*...Circuit City.)

I think maybe that, as far as product politics and business practices go...wal-mart just trumps all the others with extreme practices: number one importer of Chinese goods, often encouraging "pirating" of American goods by overseas factories (buying the cheaper versions), legal-yet-slimy practices used to run "local" competition (namely grocery stores in my area) out of business, nearly single-handedly creating the current RFID push, etc.

I appreciate the post that explains some stores (not wal-mart) are "too calming", and that wal-mart has found a sort of golden-medium. Not too calming. Not too discombobulating...just enough so we are influenced to forget our "purpose" enough to buy stuff we never went there for in the first place. Interesting observation you have. Here's a scary one too: Are they so scary smart that they cause us just enough confusion so that we can't clearly think a purchase through? Meaning, if we could relax a little more, then we would realize that we DON'T need "Thing Y" in addition to "Thing X" just because it is on sale?

Most likely, as I have been thinking since my original post, I was experiencing two things: 1. The knowledge that I was being watched or surveilled and outnumbered by employees (it was a new store) made me self-conscious and 2. I was probably uncomfortable because I knew, due to my own "ethical code", that I probably shouldn't be shopping there; I wasn't putting my money where my mouth was and I'd regret it later. A dichotomy or type of shoppers' guilt. Like a guilty pleasure only without the pleasure. There are things that I don't regret buying but I do regret buying those things at wal-mart.

Even Sam Walden himself would have been crushed beneath the behemoth he himself created.

PS: I'm sure a lot of people that are totally freaked out with social-anxiety in wal-mart still go there to get their prescriptions, for that very problem (anxiety), filled. Say: "I get really nervous in wal-mart"...'Then why do you go there?'..."I go there to get medicine for my nervousness."

Lol. That sounds sorta like buying a book about entrepreneurialship or national soveriegnty at wal-mart.

Oh, and did you hear about the wal-mart that got a bomb threat and didn't clear out the store...THE SWAT BOMB SQUAD JUST WALKED AROUND!!!

My head would have exploded instantly.

[edit on 2-6-2008 by 2nd Hand Thoughts]

posted on Jun, 2 2008 @ 11:00 PM
I know what you mean. I loath shopping at Wally World and will go out of my way to avoid it. It's not that it's a big boxy store the size of several football fields. It's not that frustration that goes into finding a parking space that doesn't require hiking a quarter mile.

My theory is it comes down to ugly crappy merchandise. Lots and lots of it. Don't get me wrong, Target has crappy merchandise, too. It just happens to be prettier, pricer crappy stuff.

posted on Jun, 2 2008 @ 11:58 PM
and to think some people laughed at the very idea that humans can be controlled with subliminal symbols...

They are what i think cause the panic attacks... The constant bombardment of colours and numbers and eye catching temptations... and being watched by people unseen... also knowing that you are nothing but a number on a store card, pumped into some monstrous database, where that information is being analysed by people in suits, that data being further manipulated to squeeze more money out of you at a later date...

In some stores they even pump out fake smells of baked bread and the like... just to further the illusion.

People we are worshipping at the temple of capitalism, the people who control it get stronger with every visitor... the only way to stop this beast is to shop locally and grow your own stuff.

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