I had this whole snarky bit written out about this piece of news, then it occurred to me that despite my aversion to mixing food and communicable diseases, this may be an answer to our over-crowded emergency rooms. WalMart is already most people’s one stop shopping destination. Where else can you have your car serviced, film developed, eyes examined, eat lunch, then do your Xmas shopping before loading up on household supplies and groceries? So, ok, add to that the convenience of getting your kid’s school shots done at a discount, and that is Walmart’s new strategy. I was a bit puzzled by this sentence:
“It has said the clinics are expected to boost the health of its shoppers and should also help sales by drawing consumers into its stores.”
I’m pretty sure that the demographic that will use the Walmart based clinics already know to follow the bouncing yellow happy face around the store as it slashes prices even lower! Is this move really likely to “draw” more people into Walmart? Are there people out in Suburbia that noticed these 200,000 square foot behemoths but haven’t wandered in for a peek? I loathe Walmart for a hundred different reasons, yet I shop there, at least some of the time. I hold my nose and dive in for two reasons; time and money. It does help me that I can get my oil changed and film developed and shop for groceries and poster-board and get this all done in a hour, and, I have a list of things that we use a lot of and the price makes it unwise to purchase anywhere else. (I’m a bit of an old woman when it comes to shopping for groceries. I don’t do coupons (wish I had the patience) but I literally have a list of things I buy from Walmart, and a list for Kroger.) And I have noticed a trend that has Walmart dressing up it’s exterior to better blend in to local communities. Inside, though, it’s the same. Stacked deep, sold cheap. And why is it always the same sad sack of a kid I see being cooed at and propped up to have his picture made?
Where was I? Right. Emergency rooms. Any nurse paying attention will tell you that the bulk of the wait time at your local E.R. isn’t caused by Illegal Aliens or by Ginger dragging George Clooney into a closet and away from patients. No, its those people who either have no insurance and know that they cannot be turned away, or, worse, people who run to the E.R for every headache, rash, scrape or overly loud fart. The fact that the “E” stands for emergency concerns them not in the least. Something is not right in their world, and by God, they are going to see a doctor. Once inside, the attending physician now has to run every test in his arsenal or risk missing something and being sued. This ties up time and resources, and we all pay.
Maybe, just maybe, having an affordable clinic located at Walmart is part of an answer at least. These days, I’m willing to work with the devil a little if it means we take a step forward, or a step back, anything to break the inertia.