Jess Pryles

Walmart through the eyes of a foreigner.

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Most people have heard of Walmart. Some people I know refuse to shop at Walmart. Other people achieved a level of internet celebrity twerking at Walmart. One thing you can’t deny is Walmart have a ton of inventory at (sometimes terrifyingly) low prices.

On my first visits to Walmart, I was enchanted by the sheer consumerism of it all, we just don’t have anything on that scale in Australia, but eventually my focus narrowed to the crazy foodstuffs on offer. Although many Americans are desensitised to the obscene nature of much of their packaged foodstuffs, I assure you that foreigners still find them gruesomely fascinating. Not unlike watching any of the Kardashian reality shows. So let me break down my foodie adventure in Walmart, with help from my friend Carrie.

Bulk Products

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Let’s talk about these packs of hash browns. I assume they are actually made from at least some real potato. Truly proving that mass purchasing can save you money, these packs of ten patties were just 99c each. Under a buck. Notwithstanding the details of who Walmart had to crush and ruin to get these to you at that price, for 99c per pack you could totally build a hash brown fort.

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If you’re not in the mood for a savoury breakfast, perhaps you’ll consider some cereal? Heads up, America, only dog food should come in packs that large. Unless you’re trying to fill a hot tub with Lucky Charms. In which case, please send pics.

Squeezable Products

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Let’s start with my sentimental favourite. Parkay – squeezable liquid butter. Well, that’s not exactly correct. Nowhere on the packaging does the word “butter” actually appear, not even ‘butter flavoured’. The best use I’ve seen for Parkay is pouring it on the grill to warm up a slice of pecan pie, as witnessed at the Camellia Grill in New Orleans. However, I still think there’s a lot to be said for being able to squeeze a smiley face onto your toast in the morning.

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From squeezable butter to squeezable cheese. Also, completely shelf stable and not requiring any refrigeration. Terrifying. Ok, this isn’t the newest product on the market, and we’ve all seen the cheese in the spray can. But it’s still the mayor of Wrongtown. What would be cool is having tiny little pump packs available, just like the nacho bars at crappy gas stations. I mean, if you’re gunna go trashy, go full redneck.

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Finally, a squeezable product I would consider eating directly from the pack, provided I was under the influence of enough alcohol. Ready made Oreo icing? I’d put that stuff between the hashbrowns and make the worlds sickest sandwich cookie. The really disturbing part of this ‘Ultimate’ frosting is the ingredient list, which is populated mainly with the words “corn”, “oil” and several chemical names.

Superfluous Food Accessories

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Do you often get frustrated when you can’t find the appropriate receptacle to cart your toaster pastries around with you during the day? I know I do. I don’t think there’s anything that says “classy” quite like pulling a Pop Tart container out of my handbag for snacking emergencies. Im already envisioning the marketing campaign: “for when foil just won’t do”.

Foods Which Shouldn’t Have Been Invented

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Don’t get me wrong, it’s not the concept that bothers me as much as the execution of this one. We all know breakfast meats work really well with starchy carbs and copious amounts of maple syrup. Plus we all know any food on a stick is great. But don’t expect me to believe that your thawed, pancaked weiner is going to be even remotely palatable. Also, who is individually reselling these things?

walmart7Put simply – the computer enhanced image of the product on the box is meant to look appetising. If you can’t manage it with photoshop, I can’t imagine how horrifying the real bowl is.

And though it’s not food, I’m just gonna go ahead and include this for sheer “I can’t even” factor. Roadside memorial markers thrown haphazardly into the “everyday low prices” section. Epic.

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By Jess Pryles

Jess Pryles is a full fledged Hardcore Carnivore. She’s a cook, writer, and TV personality specializing in red meat, with penchant for grilling and bourbon. She's also a respected authority on Texas & competition style barbecue. Born in Australia, she now resides in Austin, Texas.

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