Want Love? Live in Texas? Then I'll See You at Walmart
Walmart has anything you could need. Ninety-eight-inch televisions. Formica bookshelves. Palettes of alcohols. Piles of strollers. All for under $50, and all available just down the interstate.
Walmart: Officially the saddest, and most promising, place in 15 states.
The Waltons have perfected the pursuit of capitalism, 102.7 billion times over. They've timed their sales, and pitched their products, and undersold the competition with enough vim and energy to make Rockefeller and Vanderbilt look down in heavenly approval. They've earned the ire of businesses and socialists the country over. They've provided America with a vision of capitalism, pure and clean.
And yet, there's always remained one product Walmart's never been able to provide. It's a product as priceless as it is timeless. Love. The one product we all need. The one product Walmart can't hawk.
Or, I should say, couldn't. Because if you're in Texas -- or 14 other states across this grand land -- love (or lust?) seems the one thing that Walmart provides more abundantly than any other place, public or private. Suddenly, where love was relegated to the realm of the mythical and the mystical, it can now be found in bulk at Walmart.
That's the consensus from a recent study published in Psychology Today. Poring through thousands of missed connections on Craigslist, researcher Dorothy Gambrell collated the most common words for each state's postings. And Texans, suffice it to say, seem to have found the greatest piques of love not on their ranches, nor in any whiskey swills, but in the megastores that house anything and everything consumers would need.
While Texas's placement may seem unfortunately unoriginal -- Craigslisters from Montana to Florida find as much attraction at Walmart as we do -- the state can take solace in the fact that Walmart doesn't take any especial prize for the most embarrassing spot. That, it seems, would be a toss-up between Nebraska (McDonald's), Wyoming (gas station) and Indiana (at home): One offers the prospect of splitting a Big Mac, one gives a chance to show off your diesel rig and the third...wait, how is it that someone has a missed connection at home? Are Indianans that friendly that they'll open their doors to any anonymous beauty, and promptly fail to get his or her name and contact information? Is this something we'll be seeing soon on an episode of Parks and Recreation?
For what it's worth, the study also reinforces a handful of strong stereotypes beyond Red America. Pacific Northwesterners, boasting the "boldest women," pass much of singledom on buses; Sconnies, not satisfied with their personal coolers of Miller and PBR, find first love at bars; and Californians seem set on reclaiming the partners they discovered while lifting at 24-Hour Fitness. (And yet, Arizonans insist on using LA Fitness. Weird.)
The study also broke down the most frequent spottings by age. Twenty-year-olds spend a preponderance of their time at ice cream shops, while thirty-year-olds seem to post most frequently at bars. Lonely forty-year-olds, however, seem to have the roughest, or most diseased, go: Their missed connections listings were most often sighted in strip clubs or adult bookstores. (If this isn't one of the saddest lovelorn stats you've seen, I don't want to know what beats it.)
Fortunately, Walmart continues to steer clear of strip clubs and adult bookstores, leaving singles in the 15 aforementioned states to look for everything else under the stores' fluorescent sun. And if next Valentine's Day finds you without anyone in your life, well, there are some dozen Walmarts scattered through the Bayou City. You're bound to run into someone with the same idea.