Index Home About Blog
From: John De Armond
Newsgroups: rec.outdoors.rv-travel
Subject: Re: New to RVing ; do all Walmarts allow you to sleep overnight ?
Date: Thu, 29 Jul 2004 19:00:18 -0400
Message-ID: <>

On Thu, 29 Jul 2004 12:59:03 -0700, "Yofuri" <> wrote:

>I always check with the greeter at the entrance door.  A common answer is:
>"We don't own the parking lot, the shopping center does, but the campers
>usually park right over there."
>In Chattanooga, TN just before Christmas last year, the security guard
>pulled alongside me when I entered the parking lot and asked if we'd like to
>spend the night.  He had me follow him out of the main parking lot and
>around behind a row of seavans into a nice quiet area.

That's quite common in this area, Southern hospitality and all that.  I will
frequently stop by the local Camp Wallyworld on my way out.  About as often as
not a Wallyworld employee will come out and invite me to park over by the
garden department if I like.

To the original question.

In my travels around the eastern part of the country I've never run into a
wallyworld where I could not park.  Nor a Sam's.  I got tired of the "why are
you bothering me?" looks so I don't bother to ask unless there is a sign of
some sort that makes it questionable.  I've never been refused.  I've been
told more than once that the "no overnight parking" signs were put up to stop
semis from parking in the lot.  I'm seeing revised signs now that say "no semi
overnight parking."

Other places I've stayed include Kmart (same policy as wallyworld), Home
depot, Lowes and a wide variety of C-stores and grocery stores.  I generally
go in and ask at places other than Kmart.

One key is how you ask.  If you go in the store and ask if you can set up an
impromptu campground in the lot, the answer will usually be no.  But if you go
through the line to pay for something you're buying from the store and
casually ask if you can park off to the side to rest for a bit, the answer in
my experience has always been YES unless there was a physical problem like not
enough room.

The fact of the matter is, as long as you choose a large lot, park
unobtrusively, come and go at reasonable hours, don't set up camp, don't bloat
out the sides of your rig with slides, don't run down jacks and other similar
things, don't have a noisy generator and don't dump anything on the pavement,
nobody knows nor cares whether you've parked to shop, parked to rest for a bit
or parked to sleep.  In other words, be good neighbors and don't look like a
bunch of gypsies and you'll be OK.

I've heard that things are sometimes different on the other side of the
continent but then again, that ought to be a different country, IMHO.


From: John De Armond
Newsgroups: rec.outdoors.rv-travel
Subject: Re: Why the big deal about slides at Walmart?
Date: Mon, 06 Mar 2006 22:20:00 -0500
Message-ID: <>

I'm not terribly concerned about Walmart's policy.  I'm concerned
about how it looks to busy-bodies.  If an RV rolls to a stop, turns
the lights out and the people go to bed, it's not at all obvious
whether the occupants are sleeping or just parking while in the store.

When one rolls down the jacks and cranks out the slides and sets up
the satellite antenna, etc, even if only for a couple of hours, it
LOOKS like someone has set up camp.  Even if they haven't.

I think slides look gross, like the RV is coming apart or something.
If I was going to complain (something I'd never in a thousand years
do), I'd be more likely to complain about something aesthetically

I simply advocate laying low and keeping a very low profile precisely
because there are so many meddling busy-bodies out there who are just
dying to find something new to complain about.


On Tue, 07 Mar 2006 01:40:19 -0000, Brian Elfert <>

>I keep seeing posts about RV parking at Walmart and not putting out
>What is the big deal about slides?  Just because you have a slide out
>doesn't suddenly mean you're camping for a week there.  Walmart allows RV
>parking because it increases store sales.  Wouldn't Walmart want an RVer
>to be able to be comfortable during their stay?
>I have seen some fivers that you literally can't get beyond the door with
>the slides in.  Do you really think these folks would stay at Walmart if
>they can't let out the slides?
>No, my RV doesn't have slides and I have parked overnight at Walmart.
>Brian Elfert

From: John De Armond
Newsgroups: rec.outdoors.rv-travel
Subject: Re: Why the big deal about slides at Walmart?
Date: Tue, 07 Mar 2006 16:23:03 -0500
Message-ID: <>

On Tue, 07 Mar 2006 18:57:17 GMT, RichA <richatpa*nospam*>

> The best bet is to try and look as inconspicuous as possible.  If you
>can't get into the RV without using slides well then you have to use
>them.  Otherwise if you are only overnighting or stopping to rest you
>don't need to set up.  If you have to have your slides out, levelers
>down awning out etc. just to stop overnight then find a campground.  In
>other words setup in a campground, rest or overnight in parking lots
>when you have to with the very minimum of setup.  Like just park.

Exactly.  I assume that posture wherever I park.  I've never been
rousted while parking to sleep, even in places such as rest area with
"no overnighting" signs.  I park out of the way, show no outward signs
of being stopped for any length of time and at most, run the generator
for AC.  When I do that I always park off to the side of the truck
parking area where my generator noise will blend in with the idling

Captain Obvious says "Ya can get away with murder if ya do it

> I would venture a guess that many people who use Wal Marts do so
>because they are too cheap to find a campground in the first place.
>Then by setting up in the parking lots they may ruin it for those who
>really may have a need to use a Wal Mart parking lot overnight.  Those
>that use the parking lots as a campground while visiting an area really
>cause problems.  These are usually the same one's who complain about
>high campground prices then help to keep the prices high by not using
>the campgrounds.  Or who shudder at having to pay $10.00 to $35.00 to
>stay overnight at a campground, usually with the excuse they are paying
>for things they won't use. That amount is probably 0.00003 of the cost
>of the RV and much less is some cases.

Oh sh*t here we go again with that nonsense.  You don't REALLY believe
that kind of tripe, do you?  Not to mention the logical disconnect in
trying to link parking fees to the cost of the rig.  Or maybe we could
make that work.  I only paid about six grand for my rig so shouldn't I
be able to park in a CG for sixty cents?

Important things to me when I'm traveling include:

* Ease of in and out.
* No hassles - just park, turn the motor off and sleep.
* No "helpers" trying to help me back into a cramped parking slot.
* No need to back into a cramped parking place because there are none.
* Not wasting time trying to find an off-the-highway CG.
* Not a campground.  I've come to loathe the campground "experience".
* Re Camp Wallyworld: Handy to a real store which means I don't have
to warehouse a lot of supplies.

Cost is way down the list and not for the boneheaded reason you
postulate.  I resent having to pay for receiving nothing.  A CG has
nothing to offer that I want when I'm traveling.  Ergo, I will NOT be
forced to pay to park, even if it is $0.01.  I simply do my best to
avoid places that are unfriendly to RV parkers.

> Our first choice is to find a campground, second is to find a Flying J
>or other fueling location that accepts RV's, third is a parking lot.

To each his own.  Ain't freedom of choice grand?

>Wal Marts and other parking lots may not be an ideal place to stay
>anyway since many are not located in the best parts of towns.

Zat so?  I'm scratching my head trying to remember a "bad" walmart.
OK, I can think of one in Fulton County (Atlanta).  Even it wasn't too
bad and it had several mobile patrols working all night.

Of course, I know not to go to downtown Deeetroit and look for a nice
safe spot.  And I'm not going to get within 10 miles of any large city
if I don't have to.  Out in the 'burbs and the country where I travel,
I can't say that I've ever stayed anywhere that make me the least bit


From: John De Armond
Newsgroups: misc.rural
Subject: Re: [Fwd: Shades of Charles Dickens at WalMart
Date: Sat, 04 Nov 2006 15:02:57 -0500
Message-ID: <>

Yup.  Makes you wonder if any of these people have ever actually held
a job, doesn't it.

M&M Mars, one of the more admired employers, docked everyone's pay
(including the plant manager) who was one minute late.  They called it
a "punch bonus" to get around regulations forbidding taking back
(docking) pay but when your salary was quoted, the punch bonus was

When I worked for 'em in the late 70s, I could punch in as early as I
liked, something I did so I could go to the company subsidized
cafeteria and eat breakfast before going to work without having to
worry about the time down to the minute.

Then some asswipe (not at Mars) spoiled it by getting Wage and Hour to
sue some company and make them pay back-pay for all that "overtime"
represented by the time from the early punch to starting time.  THAT,
dear friends, is where the "no early punch" thing came from. Companies
that still allow early punching haven't had a W&H audit and haven't
gotten nailed.  Wallyworld surely has suffered both.

At my engineering company I let my employees come and go pretty much
as they pleased as long as they got the job done on time.  Since they
mostly defined the jobs, that was pretty easy.  They were all highly
educated and mature  people who needed little supervision.  They
didn't have to deal with the public and so there was no need for rigid

At my restaurant company, OTOH, where we DID deal with the public,
employees were not allowed to be late.  Not even a minute.  They got
one freebie a quarter.  On the second one they got the pink slip. Same
with laying out.  When someone wasn't there the operation was severely
impacted.  I could not afford to hire extra bodies to stand around
just in case and I thought it quite improper to call someone in from
their off-time to cover for someone who laid out or just couldn't
bother to be there on time.  The counterbalance was, of course, good
pay, good working conditions and benefits for people who could not
remotely dream of a corporate job.

The choice is fairly obvious.  If you want to have a loose schedule
and be treated like a professional then become one.  Go to college or
take an apprenticeship, become a responsible adult, save your screwing
like a mink until AFTER you have the good job and can afford kids and
try to minimize the vices.  After all, nothing yells "STOOOOPID" in
the white collar world like cigarettes.

OTOH, if you want to look like Charles Manson, start your litter of
kids at 14, want to smoke like a chimney and drink like a sponge and
barely get through high school then plan on having to take jobs that
perhaps don't fit your expectations very well.  In that category,
Wal*mart is one of the better employers.

I have a friend who operates a shoe and leather repair shop in the
afternoons and works for Wallyworld at night.  He absolutely loves the
leather business but the town isn't big enough to support a shop full
time.  So he works at wallyworld for the extra money and the excellent
benefits (his words).  Of course, he's a nice clean cut guy who works
hard and who knows his responsibilities.

We've chatted several times about Wallyworld as an employer.  He's
told me pretty much what I suspected, that Wallyworld is an excellent
place to WORK but a lousy place to loaf.


On 3 Nov 2006 19:13:43 -0800, "Harry K" <>

>Doghouse wrote:

>> Businesses had no trouble finding employees in the Great Depression.
>> FDR discovered that the economy wouldn't get better until laws were
>> passed to _do_ something about the way some employers treated workers.
>I get the impression that you feel requiring emplyees to be on time is
>an imposition. The checkin 1 min minus/plus is not unusual.  I did it
>for 10 years in a machine shop.  Then was required to be on the job 10
>minutes prior to shift change for another 15.  Of course then there was
>the 21 years in the military.  Being late once was okay, twice was
>strongly frowned upon and after that it was 'talk to the old man'.
>Harry K

From: John De Armond
Newsgroups: misc.rural
Subject: Re: [Fwd: Shades of Charles Dickens at WalMart
Date: Sun, 05 Nov 2006 19:21:48 -0500
Message-ID: <>

On Sun, 05 Nov 2006 20:03:14 GMT, Ann <> wrote:

>A huge gotcha with self-insuring is that one is charged "full retail" for
>medical services.

No, actually one isn't.  One DOES have to negotiate fees for services.
ONe can't just waltz in, oblivious to the costs as people do who have

I'm self-insuring with a very high deductible stop-loss policy for any
major catastrophe that may come my way.

I have negotiated prices with my doctor (the BCBS reimbursement minus
copay - exactly what he'd receive from insurance but without all the
paperwork) and my pharmacist (30% markup over wholesale which is a
tiny fraction of "retail" and is about what the insurance companies

I myself (one person) have taken a major chunk out of the cost of my
medical care.  If more people would do that instead of just saying
"insurance will pay for that" (really, they're paying for it through
lower salaries but that's another story) then perhaps more folks could
afford medical care.


From: John De Armond
Newsgroups: misc.rural
Subject: Re: [Fwd: Shades of Charles Dickens at WalMart
Date: Mon, 06 Nov 2006 05:12:08 -0500
Message-ID: <>

On Mon, 06 Nov 2006 02:53:40 GMT, Ann <> wrote:

>> I'm self-insuring with a very high deductible stop-loss policy for any
>> major catastrophe that may come my way.
>That's not self-insuring; that's a high deductible.

If I'd meant high deductible then that's exactly what I would have
said.  My policy is a stop-loss policy and has nothing to do with
day-to-day medical needs.  This policy simply has several triggering
events, one of which is an actual emergency of a certain magnitude.
Another is a catastrophic illness such as cancer.  It doesn't matter
whether I spend $1000 or $10,000 a year on routine stuff as far as the
stop-loss policy goes.

>> I have negotiated prices with my doctor (the BCBS reimbursement minus
>> copay - exactly what he'd receive from insurance but without all the
>> paperwork) and my pharmacist (30% markup over wholesale which is a tiny
>> fraction of "retail" and is about what the insurance companies
>> reimburse.)
>How does that work at the hospital emergency room and for inpatient care?

Emergency room, nuked in the pocketbook until the stop-loss kicks in.
It is possible to post facto negotiate but it's not nearly as easy as
doing it up front, impossible with an emergency, of course.   Hmmm, or
maybe not.  Maybe I need to check into negotiating with the local
hospital for common emergencies.  Never thought of that before.

Inpatient care, negotiate beforehand.  Yep, hospitals negotiate.  The
worst one can do is have to pay what the insurance would have paid.
The best is to qualify for some subsidy fund the hospital has for
various purposes.  Scored that one for my FIL when he was dying of
bone cancer.  They had some fund or endowment, don't remember which
now, for bone cancer victims that picked up the entire $3/4mil tab.

>Personally, I haven't been enough of a consumer of medical/pharmaceutical
>services and products that I've considered trying to negotiate price.  I
>doubt it would work for physicians here because afaik they're all in one
>of two group practices; they don't have the option of setting prices

Then again, nobody else really cares what happens "there".

>Another factor is that, as a businessman yourself, you're in a better
>position to negotiate price (implicit quid pro).

No, not at all.  Especially since I sold off most of my business
interests last summer, semi-retired and am now a mushroom of sorts.
Bartering is a totally different animal.  I did a LOT of that,
including bartering for drugs.

The only thing having been a businessman has to do with this is that
my experience has taught me to never be afraid to request
negotiations.  The worst thing that can happen is that they say no. If
that happens, well, there's always competition.


From: John De Armond
Newsgroups: rec.outdoors.rv-travel
Subject: Re: Permanent High Gas Prices
Date: Thu, 12 Jun 2008 00:17:21 -0400
Message-ID: <>

On Wed, 11 Jun 2008 11:07:31 -0700, "Frank Howell" <> wrote:

>But the Wal-Marts of today are predicated on cheap oil. Without it, the
>12,000 mile trip from Asia that all those toasters, hair dryers, etc,
>becomes uneconomical and new economic realities will have to be addressed.

But Walmart was cheaper when they still "bought American".  Given how much
cargo a ship carries, I bet that if you sit down and calculate it out, the
cost of fuel for each toaster will be measured in tiny fractions of a penny.

Regardless of the cost of fuel or how much it adds to the cost of that
toaster, Walmart is still the winner because Walmart has The System.  Walmart
has the buying power to dictate prices to producers.  Little guys don't.  Sit
down and talk to a salesman who's sold to Walmart sometime.  Eye-opening.

Walmart has the distribution network.  Each truck that leaves a distribution
center is loaded fully and according to an exact plan so that the merchandise
can be unloaded in the order needed to go directly to shelf.  One trailer of
cargo stocks many departments.  The little guys can't do that.  They have to
buy from multiple distributors (another middle-man) and manufacturers, each
load coming in on separate trucks.  And they don't have the inventory system
Walmart does so they either run out of stock or buy too much and have static

Then there is their data processing network, held in awe by the rest of the
retail world.  Dead stock is practically unheard-of.  So is tying up money in
static inventory.

Look at it with some simple math.  Walmart trailers are classified as "high
value cargo".  At least at my old trucking company, that meant that the cargo
had a value of $1million or more.  If I haul a trailer full of $1million worth
of cargo 1000 miles between the distribution warehouse and the store using a
truck that gets 5mpg, the math looks like this.

At $2/gallon for diesel

1000	miles
5	miles per gallon
200	Gallons used
2	per gallon fuel cost
$400	Fuel cost for the trip

0.04	fuel as a % of $1million load

At $5/gallon for diesel

1000	miles
5	miles per gallon
200	Gallons used
5	per gallon fuel cost
$1000	Fuel cost for the trip

0.10	fuel as a % of $1million load

So when the cost of fuel more than doubles, from $2 to $5 a gallon, the
increase due to fuel as a percentage of the value of the cargo goes from 0.04%
to 0.10%.

Big Fsking Deal!

Pick any value you like for the cargo and do the math again.  It won't change
much. Wallyworld will raise the price 1%, cover the fuel cost and jack in some
more profit in the process and nobody'll notice.

A few things will change.  Pepsi probably won't shipping trailer-loads of
empty Pepsi bottles (full 53 ft trailer, cargo weight under half a ton) from
the blowing plant to the bottling plant like they did with a few loads I
hauled. They'll install a blowing plant at the bottling company and ship
preforms.  A big win for the company that makes the blowing plant and the
contractor who installs it.

But Wallyworld will, if anything do BETTER as fuel rises, simply because
they're better at EVERYTHING in the retail channel than anyone else.  Some
shaky big box stores will no doubt crash and burn. Kmart/Sears is probably
toast already. I hauled some Kmart freight.  The contrast between them and
Wallyworld was stark and shocking.  By the Wallyworld standard, Kmart didn't
have a clue.

>> Horse hockey. The economies will change, and our inventors will
>> invent.
>Wishful thinking, but if not, what is plan B?

If I need a wet finger and I know as an irrefutable fact that dipping my
finger in water makes it wet, why would I even think about Plan B?  It is an
irrefutable fact that creative American minds have ALWAYS risen to the
challenge.  Exhibit A: WWII industrial production.  Exhibit B: Computers.

>Sounds like magical thinking or a religion. I thought only Liberals engaged
>in that kind of fantasy.  Maybe Mothra will save us from Godzilla too.

Typical of folks who can't do the math to resort to name calling.

I suspect that you'd not know an actual liberal if one hit you in the face.

>All I see with Obama and Co. is more taxes, regulations, a continued
>consolidation of Government power and the need to divert blame from their
>failed programs to some  more convenient target. Big Oil, big banks, etc,
>but never Big Government.

Since I don't do media news (maybe a good plan for y'all too), I know nothing
about bama and co but I do know this.  When blanket costs (economists have a
term for this but I can't recall it at the moment) that apply to everyone
equally increase, largeness and economy of scale always wins.  It's really
simple when you think about it.

If I'm a small manufacturer making 1000 widgets a day and those widgets won't
fill even a single tractor-trailer, I'm at the mercy of the LTL
(less-than-truckload) carriers, the highest freight there is.  The LTL
operator has to pay drivers, fuel, equipment, depreciation and all the other
costs of doing business and he marks those up, what constitutes profit, to the
customer.  That would be the widget-maker.


I save up my production until I have a truckload.  I'm not dealing with LTLers
anymore but I have money tied up in my inventory plus I'm still out there at
the "retail" level of freight buying.  Since I don't ship every day, I take
what prices are offered me instead of being able to make the market.

A Maytag, OTOH, that makes a hundred thousand widgets a day and requires say,
100 trailers to haul that freight off has a huge advantage.  They own the
trailers.  They used to own the trucks and employ the drivers (no markup
involved) but now that they've learned that they can squeeze hungry trucking
companies dry, they contract out the haulage.

With that kind of volume, they get absolutely rock-bottom pricing.  I've seen
bills of lading for Maytag freight with the freight price listed that was
lower than the cost of fuel for the trip!  The trucking companies do that
because it's cheaper to run at a slight loss than it is to dead-head a truck
at a large total loss.  Plus it keeps the customer on-board.

Problem is, most of you peckerheads know nothing about what you're arguing
than what you've been fed by the media.  On that basis, I imagine things do
look gloomy.

Out here in the field, the view is a bit different.  I see a few things
changing but mostly things stay the same or improve or simply become
different.  If the media hysteria spurs the streamlining of power plant and
transmission line construction, that's a win.  If it spurs people to become
inventive and create new ideas, that's a win.

If it makes exburbia and soccer bitches careening around in 7000 lb trucks
called SUVs go away then that will be a BIG win.  If it causes some
debt-ridden, living-beyond-their-means yuppies to lose their McMansions and go
bankrupt, that's a BIG win too.

If it makes big corps stop making idiotic political statements by locating
their facilities in the inner city, in or near ghettos (like IBM and HP did in
Atlanta) then that will be a HUGE win.  If it causes the *sshole unelected
so-called city planners who've used zoning to force residential and commercial
districts far apart to get kicked out of office, that will be a win beyond

I ain't smart enough and my crystal ball isn't clear enough that I can predict
with any accuracy what is going to happen.  Like any dynamical system that is
perturbed, the economy'll oscillate and jiggle around for awhile and then
settle down to some new equilibrium until the next disturbance comes along.
But based on history, all you doom and gloomers are simply blowing smoke out
yer *sses.  Those that can, do.  Those that can't stand around and bitch about


Index Home About Blog