Friday, June 17, 2005

Apple Pact with Wal-Mart broader than most realize

Apple and the retail giant have expanded their initial test rollout in the last few months. iPodlounge readers have noted in recent weeks that they've seen various iPod models at their local Wal-Mart stores. Select Wal-Mart locations are carrying the 20GB iPod, the iPod mini, and the iPod shuffle, along with HP-branded versions.

On my weekly walk through our local Wally-World, I noticed the iPods, Shuffles, mini iPods in all the many colors, locked up in a Plexiglas cabinet. I have purchased two iPods and a Shuffle, but I have ordered them from Apple. Put them on the pastic.

Summer is a time for mowing grass, babysitting, and making some hard earned cash selling lemonade on the corner. A very few local kids even earn money working on the farm. Most of those jobs have been taken by Latinos. Now, do not get all excited. I read what happened to President of Mexico, Vicente Fox Quezada, when he said that Mexicans were only taking jobs that Americans do not want. That is not my point. My point is that $300 iPods are not impulse purchases in rural economically depressed southeastern North Carolina.

I ran into one of my former science students. He is now in college and works at Wal-mart part-time. He is home for summer vacation. During our electronic section chat, I was surprised when he told me they have sold out of their supply of Apple products every two weeks. That amazes me. But then, it does not. After getting home and reflecting on the fact that iPods are flying off the shelf here in the country, I remembered the comments from leading poverty authority Dr. Ruby Payne. Dr. Payne says, "In generational poverty, the driving forces are survival, entertainment, and relationships. That is why you will have a student whose Halloween costume cost $30 (now-- a $300 MP3 player) but the textbook bill is not paid. Music is part of the entertainment part of Payne's Hidden Rules.

With that in mind, as soon as the word gets out, you will be seeing those little white cables hanging around all the "cool kids" necks.

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