Here's a question for the day: why are parking lots only in the front of the store? We begin with a standard Wal-Mart parking lot:
A Wal-Mart parking lot is an especially tense exercise in chaos. People and cars meander about with little to no regard for direction, and no matter what time of day it is there is not a single space less than .3 miles away.
The story inside isn't much better. Even at 4:00 AM, there will be a line stretching from the lingerie section all the way to that creepy doll section where one can inexplicably buy disembodied doll heads.
So, what's the deal? (Not the part about the heads - that I can't explain.) What's the deal with the maelstrom that is getting from your car to the store to buy bulk mayonaise, and then back out to your car? I surmise that it lies with this sort of Maginot Line between the Lot and the Store.
You see, everyone has to funnel from the single lot, in through the same doors, back out through the same bank of registers, and then back to the minivan without getting run over by some other sap just trying to get his damn mayonaise! I think there's a solution. But first, let's look back at the store.
The parking lot takes up the majority of the land and on any busy day Wal-Mart looks like it's the beaches of Normandy, except, you know, being stormed by eager shoppers. Also like Normandy, the front is the only way to get in. And history has taught us that is not at all the easiest way to get in. Did we learn nothing from Normandy!?
Enter Circus de Wal-Mart!
(1) Pull some of that precious shopping space out into that beautiful swath of asphalt. Get the store out of its defensive stronghold. We want people to be able to get in, so quit making it so damn hard!
(2) Put entrances on more than just the front. Might as well just take a few of those upteen-dozen check out stands you already have and move them around.
And then....(3) PARK EVERYWHERE!!!!
Distance to the door? SLASHED, and limited to a reasonable distance without the loss of a single space.
Time to get in and out? SLASHED as shoppers only exit near the entrance where they are parked. Also, bonus for Wal-Mart (or Best Buy, or whoever needs your money today): greater ease getting shoppers in so you can begin prying pennies from their greedy little fingers.
Look, there's even room for that mysterious area called "The Back" where all the stuff can go and room on all sides of 'The Back" for trucks to dock.
So, tell me. Why don't big box stores do it this way? Security of the store may be an issue as there are more ways for evil bandits to escape with their pilfered wares, but it's not like store arrangement is going to necessarily convince someone to become a thief that wasn't going to thieve in the first place. Perhaps it would require more staffing to operate essentially multiple store fronts at the same time. I don't know. All I do know, is that this is brilliant.
That, and an oval around a Wal-Mart...just think of the possibilities!
UPDATE: In a matter of minutes, my dream of Parking In The Round has been crushed and I would now like to announce the sale of one 1:8 scale diorama of a Wal-Mart parking lot, gently used and stained with teardrops. $13,000 OBO. Pick-up only. Some disassembly required. Now if you'll excuse me, I must terminate my real-world experiment of this idea and get my car out of my neighbors back yard.