Wal-Mart's CEO Provides The Starkest Visual Of The Modern Bread Line Yet

Tyler Durden's picture

In today's Art Cashin Comments there is a stunning admission by none other than the CEO of Walmart on what modern day bread lines look like. To wit:

Profits And Baby Formula – Our pal, Rich Yamarone, over at Bloomberg picked up an eye-opening statement made by the Wal-Mart CEO last week.

I don't need to tell you that our customer remains challenged…You need not go farther than one of our stores on midnight at the end of the month. And it's real interesting to watch, about 11 p.m. customers start to come in and shop, fill their grocery basket with basic items – baby formula, milk, bread, eggs – and continue to shop and mill about the store until midnight when government electronic benefits cards get activated, and then the checkout starts and occurs. And our sales for those first few hours on the first of the month are substantially and significantly higher.

Talk about shopping only for necessities. The mid-night trip for baby formula says it all.

Luckily the NBER said the recession ended. Hurray:

So The Recession Ended 15 Months Ago – A Bloomberg report on lagging jobs got superseded by the FOMC statement. Here’s the opening line from the Bloomberg report:

Payrolls dropped in 36 U.S. states in August, led by Michigan, indicating the labor market will take time to rebound from the worst recession since the 1930s.

A little later in the article, it was noted how broad the job weakness was:

Texas lost 34,200 jobs, and California eliminated 33,600, the Labor Department said. The number of states where payrolls dropped was the highest this year.

More job losses in more states. Thank the gods that the recession’s over.


The country is collapsing everywhere and all the leaders can do is lie to their electorate that things are great. Images of the Titanic come to mind.

And some other observations from Art Cashin:

You Must Be At Least Four Feet Tall To Go On This Ride – For most of Tuesday’s trading session, the averages looked like the EKG on a Maine Potato.

From the opening bell, stocks snaked around the unchanged level for four and a half hours. The numbing lull was in anticipation of the 2:15 FOMC statement.

When the statement hit, things got really whacky.

In the first two minutes, stocks plunged. Then, suddenly, they reversed and began to spike higher. Within five minutes, the Dow was up 50 points.

That rally stopped on a dime. In the next two minutes, trading turned choppy. Then stocks began to retreat. That retreat lasted about five minutes.

Suddenly, the bulls returned, spiking the Dow to the plus 82 level. The bulls had no chance to pop the champagne cork. The rally ended instantly and stocks began to fade and by about 3:40, the Dow had turned mildly negative.

If you thought the frenzied trading in stocks was jaw-dropping, all you had to do was to look at other assets.

The dollar got pounded. Gold soared and then eased off somewhat. Treasuries rallied sharply with the yield on the ten year dipping below 2.60% (a record low). It was a stunning pyrotechnic display.

By the closing bell, stocks seemed exhausted by the spastic trading. They limped to a mixed and uncertain close.

We’ll Be There For You – That seemed to be the message that the FOMC tried to deliver in its statement yesterday.

They tried to walk a fine line, avoiding looking too worried while noting some concern.

The key phrase (to us) was in the fourth paragraph when the FOMC said it “is prepared to provide additional accommodation if needed to support the economic recovery and to return inflation, over time, to levels consistent with its mandate.”

While not specifically detailing their concerns about deflation, they strongly hinted at it by the suggestion that they wanted to return inflation to an appropriate level.

The image of the Fed actively seeking to promote inflation helped crush the dollar and spike gold. The wild-eyed saw risks of a Weimar-like inflation. Treasuries chose to ignore it.

Cocktail Napkin Charting – Today marks the Autumnal Equinox which brings historical aspects of volatility, as we noted last week. In addition, there is a full moon and an unusual proximity of the planet Jupiter. Keep your telescope handy.

Yesterday’s unusual action had several aspects of a reversal day. Additionally, there are mounting indications that the September rally may have been propelled by a short squeeze. We’re still checking out the hypothesis.

For today the napkins hint resistance in the S&P at 1148/1151 and then 1156/1160. Support looks like 1129/1132 with a backup at 1118/1122.


On this day in 1776, an American legend was born. Well maybe that's not exactly correct. The guy was born about two decades earlier.

This guy was a bright young fellow from Connecticut. He had graduated from Yale University (where some schoolmates thought him a bit of a showoff at games). Nevertheless, he was a good scholar and had a real gift for the classics. He became a schoolteacher and looked to be headed for the role of solid citizen. Then the American Revolution broke out and he (and five of his brothers) immediately joined the rebel cause.

He rushed about trying to get into whatever was the battle du jour. Somehow, he always seemed to be a day late. And when, in the final week of August, the troops of Washington barely avoided defeat by slipping out of New York City, he was one frustrated guy.
So, when Washington asked for guys who might sneak back into New York City to set fires and map the defenses, the schoolteacher was first in line. And, when his fellow officers asked how big a unit he would need, he said he'd go alone, in civilian clothes, using his Yale diploma to prove he was a schoolteacher.

For two days, he roamed successfully making detailed drawings of British defenses and describing them in notes of classic Latin to confuse anyone who questioned him. Then he bumped into his cousin, Samuel, who was working for the Tories. Sam said, this is my cousin, Nathan Hale, he’s a rebel spy. Hale was so proud, he said, "Yup, that's who I am!" (Or the Yale equivalent.)

So, on this day, the Brits hung him. The Rebs remembered his last words as --"I only regret that I have but one life to give for my country." It made him a martyr and a hero. Revisionist scholars would claim that what he said was --"It is the duty of every soldier to obey his commander."

But given Hale's classic education, it is more likely that he used the first version since, as you know, it is as a paraphrase of "Cato."
There was nothing classic or quotable in Tuesday’s action. There was a lot that was confusing however.

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Battleaxe's picture

BIG market drop coming in the next day or so:

1. Autumnal Equinox

2. Full Moon

3. Jupiter's up Uranus!

crosey's picture

By Jove that's a tight fit.

Miramanee's picture

"How I rectum the economy", a new novel by Ben (dover) Bernanke.

MayIMommaDogFace2theBananaPatch's picture

Rectum?  Hell, it damn near killed 'em!

surfsup's picture

Damn Venus_ian  Lombard like circulation freeze...  

Taint Boil's picture

Careful ... you might get some on Uranus

Taint Boil's picture

Taking it in the rectum .... LOL

This guy put it in the Bankster's rectum .... love it


apberusdisvet's picture

Please please use K-Y, please

Sudden Debt's picture

This has always been so.

Nobody ever noticed that reserving a table in a restaurant is always more easy the 4th week of every month?


Cognitive Dissonance's picture

You live in Belgium. Are you talking about Belgium or America? Because the article is talking about America.


nmewn's picture

Thank you.

I thought it was just me with this guy supposedly speaking from the heart of the EuroPeso conglomerate with armed men disgorging from a white van running up my driveway...or some damn thing...LOL.

Sudden Debt's picture

So you think Americans are non typical?

Americans are the most mainstream people on earth. And that's not something bad.

I'm in Marketing and all my studies have always been about the American consumers.

I might be from Belgium, but I know more about Americans then a redneck like you.

Chocking he? People outside America... being smarter then you?


1100-TACTICAL-12's picture

I was @ the grocery a couple hrs ago, this black guy (not being racist) rolled right by with about 3 packs of huggies & 2 cases of Bud. They got his plate #.

NoVolumeMeltup's picture

They see me rollin'.

They hatin'

bigkahuna's picture

don't hate the player - hate the game


ColonelCooper's picture

Then what were you trying to add to the story by telling us he was black?

Martel's picture

I love the smell of Political Correctness in the morning.

ColonelCooper's picture

I really could care less.  Just giving him the needle because he had to point out to us that he wasn't rascist.......

The unsolicited denial was the only thing that made me think twice.

WaterWings's picture

I think you forgot that everyone is "equal" and such talk is not proper table manners.

Do yourself a favor and don't buffer your views. If you don't want to risk offending precious minds you are better off focusing on your own aims, projects, and desires. It is what is it is. You see what you see. You can't help "them" by sharing your view.

You and I have better things to do. Mass starvation is a simple database failure away.


Status quo implosion can't be far off when social-networking skills provide a better living than skills.

WaterWings's picture

Although I would wager those databases are the most secure, most redundant on the planet. Not even the GPS coordinates of JFK's brain are more important! This is the one grayed-out menu option in the Central Planning Buddy Software Suite (TM).

Until the inevitable, unrecoverable black swan that everyone "sans télévision" is apprehensively expecting. Karl Marx erroneously equated capitalism with corruption; the effect is the same: "Et bien, après moi, le déluge."

It holds water until it doesn't.


WaterWings's picture

Oh, if you are not pleased, fuck you. I was born free. I will die that way.


WaterWings's picture

And hey! Angry youth will always help tell the story:



johngaltfla's picture

Huggie Buds? I've never smoked those before.....

Jonathan E's picture

It's a classic marketing trick.  Although I've never actually seen it being employed myself.  It's probably more for 24 hour stores.

They put the beers close to, or in line of sight of the nappies, because the man generally goes out to buy the nappies, certainly at night and he gets tempted to buy the beers while he's there.

Bob's picture

I was at ZH this morning and this white dude (not being a racist) found it necessary to include the race of a guy who jacked some diapers and beer from a store in his colorful comment. 

I was unable to see the relevance of the white dude's color . . . but was thrilled to hear that he was not a racist. 

kathy.chamberlin@gmail.com's picture

it's my B day on friday, as well†

Best Satan in Town's picture

Are you trying to one-up Michelle Caruso-Cabrera's pokies?

Village Idiot's picture

Happy Birthday,kathy. I will think of you on friday - in that yellow top.  I always liked that yellow top. Enjoy your birthday.

kathy.chamberlin@gmail.com's picture

wish you were here, cause im so damn lonely†

Turd Ferguson's picture

From The Mossad to all of our European ZHers: Be careful out there!


carbonmutant's picture

Paycheck to Paycheck economy....


-Michelle-'s picture

More like government payout to government payout economy.

Cognitive Dissonance's picture

How's the newborn baby doing Michelle? And how are you doing for that matter? Getting any sleep? Is hubby helping out? If not, smack him across the head and remind him that his 30 seconds of pleasure is now due and payable. :>)

-Michelle-'s picture

She's a doll, so far.  I've always heard girls are easier than boys and she's proving it.  My husband is definitely pulling his weight, mainly by playing hard with our little guys so they get to sleep early at night and stay asleep.  He's also entirely wrapped around Little Miss's tiny finger already, but that's to be expected I suppose!

JR's picture

My husband is definitely pulling his weight, mainly by playing hard with our little guys so they get to sleep early at night and stay asleep.  He's also entirely wrapped around Little Miss's tiny finger...

I’m reminded by this of a cartoon that goes something like this:

Little boy, who looks like he’s about six, goes to his father and says: Dad, a great program’s just coming on TV.  Can we say up and watch it?

His dad says: No! You have to go to bed.

The little boy goes back to his little sister, who’s about four, and says: Maybe you could ask Daddy..

Little sister goes in, doesn’t say anything, but looks tragically sad with the potential of great tears starting to well in her eyes…

Daddy acquiesces, gathers her up his lap and says: Kid, you have potential.

Montgomery Burns's picture

Easier until they hit about 13, then hold on.  Enjoy it until then. (the voice of experience)

Joeman34's picture

Of course, this is the problem...  I realize there is a sizable %age of the public that are seriously struggling and in need of assistance.  However, there is also a sizable %age of recipients of government aid that are simply lazy, ignorant, and content to subsist off the government dole.  Until incentives change for these people, i.e. they're incentivized to turn off their TVs and get their fat-asses to work, nothing will change.


America is the only country in the world with fat poor people...

Cognitive Dissonance's picture

America is the only country in the world with fat poor people...

I followed your logic right up to your last sentence. Since 60% of Americans are "fat", it stands to reason 60% of poor people are fat. Maybe even more, since poor people can't afford a well balanced diet when fatty packaged food is cheaper than fresh food. And many poor people lack the education, training and upbringing as well as incentive to know how to eat well/better on less money.

So do you have a chart or link or a doctor's scale that would back up your supposition that poor Americans are fatter than poor Britains or Germans at a greater percentage than the general population? Your last sentence definitely feeds into stereotypes and popular public myths. But is it really true?

Joeman34's picture

How do all the midnight shoppers get to their local Walmarts?  I'm willing to wager the majority drive their own car.  I'm also willing to wager the majority have cable TV, internet, and cell phones.  Point being, it is far too easy to obtain government hand-outs today and until incentives change, this type of behavior will not change.  Maybe if the 'poor' were to forgo luxuries such as those I list above, they could afford a healthier diet.  Also, Americans have the right to get as fat as they wish, as long as they're not using my tax dollars to balloon-up.  And as for the 'it's not their fault - it's societies fault' line of logic, I don't buy it for a minute.  The opportunities are there - though maybe a bit more difficult to procure today.  The onus is on the individual to seek them out and exploit them to the fullest extent.

CD - I've read many of your posts here on ZH and greatly respect your input and opinion.  I'm unable to provide specific reference for my claims as I don't have the time to find applicable research - but your misconstruing my point to some extent.  It's sort-of OT, but I was merely expressing my anger and frustration at the amount of government waste that is reasoned to be social welfare [see Ripped Chunk's comment below].  Just another example of our broken system...

TeamAmerica's picture

That $13.5T wasn't run up due to welfare.   You think the huge deficits in the Reagan years were welfare payments?   Clinton actually cut welfare, and then came Dubya.   You can't explain $13.5T by blaming welfare (unless you want to count Dubya's Medicare Part D...that's a bit of it).  Put down your political preconceptions and look at where the money is actually being spent.   These people in line at WalMart are a drop in the bucket.

MayIMommaDogFace2theBananaPatch's picture

Personal welfare is for creating helpless dependents.  CORPORATE welfare is for wasting the REALLY BIG BUCKS.

I supposed one could view Medicare Part D as being composed of both types of welfare.

TeamAmerica's picture

A lot of money goes to people who don't need it or deserve it, but it would cost us MORE to support the bureauocracy necessary to sort that out.   It's cheaper just to throw money at the problem and then bitch about those who suckle at the government teat.

I'd favor a meritocracy where the weak and useless would be mercilessly weeded out, but most Amercans would consider that sort of government intrusion into social life unacceptable. 



New_Meat's picture


"A lot of money goes to people who don't need it or deserve it,..."

Yep, including any number of illegals.  We're having great fun (better to laugh than to cry) with Our Dear President's aunt, slurping on the public teat for all the last decade. e.g. (and Howie is pee-your-pants funny).


You're proposing the government do the weeding?

"I'd favor a meritocracy where the weak and useless would be mercilessly weeded out,..."

You and Wilson and TR are quite simpatico.

- Ned