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Is Walmart’s New Brand the Zen of Minimalist Design or Militant Dystopia?

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A deal is a deal, and you may not care how that box of macaroni and cheese looks in your shopping cart so long as it’s 48 cents. But for fun, let’s take a look at the stark, so-called neo-generic packaging of Price First. (No, Best Buy is not branching out; Price First is Walmart’s latest extreme-value brand.) It just may start populating Pinterest feeds and Ikea kitchen cabinets across the wasteland. On the one hand, it is a simple Scandinavian aesthetic that will fall in line with those cabinets of all-white dishes standing at attention—perfect for a base home in Military City USA. Fans of “Lost” may be thrilled by the allusion to foodstuffs from the Dharma Initiative. (This reminds me of the woman who spent $30K converting her home into the Starship Enterprise.) Prime to be a prop for nerds, Price First is (in Yoda code). Or perhaps this is Walmart’s crack at courting the Pabst Blue Ribbon scene: cheap with a wink. While San Antonio has 18 Walmart stores with more on their way this year, we were passed on as a test market for the new brand (shucks!). So, it may be some time before you can whip up a batch of dystopic deluxe fudge brownies for your sci-fi book club discussion of Chang-Rae Lee’s On Such A Full Sea. (Let’s be honest: Price First is not for the illiterate shopper.)

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