Online Classifieds, the Wal-Mart Way

Retail giant Wal-Mart has just launched a new online classified ad service. The site, powered by Silicon Valley startup Oodle, is expected to have plenty of features to best emulate the real bargain shopping experience:

  • A design theme centered around bright, unappealing lights that make you feel as if you’re in a high school gymnasium.
  • Flash-powered sound effects of children screaming and crying, with optional add-on of overwhelmed mothers physically threatening them at maximum volume.
  • High-tech navigation system to let you move through a 260,000 square foot virtual store while trying to find the item you want on a virtual shelf. In non-optional “challenge mode,” many items will be listed but either out of stock or simply impossible to locate.
  • A “Help Me Find Something” button that doesn’t do anything, no matter how many times you click it.
  • New SCENT module that, with special adaptor, can release a convincing combination of cigarette smoke and body odor essence from your computer.
  • Two check-out options when you’re ready to make a purchase:
    1) Click the “Countdown” icon to have the virtual checkout lane light start flashing and begin a wait time of seven agonizing minutes before you can move forward.
    2) Click the “Self-Serve” icon to launch a Java applet in which you navigate to a virtual self-checkout lane and scan your items yourself! Complete with impatient computerized voice continuously telling you to remove your item from the virtual bag and scan it again.

I don’t know about you, but if there’s one thing I need more of in my life, it’s Wal-Martesque shopping experiences. I, for one, am thrilled to have another internet-based service for which I can rely on the retailer that never disappoints.