Looking for a cheap date? Try Wal-Mart.
The food, makeup, underwear is at "Everyday low prices" but a Wal-Mart "date" could be for free.
April 7, 2005: 3:07 PM EDT
By Parija Bhatnagar, CNN/Money staff writer
NEW YORK (CNN/Money) - Just when you thought you'd heard it all from the king of discount shopping, Wal-Mart is now pitching itself as the new dating hot spot -- with everyday low prices to boot.
In fact, the Bentonville, Ark.-based retailer's been playing Cupid to hundreds of lonely single German shoppers for well over a year now.
According to company spokeswoman Amy Wyatt, Wal-Mart's been running its "Singles Shopping" campaign in all of its 91 stores in Germany.
Here's how its works.
On Friday nights, singles looking for romance, mindless flirting or just a new friend head over to their neighborhood Wal-Mart where they're given a big bright bow to attach to their shopping cart or their shopping basket.
Then it's up to the willing participants to approach one another and take it from there. However, if that sounds too intimidating, Wal-Mart has set up "flirting points" around the stores stacked with "romantic" merchandise such as chocolates, wine and cheese to somewhat ease that first awkward step.
Said Wyatt, "The singles night runs for two hours in the evening, from 6 to 8 p.m. every week. Our managers there told us that its been hugely successful and has actually boosted store traffic and sales in a lot of markets in Germany. In some stores we're getting 300 to 400 people taking part every week."
Wal-Mart (Research) feels so good about the idea that the retailer trademarked the "Singles Shopping" slogan in German and is also testing the idea in its stores in Puerto Rico, South Korea and the United Kingdom. Someday, it could even pop up in a few of its U.S. stores.
Wyatt said its German associates actually came up with the idea one day when they overhead a female customer talking about how difficult if was for her to meet interesting single men on a Friday night.
"This was a middle-aged woman who felt she was maybe too old to go to nightclubs,"Wyatt said. "That's pretty much been the theme here where most of the singles are middle-aged to older customers."
"Singles Shopping" isn't the only match-making idea Wal-Mart's trying out. Wyatt said some of the German stores also feature singles bulletin boards with pictures of single men and women who frequently shop at Wal-Mart.
"If you're interested, up can post a picture of yourself with a few details," Wyatt said. "The store gives you your own box kept at the store. If someone is interested, they'll fill out a card with their information and drop it in the box."
How successful has the campaign been?
Wyatt said,"We've heard that one couple that met on singles night is now married. Another cute story is of a 74-year old woman who posted her picture. A 74-year old man saw it but was nervous to drop his card in her box. So the Wal-Mart associates first got him spruced up at the hairdressers at the Wal-Mart store, took a picture, and posted it on the board. I think the two of them are now seeing each other."