Wal-Mart Radio Grill -

Haramburger

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Back in the 80s and into the early 90s Meijer stores had these same type of cafeterias. At least in the older Michigan stores it was up on the second level of the building. The food was actually pretty decent.
You're almost doxing yourself with a store brand like that. Not as bad as a Pamida/Shopko, but close.
 

DrunkNDoziNDragN

Heineken? Fuck that shit! Pabst! Blue! Ribbon!
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Man this just makes me most the 80s and 90s aesthetic. I hate the matte flatness of modern retail and design. Everything is just such drab boring designs of solid white and black with maybe some easily printable designs with some colors, almost always primary colors, or green. Never anything else. Like everything is built from iPods. Even fucking houses are being built as boring, featureless cubes. I cant even remember the last large chain that used purple or orange in their ad campaigns for years now. At very least brands used to have some sort of identity or image now everything is so polished as to not rock the boat or something. YAWN.
 

saralovesjuicyfruit

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Oh, I just remembered something else. The kid's meals came with little storybooks as the 'toy'. I remember getting some that were condensed versions of Beatrix Potter stories, but here's a video of a guy reviewing a Transformers book that was given out with a Walmart kid's meal:


I queued it to skip the obnoxious intro
 
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CWCchange

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I remember this shit and didn't know it had a name, but remember the sign. It had the same flooring as the store itself, albeit painted in a checkerboard fashion. It also had dedicated restrooms which were cleaner than the store's main ones, God forbid if you had to go while in Walmart.

Also, that Coke ad creeped me out by a kid, which I only learned quite recently is "Sprite Boy," and was an ad campaign in the 1940s and actually discontinued around the late 1950s time period that Walmart tried to capture. Then again, so many 1950s theme places use 1930s and 1940s Art Deco jukebox replicas.
 
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Syaoran Li

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We had something like that at our Wal-Mart. It was just called "McDonald's", though
Yeah, the Wal-Mart I saw as a kid never had the Radio Grill, just a McDonald's. Most of them had McDonald's or Subway and now it's all Subway. One of the ones I went to now has a Burger King instead though.

We had a K-Mart that had the "Radio Grill" format with the oldies music, the retro 50's nostalgia aesthetic, and an eatery. But K-Mart usually had Little Caesar's pizza in addition to the popcorn, nachos, burgers, and cotton candy.

No, was it as awful as Wal-Mart Radio's music and hosts?
I think the Radio Grill's music was more in line with the "oldies radio" format where it was the music of the 50's, 60's, and 70's but with the aesthetics of the 50's and early 60's.

I know for a fact that the K-Mart equivalent went with that, and they usually combined their local grill with a Little Caesar's, although they usually served Pepsi products instead of Coke.

This is reminding me of the good old days of my local Wal-Mart, which was fine throughout the 90s and the 2000s, but starting in the 2010s started to become disheveled, dingy and dimly lit.

Now a big part of that is probably due to stiff competition from the local Target that opened in 2007, which is the polar opposite, but I can't help but look at my local Wal-Mart as some Fisher King style reflection of the evolution of America as a whole over the last 25 years, lol.

It really didn't get any more American than Wal-Mart back in the day, the fact that they once had a 50s throwback style diner says a lot about the zeitgeist of the era.
Agreed as well. Like others said, there was a unique aesthetic to a lot of the 90's and early 2000's where it was "really tacky but also really fun" and everyone was cool with that.

No irony, no snark, and no attempts at putting on airs and being all sleek and classy in a tone-deaf attempt to appeal to the hipsters and iPhones crowd. A lot of Wal-Marts and K-Marts in the 90's and early 2000's had arcades too, either in the front entrance or in its own little dedicated area depending on the size of the place.

Usually, you see a remnant of the arcade legacy with the claw machines being in the front of the place since claw machines never went away.

It's a shame because I always liked that aesthetic.

But 50's nostalgia was still pretty big in the 90s and 2000s, it's only over the last ten years has it really started to vanish.
Same.

I love the 50's nostalgia look and in the 2000's it sorta got merged into 60's and 70's nostalgia as well to an extent which makes sense because a lot of the iconic elements of the 50's carried over and remained very strong in the first half of the 60's. The "hippies and lava lamps" was more of a thing in the late 60's and carried over into most of the 70's, and that became a bit more of a thing in the 2000's and was usually seen side-by-side with the 50's and early 60's nostalgia in many places

Now the 1980's has more or less displaced the 1950's as the decade synonymous with nostalgic kitsch as seen with the rise of things like Vaporwave, Synthwave, shittty consoomer reboots of 80's franchises, and the fact that most of the oldies stations were replaced by classic hits stations on FM radio.

Always was a fan of the "oldies" radio format where it was a mix of 1950's, 1960's, and 1970's hits from the rock, pop, and R&B genres. Now it's all "classic hits" which mainly focuses on 80's pop music with the rare occasional song from the 70's or early 90's.

Classic rock stations still play 70's and some really iconic late 60's rock hits in addition to the 80's and 90's rock but it's getting rarer.
 

GHTD

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Back in the 80s and into the early 90s Meijer stores had these same type of cafeterias. At least in the older Michigan stores it was up on the second level of the building. The food was actually pretty decent.
You guys got two level Meijer stores? Here in Indiana we only have one story, but then again I think Meijer mainly started branching outside of Michigan in the early 1990's, so there is that.

Yes, this Wal-Mart in question is old, been there for as long as I can remember.

It was still fine as late as 2010, but starting in 2011 it was getting disheveled and by 2013 was pretty terrible and even worse after that.

I can't remember when exactly the last time I set foot in it was, but it was only a few years ago and it was just plain baaaaaad, it just had a bad atmosphere on top of all the obvious issues.

My local Target is nicer than the Wal-Mart ever was but there's lots of memories of visiting that Wal-Mart as a kid, so it still bums me out to see it in that state.



I miss that so much.

What Planet Hollywood was in the 1990s was the KING of that "tacky as hell but fun as hell" 90's aesthetic.
The Target near my apartment complex went in when the shopping center was completely rebuilt in 2008 and it's completely disheveled as fuck. How the fuck does that happen?

It's super strange too, because of the way the shopping center is built the Target is shaped long ways instead of the typical wider shape, so it's super easy to get lost in the store, and departments being placed in weird areas (like optical being in the back of the store next to the grocery). It's not a great Target unfortunately.
 

Mesh Gear Fox

Making plutonium from common household items
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You guys got two level Meijer stores?
The second level was where the management offices were, but they built a space for their restaurant. This was back in the early 80s and I haven't seen that design in Meijer stores since then.
 

Dom Cruise

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I love the 50's nostalgia look and in the 2000's it sorta got merged into 60's and 70's nostalgia as well to an extent which makes sense because a lot of the iconic elements of the 50's carried over and remained very strong in the first half of the 60's. The "hippies and lava lamps" was more of a thing in the late 60's and carried over into most of the 70's, and that became a bit more of a thing in the 2000's and was usually seen side-by-side with the 50's and early 60's nostalgia in many places

Now the 1980's has more or less displaced the 1950's as the decade synonymous with nostalgic kitsch as seen with the rise of things like Vaporwave, Synthwave, shittty consoomer reboots of 80's franchises, and the fact that most of the oldies stations were replaced by classic hits stations on FM radio.

Always was a fan of the "oldies" radio format where it was a mix of 1950's, 1960's, and 1970's hits from the rock, pop, and R&B genres. Now it's all "classic hits" which mainly focuses on 80's pop music with the rare occasional song from the 70's or early 90's.

Classic rock stations still play 70's and some really iconic late 60's rock hits in addition to the 80's and 90's rock but it's getting rarer.
Yes, the 1980s is now our default "nostalgia" aesthetic which is cool too, the 80s are awesome, but it's also sad to think of 1950s culture totally passing into history.

I wonder what the next decade for that aesthetic will be in the future?
 

Syaoran Li

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Yes, the 1980s is now our default "nostalgia" aesthetic which is cool too, the 80s are awesome, but it's also sad to think of 1950s culture totally passing into history.

I wonder what the next decade for that aesthetic will be in the future?
If I had to guess, probably the 90's and early 2000's "Turn of the Millennium/Y2K Aesthetic" since it's also very distinct like the 50's and 80's, and lends itself well to the "retro future" look just like the 50's and 80's both do.

Keep in mind that the 50's/early 60's was the dominant "retro nostalgia kitsch" aesthetic for over three decades because of the Baby Boomers largely having their childhood and teen years in that era while the 80's became the big thing that replaced it in the late 2000's and 2010's when the majority of Gen X reached middle age and the Boomers began to age out of the wider pop culture completely.

If it weren't for the fact the Boomers vastly outnumbered Generation X, they probably would've made the jump earlier but also there's the fact that the "pop culture nostalgia" aesthetics most often attributed to the 60's and 70's don't lend themselves as well to retro-futurism for some reason.

I think as Gen X grays out and the Millennials and Early Zoomers enter their forties and fifties then we'll see the "retro" decade of choice shift from the 80's to the 90's and early 2000's.
 

CWCchange

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This is reminding me of the good old days of my local Wal-Mart, which was fine throughout the 90s and the 2000s, but starting in the 2010s started to become disheveled, dingy and dimly lit.

Now a big part of that is probably due to stiff competition from the local Target that opened in 2007, which is the polar opposite, but I can't help but look at my local Wal-Mart as some Fisher King style reflection of the evolution of America as a whole over the last 25 years, lol.

It really didn't get any more American than Wal-Mart back in the day, the fact that they once had a 50s throwback style diner says a lot about the zeitgeist of the era.
The 2010s was also when the whole 2008 rebranding effort took place, which changed a store painted red, white, and blue with a McDonald's inside, that you either love or hate but gets the job done, into a store painted turd Earth tones with a Subway inside, trying to convey "look how warm and fuzzy we are!" It's part of the reason why I have only stepped into a Walmart maybe less than ten times within the past ten years.

I can probably say a nearby Target has that same reflection on America's "evolution," too. Even going back fifteen years, it opened up nice and clean, until the economy crashed and everything expeditiously started going to downhill. The parking lot is full of trash, the garden center closed, and the pharmacy was contracted out to CVS. Even after a recent renovation, the garden center is still there as an empty cage, which you can peek through and see random crap stored. The renovation also diminished the food counter to strip of semi-refrigerated drinks and heated Pizza Hut products, and added a liquor store which as Floriduh law dictates, is closed in with a separate entrance.

Agreed as well. Like others said, there was a unique aesthetic to a lot of the 90's and early 2000's where it was "really tacky but also really fun" and everyone was cool with that.

No irony, no snark, and no attempts at putting on airs and being all sleek and classy in a tone-deaf attempt to appeal to the hipsters and iPhones crowd. A lot of Wal-Marts and K-Marts in the 90's and early 2000's had arcades too, either in the front entrance or in its own little dedicated area depending on the size of the place.

Usually, you see a remnant of the arcade legacy with the claw machines being in the front of the place since claw machines never went away.
Yes, Walmart did have an arcade sandwiched in between the vestibule. The games were always out of order. Apparently it morphed into something called "gameplay" and existed only until recently? It also had kiddie amusement rides. Kmart was pretty big on them running along the front of the store.

IMO, one thing that really seemed to have disappeared overnight in the front of stores was soda vending machines. The last time I remember buying something from one was probably 2006 or 2007. It was convenient, but I can imagine why they disappeared when $1.50 max can't buy you a soda anymore and having an impact on sales tax collection.
 
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Syaoran Li

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The 2010s was also when the whole 2008 rebranding effort took place, which changed a store painted red, white, and blue with a McDonald's inside, that you either love or hate but gets the job done, into a store painted turd Earth tones with a Subway inside, trying to convey "look how warm and fuzzy we are!" It's part of the reason why I have only stepped into a Walmart maybe less than ten times within the past ten years.

I can probably say a nearby Target has that same reflection on America's "evolution," too. Even going back fifteen years, it opened up nice and clean, until the economy crashed and everything expeditiously started going to downhill. The parking lot is full of garbage, the garden center closed, and the pharmacy was contracted out to CVS. Even after a recent renovation, the garden center is still there as an empty cage, which you can peek through and see random shit stored. The renovation also diminished the food counter to strip of semi-refrigerated drinks and heated Pizza Hut products, and added a liquor store which as Floriduh law dictates, is closed in with a separate entrance.


Yes, Walmart did have an arcade sandwiched in between the vestibule. The games were always out of order. Apparently it morphed into something called "gameplay" and existed only until recently? It also had kiddie amusement rides. Kmart was big on them and had them running along the front of the store.

IMO, one thing that really seemed to have disappeared overnight in the front of stores was soda vending machines. The last time I remember buying something from one was probably 2006 or 2007. It was convenient, but I can imagine why they disappears when $1.50 max can't buy you a soda anymore and having an impact on sales tax collection.
You still have soda machines in front of Wal-Mart in some locations, usually more rural ones but I've seen them in a few suburban ones too as recently as 2019
 

Pissmaster

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Good lord, I barely remember Radio Grill. I must have been very, very young when it was around. I know the Walmart I grew up going to had a general snack bar for a while, that was soon after just used for storage space, but the booths remained for years. Like, surrounded with pallettes to stock and stuff. I remember sitting in one of those booths waiting for my mom while she shopped, and I'm pretty sure I was playing my DS, so it had been closed for years.

I vaguely recall one of the Walmarts I frequented growing up having one of these, if for no other reason than the restrooms being right behind it. Never actually ate there, but I'd occasionally get a Coke. They nixed it when they redid the store in the mid-2000s and replaced it with shitty-ass Subway, although the old checkerboard tiling remained.

Personally, I was more of a Food Avenue (Target) kid growing up:
View attachment 1521455
Oh good lord, the memories. I feel like the Target I knew that had a Food Avenue was in a shitty area of wherever I grew up. Like I have that associated with skeevy and crappy in my brain. Don't know why.
 

Dom Cruise

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If I had to guess, probably the 90's and early 2000's "Turn of the Millennium/Y2K Aesthetic" since it's also very distinct like the 50's and 80's, and lends itself well to the "retro future" look just like the 50's and 80's both do.

Keep in mind that the 50's/early 60's was the dominant "retro nostalgia kitsch" aesthetic for over three decades because of the Baby Boomers largely having their childhood and teen years in that era while the 80's became the big thing that replaced it in the late 2000's and 2010's when the majority of Gen X reached middle age and the Boomers began to age out of the wider pop culture completely.

If it weren't for the fact the Boomers vastly outnumbered Generation X, they probably would've made the jump earlier but also there's the fact that the "pop culture nostalgia" aesthetics most often attributed to the 60's and 70's don't lend themselves as well to retro-futurism for some reason.

I think as Gen X grays out and the Millennials and Early Zoomers enter their forties and fifties then we'll see the "retro" decade of choice shift from the 80's to the 90's and early 2000's.
The Y2K Aesthetic is probably what's next, which will be interesting to see.

It's part of the reason why I have only stepped into a Walmart maybe less than ten times within the past ten years.
I have probably stepped into a Wal-Mart less than ten times over the last ten years as well.
 

I can't imagine

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I have probably stepped into a Wal-Mart less than ten times over the last ten years as well.
Wal-Mart had a long, massive amount of growth in sales and locations for decades prior to the 2008 economic collapse. Not too long after that, Wal-Mart changed leadership at the top and started making some pretty dramatic changes. Some good, some bad, but (as would be expected) more motivated by revenue and profit than customer experience. It's only really gotten worse since then, but at this point a lot of places don't really have that many options for general retail merchandise anymore, so they can get away with it.
 
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GHTD

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Wal-Mart had a long, massive amount of growth in sales and locations for decades prior to the 2008 economic collapse. Not too long after that, Wal-Mart changed leadership at the top and started making some pretty dramatic changes. Some good, some bad, but (as would be expected) more motivated by revenue and profit than customer experience. It's only really gotten worse since then, but at this point a lot of places don't really have that many options for general retail merchandise anymore, so they can get away with it.
It's gotten less for groceries here ever since Marsh Supermarkets went out due to the Marsh brothers' embezzlement of money that lead to cancerous venture capital vultures buying the company.

What we got out of their bankruptcy was just Kroger opening stores into half of their locations, and I'll gladly say fuck Kroger.
 

sasazuka

Standing in the school hallway.
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Even when Walmart started opening stores in Canada in the mid-1990s, they already had McDonald's.

Zellers had in-store diners that were somewhat similar to those pictures but I don't think they were explicitly 1950s themed.

I had to look up what brand that collectible car is. It's a Majorette, a surprisingly European toy car brand for a U.S. Walmart exclusive.
 

Syaoran Li

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Wal-Mart had a long, massive amount of growth in sales and locations for decades prior to the 2008 economic collapse. Not too long after that, Wal-Mart changed leadership at the top and started making some pretty dramatic changes. Some good, some bad, but (as would be expected) more motivated by revenue and profit than customer experience. It's only really gotten worse since then, but at this point a lot of places don't really have that many options for general retail merchandise anymore, so they can get away with it.
It's kind of crazy to think about how much of American society and culture was fucked by the Great Recession in the late 2000's. Like there's a palpable sense of before and after that was there long after the recession had completely faded away.

A lot of the worst cultural traits of the 2010's and "Current Year" have their roots in the Great Recession, along with a few key events in 2007 such as the WGA Writers Strike, the invention of the smartphone, and the rise of social media's two biggest platforms.
 

Pissmaster

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The 2010s was also when the whole 2008 rebranding effort took place, which changed a store painted red, white, and blue with a McDonald's inside, that you either love or hate but gets the job done, into a store painted turd Earth tones with a Subway inside, trying to convey "look how warm and fuzzy we are!" It's part of the reason why I have only stepped into a Walmart maybe less than ten times within the past ten years.
Walmart's biggest interior design mistake was uprooting the white tiles that made up the store and replacing them with that brown poured concrete. It's dingy and looks like shit.

Agreed as well. Like others said, there was a unique aesthetic to a lot of the 90's and early 2000's where it was "really tacky but also really fun" and everyone was cool with that.

No irony, no snark, and no attempts at putting on airs and being all sleek and classy in a tone-deaf attempt to appeal to the hipsters and iPhones crowd.
Behold, the quintessential music video for turn-of-the-millenium aesthetics:

I liked that song when I was little, and a friend of mine called me gay and told me the lyrics were "I'm blue, I'm in need of a guy, I'm in need, of a guy, I'm in need of a guy", to really hammer home that 2000-era attitude

edit: more music videos with turn-of-the-millenium lo-fi 3D:



 
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