Some travelers need to sleep in their cars overnight. These may be people who are tired from long drives. They may be people who actually live in their vehicles. Road Trip USA’s recently published 7 Places You Can Park Overnight & Sleep On A Road Trip points out that some exhausted people do not want to check into a hotel. They need a safe and private place where they can sleep. “Some place you can cook dinner and use the facilities when nature calls.”
Highway information centers, rest stops and casinos make the list. The place first on the list, however, is Walmart parking lots. Some of these lots even allow RVs, for people who stay in their vehicles every night. The research shows that Walmart does not appear to have a nationwide rule. However, the lots are considered legal places for travelers to sleep.
One advantage of Walmart parking lots is that there are 4,742 Walmarts in the United States. Most are close to large roads or highways.
It is hard to figure out why Walmart would support this practice. It is hard to see how Walmart, a public company, makes money. Perhaps some of the parking lot sleepers will be buyers the next day. However, that seems to be a long shot, since many people park overnight and leave in the morning.
Is Walmart’s policy a public service and public relations decision? It is difficult to find another explanation. Walmart has tried to promote itself as community friendly, which may partially offset its reputation as a company that pays very low wages.
Relatively few people in America sleep in their cars, even rarely. For those who do, the nation’s largest retailer is accommodating.
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