Quadrantid meteor shower

Skywatchers will be setting their alarm clocks for the early morning

hours Jan. 3 when the annual Quadrantid meteor shower peaks. Meteor watchers can expect to see 60 to 200 meteors an hour streak across the sky, NASA said.

The hottest retailtainment party of the year is at, um, Walmart

When ancient humans roamed the earth, anthropologists now believe, they walked into stores to do their holiday shopping instead of going online.

Sadly, that era ended when the giant Amazon.com meteor struck the earth, leaving millions trapped in their own homes waiting for their packages to arrive. Now, Walmart, seeking to boost in-store shopping, is trying to bring back the prehistoric tradition by throwing 20,000 holiday parties at 4,700 supercenters across the country. 

Last month, I attended one of these these parties and immersed myself in the season's most unapologetically pure "retailtainment" experience, throwing 20 years of The Nation exposés to the wind and surviving only on complimentary Hershey's Kisses I stole from the children's table.

Say what you will about Walmart and all of its well documented sins. Extreme holiday capitalism is, as long as you don't think about it, the best form of capitalism. 

There is nothing more exhilarating than the thrill of the hunt for a good deal. There is nothing more gratifying than being offered free gift wrapping. Once upon a time, excusing yourself to go to the mall to shop, only to sit in Brookstone massage chair and huff a maple scented Yankee Candle all while drinking your Christmas supremacist Frappuccino was the best American consumerism had to offer.

Alas, the Walmart in-store holiday party didn't have all that. But what it lacked in vibrating hand massagers and Cinnabons it made up for in an unfathomable display of enthusiasm.

Image: amy lombard/mashable

Retailtainment is a is a form of marketing that relies on in-store entertainment to generate foot traffic and boost in-store shopping. At the Walmart  "Toys That Rock" party I went to, on Nov. 4 in Secaucus, New Jersey, kids could take advantage of the multiple coloring booths, play with this season's hottest-selling toys, browse through the recently released Walmart toy catalogue, and take selfies with Santa. 

Image: amy lombard/mashable

Image: amy lombard/mashable

To be honest, the whole event was, obviously unintentionally, reminiscent of an early '00s Miami gay club. Over the department's speakers, I heard ancient Taylor Swift and Katy Perry tracks — interspersed with holiday classics — that I hadn't heard since my cool days. There's a fine line between holiday camp and gay camp. Forgive me if, upon turning the corner, I fully expected to see two fully grown same-sex Walmart elves macking on one another.

I sadly didn't see any making out, but I did witness plenty of gushing Walmart retailtainers, aka "Holiday Helpers," in full elf/reindeer/Holiday potpourri regalia. Even if it was enthusiasm by force, they seemed to be genuinely excited to be taking polaroids with every curious family passing by. God bless them for even agreeing to take a photo with me, a 34-year-old goth teen who cut three non-confrontational toddlers in line. That takes manners.

Image: amy lombard/mashable

Were they faking it? I have no idea. And that's the questionable magic of retailtainment. 

As e-commerce boomed in recent years, Walmart, decided to reboot its retailtainment wing. In 2016, for example, TV ratings for professional bull riding spiked by 20 percent. So Walmart brought a bunch of bull riders to supercenters. There, people who are not me and who love the sport could meet and greet with America's most famous bull riding celebs.

Over the past few years, traditional brick and mortar businesses like Sears and Macy's have struggled. Companies like Walmart who invested in their online infrastructure have been able to thrive, but in-store shopping gives customers a chance to interact with the brand and build loyalty — so in comes retailtainment.

Josh Strudl is Secaucus Walmart's store manager as well as a true believer in the art of retailtainment.

"This event has been off the hook!!!" Strudl says, with as much energy as the human larynx can safely muster. "We've been working overnight like elves trying to get this prepared so we can have an outstanding Christmas . . .We want our customers to have a true retailtainment experience."

Image: amy lombard/mashable

Well, consider me more or less retailtained. As much as I enjoy never leaving my house, there's something to be said for the great American tradition of "going somewhere and buying stuff you don't need." Especially when you're surrounded by so much unapologetic camp.

Walmart has two nationwide parties coming up, a food-centered event called "Parties That Rock" on Dec. 2, as well as "Gifts that Tock" on Dec. 16. It's too early to tell whether these parties will stand out enough to generate truly viral enthusiasm and boost sales.

Like it or not, retailtainment is back, baby. And it's not going away anytime soon.

The hottest retailtainment party of the year is at, um, Walmart

When ancient humans roamed the earth, anthropologists now believe, they walked into stores to do their holiday shopping instead of going online.

Sadly, that era ended when the giant Amazon.com meteor struck the earth, leaving millions trapped in their own homes waiting for their packages to arrive. Now, Walmart, seeking to boost in-store shopping, is trying to bring back the prehistoric tradition by throwing 20,000 holiday parties at 4,700 supercenters across the country. 

Last month, I attended one of these these parties and immersed myself in the season's most unapologetically pure "retailtainment" experience, throwing 20 years of The Nation exposés to the wind and surviving only on complimentary Hershey's Kisses I stole from the children's table.

Say what you will about Walmart and all of its well documented sins. Extreme holiday capitalism is, as long as you don't think about it, the best form of capitalism. 

There is nothing more exhilarating than the thrill of the hunt for a good deal. There is nothing more gratifying than being offered free gift wrapping. Once upon a time, excusing yourself to go to the mall to shop, only to sit in Brookstone massage chair and huff a maple scented Yankee Candle all while drinking your Christmas supremacist Frappuccino was the best American consumerism had to offer.

Alas, the Walmart in-store holiday party didn't have all that. But what it lacked in vibrating hand massagers and Cinnabons it made up for in an unfathomable display of enthusiasm.

Image: amy lombard/mashable

Retailtainment is a is a form of marketing that relies on in-store entertainment to generate foot traffic and boost in-store shopping. At the Walmart  "Toys That Rock" party I went to, on Nov. 4 in Secaucus, New Jersey, kids could take advantage of the multiple coloring booths, play with this season's hottest-selling toys, browse through the recently released Walmart toy catalogue, and take selfies with Santa. 

Image: amy lombard/mashable

Image: amy lombard/mashable

To be honest, the whole event was, obviously unintentionally, reminiscent of an early '00s Miami gay club. Over the department's speakers, I heard ancient Taylor Swift and Katy Perry tracks — interspersed with holiday classics — that I hadn't heard since my cool days. There's a fine line between holiday camp and gay camp. Forgive me if, upon turning the corner, I fully expected to see two fully grown same-sex Walmart elves macking on one another.

I sadly didn't see any making out, but I did witness plenty of gushing Walmart retailtainers, aka "Holiday Helpers," in full elf/reindeer/Holiday potpourri regalia. Even if it was enthusiasm by force, they seemed to be genuinely excited to be taking polaroids with every curious family passing by. God bless them for even agreeing to take a photo with me, a 34-year-old goth teen who cut three non-confrontational toddlers in line. That takes manners.

Image: amy lombard/mashable

Were they faking it? I have no idea. And that's the questionable magic of retailtainment. 

As e-commerce boomed in recent years, Walmart, decided to reboot its retailtainment wing. In 2016, for example, TV ratings for professional bull riding spiked by 20 percent. So Walmart brought a bunch of bull riders to supercenters. There, people who are not me and who love the sport could meet and greet with America's most famous bull riding celebs.

Over the past few years, traditional brick and mortar businesses like Sears and Macy's have struggled. Companies like Walmart who invested in their online infrastructure have been able to thrive, but in-store shopping gives customers a chance to interact with the brand and build loyalty — so in comes retailtainment.

Josh Strudl is Secaucus Walmart's store manager as well as a true believer in the art of retailtainment.

"This event has been off the hook!!!" Strudl says, with as much energy as the human larynx can safely muster. "We've been working overnight like elves trying to get this prepared so we can have an outstanding Christmas . . .We want our customers to have a true retailtainment experience."

Image: amy lombard/mashable

Well, consider me more or less retailtained. As much as I enjoy never leaving my house, there's something to be said for the great American tradition of "going somewhere and buying stuff you don't need." Especially when you're surrounded by so much unapologetic camp.

Walmart has two nationwide parties coming up, a food-centered event called "Parties That Rock" on Dec. 2, as well as "Gifts that Tock" on Dec. 16. It's too early to tell whether these parties will stand out enough to generate truly viral enthusiasm and boost sales.

Like it or not, retailtainment is back, baby. And it's not going away anytime soon.

The hottest retailtainment party of the year is at, um, Walmart

When ancient humans roamed the earth, anthropologists now believe, they walked into stores to do their holiday shopping instead of going online.

Sadly, that era ended when the giant Amazon.com meteor struck the earth, leaving millions trapped in their own homes waiting for their packages to arrive. Now, Walmart, seeking to boost in-store shopping, is trying to bring back the prehistoric tradition by throwing 20,000 holiday parties at 4,700 supercenters across the country. 

Last month, I attended one of these these parties and immersed myself in the season's most unapologetically pure "retailtainment" experience, throwing 20 years of The Nation exposés to the wind and surviving only on complimentary Hershey's Kisses I stole from the children's table.

Say what you will about Walmart and all of its well documented sins. Extreme holiday capitalism is, as long as you don't think about it, the best form of capitalism. 

There is nothing more exhilarating than the thrill of the hunt for a good deal. There is nothing more gratifying than being offered free gift wrapping. Once upon a time, excusing yourself to go to the mall to shop, only to sit in Brookstone massage chair and huff a maple scented Yankee Candle all while drinking your Christmas supremacist Frappuccino was the best American consumerism had to offer.

Alas, the Walmart in-store holiday party didn't have all that. But what it lacked in vibrating hand massagers and Cinnabons it made up for in an unfathomable display of enthusiasm.

Image: amy lombard/mashable

Retailtainment is a is a form of marketing that relies on in-store entertainment to generate foot traffic and boost in-store shopping. At the Walmart  "Toys That Rock" party I went to, on Nov. 4 in Secaucus, New Jersey, kids could take advantage of the multiple coloring booths, play with this season's hottest-selling toys, browse through the recently released Walmart toy catalogue, and take selfies with Santa. 

Image: amy lombard/mashable

Image: amy lombard/mashable

To be honest, the whole event was, obviously unintentionally, reminiscent of an early '00s Miami gay club. Over the department's speakers, I heard ancient Taylor Swift and Katy Perry tracks — interspersed with holiday classics — that I hadn't heard since my cool days. There's a fine line between holiday camp and gay camp. Forgive me if, upon turning the corner, I fully expected to see two fully grown same-sex Walmart elves macking on one another.

I sadly didn't see any making out, but I did witness plenty of gushing Walmart retailtainers, aka "Holiday Helpers," in full elf/reindeer/Holiday potpourri regalia. Even if it was enthusiasm by force, they seemed to be genuinely excited to be taking polaroids with every curious family passing by. God bless them for even agreeing to take a photo with me, a 34-year-old goth teen who cut three non-confrontational toddlers in line. That takes manners.

Image: amy lombard/mashable

Were they faking it? I have no idea. And that's the questionable magic of retailtainment. 

As e-commerce boomed in recent years, Walmart, decided to reboot its retailtainment wing. In 2016, for example, TV ratings for professional bull riding spiked by 20 percent. So Walmart brought a bunch of bull riders to supercenters. There, people who are not me and who love the sport could meet and greet with America's most famous bull riding celebs.

Over the past few years, traditional brick and mortar businesses like Sears and Macy's have struggled. Companies like Walmart who invested in their online infrastructure have been able to thrive, but in-store shopping gives customers a chance to interact with the brand and build loyalty — so in comes retailtainment.

Josh Strudl is Secaucus Walmart's store manager as well as a true believer in the art of retailtainment.

"This event has been off the hook!!!" Strudl says, with as much energy as the human larynx can safely muster. "We've been working overnight like elves trying to get this prepared so we can have an outstanding Christmas . . .We want our customers to have a true retailtainment experience."

Image: amy lombard/mashable

Well, consider me more or less retailtained. As much as I enjoy never leaving my house, there's something to be said for the great American tradition of "going somewhere and buying stuff you don't need." Especially when you're surrounded by so much unapologetic camp.

Walmart has two nationwide parties coming up, a food-centered event called "Parties That Rock" on Dec. 2, as well as "Gifts that Tock" on Dec. 16. It's too early to tell whether these parties will stand out enough to generate truly viral enthusiasm and boost sales.

Like it or not, retailtainment is back, baby. And it's not going away anytime soon.

The hottest retailtainment party of the year is at, um, Walmart

When ancient humans roamed the earth, anthropologists now believe, they walked into stores to do their holiday shopping instead of going online.

Sadly, that era ended when the giant Amazon.com meteor struck the earth, leaving millions trapped in their own homes waiting for their packages to arrive. Now, Walmart, seeking to boost in-store shopping, is trying to bring back the prehistoric tradition by throwing 20,000 holiday parties at 4,700 supercenters across the country. 

Last month, I attended one of these these parties and immersed myself in the season's most unapologetically pure "retailtainment" experience, throwing 20 years of The Nation exposés to the wind and surviving only on complimentary Hershey's Kisses I stole from the children's table.

Say what you will about Walmart and all of its well documented sins. Extreme holiday capitalism is, as long as you don't think about it, the best form of capitalism. 

There is nothing more exhilarating than the thrill of the hunt for a good deal. There is nothing more gratifying than being offered free gift wrapping. Once upon a time, excusing yourself to go to the mall to shop, only to sit in Brookstone massage chair and huff a maple scented Yankee Candle all while drinking your Christmas supremacist Frappuccino was the best American consumerism had to offer.

Alas, the Walmart in-store holiday party didn't have all that. But what it lacked in vibrating hand massagers and Cinnabons it made up for in an unfathomable display of enthusiasm.

Image: amy lombard/mashable

Retailtainment is a is a form of marketing that relies on in-store entertainment to generate foot traffic and boost in-store shopping. At the Walmart  "Toys That Rock" party I went to, on Nov. 4 in Secaucus, New Jersey, kids could take advantage of the multiple coloring booths, play with this season's hottest-selling toys, browse through the recently released Walmart toy catalogue, and take selfies with Santa. 

Image: amy lombard/mashable

Image: amy lombard/mashable

To be honest, the whole event was, obviously unintentionally, reminiscent of an early '00s Miami gay club. Over the department's speakers, I heard ancient Taylor Swift and Katy Perry tracks — interspersed with holiday classics — that I hadn't heard since my cool days. There's a fine line between holiday camp and gay camp. Forgive me if, upon turning the corner, I fully expected to see two fully grown same-sex Walmart elves macking on one another.

I sadly didn't see any making out, but I did witness plenty of gushing Walmart retailtainers, aka "Holiday Helpers," in full elf/reindeer/Holiday potpourri regalia. Even if it was enthusiasm by force, they seemed to be genuinely excited to be taking polaroids with every curious family passing by. God bless them for even agreeing to take a photo with me, a 34-year-old goth teen who cut three non-confrontational toddlers in line. That takes manners.

Image: amy lombard/mashable

Were they faking it? I have no idea. And that's the questionable magic of retailtainment. 

As e-commerce boomed in recent years, Walmart, decided to reboot its retailtainment wing. In 2016, for example, TV ratings for professional bull riding spiked by 20 percent. So Walmart brought a bunch of bull riders to supercenters. There, people who are not me and who love the sport could meet and greet with America's most famous bull riding celebs.

Over the past few years, traditional brick and mortar businesses like Sears and Macy's have struggled. Companies like Walmart who invested in their online infrastructure have been able to thrive, but in-store shopping gives customers a chance to interact with the brand and build loyalty — so in comes retailtainment.

Josh Strudl is Secaucus Walmart's store manager as well as a true believer in the art of retailtainment.

"This event has been off the hook!!!" Strudl says, with as much energy as the human larynx can safely muster. "We've been working overnight like elves trying to get this prepared so we can have an outstanding Christmas . . .We want our customers to have a true retailtainment experience."

Image: amy lombard/mashable

Well, consider me more or less retailtained. As much as I enjoy never leaving my house, there's something to be said for the great American tradition of "going somewhere and buying stuff you don't need." Especially when you're surrounded by so much unapologetic camp.

Walmart has two nationwide parties coming up, a food-centered event called "Parties That Rock" on Dec. 2, as well as "Gifts that Tock" on Dec. 16. It's too early to tell whether these parties will stand out enough to generate truly viral enthusiasm and boost sales.

Like it or not, retailtainment is back, baby. And it's not going away anytime soon.

The hottest retailtainment party of the year is at, um, Walmart

When ancient humans roamed the earth, anthropologists now believe, they walked into stores to do their holiday shopping instead of going online.

Sadly, that era ended when the giant Amazon.com meteor struck the earth, leaving millions trapped in their own homes waiting for their packages to arrive. Now, Walmart, seeking to boost in-store shopping, is trying to bring back the prehistoric tradition by throwing 20,000 holiday parties at 4,700 supercenters across the country. 

Last month, I attended one of these these parties and immersed myself in the season's most unapologetically pure "retailtainment" experience, throwing 20 years of The Nation exposés to the wind and surviving only on complimentary Hershey's Kisses I stole from the children's table.

Say what you will about Walmart and all of its well documented sins. Extreme holiday capitalism is, as long as you don't think about it, the best form of capitalism. 

There is nothing more exhilarating than the thrill of the hunt for a good deal. There is nothing more gratifying than being offered free gift wrapping. Once upon a time, excusing yourself to go to the mall to shop, only to sit in Brookstone massage chair and huff a maple scented Yankee Candle all while drinking your Christmas supremacist Frappuccino was the best American consumerism had to offer.

Alas, the Walmart in-store holiday party didn't have all that. But what it lacked in vibrating hand massagers and Cinnabons it made up for in an unfathomable display of enthusiasm.

Image: amy lombard/mashable

Retailtainment is a is a form of marketing that relies on in-store entertainment to generate foot traffic and boost in-store shopping. At the Walmart  "Toys That Rock" party I went to, on Nov. 4 in Secaucus, New Jersey, kids could take advantage of the multiple coloring booths, play with this season's hottest-selling toys, browse through the recently released Walmart toy catalogue, and take selfies with Santa. 

Image: amy lombard/mashable

Image: amy lombard/mashable

To be honest, the whole event was, obviously unintentionally, reminiscent of an early '00s Miami gay club. Over the department's speakers, I heard ancient Taylor Swift and Katy Perry tracks — interspersed with holiday classics — that I hadn't heard since my cool days. There's a fine line between holiday camp and gay camp. Forgive me if, upon turning the corner, I fully expected to see two fully grown same-sex Walmart elves macking on one another.

I sadly didn't see any making out, but I did witness plenty of gushing Walmart retailtainers, aka "Holiday Helpers," in full elf/reindeer/Holiday potpourri regalia. Even if it was enthusiasm by force, they seemed to be genuinely excited to be taking polaroids with every curious family passing by. God bless them for even agreeing to take a photo with me, a 34-year-old goth teen who cut three non-confrontational toddlers in line. That takes manners.

Image: amy lombard/mashable

Were they faking it? I have no idea. And that's the questionable magic of retailtainment. 

As e-commerce boomed in recent years, Walmart, decided to reboot its retailtainment wing. In 2016, for example, TV ratings for professional bull riding spiked by 20 percent. So Walmart brought a bunch of bull riders to supercenters. There, people who are not me and who love the sport could meet and greet with America's most famous bull riding celebs.

Over the past few years, traditional brick and mortar businesses like Sears and Macy's have struggled. Companies like Walmart who invested in their online infrastructure have been able to thrive, but in-store shopping gives customers a chance to interact with the brand and build loyalty — so in comes retailtainment.

Josh Strudl is Secaucus Walmart's store manager as well as a true believer in the art of retailtainment.

"This event has been off the hook!!!" Strudl says, with as much energy as the human larynx can safely muster. "We've been working overnight like elves trying to get this prepared so we can have an outstanding Christmas . . .We want our customers to have a true retailtainment experience."

Image: amy lombard/mashable

Well, consider me more or less retailtained. As much as I enjoy never leaving my house, there's something to be said for the great American tradition of "going somewhere and buying stuff you don't need." Especially when you're surrounded by so much unapologetic camp.

Walmart has two nationwide parties coming up, a food-centered event called "Parties That Rock" on Dec. 2, as well as "Gifts that Tock" on Dec. 16. It's too early to tell whether these parties will stand out enough to generate truly viral enthusiasm and boost sales.

Like it or not, retailtainment is back, baby. And it's not going away anytime soon.

The hottest retailtainment party of the year is at, um, Walmart

When ancient humans roamed the earth, anthropologists now believe, they walked into stores to do their holiday shopping instead of going online.

Sadly, that era ended when the giant Amazon.com meteor struck the earth, leaving millions trapped in their own homes waiting for their packages to arrive. Now, Walmart, seeking to boost in-store shopping, is trying to bring back the prehistoric tradition by throwing 20,000 holiday parties at 4,700 supercenters across the country. 

Last month, I attended one of these these parties and immersed myself in the season's most unapologetically pure "retailtainment" experience, throwing 20 years of The Nation exposés to the wind and surviving only on complimentary Hershey's Kisses I stole from the children's table.

Say what you will about Walmart and all of its well documented sins. Extreme holiday capitalism is, as long as you don't think about it, the best form of capitalism. 

There is nothing more exhilarating than the thrill of the hunt for a good deal. There is nothing more gratifying than being offered free gift wrapping. Once upon a time, excusing yourself to go to the mall to shop, only to sit in Brookstone massage chair and huff a maple scented Yankee Candle all while drinking your Christmas supremacist Frappuccino was the best American consumerism had to offer.

Alas, the Walmart in-store holiday party didn't have all that. But what it lacked in vibrating hand massagers and Cinnabons it made up for in an unfathomable display of enthusiasm.

Image: amy lombard/mashable

Retailtainment is a is a form of marketing that relies on in-store entertainment to generate foot traffic and boost in-store shopping. At the Walmart  "Toys That Rock" party I went to, on Nov. 4 in Secaucus, New Jersey, kids could take advantage of the multiple coloring booths, play with this season's hottest-selling toys, browse through the recently released Walmart toy catalogue, and take selfies with Santa. 

Image: amy lombard/mashable

Image: amy lombard/mashable

To be honest, the whole event was, obviously unintentionally, reminiscent of an early '00s Miami gay club. Over the department's speakers, I heard ancient Taylor Swift and Katy Perry tracks — interspersed with holiday classics — that I hadn't heard since my cool days. There's a fine line between holiday camp and gay camp. Forgive me if, upon turning the corner, I fully expected to see two fully grown same-sex Walmart elves macking on one another.

I sadly didn't see any making out, but I did witness plenty of gushing Walmart retailtainers, aka "Holiday Helpers," in full elf/reindeer/Holiday potpourri regalia. Even if it was enthusiasm by force, they seemed to be genuinely excited to be taking polaroids with every curious family passing by. God bless them for even agreeing to take a photo with me, a 34-year-old goth teen who cut three non-confrontational toddlers in line. That takes manners.

Image: amy lombard/mashable

Were they faking it? I have no idea. And that's the questionable magic of retailtainment. 

As e-commerce boomed in recent years, Walmart, decided to reboot its retailtainment wing. In 2016, for example, TV ratings for professional bull riding spiked by 20 percent. So Walmart brought a bunch of bull riders to supercenters. There, people who are not me and who love the sport could meet and greet with America's most famous bull riding celebs.

Over the past few years, traditional brick and mortar businesses like Sears and Macy's have struggled. Companies like Walmart who invested in their online infrastructure have been able to thrive, but in-store shopping gives customers a chance to interact with the brand and build loyalty — so in comes retailtainment.

Josh Strudl is Secaucus Walmart's store manager as well as a true believer in the art of retailtainment.

"This event has been off the hook!!!" Strudl says, with as much energy as the human larynx can safely muster. "We've been working overnight like elves trying to get this prepared so we can have an outstanding Christmas . . .We want our customers to have a true retailtainment experience."

Image: amy lombard/mashable

Well, consider me more or less retailtained. As much as I enjoy never leaving my house, there's something to be said for the great American tradition of "going somewhere and buying stuff you don't need." Especially when you're surrounded by so much unapologetic camp.

Walmart has two nationwide parties coming up, a food-centered event called "Parties That Rock" on Dec. 2, as well as "Gifts that Tock" on Dec. 16. It's too early to tell whether these parties will stand out enough to generate truly viral enthusiasm and boost sales.

Like it or not, retailtainment is back, baby. And it's not going away anytime soon.

The hottest retailtainment party of the year is at, um, Walmart

When ancient humans roamed the earth, anthropologists now believe, they walked into stores to do their holiday shopping instead of going online.

Sadly, that era ended when the giant Amazon.com meteor struck the earth, leaving millions trapped in their own homes waiting for their packages to arrive. Now, Walmart, seeking to boost in-store shopping, is trying to bring back the prehistoric tradition by throwing 20,000 holiday parties at 4,700 supercenters across the country. 

Last month, I attended one of these these parties and immersed myself in the season's most unapologetically pure "retailtainment" experience, throwing 20 years of The Nation exposés to the wind and surviving only on complimentary Hershey's Kisses I stole from the children's table.

Say what you will about Walmart and all of its well documented sins. Extreme holiday capitalism is, as long as you don't think about it, the best form of capitalism. 

There is nothing more exhilarating than the thrill of the hunt for a good deal. There is nothing more gratifying than being offered free gift wrapping. Once upon a time, excusing yourself to go to the mall to shop, only to sit in Brookstone massage chair and huff a maple scented Yankee Candle all while drinking your Christmas supremacist Frappuccino was the best American consumerism had to offer.

Alas, the Walmart in-store holiday party didn't have all that. But what it lacked in vibrating hand massagers and Cinnabons it made up for in an unfathomable display of enthusiasm.

Image: amy lombard/mashable

Retailtainment is a is a form of marketing that relies on in-store entertainment to generate foot traffic and boost in-store shopping. At the Walmart  "Toys That Rock" party I went to, on Nov. 4 in Secaucus, New Jersey, kids could take advantage of the multiple coloring booths, play with this season's hottest-selling toys, browse through the recently released Walmart toy catalogue, and take selfies with Santa. 

Image: amy lombard/mashable

Image: amy lombard/mashable

To be honest, the whole event was, obviously unintentionally, reminiscent of an early '00s Miami gay club. Over the department's speakers, I heard ancient Taylor Swift and Katy Perry tracks — interspersed with holiday classics — that I hadn't heard since my cool days. There's a fine line between holiday camp and gay camp. Forgive me if, upon turning the corner, I fully expected to see two fully grown same-sex Walmart elves macking on one another.

I sadly didn't see any making out, but I did witness plenty of gushing Walmart retailtainers, aka "Holiday Helpers," in full elf/reindeer/Holiday potpourri regalia. Even if it was enthusiasm by force, they seemed to be genuinely excited to be taking polaroids with every curious family passing by. God bless them for even agreeing to take a photo with me, a 34-year-old goth teen who cut three non-confrontational toddlers in line. That takes manners.

Image: amy lombard/mashable

Were they faking it? I have no idea. And that's the questionable magic of retailtainment. 

As e-commerce boomed in recent years, Walmart, decided to reboot its retailtainment wing. In 2016, for example, TV ratings for professional bull riding spiked by 20 percent. So Walmart brought a bunch of bull riders to supercenters. There, people who are not me and who love the sport could meet and greet with America's most famous bull riding celebs.

Over the past few years, traditional brick and mortar businesses like Sears and Macy's have struggled. Companies like Walmart who invested in their online infrastructure have been able to thrive, but in-store shopping gives customers a chance to interact with the brand and build loyalty — so in comes retailtainment.

Josh Strudl is Secaucus Walmart's store manager as well as a true believer in the art of retailtainment.

"This event has been off the hook!!!" Strudl says, with as much energy as the human larynx can safely muster. "We've been working overnight like elves trying to get this prepared so we can have an outstanding Christmas . . .We want our customers to have a true retailtainment experience."

Image: amy lombard/mashable

Well, consider me more or less retailtained. As much as I enjoy never leaving my house, there's something to be said for the great American tradition of "going somewhere and buying stuff you don't need." Especially when you're surrounded by so much unapologetic camp.

Walmart has two nationwide parties coming up, a food-centered event called "Parties That Rock" on Dec. 2, as well as "Gifts that Tock" on Dec. 16. It's too early to tell whether these parties will stand out enough to generate truly viral enthusiasm and boost sales.

Like it or not, retailtainment is back, baby. And it's not going away anytime soon.

Geminid meteor shower UK: How to watch as Phaethon asteroid debris lights up Earth's skies

Geminid meteor shower UK: How to watch as Phaethon asteroid debris lights up Earth's skies

Geminid meteor shower UK: How to watch as Phaethon asteroid debris lights up Earth's skies

Geminid meteor shower UK: How to watch as Phaethon asteroid debris lights up Earth's skies

Meteor lights up dark skies of Arctic Finland

A fireball lit up the dark skies of Finland for five seconds, giving off what scientists said was "the glow of 100 full moons" and setting off hurried attempts to find the reported meteorite.

Meteor lights up dark skies of Arctic Finland

A fireball lit up the dark skies of Finland for five seconds, giving off what scientists said was "the glow of 100 full moons" and setting off hurried attempts to find the reported meteorite.

Meteor lights up dark skies of Arctic Finland

A fireball lit up the dark skies of Finland for five seconds, giving off what scientists said was "the glow of 100 full moons" and setting off hurried attempts to find the reported meteorite.

Meteor lights up dark skies of Arctic Finland

A fireball lit up the dark skies of Finland for five seconds, giving off what scientists said was "the glow of 100 full moons" and setting off hurried attempts to find the reported meteorite.

Leonids Meteor Shower Captured in Colourful Timelapse

The Leonid meteor shower caught the attention of stargazers and astrophotographers across the Northern Hemisphere on November 17, and one man in the United Kingdom captured remarkable footage.

Favourable weather conditions on Friday evening allowed Alan Laurie of Darlington to film an extended time lapse of dust and debris falling from the Tempel-Tuttle comet. The Leonids are an annual event that occurs from mid-to-end of November. This year, about 15-20 meteors were seen an hour, according to AccuWeather.

The Sun reported that the meteor shower was at peak visibility for UK residents on November 17. Credit: YouTube/Alan Laurie via Storyful

Leonids Meteor Shower Captured in Colourful Timelapse

The Leonid meteor shower caught the attention of stargazers and astrophotographers across the Northern Hemisphere on November 17, and one man in the United Kingdom captured remarkable footage.

Favourable weather conditions on Friday evening allowed Alan Laurie of Darlington to film an extended time lapse of dust and debris falling from the Tempel-Tuttle comet. The Leonids are an annual event that occurs from mid-to-end of November. This year, about 15-20 meteors were seen an hour, according to AccuWeather.

The Sun reported that the meteor shower was at peak visibility for UK residents on November 17. Credit: YouTube/Alan Laurie via Storyful

Leonids Meteor Shower Captured in Colourful Timelapse

The Leonid meteor shower caught the attention of stargazers and astrophotographers across the Northern Hemisphere on November 17, and one man in the United Kingdom captured remarkable footage.

Favourable weather conditions on Friday evening allowed Alan Laurie of Darlington to film an extended time lapse of dust and debris falling from the Tempel-Tuttle comet. The Leonids are an annual event that occurs from mid-to-end of November. This year, about 15-20 meteors were seen an hour, according to AccuWeather.

The Sun reported that the meteor shower was at peak visibility for UK residents on November 17. Credit: YouTube/Alan Laurie via Storyful

Leonids Meteor Shower Captured in Colourful Timelapse

The Leonid meteor shower caught the attention of stargazers and astrophotographers across the Northern Hemisphere on November 17, and one man in the United Kingdom captured remarkable footage.

Favourable weather conditions on Friday evening allowed Alan Laurie of Darlington to film an extended time lapse of dust and debris falling from the Tempel-Tuttle comet. The Leonids are an annual event that occurs from mid-to-end of November. This year, about 15-20 meteors were seen an hour, according to AccuWeather.

The Sun reported that the meteor shower was at peak visibility for UK residents on November 17. Credit: YouTube/Alan Laurie via Storyful

Meteorite lights up night sky in Finland

A meteorite lit up the night sky in Finland for 5 seconds on Friday, with the intensity of "100 full moons." Experts estimate that the meteor weighed over 200 pounds and didn't completely disintegrate when entering the Earth's atmosphere, landing in a remote area.

Meteorite lights up night sky in Finland

A meteorite lit up the night sky in Finland for 5 seconds on Friday, with the intensity of "100 full moons." Experts estimate that the meteor weighed over 200 pounds and didn't completely disintegrate when entering the Earth's atmosphere, landing in a remote area.

Meteorite lights up night sky in Finland

A meteorite lit up the night sky in Finland for 5 seconds on Friday, with the intensity of "100 full moons." Experts estimate that the meteor weighed over 200 pounds and didn't completely disintegrate when entering the Earth's atmosphere, landing in a remote area.

Meteorite lights up night sky in Finland

A meteorite lit up the night sky in Finland for 5 seconds on Friday, with the intensity of "100 full moons." Experts estimate that the meteor weighed over 200 pounds and didn't completely disintegrate when entering the Earth's atmosphere, landing in a remote area.

This is what a meteor looks like from space

You can see a lot of amazing things from space. 

Astronauts on the International Space Station have spotted auroras dancing above Earth, menacing thunderstorms, destructive hurricanes, and just this month a European astronaut on the Space Station caught sight of a meteor shooting through the Earth's atmosphere. 

European Space Agency (ESA) astronaut Paolo Nespoli managed to catch the fireball falling to Earth in a time-lapse video on November 5. 

And here a closer look! Make a wish... I already did 😉 // E qui visto da più vicino! Esprimete un desiderio... Io l'ho già fatto 😉 #VITAmission pic.twitter.com/H0q5f8hUG9

— Paolo Nespoli (@astro_paolo) November 16, 2017

Nespoli's quick view of the meteor is part of a longer video taken as the Space Station was passing above the Atlantic Ocean toward Kazakhstan, according to the ESA, but it was still enough for meteor experts to analyze it. 

"Indeed it looks like a bright meteor, or fireball. When I stretch the scale then I can see that the object was below the airglow – assuming it was close to the Earth limb," ESA meteor expert Detlef Koschny said in a statement.

"In the later images, one can see the fireball illuminating the clouds from above, so it must have been close to them – and close to the Earth’s limb. It also seems to show a little tail."

Of course, you can see meteors from the ground as well. 

This weekend you might even be able to catch the end of the Leonid meteor shower, an annual shower that occurs whenever the Earth passes through the debris left behind in Comet Tempel-Tuttle's wake.

Those bits of comet material fall through Earth's atmosphere, burning up and creating the shooting stars we can see in a dark, cloudless night sky. 

If you've never seen a meteor shower, even relatively sparse ones are a sight to behold and well worth braving chilly weather for. Just find an open area with a good view of a large portion of the sky, and allow your eyes to adjust for about 30 minutes.

The anticipation of waiting for a meteor to streak across the sky is half the fun, and actually catching sight of a shooting star is thrilling. 

Plus, it's the kind of experience that requires your full attention — meaning that you shouldn't be looking at your phone, particularly since that can completely ruin your night vision. 

This is what a meteor looks like from space

You can see a lot of amazing things from space. 

Astronauts on the International Space Station have spotted auroras dancing above Earth, menacing thunderstorms, destructive hurricanes, and just this month a European astronaut on the Space Station caught sight of a meteor shooting through the Earth's atmosphere. 

European Space Agency (ESA) astronaut Paolo Nespoli managed to catch the fireball falling to Earth in a time-lapse video on November 5. 

And here a closer look! Make a wish... I already did 😉 // E qui visto da più vicino! Esprimete un desiderio... Io l'ho già fatto 😉 #VITAmission pic.twitter.com/H0q5f8hUG9

— Paolo Nespoli (@astro_paolo) November 16, 2017

Nespoli's quick view of the meteor is part of a longer video taken as the Space Station was passing above the Atlantic Ocean toward Kazakhstan, according to the ESA, but it was still enough for meteor experts to analyze it. 

"Indeed it looks like a bright meteor, or fireball. When I stretch the scale then I can see that the object was below the airglow – assuming it was close to the Earth limb," ESA meteor expert Detlef Koschny said in a statement.

"In the later images, one can see the fireball illuminating the clouds from above, so it must have been close to them – and close to the Earth’s limb. It also seems to show a little tail."

Of course, you can see meteors from the ground as well. 

This weekend you might even be able to catch the end of the Leonid meteor shower, an annual shower that occurs whenever the Earth passes through the debris left behind in Comet Tempel-Tuttle's wake.

Those bits of comet material fall through Earth's atmosphere, burning up and creating the shooting stars we can see in a dark, cloudless night sky. 

If you've never seen a meteor shower, even relatively sparse ones are a sight to behold and well worth braving chilly weather for. Just find an open area with a good view of a large portion of the sky, and allow your eyes to adjust for about 30 minutes.

The anticipation of waiting for a meteor to streak across the sky is half the fun, and actually catching sight of a shooting star is thrilling. 

Plus, it's the kind of experience that requires your full attention — meaning that you shouldn't be looking at your phone, particularly since that can completely ruin your night vision. 

This is what a meteor looks like from space

You can see a lot of amazing things from space. 

Astronauts on the International Space Station have spotted auroras dancing above Earth, menacing thunderstorms, destructive hurricanes, and just this month a European astronaut on the Space Station caught sight of a meteor shooting through the Earth's atmosphere. 

European Space Agency (ESA) astronaut Paolo Nespoli managed to catch the fireball falling to Earth in a time-lapse video on November 5. 

And here a closer look! Make a wish... I already did 😉 // E qui visto da più vicino! Esprimete un desiderio... Io l'ho già fatto 😉 #VITAmission pic.twitter.com/H0q5f8hUG9

— Paolo Nespoli (@astro_paolo) November 16, 2017

Nespoli's quick view of the meteor is part of a longer video taken as the Space Station was passing above the Atlantic Ocean toward Kazakhstan, according to the ESA, but it was still enough for meteor experts to analyze it. 

"Indeed it looks like a bright meteor, or fireball. When I stretch the scale then I can see that the object was below the airglow – assuming it was close to the Earth limb," ESA meteor expert Detlef Koschny said in a statement.

"In the later images, one can see the fireball illuminating the clouds from above, so it must have been close to them – and close to the Earth’s limb. It also seems to show a little tail."

Of course, you can see meteors from the ground as well. 

This weekend you might even be able to catch the end of the Leonid meteor shower, an annual shower that occurs whenever the Earth passes through the debris left behind in Comet Tempel-Tuttle's wake.

Those bits of comet material fall through Earth's atmosphere, burning up and creating the shooting stars we can see in a dark, cloudless night sky. 

If you've never seen a meteor shower, even relatively sparse ones are a sight to behold and well worth braving chilly weather for. Just find an open area with a good view of a large portion of the sky, and allow your eyes to adjust for about 30 minutes.

The anticipation of waiting for a meteor to streak across the sky is half the fun, and actually catching sight of a shooting star is thrilling. 

Plus, it's the kind of experience that requires your full attention — meaning that you shouldn't be looking at your phone, particularly since that can completely ruin your night vision. 

Fireballs shoot across sky as Leonid meteor shower peaks

The Leonids meteor shower has been active for the past two weeks and this weekend the cosmic debris show is hitting its peak. 

Leonids, named for the constellation Leo where the shower appears to originate from, started earlier this month and should give something of a show over the next few days. It's true peak appeared to be Friday morning — early. It will continue until the beginning of December.

Already some impressive displays have lit up the night sky. This particular meteor shower occurs when crossing the debris of Comet Temple/Tuttle, which orbits the sun every 33 years.

Here's a fireball likely part of the shower, as seen in Finland. Another big streak can be seen in the video above.

And if the Leonids from earth wasn't impressive enough, here's an early meteor shower from space.

And although people were convinced it was aliens in Phoenix earlier this week, the blast of light was most likely part of this meteor shower.

Be sure to get out of city lights and into a truly dark spot between dusk and dawn to catch the meteoric sight — best times are (really) early Saturday and Sunday mornings.

Fireballs shoot across sky as Leonid meteor shower peaks

The Leonids meteor shower has been active for the past two weeks and this weekend the cosmic debris show is hitting its peak. 

Leonids, named for the constellation Leo where the shower appears to originate from, started earlier this month and should give something of a show over the next few days. It's true peak appeared to be Friday morning — early. It will continue until the beginning of December.

Already some impressive displays have lit up the night sky. This particular meteor shower occurs when crossing the debris of Comet Temple/Tuttle, which orbits the sun every 33 years.

Here's a fireball likely part of the shower, as seen in Finland. Another big streak can be seen in the video above.

And if the Leonids from earth wasn't impressive enough, here's an early meteor shower from space.

And although people were convinced it was aliens in Phoenix earlier this week, the blast of light was most likely part of this meteor shower.

Be sure to get out of city lights and into a truly dark spot between dusk and dawn to catch the meteoric sight — best times are (really) early Saturday and Sunday mornings.

Fireballs shoot across sky as Leonid meteor shower peaks

The Leonids meteor shower has been active for the past two weeks and this weekend the cosmic debris show is hitting its peak. 

Leonids, named for the constellation Leo where the shower appears to originate from, started earlier this month and should give something of a show over the next few days. It's true peak appeared to be Friday morning — early. It will continue until the beginning of December.

Already some impressive displays have lit up the night sky. This particular meteor shower occurs when crossing the debris of Comet Temple/Tuttle, which orbits the sun every 33 years.

Here's a fireball likely part of the shower, as seen in Finland. Another big streak can be seen in the video above.

And if the Leonids from earth wasn't impressive enough, here's an early meteor shower from space.

And although people were convinced it was aliens in Phoenix earlier this week, the blast of light was most likely part of this meteor shower.

Be sure to get out of city lights and into a truly dark spot between dusk and dawn to catch the meteoric sight — best times are (really) early Saturday and Sunday mornings.

The Leonid Meteor Shower Is More Visible Tonight Thanks to the New Moon

Stargazers are in for a treat.

The Leonid Meteor Shower Is More Visible Tonight Thanks to the New Moon

Stargazers are in for a treat.

Here's How to Watch the 2017 Leonid Meteor Shower

The annual Leonid meteor shower will be clearly visible throughout the U.S.

Fireball Turns Night Into Day as It Blazes Across Sky in Lapland

Tony Bateman was sitting at home in Lapland, Finland, on November 16 when he heard a loud bang. When he played back video from a camera he’d set up to record the northern lights, he saw this incredible footage of a fireball lighting up the night.

Jyrki Manninen, a physicist at the University of Oulu, said the object was likely a meteor, although he did not rule out the possibility that it could have been a piece of space trash, according to a local report. Credit: Tony Bateman via Storyful

Fireball Turns Night Into Day as It Blazes Across Sky in Lapland

Tony Bateman was sitting at home in Lapland, Finland, on November 16 when he heard a loud bang. When he played back video from a camera he’d set up to record the northern lights, he saw this incredible footage of a fireball lighting up the night.

Jyrki Manninen, a physicist at the University of Oulu, said the object was likely a meteor, although he did not rule out the possibility that it could have been a piece of space trash, according to a local report. Credit: Tony Bateman via Storyful

Fireball Turns Night Into Day as It Blazes Across Sky in Lapland

Tony Bateman was sitting at home in Lapland, Finland, on November 16 when he heard a loud bang. When he played back video from a camera he’d set up to record the northern lights, he saw this incredible footage of a fireball lighting up the night.

Jyrki Manninen, a physicist at the University of Oulu, said the object was likely a meteor, although he did not rule out the possibility that it could have been a piece of space trash, according to a local report. Credit: Tony Bateman via Storyful

Fireball Turns Night Into Day as It Blazes Across Sky in Lapland

Tony Bateman was sitting at home in Lapland, Finland, on November 16 when he heard a loud bang. When he played back video from a camera he’d set up to record the northern lights, he saw this incredible footage of a fireball lighting up the night.

Jyrki Manninen, a physicist at the University of Oulu, said the object was likely a meteor, although he did not rule out the possibility that it could have been a piece of space trash, according to a local report. Credit: Tony Bateman via Storyful

Leonid meteor soars across Phoenix night sky

Check out this awesome footage of a meteor streaking across the Phoenix skyline. So cool!

Leonid meteor soars across Phoenix night sky

Check out this awesome footage of a meteor streaking across the Phoenix skyline. So cool!

Leonid meteor soars across Phoenix night sky

Check out this awesome footage of a meteor streaking across the Phoenix skyline. So cool!

Leonid meteor soars across Phoenix night sky

Check out this awesome footage of a meteor streaking across the Phoenix skyline. So cool!

Leonid meteor shower will light up the skies with 15 shooting stars an hour this weekend

Leonid meteor shower will light up the skies with 15 shooting stars an hour this weekend