From 2015 to March 2021, one relatable show got big laughs: Superstore, a 30-minute comedy that followed the lives and antics of a group of employees in a big box discount store.
Called Cloud 9, #1217, the store was like a character of its own and its relatability. Well, that was probably because it reminded many people of their neighborhood Walmart. So, is Superstore based on Walmart? Find out below!
Is Superstore Based On Walmart?
While Cloud 9, the hypermarket featured in the sitcom Superstore, bears many similarities to the real-life retail chain Walmart, no one associated with the show has ever officially indicated that Walmart is indeed the basis for the fictional location. Cloud 9 contains elements of both Walmart and Target, with the latter named as a rival.
To learn more about Cloud 9, where Superstore is filmed and whether any of the creatives working on Superstore actually worked in a real superstore, check out all the information I’ve compiled for you!
Is Cloud 9 Real?
Cloud 9, the hypermarket featured in the TV sitcom Superstore, is a fictional retail chain. It is not real, though it resembles real big box chain stores.
According to the Superstore Wiki page, Cloud 9 corporate is based in Chicago but has locations worldwide.
Its fictional employment practices leave much to be desired; employees do not receive paid maternity leave, health insurance, or overtime.
Cloud 9 employees can only go to the bathroom once per shift and only receive 15 minutes for lunch.
Much like some real-life corporate offices, the main HQ controls all the locks, lights, music, and temperatures for individual stores.
Like Walmart’s Great Value, Cloud 9 has a store brand: initially, it was Halo, but later it got changed to SuperCloud.
Is Superstore A Parody Of Walmart?
Oxford Languages defines “parody” as “an imitation of the style of a particular writer, artist or genre with deliberate exaggeration for comic effect.”
If we take Oxford Languages at its word, then Superstore is a parody of the Walmart experience.
However, the real Walmart probably gives Superstore a run for its money in the exaggeration department.
Look at these real-life stories from Walmart employees about some of the craziness they have witnessed.
Sometimes life is even more astonishing than fiction.
Did The Writer Of Superstore Work At Walmart?
While it doesn’t appear that any writers or producers worked at Walmart, they did consult with OUR Walmart.
OUR Walmart, now known as United4Respect, is a retail labor advocacy nonprofit that seeks greater equality and equity for employees of companies like Walmart and Amazon.
Composed of both former and current employees, it’s no wonder OUR Walmart/United4Respect was able to help the creators at Superstore portray ultra-realistic scenarios.
Is Superstore Filmed In An Actual Store?
Superstore was never filmed in an actual Walmart, but the first seasons did film inside an operational K-Mart!
According to Showbiz Cheatsheet, the actors were even mistaken for employees and got asked many times where certain items were.
After the first season’s success, production probably got a bigger budget, and filming moved Universal Studios, California, on a three-story soundstage.
A Walmart Supercenter averages about 182,000 square feet, but the set build wouldn’t be that large.
So to create the impression of such a massive building, the crew sets up in about 22,000 square feet with mirrors. This makes it look like the store stretches on for much longer.
Items like the checkout registers and scanners are actually real, repurposed from old Ralph’s and Fresh & Easy stores.
Are The Products in Superstore Real?
Watch Superstore for any amount of time, and you will see many recognizable brands.
These brands, like Pepsi and Keurig, have signed clearance agreements with Superstore, allowing them to show their labels on the screen.
In fact, some commenters on a Quora thread believe the brands might have even paid Superstore for the product placement.
Whatever the case, when mixed in with Cloud 9’s store brand items, it certainly makes the set pieces feel more real.
And it only adds to the unnerving familiarity of Cloud 9, compared to the real Walmart stores we all visit.
Cloud 9 and its employees on Superstore certainly feel like a direct take on Walmart, but none of the creators have made an official comment stating that this is so.
I think that’s wise, because a show like Superstore speaks to the universal experience of retail workers everywhere, whether it’s Walmart, Target or any other department store out there.