Follow TV Tropes


ARG / Omega Mart

Go To
You have no idea what's in-store for yo-ou!

"Part of the Food Chain, part of the fun!"
One of Omega Mart's rather ominous Slogans

The World's Most Exceptional Grocery Store, offering such great items as Shrubs Frozen Avacado Treats, Whale Song Antiperspirant and Antidepressant, Dark Matter Cleaning Spray, Omega Goatmeal, Omega Mart Lemons (not to be confused with lemons), Orange Drink, and Gestating Mammal Liquid, available in Millk, Toast Paint, with Added Bacteria, and Aged forms!

It's just off of I-15 in Las Vegas, in the giant building labeled "DOES NOT EXIST"! Be mindful of the occasional Difficult Spill or Dimensional Portal, don't mind the disappearing customers, and remember to worship the giant corn at 3:15 every Thursday!

...Yeah, this isn't your ordinary grocery store, is it?

An art installation by Meow Wolf based in Las Vegas, Omega Mart is a surrealist/satirical work revolving around the traditional supermarket that wouldn't be out of place being contained by the SCP Foundation. Things like the occasional customer disappearance, cartons of milk —sorry, "Millk"— glitching out solitaire style, and the floral department's products having eyes or mouths in the wrong places (i.e., at all) are commonplace at Omega Mart, as are employees who are both completely oblivious or deliberately ignoring the strangeness around them, if not indulging in it like there's nothing wrong with said strangeness, or at least attempting to clean up the newest Difficult Spill in a hazmat suit. And that's before customers go into the backrooms and get to see how the metaphorical sausage gets made...

The current installation opened up in 2021 and is the third take of the Meow Wolf collective on the "bizarre supermarket" idea. The first iteration spurred from an idea proposed by collective founders Emily Montoya, Benji Geary, and Vince Kadlubek, and was set up in Meow Wolf's own warehouse space in 2009; due to the nonexistent budget, props were mostly constructed from donated or recycled materials, and the general appearance was closer to a garage sale than an actual supermarket. The second iteration opened up in 2012, this time set in a rented space in Santa Fe and feeling much more like an actual store; the group collaborated with Santa Fe schools, working with children to conceive many of the goods found in the exhibit. Finally, the third and current iteration opened up in 2021 in Area 15 of Las Vegas, propelled forward by the massive success of Meow Wolf's previous installation House of Eternal Return.

Omega Mart was notably advertised through a series of bizarre and nonsensical commercials directed by artist Mike Diva, themed after grocery store chain ads from The '80s onward, which all start by portraying products available at Omega Mart before invariably starting to turn strange; some of these can be watched here. Other videos related to the installation can be found on Meow Wolf's own channel, such as additional commercials or even employee training videos; these have been grouped in this playlist. Omega Mart also has an official website, again with a purposefully Retraux look and a few hidden Easter Eggs, as does Dramcorp, the fictional company behind the supermarket itself.

No relation to the fanfiction genre called Omegaverse.

Omega Mart has the following Tropes on sale at $599 per 0.1 oz:

  • Alien Geometries: Several areas in the store have places that are larger than they appear, such as the freezer in the Frozen Drinkables section distorting the further you walk, or the T-shirt rack hiding a maze in the pole it's attached to.
  • Alternate Reality Game: The "store" itself is an example of this, as the base experience (that is, walking around the supermarket floor) leads to ominous Foreshadowing like glitching lights and strange broadcasts, indicating that there's more to the installation than meets the eye. Asking to take part in the "Employee Program" from a certain cashier will lead to visitors receiving an official Omega Mart I.D. badge, which can be used to access additional recordings (including that of an apparent member of a resistance movement warning you about Additive S and hinting that the place isn't what it seems). Exploring far enough in the store will reveal several areas (and puzzles) that unlock videos detailing the history of Dramcorp, the store's management company.
  • All There in the Manual: Most people who've seen the advertisement videos are unaware that there's an entire Alternate Reality Game based around the store that requires you to visit in-person, particularly detailing how Cecelia Dram killed her father and assumed his role as the CEO of Dramcorp. Most of these videos are only available through the supermarket itself, or through direct captures made available through fan accounts.
  • Ambiguous Gender: The Employee-In-Training character from the training videos is perfectly androgynous. They have a feminine voice and what looks like small breasts, but a square frame, no noticeable muscle, and a masculine haircut, potentially because the Employee represents all future Omega Mart employees.
  • Asbestos-Free Cereal:
    • One recurring label marks food as "Naturally Boneless".
    • Available for purchase are Nut-free Salted Peanuts,* which are "100% Salt" and packaged in a typical container of such.
    • A brand of cereal called  "Simply Does Not Contain Spiders". (Although, from a distance, it appears to be "Simply Spiders").
  • Asshole Victim: To an extent, the Omega Mart Lemons. The one in the commercial looks flat-out terrified when it learns it'll be disposed of, but both the video description and the canned message at the provided phone number indicate they're hostile to humans and possibly radioactive.
  • The Backwards Я: The logo uses an Omega symbol in place of an O, rendering it as Ωmega Mart ("Ahmega Mart", or more humorously, "Omega-mega Mart").
  • Beat: Used to chilling effect in the first training video. Our host, Karen, asks the viewer what makes Omega Mart the most exceptional store in America, then pauses to get a sign. While she's down, an employee with a hazmat suit walks around with its Geiger Counter shooting through the roof—and then she reappears with the sign to show the answer is you, and not whatever it was behind her.
  • Blatant Lies: The Training Videos label the Ecru cone as their serious, most attention-needing spill signal. The rap that explains what kinds of spills are accounted for with an Ecru cone then goes on to say that equipment failure isn't one of them and that this is accounted for with an aqua cone.
  • Bread, Eggs, Milk, Squick: The place sells Shrubs Frozen Avacado Treats, Whale Song Antiperspirant and Antidepressant, Dark Matter Cleaning Spray, Omega Goatmeal, Omega Mart Lemons (not to be confused with lemons), Orange Drink, and Gestating Mammal Liquid, available in Millk, Toast Paint, with Added Bacteria, and Aged forms! Among other various products, of course.
  • Call a Smeerp a "Rabbit": The Omega Mart Lemons had to be recalled because they kept being mistaken for lemons. Not "regular" lemons or a particular type of lemon — just lemons. What little we see of them shows that they have the shape, but none of the anatomy.
  • The Cameo: Country musician Willie Nelson makes a guest appearance in a couple of web ads. While his inclusion is meant to be a commentary on how untrustworthy deepfakes are, Meow Wolf was still able to get him to record original lines for the adverts.
  • Capitalism Is Bad: They don't outright say it, but the exhibit oozes the spirit. Many things in Omega Mart are cheap at first glance, but in reality are stupidly expensive upon closer inspection even with coupons (i.e., the salt that is paid per gram). The training video even explicitly tells employees to exploit the confusion of "Exceptional Customers" and maximize profit by shoving any product they can get into their faces. Dramcorp, according to lore, has set its foot in nearly every category of human consumption, and its current leader Cecelia Dram wants to take a step further and become the god figure of an increasingly cult-like organization.
  • Color-Coded for Your Convenience: Instead of spills having dedicated signs in Omega Mart, they are instead designated by cones. Wet spills are magenta, dry spills are orange, and "difficult" spills are Ecru/off-white (which doesn't help at all since the floors are checked white and black). When the "difficult" spill gets too big to ignore or starts affecting equipment, it's then changed to an aqua cone. A poster inside of the physical store also lists an additional green cone to mark "temporal obstructions".
  • Company Cameo: Two of the products sold at Omega Mart are Lil Meow Gruel for Cats and Healthy Wolf Lonely Hiker Protein Feast, which are a reference to Meow Wolf, the art collective that created Omega Mart. In case you don't get the hint, a whole aisle is dedicated to both products, with Lil Meow Gruel and Healthy Wolf alternating every other row and column.
  • Corporate Conspiracy: Dramcorp, whose lust for profits and business puts very real souls and reality at risk. They, of course, hide these from their In-Universe customers. They also have ambitions of world dominance. In particular, they aim to form a cult that worships the corporation and buys everything they produce. Considering the fact they are an extremely branched MegaCorp (they manufacture from engines to dairy and everything in-between), they don't seem that far away from their goal.
  • Deconstruction: Going hand in hand with the satirical angle, Omega Mart's advertising is designed to deconstruct tropes present in advertising for grocery stores, such as sale prices having absurd requirements (such as an offer for Omega Mart Yogurt being 2 for $10 only being valid if you purchase 30,000 units of the stuff or another product being on sale for $6.99... per point-one gallons.) or products being on recall for strange reasons or no discernible reason (people mistaking Omega Mart Lemons for regular lemons or just enjoying their Orange Drink).
  • Eagleland: Americanized Beef is aimed at rural Boorish types, with lyrics sung in a thick Southern accent promising people who buy it will "no longer feel like a special snowflake" and ending with the slogan "Make America Taste Great Again," and a cow mascot implying only Dirty Communists wouldn't buy it.
  • Eccentric Artist: The deli section has products made in collaboration with an in-universe artist who believed meat was an untapped method of artistic expression, resulting in scenes like The Birth of Venus recreated in meat samples and "Collector's edition" hams with frescos on the inside.
  • Eldritch Location: The store itself seems to defy reality, as if it's an Outer God that, for some reason, wants to be a shopping mart. Some products are made from impossible materials/ingredients, the aesthetic is saturated with colors, and the rooms give the impression of being bigger on the inside than what they look from the outside. All of this combines to give an underlying Surreal Horror feeling.
  • Entry Point: There are Real Life commercials advertising it as a legit, if exceptional, grocery store. Everyone who doesn't know it beforehand takes their time to realize that they have entered a Surrealist supermarket with its own lore and actors posing as employees.
  • Expospeak Gag: One commercial advertises a sale on products made with mammal liquid (dairy) and goes on to talk about the savings for gestating mammal liquid (milk), gestating mammal liquid toast paint (butter), aged gestating mammal liquid (yogurt), and gestating mammal liquid in block form (cheese).
  • Eyes Do Not Belong There: The flowers in the floral department of Omega Mart have eyes in the heart of their blossoms when they don't have Too Many Mouths instead. Also, Omega Mart Lemons (not to be confused with lemons) have a single massive eye in the center of the fruit.
  • Horror Comedy: Omega Mart is a surrealist satire of a grocery store that has its fair share of both Surreal Humor and Surreal Horror elements to it since the products are more often than not weird yet benign parodies of real products, while also having enough creepy stuff both on the shelves and behind the scenes to feel like something's just off enough for normal people to notice.
  • Interface Screw: The "Complete Your Collection" sale video starts off normal enough, but as soon as it gets to the collector's discs of meat, the video glitches. The cover of the "Behind the Case" meat collection starts vomiting metal sausages, while the collection of meat discs starts flipping endlessly. When the commercial ends, even the jingle is affected!
  • Jingle: "O-O-Oh-Omega Mart, you have no idea what's in-store for you!"
  • Klingon Promotion: Cecelia Dram overthrew her father and took over Dramcorp for herself, via pushing him into the Source Well (and turning him into the ethereal being that is periodically heard in Omega Mart itself).
  • Let's Meet the Meat: Omerrika the cow, the mascot for americanized beef, who tells the audience to "eat me, don't be a commie".
  • Long-Runners: The Las Vegas iteration of Omega Mart is actually Meow Wolf's third iteration of the piece, the first two being temporary installations located in Santa Fe, where the main Meow Wolf branch is located. The first one, which opened in 2009, was more a "glorified yard sale/mom & pop store," and the second one opened in 2012 out of a rented space in downtown Santa Fe.
  • May Contain Evil: Additive S, an ingredient found in several Omega Mart products that makes them impossibly irresistible to customers. In the factory portion of the store, this is revealed to be Source, a form of energy extracted from pure creativity.
  • Meaningful Rename: After winning the original convenience store in a poker game, Walter Dram (owner of the In-Universe multinational Dramcorp) changed the name from Alpha Mart to Omega Mart.
  • MegaCorp: Omega Mart is based around a massive grocery store chain that doesn't exactly obey the laws of this reality. Everything is overpriced and is made with rare ingredients/materials that can only be obtained in a globalized, capitalist world. According to the mart's lore, Dramcorp has at least one big industry in every human industry conceivable. But that's not all, Dramcorp ambitions to be worshipped as a god-like figure.
  • Non-Answer: Invoked. Omega Mart employees are encouraged to be as unhelpful as possible, often redirecting the customer's agitation to buy products or giving vague answers that don't solve anything. The first-anniversary video even proudly states that none of the questions they were asked were answered.
    Customer: What does "Nationally Localized" mean?... Was the product made here, or abroad?
    Employee-In-Training: Yes!
  • Offer Void in Nebraska: "Millk" is advertised as on sale for $4.75 (per gram), but only for every location save the Las Vegas Omega Mart.
  • Overly Narrow Superlative: Omega Mart proudly markets itself as "The World's Most Exceptional Grocery Store". Not that they are wrong, but who goes around classifying grocery stores?
  • Piss-Take Rap: Played with. The performers that rap the rules and regulations throughout the training video, Nate and Hilla, start off with a hokey, dime-a-dozen corporate rap at the beginning of each song, but the beats become more complex as they go on.
  • Poe's Law: People mistook its second iteration (a temporary installation based out of a rented space) for an actual grocery store despite the general weirdness going on throughout the facility, and embarrassed Meow Wolfers would have to break character to explain that no, Omega Mart is not an actual grocery store.
  • Running Gag: Cartons of "Millk" have a habit of glitching out into long bands of color in commercials, to the point where the part of the dairy section that stocks them in the actual store is similarly stretched.
  • Sanity Slippage: The "Exceptional Customers" are people who have clearly had their sense of reality and well-being deeply messed up by the Omega Mart shopping experience. Workers are encouraged to keep them hydrated, speak calmly, and coax them into buying more stuff.
  • Satire: Meow Wolf's primary intention with this Alternate Reality supermarket is to provide a Surrealist satire of the American grocery store, with surreal parodies of common grocery store items designed to make people who go through it think about the relationship they have with the products they purchase.
  • Shout-Out: The "Mislabeled Lemons" PSA is stylized after an infamous minimalist PSA that Burger King put out in 2000 to recall Poké Ball toys after reports of children suffocating on them.
  • Signs of Disrepair: The logo has the first letters of each word in yellow compared to the bright red and blue of the rest of the letters, making it appear to read "MEGA ART" instead. Given Meow Wolf's focus on highly immersive art pieces and exhibitions, the statement fits.
  • Surreal Horror: A few of Omega Mart's products are absolutely bizarre and wouldn't be out of place being contained by the SCP Foundation as an SCP Object, like their "Millk" which has glitched out the aisle they're located on to stretch out like a nonfunctional window in Windows XP, never mind the eyes and mouths the flowers in the floral department have or the Omega Mart Lemons on recall, which are sentient enough to recognize and fear their oncoming demises.
  • Surreal Humor:
  • Tagline: "You have no idea what's in store for you!"
  • Too Many Mouths: Several flowers in Omega Mart's floral department have mouths in the center of their blossoms if they don't have eyes where they don't belong.
  • Wanton Cruelty to the Common Comma: The video for the final segment of the training video oddly does this:
    Congratulations! "You" now have "what it takes" to "join" the Omega Mart "family".
  • Workplace Horror: While not as outright scary as some examples, the setting of the Omega Mart certainly qualifies. The employee training videos are about teaching new hires how to get through a shift at the surreal grocery store, which includes confusing mindbroken customers into buying things, dealing with potentially equipment-destroying messes, and taking breaks when they start to feel disoriented from reality.
  • "YEAH!" Shot: The final segment of the training video shows the Employee-In-Training and the rest of the cast participating in one once the former "expertly" handles a disgruntled customer for the first time.