Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Welcome to the Walmess

Some stores bring more to the table than just the inventory they sell. Practically every woman I know loves getting a latte at the Starbucks inside Target and then blissfully browsing the store, while almost every man alive loves a good trip to the Home Depot, whether he needs that caulk and those light bulbs or not. But Walmart brings an entirely different atmosphere to the table; in fact it seems to bring out the worst, most stupid, annoying behaviors in the people who shop there. It's like we check our good manners at the door with the greeter (he has to be there for something, right?) and put on our Wal-manners instead.

Now, I'm not even going to delve into the clothing thing; there are whole websites devoted to people of Walmart and their fashion choices. I have seen various degrees of undress as well as grown adults looking like they just left a slumber party. What amazes me even more than the fact that someone considers fleece SpongeBob pajama pants suitable attire for shopping are the personality types I seem to always encounter.

I have observed a little bit of everything on these weekly trips adventures to Walmart for my groceries. The lovers, the fighters, the UK shoppers, the Mama Mias, the Slowly McFartsalongs...I will explain them all, because I know that your Walmart keeps a steady stock of them, too.

What is it about Walmart that seems to make people amorous? You know the ones, the lovers standing in the middle of the aisle, leaning into each other in some sort of sheer, white trash bliss--the vertical version of spooning, if you will. I had to break up a magical canoodling moment on the deodorant aisle last week between a young couple who seemed on the verge of a full-on make out. I have no idea what it was about the Speedstick that had them so titillated. It did not have the same effect on me.

Then there are the fighters. I can certainly understand where this one comes from; navigating a big box mega store with your significant other in tow is a harrowing experience. I do, however, try to limit mine and Clint's spats to looks that will kill or deep sighs and eye rolls. This week I overheard (they were almost yelling, so it was hard to avoid) a couple venting some agitation. And I quote, "What are you gonna do, just beat her ass?" to which the lady--and I use that term loosely--hotly replied, "That's exactly what I'm gonna do. I hate it when you talk sh*t like this." People, the jolly Green Giant is not Judge Judy. He is interested in broccoli florets, not mediating domestic disputes. Grab that bag of frozen tater tots you came for and keep moving.

The UK shoppers are those folks who are apparently not from around here and are unaware that the norm in this country is to stay on the right side when walking/driving/shopping. Instead, the UKs shun conventional cart etiquette and drive their carts on the wrong side of the aisle, fish-up-stream style. Maybe they are looking to buggy chicken fight--either way, all I want to do is get in, get out and get this over with. I like to greet the UK shoppers with a "Cheerio!" as I pass. They have no idea what it means and it's good stress relief, since calling out moron or a-hole might incite violence.

Mama mia! Here we go again! My, my, how can I avoid you? The Mama Mias are those moms who, either from exhaustion or ambivalence have given up and are letting their kids wreak pure child havoc through the store. The little darlings are screaming, throwing cereal boxes galore into the cart, running in front of other general, just creating joy wherever they go. Especially if they will go away from me. Is hit and run with a shopping cart a prosecutable crime?

And of course, dragging along smack in the middle of the aisle, always in front of me, is Slowly McFartsalong. This poor soul appears to be in some sort of haze/daze/comatose state and is moving with all the intensity of a snail crawling through quicksand. I assume it is to savor every glorious moment of the Walmart experience, or to give me chest pains from the torture of it all. The Slowlys are oblivious to their surroundings, so no amount of huffing or puffing or sighing or praying the ceiling will fall in on them and remove them from your path will make a difference. You will have to wait until you can see a cart-sized piece of daylight and shoot past them. Or you can stay behind them and take full advantage of Walmart's 24 hours of operation. I personally have never had the burning desire to die of old age inside a Walmart, so the Slowly McFartsalongs are a particular thorn in my low price loving side.

So take a deep breath, pack your patience, and grab a cart with one broken wheel that squeaks incessantly. We're about to roll up our sleeves and brave the Walmess. They say it takes all kinds: I say I know exactly where to find them.


  1. You must be shopping at the WalMart on South Tryon! I seem to find the same people there all the time too. You left out one type I've come across unfortunately more than once. I am Italian with dark hair, so I apparantely moonlight as a Spanish language interpreter, as I've had more than one Spanish speaking customer approach me asking questions about items in the store. I do happen to speak Spanish but am not a personal shopper, therefore I will not be walking around the store with you playing translator.

    1. Actually, I shop at the Walmart at these people really are at every store! Buenos dias :)

  2. You crack me up!! I can't remember how I found your blog, but everytime I read it I have a good laugh! Keep up the good work!


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