Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Another Walmart Trip

You're not going to believe it. I am still trying to make sure it wasn't a dream, or some sort of walking hallucination, but it appears that I managed to have a semi-pleasant experience at Walmart this week. Shock and awe, right? Since I have been so vocal about my shopping displeasure at the low price leader, I think it only fair to tell you about Monday's events.

To set the scene, Mondays are grocery buying days. What a conundrum that I love food and I love to shop, and somehow I still hate buying groceries. You would think this would be the culmination of two of my super powers and I would be able to leap tall checkout lines in a single bound, but it is usually a very trying adventure, this gathering of supplies to get us through three square meals and multiple snacks for the next seven days.

First, I stopped at Dollar Tree. That's right, I shop at Dollar Tree...frequently. I realize that I walk in, reeking of eau de yuppie, and then proceed to scour the store for frivolous yuppie essentials like holiday merchandise, gift bags, and greeting cards. Fact: we have bought our dog approximately a half a million dollars worth of toys over the years. He will shove aside all the cutesy ones from little doggie boutiques until he finds a squirrel with no eyes that reads "I'm Nuts" that came from Dollar Tree. It's kind of like how you can give a child a fancy toy and then watch them play with the box it came in for the next three hours.

On this particular trip, I stocked up on bottled water. You can get a six-pack of bottled water at Dollar Tree for $1. It's probably the best deal on the planet. So you should know now that when you come to my house, you are consuming bottled water that retailed for 16 cents a piece. Which is better than a certain relative of mine, who shall remain nameless, who pretends to be chivalrous by opening bottled water for his guests before giving it to them to enjoy; the real reason being that he refills the bottles with tap water and uses them again for the next round of guests.

I arrived at the cash register bearing a roll of wrapping paper, a bag of cough drops, a handful of cards, and two packs of water. As I paid, the store clerk informed me that they were completely out of bags. I looked at my haul, which had not been easy to wrangle to the counter. She offered that I could go buy a pack of trash bags and put my purchases inside if I wanted? I see what you're doing there, lady, trying to make another sale, but it isn't happening. I took a deep breath, gathered up all 37 pounds of water and other very reasonably priced items, and struggled my way to the car.

After that escapade, I have to admit that I wondered what special kind of pie Walmart had waiting to throw in my face. Imagine my amazement when the first cart I tried had four working wheels and didn't make noises like mice cheering on a cheese eating contest. I won't say the whole shopping trip was blissful, in fact, it was pretty average in that several people stepped out in front of me and then stopped abruptly to block my path, Walmart was out of albeit strange items like sugar free Jell-O pudding and brown rice, and the aisles were a heyday of people going this way, that way, left, right, and nowhere, all at the same time. But then....

In the produce department, a shockingly attractive lady in a work appropriate dress cut me off with her shopping cart. Now, clearly this lady was lost, disoriented, or from out of town because she was way out of Walmart's league. To further prove it, she promptly apologized for getting in my way, which we all know is a breach of Walmart etiquette. Then, this woman complimented my makeup. I wanted to put her in my cart in between the Diet Coke and Baked Cheetohs and bring her home.

An older gentleman, in a sweater and cap despite the 82 degree weather, overheard this, smiled, and asked me, "You must have a date after this?" I smiled and told him I did not. He winked and said, "Well, you could." I responded, "I don't think my husband would be very happy about that." And that cute little man said, "I wasn't planning to tell him." I blushed into my bag of pears and headed for the checkout.

Those magic moments alone would have been enough, but my amazing journey wasn't over just yet. Attention, Walmart shoppers, do you know what happened next? I walked up to a cashier without waiting. There was no line. I honestly thought the apocalypse was upon us. No line? No people who don't understand how to use the card swipe machine? No crazy cat lady with five cases of cat food and a dozen coupons that won't scan? I was beginning to fear that I had slipped on a loose grape over in produce and was having an unconscious fantasy.

I'm absolutely certain that next week I will get run over by an obese woman wearing fleece pajama pants driving a motorized scooter and become penned underneath an end-cap of NASCAR merchandise, but for now, Walmart, thanks for the memories. They are even better than the falling prices.

Welcome to Walmart.

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