I never thought I would say it, but I think I hate Wal-Mart. This weekend, on two occasions, I had to enter the doors of a place I used to love but have now come to detest. Immensely.
No I haven't jumped on the bandwagon of Wal-Mart hatred that has become so trendy lately amongst the anti-establishment and anti-anything-that-makes-money trustafarians. In fact, I get rather irritated by those who mouth off about how much they hate Wal-Mart and use things like "unfair labor practices" and "big business" as a smokescreen for the fact that they really desipse how much money Wal-Mart is making. Well, I am not one of those people.
I actually once enjoyed shopping at Wal-Mart. During my freshman year of college, I probably dropped a good $800+ there on dorm trimmings alone. Wal-Mart is a college student's dream. Always low prices. Always. My distaste for Wal-Mart is soley based on the fact that I feel like I'm responding to a cattle call every time I go there. Wal-Mart is not just a store. It is an experience.
If you're planning on visiting Wal-Mart anytime soon, be certain you pray first. You need to be covered in prayer--lots of intense prayer. For myself, I'd add a little fasting too. Fasting is necessary if you have trouble restraining yourself from telling dense people how stupid they are. Pray for patience. You'll need that right away. Like, before you even go into the store.
Patience comes in handy in the parking lot. Parking is no problem if you don't mind a 25 minute wait for a spot. Call me silly, but I mind. I think I almost had an out of body experience once when this guy in a Toyota Corolla maliciously stole my spot. Is there a nice way to call someone a jerk? Probably best just to say, "God Bless You".
When you do finally find a spot, bring some trail mix, a sherpa, and a compass to find your way to the store. I usually have to trek a good quarter of a mile just to get to from my car to the building, where I am immediately accosted by the annoying people-botherers trying to get me to sign some petition for teacher's rights or register to vote. I usually inform said soliciters that I don't sign any petitions without first reading them and I don't care how good "teacher's rights" sounds, I'm not about to slap my name on some "petition" and have it come out one day when I'm running for president of the NAACP, that I signed a petition to eliminate funding for some afterschool program.
When you enter into the circus they call Wal-Mart, you are promptly greeted by 87 shopping carts missing owners, bitter customer service representatives and a McDonalds. This is a recipe for disaster. The phrases, "Excuse me" and "Pardon me" and "Move your big behind out of the way please" become a huge part of your lexicon. These phrases can be said up to two dozen times as one maneuvers their way through crowds of people bottlenecking at the clearance shelf.
Oh look! A new "Atkins drink" for sale, I notice. What a racket.
Oooh look! There's a commotion over at the "two for $11.99" DVD bin!
Everytime I shop at Wal-Mart I feel less like a human being and more like an animal. This is nothing against Sam Walton or his entire rich and lovely family. I wouldn't mind holding stock in such a company. Although, while I was once a vigilant defender of Wal-Mart, I am becoming more convinced that they are partly responsible for perpetuating the lower-class citizen mentality that decends upon every customer who steps foot in their doors.
I try to fight it. I know I am a person raised with pretty good manners, but after about 10 minutes, I am ready to start pushing and shoving my way into the toilet-paper sale aisle just like everyone else.
Then there is the improper use of the intercom system. OH the improper use of the intercom!
"Kendra, calling Kendra, you need to get to the customer service desk now! This is the third time we've asked you! Get over here right now Kendraaaaaaaaaa!"
Please stop that. It's agitating. Now I'm no expert, but I'm pretty certain the loudspeaker should not be used for chastizing other employees. That seems pretty tacky. But wait a minute, this is Wal-Mart.
The intercom ignorance is onl exacerbated by the seemingly trillions of children that have been separated from a parent.
"Attention Wal-Mart shoppers, there is a 6-year-old boy wearing a read shirt at the customer service desk that can't find his mother. If you are his mother, please come get him"
Twenty minutes later, same announcement, same kid. Um, could it be that people go to Wal-Mart with the specific intention of losing their children? As if to say, "Oops! Even though I can't find my child, I thought they were talking about the other
6-year-old boy wearing the red shirt." Child abandoners? I think so. Still, if you can manage to drown out the igorance on the intercom, you should be okay.
That is, until you get to the checkout stand--the pinnacle of the Wal-Mart experience. This is where all civility and common decency are completely lost and your true character is put to the test. This is the place that can break a weak-minded individual. This is the place where you must inform "Miss Independent" in the hot pink shirt that she has just cut you in the line. At this point, "Miss Independent" is highly likely to turn around and cuss you out and say things to you even your own mother wouldn't say. Be strong. Don't let her cut you. Once you've staked out your spot in line, you can't rest easy yet.
Chances are, your "brilliant idea" to get into the "10 items or less Express Line" will turn out to be not-so-brilliant when you realize that most people in line have approximately 67 items. Apparently, most folks don't read signs or count. Or even worse, don't read at all.
My end purchase of a whopping $20.19 makes me wonder if it was even worth it. Apparently millions of people think it is. They keep shopping. Maybe it's just Seattle Wal-Marts. Yeah, that must be it.