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Saturday, July 16, 2005

Oh, Wal-Mart...

We went at midnight to retrieve the latest Harry Potter book (He's reading for fun! GET'EM!). Barnes & Noble was just too much of a mad house. So, we compromised our beliefs for one night and traveled to Wal-Mart.

I never shop at Wal-Mart. And tonight, I was reminded of why — besides the poor treatment of labor. It's the small things. Things like merchandise, employees, and customers. Little stuff. It's buying a dress shirt, walking five feet, buying some Funyuns, turning around, and getting some custom dog tags from a vending machine.

There are far too many sleeveless customers. Male and female. And none of them just came from the gym or from a basketball pick-up game. Let's keep in mind that it was after midnight, so I suppose the sleeveless crowd is more awake at that time. The guy in front of us was buying a grill. At midnight. And also Cheetos and pudding. His sleeves were all there, but I suspect if you're buying a grill at 12:00AM on a Friday night, then there are bodies in your freezer that need to disappear. Or else you were in the mood for Cheetos and pudding and you figured two birds with one stone. "Hey, I've got some bodies in the freezer... do they sell grills here, too?" Indeed they do, friend. Indeed they do.

And then the employees. Most of whom I assume are very nice people. I don't think there is really a dress code at Wal-Mart, except for the blue vest which dons the store name. I always thought, being young and having summer jobs, "Cool, Wal-Mart is a relaxed place to work." But, as you get older, those little things about a store start becoming more important. And when you see tie-dye and Wal-Mart vest, you run to the next check-out lane. And when you see plaid Grunge shirt and Wal-Mart vest, you run to the next check-out lane. And when you see "Real Men Wear Pink" tee and Wal-Mart vest, you run to the next check-out lane. And when you see wife-beater and Wal-Mart vest, you run to the next check-out lane. And when you see naked torso and Wal-Mart vest, you run out of the store all together.

This all took place at a Wal-Mart I had never been to. The Wal-Mart in my area is probably worse. I never like going in there because it literally looks like a war zone. Merchandise is haphazardly strewn about the aisles. No one is picking it up, only kicking it around to different aisles. The kids are wandering around unsupervised. I once saw children chasing each other through the store with bats. Not wiffle-ball bats. Wood and aluminum bats.

People are fighting over merchandise and bags of chips and packages of cookies are on the floor. And the employees at this Wal-Mart. Walk into this Wal-Mart, pick up something off the ground, and place it back where it's supposed to go. You now outrank a Wal-Mart employee.

Seriously, a war zone. As I stood there, waiting to pay for my book, I just stared at the dog tag vending machine. That's why they have these here. It's not for the fun or novelty, it's for identification later on when the police show up.


*****

The Chief scans the scene at the local Wal-Mart. "Man alive! Let's just hope there are survivors who can tell us what happened here."

"Why not just check the security cameras?" says a rookie officer.

The Chief holds up the newspaper of this week's deals at Wal-Mart. SECURITY CAMERAS $21.66. "Someone probably thought it was for sale and took it all out."

"My god," says the rookie.

"Well, let's get to work," says the Chief. "You know the drill. Dog tag vending machine records. Start ID'ing the bodies."

*****

25 Comments:

At 3:45 PM, Blogger 52X Max said...

Wooh, sounds to me like the customers are the real problem, or the fact that it's summer and such places like Wal-Mart get very crowded, by reckless, sleeveless customers.
The Wal-Mart in my area is nothing like that at all, except that I never go there when there's many people.

Why didn't you go to Target instead? afraid of the employees making fun at you instead of you making fun of them?

 
At 4:39 PM, Blogger Former Intern Andy said...

Ha, no, there was just no Target nearby.

 
At 6:45 PM, Blogger D-Train said...

I'd say you got lucky. A guy I know went to Wal-Mart, bought some wife-beaters--the basic foundation of all fashion, if I may add--made fun of the cashier, and subsequently lost his car keys. Coincidence? I think not.

 
At 12:22 AM, Blogger madman said...

is the book good. I thank god every day that there are no wal-mart's in Australia.....At least...there arent any round me...If people want to trash something they go to the nearest sporting facility i think...or car park, and kick lamp posts.

 
At 7:21 AM, Blogger Ripsy said...

Wal-mart is one of the greatest things in America, because it shows how dumb people are. When you go into a department store like Marshall Fields you expect people to be curteous and outgoing, right? You're not just buying 200 dollar jeans, you're buying a pleasant experience. When you go to Wal-mart you can buy things for an extremely low price. However, you do not guarantee yourself a pleasant experience. Americans are willing to sacrifice customer service for price. That says a lot about our society.

 
At 9:09 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jesus, i am never going to shop at Wallmart

 
At 9:11 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow, Wall Mart really doesn't care about anything, now do they! Obviously someone buying a grill at 12:00am isn't suspicous to them. They really need to pull their act together!

 
At 9:26 PM, Blogger Gloria Glo said...

Last time I went to Wal-Mart I had a shootout in the gun aisle that helped me to barely escape the mass poisoning in the pet aisle.

Now I shop KMart, where gang colors are all you need to keep your shopping experience safe.

 
At 6:41 AM, Blogger MEP said...

Ah Wal-Mart. The pinnacle of a positive shopping experience . . . if you are people-watching. My favorite Wal-Mart customer memory was "Crazy Nancy." She used to come into the vision center wearing baggy clothes and smelling like cats and want us to dye her John Lennon-glasses lenses even darker purple b/c "light hurt her." She did this just about once a month. The lenses were already as dark as they could be, so dipping them in the dye didn't make them any darker . . .but she would put them on and sigh in relief.

 
At 8:39 AM, Blogger LoriLoo310 said...

I attended college in a small Texas town. Now, if you haven't been to a WalMart in a small southern town, you haven't experienced the true WalMart. My favorite characters are the families who decide that it's time to go grocery shopping at 2:00am, with all seven children in tow. I guess Daddy just couldn't stand the thought of going to sleep when the beer supply was dangerously low.

 
At 10:06 AM, Anonymous Big Bro said...

Actually, the Target was closer, bro. We could have walked there. Then again, why walk? ;) Of course, that assumes Targhetto would be open past 10pm.

We've got the 2am shoppers here in the north, too, loo. They like to wheel their carts (overflowing with processed foods and children) into the "express lane" (aka "the gateway to the 7th circle of hell") just in front of me with my two items of after-bar cravings. And then... when there are only two items left in their cart... another register is finally opened.

The devil's greatest trick was not getting the world to believe he doesn't exist - it was opening Wal-Mart.

 
At 12:10 PM, Blogger Michelle said...

See now this is the thing, I'm from Scotland and whenever my family and I are on holiday in America, we always find the nearest Wal Mart and go shopping there as soon as we arrive, and throughout the holiday. We think it's great! Then again, we only shop there for two weeks out of every year, if that!

 
At 12:34 PM, Blogger Jammerz said...

I rarely if ever go to Wal-Mart everytime I do, I have some horrific experience.
My favorite was the time in the shoe aisle I came across a man beating the crap out of his teenage son and the kids mom just standing there watching doing nothing.
Ever notice that all the Wal-Mart workers are short???

 
At 3:41 PM, Blogger The Everglades said...

Wow, and to think I've only seen the movies. Does that make me a bad person?

Blake

 
At 3:47 PM, Blogger sarah the great and wise said...

I gave in and went to Barnes & Noble.

The line was surprisingly short and it was 40% off, which is, you know, not to shabby.

Have you finished it yet? Meaning the book.

 
At 4:14 PM, Blogger omar said...

If Sam Walton were alive, he'd be the richest person in the world (his 5 heirs are worth $18 billion EACH). It really makes me mad, sometimes. I wish I had come up with the idea to sell lots of cheap products using cheap labor.

 
At 5:56 AM, Blogger Walking Wounded said...

Wal-Mart skeeves me out too and I am on Long Island. I went to one in PA once and it looked like the land that time forgot, except for the Brittany Spears CDs.

Can you believe how rich those heirs are, all from Wal-Mart stores. Don't worry, we will not be alone in our loathing of Wal-Mart. They have invaded China and will soon spread like a cancer in that country as well! Poor Chinese...

Peace

 
At 6:32 PM, Blogger Syar said...

i remember my mom and dad organizing special trips to walmart for the really "high end" stuff they needed to buy in bulk. (back when I was living in the states) I always remember not being able to go, my mom might have said something about it not being kid friendly. all i ever saw was K-mart and kroger. now I know why. we have four hypermarts in malaysia : carrefour, giant, makro and tesco. they're not open till midnight tho (the government said something about too much competition for smaller scale grocers...pssh) so I can't compare

 
At 6:46 PM, Blogger Matt said...

I've been to the two highest grossing Walmarts in the country: the one in Charleston, West Virginia (no explanation needed except that it's West Virginia) and Orem, Utah. What does this tell you? That I hate Walmart with a passion. Ugghhh! The parking kills me. I mean, you you can't see the building from where you park, you shouldn't shop there....

 
At 4:24 PM, Blogger spinsterwitch said...

It's a matter of pride that I have never set foot in a WalMart. But Target - I think I might have been born there (or conceived...you never know). I love "Targhetto!" Sadly I don't have as much use for the Target fashions anymore...I don't want to look like a midwesterner living in CA.

 
At 8:33 PM, Blogger R3dcurlz said...

was it a super wal-mart...w/ the grocery part? those have got to be the worst!

no one's every in a hurry there, either. all these slow, lazy people just ambling about, getting in my way as i storm through, pissed at myself that i'm there in the first place. but sometimes, just sometimes, it is the most convenient and driving a few more miles to something else just seems to be worse than supporting a little retail hell.

 
At 7:31 AM, Blogger Minim Dancer said...

thanks for the laugh, that was a great bit of fun. "if you're buying a grill at 12:00AM on a friday night, then there are bodies in your freezer that need to disappear..." was fab. I couldn't stop laughing.

 
At 5:02 PM, Blogger Carney Man said...

Walmart does suck, but its always fun to see what you can get kicked out for. Turns out that they dont like you taking pictures of things, playing catch, cooking, and a bunch of other stuff in there. Not really sure why though.

 
At 1:57 PM, Blogger utenzi said...

I love Wal-mart. I'm surprised there's so many people posting that don't like it. After all, the stores are always busy so somebody must like them. As for the BBQ grill, maybe that guy is like me and only gets to Wal-mart once or twice a month. It's a planned purchase then, not an impulse buy. But the line about a body in the freezer is very funny. :-)

 
At 6:18 PM, Anonymous Squeaky said...

Crap, am I the only one who doesn't loathe Walmart with all my body and soul? It is, kind of, an essential for the town I currently reside in.

 

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