The Mind Numbing Experience that is Shopping at Walmart

I went to everyones favorite corporate fun house, Walmart, the other day. The things that people say about the store run the gamut of hate and love. Actually, I take that back as I have never heard anyone say that they love Walmart. There are a lot of people in this world though so I guess odds are someone has muttered those three words at one point, even if they were said in a snide way.

I don’t really want to get into the moral argument over whether Walmart is a big, bad company that puts small business out of business or that they’re simply following the rules of capitalism and are damn good at playing the game. Fact of it is, even people who hate Walmart shop there. Why? Cause they do have low prices and buying condoms somewhere else means less money to spend on a date ( or shady motel room) with a girl (or a prostitute) that you want to sleep with. This is just how things are and we all accept it. And that’s fine.

What I do want to talk about is the whole experience when someone shops at Walmart. How it’s possibly the closest I’ll ever get to hell (you know, before I’m dead). How shopping at Walmart brings out the worst in humans. You hate people when you shop at Walmart. This hatred includes yourself since you were the one who decided to go there in the first place. I’ve tried to figure out what this hate stems from and have concluded that it has to be the fact that most people really suck.

It’s true. I really want to see the good in people and I usually do, but after going to Walmart you suddenly realize that people are just awful. It’s nothing personal. I’m sure that they look at me shopping there and think God I would love it if this guy just fell into oncoming traffic. I respect those thoughts because when I look at them I think the same unpleasant things. It’s a shared unwarrented hatred. All we want is a bargain and we despise each other because of it. Because, in a way, we both wish we were shopping at a small mom and pop store. We both wish we could part with some extra cash for the comfort of short lines and pleasant decor. But we don’t and hating yourself doesn’t seem reasonable so we think these thoughts about others. Wishing for a hole in the ground and an upturned chin.

With that being said, I do have some fond memories of shopping at Walmart. Ironically, they stem from my hatred of my fellow shoppers as well. A month or so ago I was in the store with two of my friends. It was a Saturday night, the second worst night to shop at Walmart (the first being Sunday) and my one friend wanted a pack of gum. It seems like doing this transaction would only take moments. It’s just a pack of gum. As things go, however, we stood in line for about half-an-hour just to buy Tic-Tacs (he wound up getting Tic-Tacs instead of gum). But it was at this point of the story where we saw a customer, that was just ahead of us, talk to the cashier about a mother and daughter who were just ahead of him. The mother and daughter had split up their bulk purchase so they could pay for their merchandise at the 12 items or less line (for the record I have no idea how they settled on 12 items) and I guess not feel guilty about it or someting (I highly doubt the cashier would have cared as she looked like she hated everyone too). So this guy starts talking to her about how people shouldn’t do that “shit”. He went on to say that she should stand up for herself and enforce the rules of the line and that he would have her back if she did. And this is where the whole situation got uncomfortable.

The man decided it was a good idea to say to the cashier, “Let me give you a hug”. He proceeded to walk behind the counter and give her a hug. She seemed completely caught off guard and hugged him back in the way someone hugs another when they don’t love that person anymore. She kind of put her shoulder into his and I guess that was all the contact he needed. He left the store and my friend bought his candy and we went on our way.

The truth is, this story may have not really happened. My one friend and I both witnessed this and were both perplexed by the man’s actions, but my other friend was too busy fiddling with his new Iphone to notice. So it could have just been a hallucination brought on by the suck that is shopping at Walmart.

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