The Walmart Experience

About 5 years ago, my husband and I watched a documentary about Walmart and the “problems” with how they treat their employees, buy their products, etc. I don’t remember the name of the video, but it was quite persuading to NOT shop there. Since watching the movie, our family has tried to not shop there…. “Take that, you stupid yellow-smiling roll-back dude!”

Anyways, so our family doesn’t shop there.  But for some reason, about once-a-month, I end up in a Walmart. Every time I go there, I remember WHY I don’t shop there. Maybe, I’m a glutton for frustration and drama. Today was one of those days: a Walmart trip.

I had my two girls with me on this trip. Julia is my “by the rule-book” child and every time we even drive into the parking lot the chorus of questions start from her: “Mommy, I thought we don’t go to Walmart? Don’t they not pay their people good enough? Why are we shopping here? Are we going to have to wait long in line? Can I get a snack?…..”

Ugh, I hear my “Walmart Theology” regurgitated through my 9-year-old. I think to myself “Why am I here? Target is just down the street…..” I justify my trip by saying to Julia: “we’re already here.” Yeah, that totally makes sense….LEAVE!

There is only 30 minutes until I need to pick up my kindergarteners. If I’m even 5 minutes late picking them up, it’s $10 per kid in fines.

“I’ll be quick. I only need a few things.”

Ha ha ha, famous last thoughts, before entering the great, blue, box-store.

A “few things” quickly becomes about 50 things. We are now on count down to get out of the store and rush over to my boys school.

“10 minutes…I can do this….”

We finish shopping and as my luck would have it, there is 20 cash register lanes, and only 2 are open. I feel like I’ve seen this picture before. This must be Walmart’s guest service model: cram every customer into 2 lanes. It produces good cheer among the great people of the city.

I roll my eyes in frustration. A quick picture of me pushing the full cart as hard as I can into a clothing rack, then running out of the store pops into my brain. “mmmm….tempting…no, I’m not THAT crazy.”

I quickly push the cart down further to see if I missed an open lane, praying some nice Walmart employee will be opening a lane just as I walk by: “Oh hello there ma’am! It would be my absolute pleasure to check you out in this lane.”

Yeah, I’m not so lucky.

So, I did what any person-in-a-hurry would do, I took my 50 item cart to the self-check-out lane. “If THEY won’t check me out, then I’ll do it my self.” It worked for the Little Red Hen, it’ll work for me, right?

“8 minutes…I need to get out of here!”

I push my cart up to the next self-check out lane and hear: “Ma’am you can’t check out here. You’re going to have to go down to a regular register.”

In the hurried, crazed, moment, I looked up at her with my green eyes. I blinked twice, and made sure I was really the person she was calling out. She was staring right at me, her hands shoved in her blue smock. I wasn’t sure what to do; I needed to leave, but I needed the stuff. Stealing is illegal, so that wouldn’t work. Option #2: I did what any normal person would do. I looked at her straight in the eyes and said as calmly as I could “Um, I don’t speak English.”

I have no idea why that was the first thing I thought of….AS IF I even KNOW another language. This white-girl only speaks English! I just wanna freakin’ check out and get my children from their school!! Thankfully, she didn’t challenge me on another language option. Clearly, sarcasm is the only other language I speak! She backed-up and let me continue checking out. Honestly, I think the blue-smocked lady had a tad of grace in her….just a tad…and for that I am very thankful!

I hurried through the self-checking-out process, and ran out of the store with 2 minutes to spare. My boys were picked up at exactly 1:05, so no fines were charged. *Sigh* All is well with the world, and I will remember my Walmart experience until next month, when I have 30 minutes to spare some insanity.

Following the path,

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