Thursday, September 10, 2009

Walley martus.

I don't think it comes as much of a surprise that I kind of hate Walmart. But once upon a time I actually kind of liked it. A lot. When it first opened in Reno, I was in limbo - old enough to drive but not old enough to do anything that required being 21. Walmart changed that. At least... temporarily. It was somewhere we could go at night when we weren't in the mood to sit around at Denny's drinking coffee. I took a date there one time in an attempt to appear as Reality Bites as possible (I'm pretty sure I was drinking a Big Gulp of Diet Coke at the time), and recall dragging my sister there once in the middle of the night after getting just drunk enough to need baby blue toe nail polish RIGHT NOW.

After the novelty wore off (which, let's be honest, did not take long), I went to Walmart every now and then but no longer found it kitchy or entertaining. It was just kind of sad. And after I got my oil changed there and the guy didn't close my hood all the way and it flew up and broke my windshield while I was driving on the freeway during rush hour and Walmart didn't accept even a little bit of responsibility (even though a - the guy admitted that he couldn't get the hood to latch properly, b - Walmart has like a kazillion dollars and could easily have righted their wrong, c - my mom told the manager she spoke to that she didn't know how he could look at himself in the mirror anymore, and d - I COULD HAVE DIED!!!), I went from not liking it all that much to really, really hating it.

But, like everyone else in the world, I still find myself going there every once in a while. For the apple juice that Liam likes best or the bubbles that actually work or the Mexican aisle spices that are just like the baking aisle spices except seventy five cents instead of four dollars. And every time I go I think, I hate this store! I will never come here again! But then I do. We all do. And that's probably why it does so well.

Anyway. A couple of days ago, a friend forwarded me the following video.

Hello! As if I needed anymore reasons to hate Walmart. I know, I know - it's not like Walmart slapped the kid in the face. But could you imagine someone at Target doing that? No. Never! There's just something about Walmart that brings out our worst.

Then later that day - the very same day! - a friend e-mailed me a link to a site called People of Walmart. Have you seen this before? It's photos of people spotted at Walmart that folks from all over the country have submitted. The subject of the e-mail was OMG and OMG it was. The People of Walmart include an old man with breast implants, a woman riding around on a rascal with a parrot on her arm, and some of the most triumphant mullets you have ever seen. It's just like going to Walmart without the 10 minute line!

Now you might think that this would put me way over the top. Like I'd shake my head in recognition and vow never to walk past a "greeter" in a blue vest again (quotations necessary - do any of them actually greet?). But instead, the exact opposite happened. Suddenly I couldn't wait to go to Walmart. I even brought my camera just in case. And although I didn't use it (could you imagine? Oh my god! You're totally obese and trying to cram a sheet cake into the basket of your rascal. That is so People of Walmart! Say cheese fries!!!), it made the experience a lot more fun. The things that would normally make me scowl and curse through clenched teeth made me giggle and think, Eeee! Another one! It was like being in a video game.

If I had been rude bold enough to take pictures, here's a small sample of what I'd be showing you right now:

Three people in cutoff jean shorts (a man with his wife and his mother? a few strangers brought together by their love of meth?) attempting to use the self-checkout line when, as if things weren't confusing enough, one of their 40 ouncers falls to the ground sending beer and shattered glass every which way. I'm not sure which caption I would have gone with - the man saying to no one in particular, "Go git me anuther one", or the Walmart employee coming over to see what happened and having to tell the younger woman, "You're standing in glass." I was in line next to them for at least another five minutes and no one ever cleaned up the mess. (Although I'm pretty sure the older woman stole a Pepsi on her way out the door.)

A man sitting on the ground just outside the automatic doors with some sort of monitoring device plugged into the outlet on the side of the building and attached via suction cups to his bare chest. He was smoking a cigarette.

For more stories that involve me hating Walmart but going there anyway, click here, here or here. What can I say? I'm a sucker for punishment!


ae said...

The problem is - yes, I hate Wal-Mart. Yes, I try to avoid them, but...

Damn it, they make cheap decent clothes for big girls - I'd rather pay $6 for a t-shirt than get a crappier one from Lane Bryant for $24. Ditto workout gear.

Target hasn't made a plus sized garment in a decade that doesn't scream "Fat Ho" . Trust me on this. Even KMart makes better clothes for women of size than Target. And believe me, I've been to Target, and I know I'm not the only big girl shoppong there

Also, Wally World has cute bandanas (to keep hair out of my face while cleaning or Zumbaing) and they're 97 cents. I just can't say no.

The lure is too great.

Robert C. said...

Hilarious link!

The natural retail progression has been:

Independent Local storefront ->
National chain storefront ->
Big Box storefront ->
Online eStore ->
Independent Local storefront.

I think we're about to start the local part all over again. We are just now getting deep into online shopping and the recession is bringing back the local storefront but with cheap shipping rates, online is the way to go until inflation, energy and real estate prices stabilize.

So if you want to continue to bring down the national big box conglomerates and save the same amount of money, shop online. The price is as good as wally world.

The problem then is to transition from online shopping to purchasing from local storefronts so your local school districts receive appropriate tax incentives, your roads are paved accordingly and police and fire rescue services have balanced compensation, etc..

It's tough, the free market.

Amber said...

I feel your pain. I've only been to WM maybe twice in the last year. Both of those times I was visiting a small town where there was nowhere else to go. Ick. I've seen this People of WM website and I can't figure out if it's funny or just plain sad--I think it's both.

No Mommy Brain said...

love the comments!
still laughing over a garment screaming "fat ho"...

Jen Scaffidi said...

Oh man! We were trying to keep that Mexican spice aisle thing a secret!

hezza said...

Maggie, I was eating jelly beans while I read this and one nearly got lodged in my nose when I was snorting uncontrollably reading your post.
I want to hear more of your Wal Mart stories and I have a few for you too.