Whenever I walk into Walmart, I think about grumpy Walter from Jeff Dunham’s crew of misfit toys. Walter likes to imitate a Walmart greeter and add a personal touch of go fuck yourself grit to it: “Welcome to Walmart-get your shit and get out.” When I walk in, I know it can be quite the opposite. It’s more like get your shit and stay a while as you buy tons of crap you do not need.
Have you ever walked in wanting to buy a few things and end up spending 65 dollars on an Emilio brown lunch bag assortment of shit? Things you didn’t even know your house required, but there you are walking out and working the forearm muscles with six bags in each hand, turning your fingertips ghost white. It’s really a not so fun experience.
Walmart is a theme park that is disclosed as a shopping location and I believe that the entire human race is represented in one building.
There is the family of 17 arguing with each other in the clothing section next to the fitting rooms while the two year old boy wanders off to look at Pac man shirts. They are shouting what seems like a combination of span-nese-lish, but it could be something else kind of weird. I walk past them and resist the urge to instagram the moment.
You look right and there’s the old man wearing swimming trunks in February with a born to run Bruce Springsteen t-shirt on as he tries to detect which brand of frozen pizza to destroy tonight after he polishes off the box of donuts shoved into his right armpit, which could use a trim.
As you wander on down the aisle, you have suddenly collected a shirt that says, “life is tough, but here I am living,” and you don’t remember why. There’s also a bag of tortilla chips, razors, a protein powder to try since you aren’t eating breakfast, and perhaps a 12 pack of beer you won’t drink. I’ve wandered Walmart so many times, picking up random things just because who wants to leave with a short receipt.
You walk past a woman that looks like something she stole from Gordon Gekko’s breast pocket; a cell phone that may be able to track down where a plane is landing in Arizona as well as pick up a call. She is wearing a t-shirt that is impersonating a night gown. She isn’t lost-because that happened years ago. She looks at me, sees my bald head with a large beard, and gives me a stare like I might blow up the building or something. I swear I’m only here for toothpaste.
By the way, a new pair of headphones and four t-shirts for my son have found their way into my crowded basket of stuff I didn’t really need. I desperately try to avoid the scentsy section like I would a good looking ex-girlfriend wearing her best dress, but it doesn’t work. I stop and peruse the ten feet wide rack of candle replacements. I already have sixteen packs of smelly house warmers, but why not grab a few more because they are only two dollars apiece?
Where else can you find places that low? The internet, but they don’t have an overweight man in his 30’s who is itching his ass because he jammed it and the rest of his lower body into a pair of skinny jeans that are definitely unauthorized. That’s our species.
I’ve just about rounded the Walmart bases, but not before I stop in the Hallmark section to buy a card for someone whose birthday isn’t for three months, but fuck it, I’m here so let’s go. Do I go sentimental basket case or try my hand at comedy? My grandmother won’t understand either so I go with the heart tugging wanking motion card.
There’s a danger zone when attending a Walmart concert, and it’s between the hours of 11 at night and five in the morning. Workers are crowding the aisles with product, but few people are there and you can play with 27 different toys without being told to stop. The Walmart employee may start tossing the football around with you, as a Tim McGraw song from the 1990’s starts to play. I used to go during the danger zone hours while I lived in Little Rock, because it was like walking through a Southern Comfort legends museum without being judged.
I pass by the garden area and a middle aged couple are staring at lawnmowers trying to determine which one accepts gas AND oil. I walk by and quietly muffle “hybrid” under my breath just to throw them off. For some reason, I grab another set of grilling tools on the way out of the section even though I already own six spatulas to barbecue four times this summer with. It’s nice to have a selection with your smoky endeavors.
As I approach the checkout, I see a mother berating her kid. The little dude must be only a few days past his sixth birthday, but she is letting him have it. Have you ever seen Bobby Knight tear apart one of his players on the sidelines? The son doesn’t play a sport; but his mom just needed to finish talking to her girlfriend about that guy she shouldn’t be dating. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen a mother or father scream at their kids in public, and for what? If I had half of a heart, I would have smacked her in the face with my metal spatula, but prison cells are kind of tight.
That’s not as good as the parents with their kids on a leash. Hello, 2017.
Walmart isn’t as classy as Tar-get. At least you are spared the group of teenagers sipping frappaccinos and talking about high school drama.
I check out and spend way more than I had hoped to. After all, I only needed toothpaste for when my half bottle at home runs out. You can’t get stuck without toothpaste in the morning when you are half-awake and reaching for the hydro-cortisone cream next.
Walmart is a beast, and if you ever want a glimpse at the human species that you are sharing a world with, grab a hand basket and take a look. I can’t say you will be happy in the end, but the entertainment value and harsh realities will be plentiful.
You just might get offended by your next visit.
Bye bye now.