Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The necessary evil of Walmart

Walmart is the bane of my existence. For many of most youthful days, the faroff destination of Walmart seemed so mystical to the young me. The twenty mile trip to the nearest Walmart was a true family affair. So much stuff under one cramped roof. That original Albert Lea store was so awe-inspiring to me that I actually got excited when Mom said we were heading over to Walmart for some shopping.

Later in life, particularly my late-teen years, Target and their ultra-chic stores were more of a draw to me. Again, this meant a 30-plus mile trip because all my sorry hometown had for discount retailers was K-Mart and Shopko. Walmart started its slide to where it stays today. It became uncool to even utter the name of the store.

Then I moved. Walmart was again a twenty-plus mile drive. Really, Apple Valley is nice and all but its Walmart was definitely not a destination.

But then came a Walmart nearby. It was literally on the way home and its far-flung location meant that it wasn't overly busy and with the store being new, it hadn't yet slipped into the typical state of disrepair that seems to identify Walmart stores. The prices on the few items I allowed myself to buy from there made the stop worthwhile.

But just months after the original store opened, they remodeled and expanded into a full-on Supercenter. With that came groceries at low prices. It also brought crowds of people that seemed to have shopped exclusively there for decades. Nevermind the fact that this Walmart Supercenter was just weeks old. I mean I had never seen people like this at any other store. Ever. They tooled around in their motorized carts. Their saddlebags resting comfortably on the fenders of the moto-carts. And if they weren't motoring through the store buying up large quantities of generic cookies and Sam's choice soda they were laborously pushing a overflowing cart squarely down the center of the aisle at a snail's pace with total disregard for others who actually have other obligations.

But I kept going. My income steadily declining to 2000 levels, Walmart saved me money on my essential groceries. Sure, I left the store with unhealthy blood pressure levels but I had saved a few bucks and kept the family fed.

Then came yesterday. With three items in hand almost runing through the store, I sped towards the 27 checkout lanes - three of which were actually open at 4:45 PM. I did my typical intelligence profiling of the employees and made the wise decision to head for the self-checkouts. Big mistake. As I waited behind three people for ten minutes I repeatedly berated myself for omitting the fact that mouth-breathing shoppers are far less effective as checkers than actual checkers.

Needless to say, my old lady was pissed off as she was waiting for me to get home and watch the young 'un so she could to go to the gym.

That, in a not-so-concise story, is why Walmart is a necessary evil.

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spleeness said...

Laughing, picturing you desperately scanning the lines to calculate which one has the faster flow. What is your intelligence profiling like? You should blog about this and educate the rest of us miserable walmart haters.

Jacki said...

HAHAHA! Oh I do the same thing at Walmart...calculate which one has the more brain cells. Isn't that pitiful that it is necessary?

I have also come to the conclusion that I cannot use coupons at Walmart. Try as I might, the cashiers just cannot figure them out. One time I spent like 20 minutes in checkout because after ringing up my purchases, the cashier had to unpack my bags and make sure I had the right items.

MJ said...

Just driving by a Wal-Mart makes me hyperventilate. I'm afraid my head should explode if I actually walked inside one.

Sornie said...

I wrote all about I.Q. Profiling and because it's good, I'm going to repost it!