Apr. 10, 2017

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Who enjoys shopping at Walmart? Show of hands.. Walking through the sliding automatic doors gives you butterflies of excitement? Seeing the sneering "greeter" makes your day or night that much better, brighter? Checking yourself out in a self-check that is always malfunctioning helps you recenter and work on your self control? Or better yet standing in the never ending assisted checkout lines helps you work on you patience; gives you a chance to network with other common minded people doing the same tai chi like balancing stance? If you are this person who LOVES all that Walmart has to offer, and these marvelous emotional health benefits one trip has to offer, then you should probably stop reading. The rest of us simply go to Walmart because we have to. Walmart has everything under one roof, and it is affordable. What other place can you go to that serves as a 'one stop household shop' and simultaneously offers the variety of brands and expanse of items for an affordable price?... I'll wait... Some go to Target instead, and as lovely as it is, it is simply not a fair trade... With this convenience, comes a price. I don't need to sit here and eloquently pick apart the customer service, the 'people of walmart', the smells, or practices; you all know this. What I am going to do is describe to you my latest trip to The Walmart in Arden. A Walmart that I used to live three minutes from, and visit quite frequently; I now live about seven minutes from this Walmart.

If you can't make it to Walmart first thing in the morning, you've got to go at midnight. Mom and I used to do this when I was a teen, so when we decided that we needed to do some post move, home good shopping we planned it. We chose the "big Walmart" in Arden so that we would have more options. We started with the non perishable food items, went to housewares, then skipped to cosmetics, and looped it back to grocery where we picked up cold and frozen supplies.

We were making pretty good traction in non-perishable grocery; stockers were sending "how do ya dos?" and "can I help yous?" left and right. Mom was practically skipping to the home goods side; like she was almost matching my stride, which doesn't happen these days 😞. Her haste must've jostled her PD catheter because I hear an "Ahh, Ouch!" to my right. Her securing tape has come lose, and her catheter is pulling and causing tension. So here we are in the middle of the brightest superstore on earth and I've got to lift my mom's shirts, and re secure (re tape) and tuck the end into her tank... Have you ever gotten the feeling that someone was watching you? Well at this moment with my mother's shirt above her waist, I get this feeling. And low and behold, we've got a shopper watcher. Startled, I roll my eyes, hastily finish, and continue with my houseware shopping. Popping over the aisle to cosmeseuticals, the momster and I debate for about 20 minutes the pros and cons of antibacterial hand soap. We weigh the merits of foam hand soap, and the importance of fragrance in a hand soap. During our debate, we begin to notice an audience of two. Shopper watcher #1 (you remember him right?), who is now shuffling his feet like an extra from The Walking Dead. And Shopper Watcher #2 who looks like an overzealous firehouse reject. #1 is 100% obvious in his intentions. There is no question as to why he's there; he's doing a piss poor job of casing us, because myself and my winded mother are definitely casing Arden Walmart.😒 #2 on the other hand has murder and shopping determination in his eye, less obvious, way more dangerous. I like to give everyone the benefit of the doubt, so after about 10 minutes of the aisle passes, and the blatant stop and stares, I politely asked "Do you need to get down this aisle? So sorry I'm blocking the place." #1 holds up a hand, shakes his head, and keeps on stalking. We move on a few more aisles, because I'm looking for a scalpel (yeppers, time to drain another HA abscess, but that's a blog for another time). On the first aid/razor aisle, both of our watchers decide that they need razors, but even after they "find what they need" we still hear the ominous shuffling gait of a walker every few minutes. Finally making our way back to grocery, we spot these super soft tees. We HAVE to get mom some, tees and tanks have been on our radar, they're a necessity now in order to keep her PD catheter line in place. Marveling at these unisex tees, the colors, the softness, I begin to feel a familiar yet stomach churning tingle... And then the shuft, shhh, shuft, of The Watcher's feet. I spot him place all of his goods in a candy bin, and pretend to look for candy as he watches us pick out $5 tees. Fuming, and spitting flame at this point, I begin to verbalize and share my observations and frustrations with the momster; and she shares her mantra of "let it go."

Following up with our loop, we finish with our cold, frozen, and perishable items without a hitch. At this point, our shopping cart is overflowing from each compartment, hole, and basket. Our 86 items include a toaster oven and multiple bulk sized items including laundry detergent, toilet paper, and paper towels to name a few. We're scanning for that one check out aisle that will be open, and NOTHING. Self check out it is with $400 worth of groceries and hard to maneuver items. #Winning

When we begin our checkout excursion, there are two employees manning the station. One lovely gent (we'll call him Ponytail) is actually standing at a console that he's unwilling to utilize to check us out. The other misses seems sweet enough, but never once offers assistance in her flit to and fro. If you've never had the opportunity to use an original self checkout, then you should definitely try it with 86 items and what has now turned into two carts. Three quarters of the way through, after countless alerts and pauses we come to our toaster oven. The machine prompts/asks "Would you like to purchase the two year protection plan?" After clicking yes, it asks for the device's serial #. The device that had like three sets of numbers emblazoned on it, and is currently stored underneath the cart. Of course I don't know or have the serial number, so we try to backtrack. This needs approval from Ponytail who is busy helping someone ring up his single item beef jerky. Seven minutes later, our assistance shows up in the form of Ponytail. We explain our dilemma. Instead of him saying "Here's the serial #, let me get that protection for ya!" He literally voids the items, and re rings it... Seriously?! Over four hundred dollars and forty minutes later we are finally finished. Everyone just stares and watches us leave in silence. Well ok then. My dilemma now is.. Do I go back this less than friendly place?