Monday, July 14, 2008

Wal-Mart at 10:20 on a Saturday Night

I don’t know what it is, but with the nicer weather outside, I just haven’t been too jazzed to write a new blog. I mean, why be sitting in front of a computer screen when you could be outside enjoying the great Tri-City weather that we have each and every summer? So I did what any red blooded American would do. I waited until I was sitting at work to write one.

And what inspiration did I draw from for today’s blog entry? Well, it is the store that everybody (myself included) loves to hate, but will go there anyways because it is so convenient. Can you guess which one I am talking about? Yup, that right, the Wal-Mart.

Now most of you out there know how a typical Wal-Mart shopping experience goes. Jam packed parking lots, incompetent checkers, English not being the dominant language, you know, the usual stuff. I like to go either early in the morning, or late at night, but even then you still see a lot of the same stuff, just on a smaller scale.

So after a very busy Saturday that had me running from one end of town to the other, around 10ish at night we realized that we had never bought any formula for Elisabeth. And since I am the DLNS (Designated Late Night Shopper) of our family, I hopped into my car and headed up the street to you guessed it, Wal-Mart.

To me, it is always an adventure going to WM. And I don’t know why that is, since the same things happen every time I go there. But I will give you a run down anyways of my trip. I park my car and walk in the store. Over to my left are the usual hooligans playing on the mart carts. Of course there parents are no where to be found. Sometimes I wonder if in Spanish Wal-Mart translates into the words “baby sitter”. Heck, even destitute English speaking people think that it translates out that way too.

After making my way past America’s future prison inmates, I get myself a cart. Even though the Kennewick WM has recently remodeled everything, and bought new shopping cars, I still have the hardest time finding a good cart. Of course it doesn’t help that I am one of the pickiest shopping cart users in the Tri-City area. (Thanks for that trait mom; it is both a blessing and a curse.) When I grab a shopping cart, I have to give it a push to make sure the alignment of the cart is satisfactory to my liking. If it is wobbly or drives crooked, it goes back with the other carts. Sometimes I will go through 5 or 6 carts until I find one suitable to my shopping trip. The problem I run into at WM is that they have bumpy tile in there shopping cart area. So I can do my usual testing, find one that I think will be a good match, and once I get to the smooth tile surfaces in the store, I realize that the wheel has a dent in it and makes a hopping noise. So it’s back to the shopping cart proving grounds to find another one.

After 5 minutes of test driving, I have my cart and am ready to get my shop on. This part of the trip goes without any hiccups, and is done with fairly fast. I pick up my thing of lemon juice that I need for the roast I made for Sunday dinner, and head to the back of the store for the baby formula. Of course on the way I pass a group of teenagers who in their minds are grown up, but they are acting like morons.

OK, this is totally off the subject, but when it comes to the teen crowd, my favorite times of the year are Homecoming and Prom. They get all gussied up, and head out to dinner, where they feel so grown up and responsible. And then they end up at the mall, or at Wal-Mart. I always find it so funny, because they have no clue how silly they look in their fancy duds hanging out in front of Orange Julius. Lisa and I get a great chuckle out of this. I think I am going to start banging it into my girl’s heads that going to the mall in your prom dress is retarded. I don’t think they will listen, but if I start pounding away now, I might have a good shot.

OK, back to Wal-Mart. I have the items that I came for, and I start to head back to the front of the store. On the way I pass middle aged dirty shirt guy buying his nightly case of beer, and a mother with her 3 kids that should have been in bed 2 hours before. Oh yeah, and the baby who only has a diaper on, I forgot about him.

Now I am to the register. And as usual, the do it yourself lines are all filled up. So I have no choice but to go to one of the blazing fast cashiers that WM employs. Sometimes I picture how the job interview for a Wal-Mart checker goes. It has to be something like this:

Manager: “So, you want to be a cashier huh?”

Future Cashier: “Uh…Um. I guess so.”

M: “Have you ever worked a register before?”

FC: “A What?”

M: “A cash register. The thing you put the money in.”

FC: “Oh, I like money. Will I get some if I am a cashier?”

M: “Well, you won’t get the money out of the register, but you will be getting a paycheck.”

FC: “Oh I see. I get the checks out of the register.”

M: “Well, not quite. Let’s just move onto the next question. Do you think it is better to go as slow as humanly possible, and never make a mistake, or go faster and make a mistake every once in awhile?”

FC: “Uh, that is a tough one. I like to take it slow. If I work slower, I make more money!”

M: “Well, not exactly, but I like that you want to be slow. If you were interested in being a fast checker, I would have to turn you away.”

M: “Next question. If there was a price discrepancy…”

FC: “A what pancy?”

M: “A price discrepen….uh…a mess up on the price of something, would you call someone to look it up for you, or would you leave your station and walk over to where the mismarked item is and grab another one?”

FC: “Well, if I walked over there myself, I could be sure what the real price is. And it would make the line go that much slower. So I say go there myself.”

M: “Well answered! I don’t see any reason to keep the interview going. You are HIRED!”

FC: “GREAT! When do I get a break?”

And it is all downhill from there. The new checker gets placed in a checkout line all alone, and is ready to help serve the public by helping everyone slow down their busy lives. And who should walk into their line to checkout? None other than yours truly!

I don’t know why, but I always end up in the line of the slow and clueless cashier. After taking several minutes ringing up my 5 items, I am finally able to head out to my car. The hooligans are still being babysat by the mart cart when I walk by, and when I look down I see that they have all been spitting on the same spot. Yes, it sounds gross, but you only have to read about it. I had to see it.

Now that I am safely out of Wal-Mart, I am free to head back home. Well, not before a car full of Oregonians almost run into me. It might have been the same Oregonians that had everything ringed up BEFORE they told the hapless cashier they were from Umatilla, but I couldn’t tell for sure.

It is amazing the things that I and other people will put up with to get a good deal. And like I said at the beginning of this post, you may all bitch and complain about Wal-Mart, but I can guarantee you will be back there the next day when you need light bulbs, a can of paint, and some Jujyfriuts. Which by the way, can be bought for dirt cheap at the Wal-Mart.


Lisa said...

Well written Donald. I am quite confident that every person who reads this post will relate.

I couldn't believe when I was at Wal Mart the other day and my loaf of french bread rang up at $1.00. I told the lady that the sign had said 96 cents. It took 10 minutes to get it taken care of!!!! But you better believe that I was NOT going to pay an extra 4 cents for that loaf of bread!

But like you said, I won't give up a good bargain. Their formula is saving us BIG BUCKS!!!! $11.00 per can compared to the $26.00 we paid for the name brand up until a few months ago!. Let's see....that's a savings of roughly $60 a month for us! For $60 extra dollars a month I will put up with the slow cashiers and hooligans!

Love you!

Kristen said...

Ha ha. Very funny post Donald!! I was laughing and relating as that is just where Mike and I came from tonight. We made a trip out late at night (well because Mike just HAD to pick up his copy of the new NCAA '09), and since Walmart was right around the corner I wanted to pick up a few things. It was after midnight and it was incredible how the only two cashiers working were so slow that the lines were backed up like a mile long!! If I would have realized we were going to stand there for more than 30 minutes I would have said forget it and just left!! But you're so right...I'm sure next week when I'm in need of something I'll be back there.

Your dialogue between the manager and the future cashier was hilarious. Here's a line to add in there:

"I'm making sure not to waste any extra energy on you", said the cashier to a customer.

That is the actual words of the cashier we had tonight said to the customer in front of us.

Randy said...

once agin Donald, you crack me up...

Kelly said...

It's funny in a cosmic sort of way... which is my way of saying it's not funny in the least. Unless you have a twisted sense of logic others might mistake for dry humor.

So yeah, been there done that. I'm not as picky about my shopping carts though. I do tend to have good luck with them however.

Stephanie said...

Sooo Funny and true too!!!
May your next trip to walmart be magically uneventful.
Have a great day

Jan said...

I loved this. Isn't it all true though. They put all those cashiers on the late shift. That is my favorite time to go. What I have gotten from Walmart, is the vast variety of tattoos. If I ever were to get one, I know where to look for ideas. Even grandmothers sport them there.

I really do try to avoid Walmart though. I am such a Fred Meyer girl. Because I like to get in and get out, and every 2 feet is someone I know at Walmart. I have to take an extra hour for visiting time. Fun, but I want to get out of there quickly.

I had to laugh at the shopping cart thing. I really need to be more like that. I have tolerated to many irritating ones and you have made me want to change my ways.

Mike Brinkerhoff said...

I'm with Jan... I must hate walmart more than the average person, because I'll hit Target or Freddy's any time and be happy about it, but I think I only go to walmart maybe - MAYBE - twice a year.


Cindy Brinkerhoff said...

You Donald are better then I. I am in a instant bad mood within five minutes of being there, heck I wouoldn't survive the great cart pick... I go to Target and call it good.

Yasmine said...

I hate that place too. I just feel like it's gross. The minute my hands and kids touch the shopping cart I feel like we're all contaminated with Wal Mart germs. Every time we come home I say, "Don't eat that until you wash your hands, you've got WalMart all over them!" And lately Hunter HAS to use the bathroom everytime we go. Double gross. YET...I go there once a week. I have compared prices everywhere else, and you JUST CAN'T beat 'em.

The Yancey Family said...

LOL...I can't believe I have been putting up with squeaky-wheeled carts for all these years. You better believe I will be doing some of my own test-driving from now on!

libbie said...

Yep, so true and as always so funny. I have a love hate relationship with WM, especially since we were neighbors for three years. the ONLY reason I went there was because it was right in my backyard, literally.

i also love how you are a cart snob. I am the lucky one who always ends up with the dumb cart that you get an arm workout trying to keep it going straight. Now I know why they put in that tile floor at the entrance of Kenn. WM.

Stupid Walmart. But I am sure I will be back soon, it is just too convenient.

tharker said...

This post rings SO true. Every single word. I have a few tried and trues that I have seen while perusing the Mart late at night.

You will always see grumpy mom lady yelling at her 5 dirty children for not finishing up their nutritious dinner consisting of a cup of Popcorn Chicken and a 10pm. Then she will yell at them for whining, (ya know cuz it's like 2 hours past their bedtime) and threaten to not buy them Yoo-hoo for their after shopping treat.

And yeah, I too love dirty shirt guy on his nightly beer run.

Walmart is one of those places that I loathe, but you're absolutely right, I will be back there in a few days!

heidi said...

Baby only in a diaper :) You forgot old lady and her daughter in tank-tops w/o bras. Jeff went there after work (in work clothes) and someone came up to him and said "your dressed real fancy, you must be in sales" :))

Mitchellaus Copernicus said...

Sorry everybody. The carts are all broken because I like to slide 'em around the isles, Tokyo Drift style.

SuzanSayz said...

Gee son, I think I wrote this one. You really have learned more from me than I ever realized. I really hate trying to pick out a cart there and that tile floor at the entrance may look nice but it IS a bitch trying to find a good cart with that tile floor. And I have long asserted that their employees all have to take an IQ test and only those scoring in the low range are hired. Ahh Walmart, love it, hate it, it's just a fact of life.

tania said...

Oh the joys of Walmart shopping. I can SO relate. Funny post.