Unlike most Americans, I despise a visit to Wal-Mart. I’ve shopped at the store less than five times in my lifetime and that was only when necessary. Such as, it’s the only store in town or after much research for a unique product I discovered it’s only available at Wal-Mart. Take marzipan for example, only at Wal-Mart in my neck of the woods or the dinosaur card deck I needed for the education department at the Natural History museum. I remember each time I had to shop at the megastore. In certain parts of the Carolinas it’s the only store within hours. Recently, with the urging of my mom, I embarked upon a journey into Wal-Mart along the Treasure Coast of Florida. She needed shorts and a few other things and I needed socks since my dog stole and hid all of mine. My little Snorkie has a sock fetish. It was a bonding opportunity between mother and daughter I convinced myself, otherwise I would have stayed in the car.
We grabbed a cart and meandered through the isles. I followed as she leisurely lead the way. After quickly grabbing some socks she rummaged around the clothing section. I continued perusing bags of athletic socks looking for some made in the USA. Fruit-of-the-Loom black socks, made in the USA. Fruit-of-the-Loom white socks, made in China and Mexico. I kept looking and found two bags of basic white socks made in the USA. I snagged both and gloated back to my mother with our cart. I picked up her sack of socks and replaced them with the ones I discovered.
“I found some made in the US, would you like to buy those instead,” I asked, not giving her a choice.
“Sure,” she smiled.
After finding some acceptable mother shorts for her Florida visit I deliberately herded her towards the check-out counter. Otherwise, we would have been there all day. For the most part I shop with an agenda, quickly in-and-out with intended items in hand. On the other hand, my mom is a browser. She likes to roam every aisle looking for deals and cute things she’ll never use. Wal-Mart is designed for this type of shopper. “But it’s so cheap. I need it for something.” Like what flashes through my mind. Do you really need lighted slippers or a Shake Weight? The “As seen on TV,” commercial is funny, but really.
I made it through Wal-Mart with a fairly decent experience, unlike past stressful visits to the superstore. Back at our rental home my mom informed me that she needed to return a pair of shorts that didn’t fit. Wal-Mart twice in one year was not going to happen in my world.
The next day I drove her back, parked and waited in the car. Not such a good decision on my part since I relinquished my herding capacity. “Oh, you’re not coming in? I feel guilty making you wait in the car. I’ll be quick. Call me on my cell if you need anything.”
I nodded my head and failed to tell her that I forgot my phone. Since I was phoneless, I killed time people-watching. Who knew the parking lot of Wal-Mart could be so entertaining? Two scruffy men in a beat-up white Toyota truck advertising Tree Cutting Services parked in front of me. Lunch at Wal-Mart, classy. The passenger took a swing from a gallon size orange jug leading me to believe something stronger than water occupied his personal container. I wouldn’t want this crew cutting my trees. They were in and out of the store in no time as my attention shifted to a nice cream color vintage MG convertible. The older gentleman strolled in and returned to his car with a solitary bag. On my left side three cars came and went all with just a single bag. One disheveled middle-aged cracked-up couple driving a Jag came out with just a case of water. Who goes into a megastore for a single item or two, especially when every store imaginable is within a few miles? Are these people Wal-Martaholics? Is this a daily ritual for them?
Forty-five agitated minutes later and a few false sightings of my mother she returned with a few bags in hand. I grunted and smiled and vowed to never become a Wal-Martaholic.