Monday, November 3, 2008

The Competetive Nature of the Wal-Mart Regulars

Sundays. Relaxation. Rest. Recreation. Other words that begin with R.

Sundays. Not meant for grocery shopping. Helping Mike realize why he long ago decided to make grocery trips on weekdays or late late late late at night when only vampires, zombies, and hookers are prowling the streets. Sundays, the holy day - unless you visit the SuperWal-Mart, then it embodies all that is unholy. A Sunday afternoon atthe Super Wal-Mart is hell.

My little adventure to the local discount everything-under-the-sun emporium began with a quote from a former co-worker resonating in my head. "I'm wary of any store where you can buy lunch meat, brake fluid, and a hamster all under one roof." Why oh why wasn't I wary? I didn't need any of those things, yet there I was, pulling into theSuper Wal-Mart parking lot. Parking acreage is more like it. That lot should have it's own zip code. It should have little cartoon characters mounted on posts so you remember which time zone you parked in. It needed traffic cops.

In that lot, I encountered at least seven of my top ten pet peeves about driving. People who use the giant pedestrian crosswalk as if it's a force field and walk without looking. People who are unable to grasp the concept of a four way stop. People who sit in the parking lot aisles with their signals on waiting for a woman who hasn't moved quickly since Hoover was president to load a bomb shelter's worth of groceries into her Edsel. People who walk down the center of the aisle arm in arm, taking up the whole way, as if they're skipping down the way to see the wizard. People who zoom down the other way so they can steal a space from you. People who drive the wrong way down the aisles with the diagonal spaces so they have to do fifty-three point turns to maneuver into the space. AND - People who leave their carts in the way.

While I was readying myself to pull down an aisle, already having seen a space down there, a big ass pick-up with a bumper sticker that read "BIG ASS PICKUP," disobeyed the rules of four way stops and common courtesy, barreling through the crosswalk - nearly smashing into an elderly woman with a cart full of melons (more melons than I've ever seen one person cram into a shopping cart ever before) and sped down the aisle.

Of course, Big Ass took my spot, so my pregnant wife and I had to keep going down the way, all the way to the last space. (she always refuses when I offer to drop her off).

Luckily, I came to the store prepared with my list. I had it organized by section of the store to make the shopping experience as quick and painless as possible. The Wal-Mart Gods are laughing at that last sentence, in fact, I think one of them, Wally (the God of Brake Fluid and Hamsters) is preparing to smite me for merely suggesting such a thing.

We started off in produce. She got some onions and potatoes while I searched for an acceptable green pepper. On my way back to the cart, I took a quick side trip over to the bagged salad, juking and weaving my way through the mass of tomato squeezers and apple knuckle-thumpers. I grabbed the appropriate mixture of assorted leaves and headed back to safety.

Safety. Ha. A gigantic woman with a small child attached to her face, in a way that is much more unusual than whatever you imagine a small child attached to a gigantic woman's face might be, came barreling towards me. Her cart was making this really strange whirring noise, like she'd stuck an Oscar Gamble rookie card in the spokes to make it sound like a motorcycle.


She whirred her way closer and closer, almost on top of me. I could tell by the toddler that was crawling on her head that she was unable to see me.

I looked for an escape.

Tomato thumpers and apple squeezers had me blocked in. I thought about a nifty Jackie Chan-style jump over her move, but sadly, I just don't have the hops, so she slammed into me. She did finally realize I was there, but the look on the part of her face that I could see was pure evil. She was blaming me. Then, right then, I realized I was dealing with Big Ass Pickup Truck Lady. She had now officially reached nemesis status.

After that, PlainOleWife and I split up for the most part. We wheeled our way around, branching off in different directions to gather the necessities, periodically meeting back at the cart. Along the way, I met several interesting characters. A rough outline of my Wal-Mart excursion:

A lady with so many paper towels you'd have thought she was planning to Quicker Picker Up the Great Lakes.

Big Ass whirrrr whirrrrrrrrrr whirrrrrrrrrrrrrrrring her way in frontof me to get to the milk, almost crushing my toes.

A man who was buying three cans of Hormel chili and a beige toilet seat.

Whirrrr whirrrrrrrrrr whirrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr, shoving my cart out of the way, causing me to knock into paper towel lady (who, quite frankly, frightened me in a more than your average Wal-Mart patron sort of way).

A pair of frat boys that seemed utterly fascinated by the lobsters inthe tank. They may have thought they were at the aquarium, because later I saw them intently watching the Mrs. Paul's section of the freezer case.

I can't quite get to the ground beef because someone has whirrrrwhirrrrrrrrrr whirrrrrrrrrrrrrrrred directly between me and the meat case as I was reaching for cow bits.

A guy in the baking stuff aisle doing a Jerry Seinfeld style stand-up routine for his fellow cake mix perusers, "What is the deal with evaporated milk? If it's evaporated, then what's in the can?"

A small child sprinting down the breakfast aisle with a box of cereal that was so large it actually appeared at first to be a box of Cheerios with Nike's on. Seriously, the Cheerios were so big he probably could have gotten in that box as the secret prize.

Whirrrr whirrrrrrrrrr whirrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr, no you can not have those Pop-Tarts.

A woman who was buying so many groceries that she was struggling to shove anything more into the cart. I saw her tossing rolls of toilet paper into there, only to have them roll off the mountain of rice, boxed potatoes, and hamburger buns and tumble to the floor. She did, however, still have two kids standing in the cart, buried to the waist. There was no way they were getting out of there before the checkout line. Feet circulation may have been an issue.

Whir whirrrrrr slaaaaaammmmmmmmm. My cart goes flying out of the bread aisle into a Gatorade display. I was in Big Ass's way. She apparently had a hot dog bun emergency.

I also saw the tallest woman I've ever seen. She was pulling items off the top shelves from the opposite side of the aisle, like she'd "Go Go Gadget Arms"ed or something.

Eventually, we'd completed our list and headed to the checkout. We waited patiently for the lady in front of us's groceries to make theirway down the conveyor belt, but she seemed unusually put out when I asked her to hand me the divider stick thing, as if she felt my groceries may contaminate hers. In time, though, we checked out, the cashier tossing our purchases into the whirlly bag carousal with the speed and accuracy I love in a checkout girl.

It was time to go, and no one had been horribly injured. Yet.

On ourway out the door, we found Big Ass again. She, and her boob of a husband, cut us off again, almost forcing us to run into an obese woman on a Rascal that had mis-read "In" and/or "Out" on her way into the store.

Hubbooby shot me a "ha ha" sort of look as they walked into the crosswalk without looking. I was silently hoping for a different big ass pick-up to come barrelling through and squoosh them, but no such luck. The world will have to suffer them a bit longer.

PlainOleWife and I made our way back to the car, not exactly certain which row we'd parked in, silently wishing for a "Goofy 7" sign to magically appear. With no such luck, we chose a lane and started trekking to the very end.

There it was, off in the distance, just past what should have been tram stop #5. Up ahead I could hear the unmistakable "WhirrrrWhirrrrrrrrrr Whirrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr" sound of Big Ass's cart, but she stopped long before we did.

I tossed the plastic bags into the trunk, let Wife into the car, and looked around for one of those cart corrals. The closest one was three quarters of the way back to the store, so off I went, wondering why in the world would they wouldn't have one way back in the boonies. I contemplated just leaving the cart to teach them a lesson, but then I'd have to kick my own self, so I made the journey.

As I started, I could hear the sound of my enemy. Just behind me, on the other side of the lane, "Whirrrr WhirrrrrrrrrrWhirrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr." I couldn't help it, I wanted to get a good look at one of them. I glanced over there and it was Husboob, a look on his face like we were racin' for pinks. I actually started to imagine the Asian Howard Cosell from "Better Off Dead."

He started to speed up, "Whirr Whirrrr Whirrrrrr Whirrrr WhirrrrrrrrrrWhirrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr," trying to get ahead of me. I didn't want to stoop to his level of Hubboobery, but I couldn't help it. Soon, I found myself riding the cart like a skateboard, pushing off with one foot, making every effort to stay in front. I glanced over my shoulder and realized he'd picked up ground, but the corral was insight. We were close. I gave it everything I had, jumping down off the cart and running with it. Whirrr Whirrrrrr Whirrrrrring closer, I could hear him gaining on me. Oh no, a soccer mom opening the tailgate of her mini-van, I'd have to go around. Precious seconds lost. He was ahead of me now, almost there. I kicked it into highgear, a gear I hadn't used since Tony Girardi was chasing me with most of a fence post back in seventh grade, and I started to make up the gap. Lady in his way, furiously pushing the car remote buttons hopingto hear her car beep off in the distance somewhere near Minnie 12. Hehad to cut to his right to avoid her, but she wanted to move that direction out of his way. He had to stop, and I made my move. Passing him by at the last second, I slammed my cart into the corral, turned and started to walk back to Goofyville.

I gave him one of those satisfied nods as I passed him, as if I was shouting, "Sucka!!!"

Sure, I stooped to his level. Without a doubt, I was an idiot. I don't deny that my maleness got the best of me. Yes, I too had becomea Husboob. But, at least I wasn't going home to a Big Ass. I win.


Bill said...

Lost count of how many nails you hit on the head Mike! Everyone will be saying, oh yeah, been there, experienced that. You bet I stumbled :>)

eve cleveland said...

Hookers can be good company...I'm just sayin. But Wal-Mart ain't no fun fer me neither.

Chat Blanc said...

hahaha! husboob, loves it! :D

dadthedude said...

Love your stuff Mike - in a dude sorta way..ya know..

AngieSS said...

Hahaha Wally-World adventures. Seriously, that place scares me. Just get in and get out -- and try to do it with your dignity -- which you sorta did. :)

Bee said...

Ummmm don't mean to be demanding but uh... it's the 9th soon to be 10th and no new post.

I read them on my feed and I'm getting restless.

Angelique said...

Interesting post..! Well, I always prefer WalMart for grocery shopping.

Adullamite said...

A man after my own heart!
I love you! (Fraternally like I mean)
How I hate supermarkets with people!