Thursday, October 22, 2009
It happened at Walmart. Seriously.
OK, so I have been known to enter Walmart under duress --
-- like the time Coleen sent me squealing out of the parking lot of the Brownie Encampment she was running so that I could fetch more crucial but dwindling camping supplies, by which I mean glitter and Mod-Podge.
Or the time my procrastinating tall boy was in the midst of printing the final draft and graphs and charts for the all-important Science Fair project (fifth grade but I still suffer from the PTSD), and the printer died, and my husband is a computer genius but like an evil genius in that he has very specific notions of what is an acceptable printer, and I can just tell you they don't sell it at Walmart. Oh -- and it was two o'clock in the morning.
But I really don't like to venture into Walmart, although I love a sweatshop-produced bargain as much as the next patriot on a budget. And where else are you going to find throw pillows, tires, Fruit of the Loom underwear, diamond earrings, Tide, and bacon all under the same roof? This is what makes America great, people -- but I have a hard time with the . . . how shall I say this? . . . trailer trash element.
Come on, now -- don't pretend you are unaware of those about whom I speak (dig my crazy good grammar used to show you how un-trailer-trashy I am, although you should have seen my wild-eyed, pajama-clad tear through the electronics section at 2:00 a.m. looking for a printer -- any printer). And let's be clear -- it's not about anyone's socio-economic situation, because frankly, who hasn't been kicked upside the head financially speaking during the past year?
It's really about a subtle, "I don't know you, and thus I don't care about you" attitude that I just see way more at Walmart than anywhere else. We've all read horrible stories about fisticuffs breaking out over a Wii, --
-- or folks who are shall we say inappropriately dressed for an outing, --
-- or people using just the most amazingly vulgar language as they correct their childrens' misbehavior -- or as they ignore that misbehavior. It's the stinkeye that patrons of different ethnicities offer each other instead of an "excuse me!" or a "please -- go ahead with your one item." I do find it troubling.
So because I rag on Walmart way too much, I felt that I needed to tell you what I saw this morning, as I left with my emergency craft paint. You know how Walmart has those people who sit at the door and say good-bye, and check your packages and monitor the alarm? Well, today the lady at the door was a woman who has worked at our Walmart since it opened fifteen years ago. She was really old then -- so goodness knows how old she is now. She's a classic blue-haired lady -- she could be my grandmother.
As I was leaving, a younger (thirty-five-ish?) black man came up to her, took both her hands in his, and very gently kissed her on the forehead. Then he continued out the door with his cart. She looked after him, a little dazed, and said, "Bye, now!" I wish I had a picture.