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.

I just love the people at Walmart!


  1. And that, my friend, was a good story. Thank you!

  2. Great story! I live in a small town that, sadly, has no Walmart. I'm stuck with Kmart unless I want to drive 25 miles or more. I love Kmart, you can always be certain they will have only one register open (even during the holidays), the clerks will have no idea where you can find what you're looking for, and the sale items will have sold out two minutes after the store opened.

  3. I have never been to Wal Mart. I don't think there is one around here. I do visit Target.

  4. Terrific and touching. Thanks for sharing that. I ragged on Walmart for an entire year to a woman I was working with at church. Didn't know until our year assignment was over that she was the daughter of the CEO of Walmart. Insert foot in mouth! Come on by for a visit. Have a great day. Holly at

  5. Holy cow, Kimberly, you've never been to a Walmart? Get yourself to - well, anywhere, anywhere at all - and get to one!

    I love Walmart. Because of all the things you just wrote about. It is the absolute best place to people watch.

    Have you heard of Walmart Bingo?

  6. Hello. My name is Pete. I am here today because I shop at Wal-Mart.

    I need to check out that Wal-Mart people site - I could be on it! In my hot pants, tube top and cowboy boots ... that's really bad considering my name is Pete. ;)

  7. I found you via Charisse and Holly's place...and this is seriously funny. I can't even put a year on the last time I set foot in my local Wal Mart...thanks for the reminder about why!

  8. Funny and touching. Great story!

  9. Very funny. I live in Canada 40 minutes from Canadian Wal-Mart and 45 minutes from U.S. Wal-Mart.I must admit that people in Canada Wal-Mart are not as colorful and quite boring to observe then the ones in the state of Washington. I am not a frequent visitor of Wal-Mart , but every time I go I admit I stop at least once, turn around and almost stare.

  10. What an absolutely fabulous story, I bet that man made that little old ladie's day a million times over.

    We don't have Walmart over here but we do have Big W which I assume is something comparative, seems the same people wear the same stylish outfits!!

  11. Walmart has such a bad rap, but it has it's place...and I do shop there on occasion (it is "far" from my place). What I am really curious about is how could Elvis be at Walmart I saw him in his jumpsuit.

  12. Wow! That is so sweet! I mean I have gone to Walmart a lot because well where I live there isn't really anything to do after 10 but go to waffle house and walmart, we have played hide and seek and all sorts of things, but I have never seen something such as what you described and I wish I had! I will keep my eyes open for sweetness now!

  13. Walmart, unfortunately, is not the best place to shop. If it didn't have the dirty walls and such a cheap "Trailer Trash" ego, I wouls shop there.