Person of Wal-Mart

Today, I went to Wal-Mart.

I hate Wal-Mart. Actually, I hate the Wal-Mart here in Manhattan, KS.

I don’t have a hate-on for the general company of Wal-Mart.  I know they’ve received negative press, but they do have low prices for people who don’t have alot of money. Going to  this Wal-Mart, however, induces annoyance and anxiety.

The anxiety is a personal thing. I deal with social anxiety in general, and while it has improved, it’s still really strong in certain settings.  There always seems to be too many people in Wal-Mart. The aisles feel too small, the lines too long, and the store too big. I know this is something I have to get over and I think at some point, the anxiety will ease up the way it has at Dillons or Aldi.

There’s also the fear that I’m going to end up on “People of Wal-Mart” one of these days (if I’m not there already). Felber told me I’d have to be wearing a weird hat or a visible thong  to make it on that site. While I’m not to that level, I do tend to dress scrubby on weekends (which is when I go to Wal-Mart, if I go at all), and even though 9 out of 10 other shoppers are also dressed scrubby, I feel like I’m the one being looked at (this may also be attributed to my size which seems like a bigger deal when the social anxiety comes out).

Then there are the annoyances. For instance, people who feel the need to stand and socialize in those small aisles, making it impossible for anyone else to get through. Some of those people are polite enough to notice others around them and move out of the way, but most of the time they continue to talk without even bothering to look at anyone else.

Another pet peeve is the people who let their children run wild. Not everyone does this, and I don’t begrudge moms the right to bring their children to the store. What I would expect is that they teach their children how to behave in public. I’ve actually seen some great parenting in Wal-mart. One time I saw a little girl ask if she could have something, and her mother very calmly told her that she could have it but she’d have to use her allowance money because the money she’d brought was for groceries. The little girl, who couldn’t have been more than 5, was so good about it. She didn’t throw a temper tantrum or cry. She actually seemed to think about it before saying, “No, I think I’ll find something better.”

I’ve also had children walk in front of me and say “Excuse me” or “I’m sorry” and I want to shake the parent’s hand.

Unfortunately, I usually see kids running up and down aisles, knocking into other customers, screaming because they don’t get what they want, and pulling stuff off shelves. In most of these cases, the parents are either nowhere to be seen or too busy reading a bottle of shampoo to keep their kids in check. I often think cage rentals might be appropriate at times like that.  Forget the hands…I just want to shake the parents.

The local Wal-mart also irritates me because of the slow and unfriendly customer service.  Even the self checkouts are slow, like the computer system sees the pace that everyone else works at and decides not to push its processing capabilities.

Don’t even get me started on the automotive department. I took my old car to them for oil changes and they always messed things up, charged me more than they quoted (alot more and often for services they originally told me would be no extra charge), and seemed more interested in talking to their co-workers than letting their customers know when their car was done. I haven’t taken my new car to them at all, and I never will if I can help it.

The purpose of today’s trip was to buy new pants, and the mission was accomplished. I found two pairs of decent work pants, though I didn’t actually try them on, because I hated the thought of getting undressed in their dressing rooms. Still haven’t tried them on at home either, but I will. I think I’m more worried about having to return them to Wal-mart than the fact that I won’t have two new pairs of pants if they don’t fit.

I also picked up deodorant, so at least I can be slightly less scrubby on my next trip back. If things work out okay, though, it’ll be another six months before I have to step back into that place, and maybe by then I’ll have more of my social anxiety under control.

A.

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