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Rant #255
(published December 1, 2005)
My WalMart Issues
by Sylvia J Adams
There is something so demeaning about shopping at Wal-Mart. I recognize this sounds elitist on my part, shopping there yet feeling the way I do,but I grew up on the Westside so I feel about this situation they way I do if I were to call another Westsider "Redneck": I have paid my dues to the relationship so if I want to look down on it a bit that's my prerogative.

So beyond the 200-pound women in mid-riff baring shirts and the seemingly parent-less children who look like they haven't been washed in a week or so, the unkindest cut comes at the end of the journey. Where they have all the retirees stationed at every conceivable exit waiting, highlighter in hand, to make sure that you are leaving with what you paid for. I wonder if anyone at corporate gets the irony of catering to that element and then distrusting them enough that they think given the chance, these people would snag something extra in the 20 feet it takes them to get to the door. I cannot be the only one who sees this as intrusive (if not maybe a bit illegal) but judging by the line of people, that I blaze past, waiting to have their goods checked a second time, apparently I am the only one who does not to cater to it.

I absolutely refuse to give in to this humiliation. I have paid for my mouthwash, cat food, and shampoo, the cashier saw to that, I will not slow down so that the 70 year old man can make sure I did not pocket some fertilizer sticks on my way out of the garden department. Their job is "GREETER" not "MAKE ME FEEL LIKE YOU ARE SECOND GUESSING MY MORALS". I try to make sure I put my sunglasses on as soon as I pay for my stuff because it makes it easier to not make eye contact on the way out. If you make eye contact you are done for sure. The minute they see you seeing them, out comes the highlighter. And then what can you do? The highlighter is out, you know what the highlighter is for, you have to stop.

My older sister, who will only shop at a Wal-mart if the situation is dire, ALWAYS dutifully presents her receipt to the grandmother in her Wal-mart vest over a tee shirt that says something to the effect of "Sexy Grandma". I cannot abide this. If I am with her I get all indignant about it, stomp off to the car, and stand there smoking while she is questioned about exactly how many tubes of Crest she is leaving with. She tells me that they are just doing their job and what harm is there if you haven't stolen anything? I tell her that corporate Wal-mart may think they have the right to turn a 40,000 square foot building into a police state but I got civil rights that would speak to the contrary. She of course, led an exemplary adolescence, moving on to a straight and narrow adulthood so I imagine her run ins with law have been limited to the FOP calling her for donations. I, however, managed a few scrapes in my youth so I learned young exactly what my rights were and when they were being violated.

But despite it all I can't stay out of the Mart. The toothpaste is exceedingly cheap and the selection of hair care products is unparalled. I prefer Target but it usually falls under the heading of " If only". If only it were closer to my home . . . If only I worked closer to one . . . If only they offered me the entertainment value that Wal-mart does . . .

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