I'm a fan of WalMart. When the kids were little, and I lived on a budget that was barely enough to keep one person going, much less five of us and a bigass house, Sam Walton was my best friend. Clearance items gave me the means to buy Christmas and birthdays and WalMart's food was affordable. It let me keep my dignity, and I never had to stand in line for welfare.
This was important to me.
My kids still laugh they knew it was a birthday when they could shop the sale rack, and not the clearance ones.. they still head straight to Clearance when they shop.. old habits die hard.
Now that I'm in New York, I miss my WalMart. On my last visit out to L.A., I had to pick up a prescription, and one of the joys of WalMart is their interlocking network of pharmacies. I can go to any of them in the country, and they will fill my meds. Great when you have the number and importance of my little friend who decided to invade my body's medical needs.
The line was long, so, I meandered over to WalMart's paint department to look at the colours there. I like paint colours. The names fascinate me. Gobi Desert... Parchment Paper...Liliac Breeze...oh! to have the job of naming paint colours! It's up there with wanting to name streets in my imaginary list of great jobs.
Glancing back, I saw the clerk was free, so, I walked up, and gave her my 'script.... my best smile in place...
"Hi, Julie, how long will this take?"
"A bit....how long is 'a bit'?"
"Is there a specific number attached? Ten minutes, twenty?"
"No....just a bit."
I discovered that 'a bit' equates to $62.93 in your basket as you wander about. I also discovered that WalMart remains unique in it's oddity in America. Once touted as selling American only, the smocks are now made in Mexico. Although some do feel Mexico is part of the US by population crossovers alone, it's still not officially on the flag, so, I've a feeling Sam may not have agreed. The store was organised by someone who seemed to just throw the department names in the air and see where they landed. Nothing is where it should be... I went to look for a pumice stone, and found all the foot products located with adult diapers.
I'm still not sure of the connection.
Pregnancy tests are $2.00. I'd not trust a pregnancy test that costs $2.00. More than likely, I'd buy two or three or four, just to test the accuracy, which would end up equaling the more expensive one anyway.
While looking for multi-vitamins, I was overwhelmed by the huge array of minerals and vitamins and other items on the long shelf that started with diet aids and ended with weight gain drinks. There were things I'd never heard of....black cohash, strained cranberries in tablet form mixed with ginseng, milk thistle in a capsule... what in the world is that for? Boils? The plague? Boils brought on by the plague? And 539 kinds of vitamin B. I was unable to pull myself from the area...standing there, transfixed. It was a black hole that was sucking me in. Thankfully, a friend called to ask if I what time was I going to be back in New York, or I'd still be there, talking to myself, wondering if I should buy dried white tea leaves.
I realised that their men's tee shirts have sleeves that are too short, that the deli meat is a bit off-putting, and that you always see at least two people that you know.
So, I went and picked up my prescriptions, added them to the cotton tshirts, the great white blouse, the two pairs of levis and the dried pigs ears the terrier loves and shoved my 200 lb cart to the checkout. Trying to shove it all into my already full suitcase in the hot parking lot was interesting, to say the least. I could have gone back inside to buy another case, however, I would have come out with enough stuff to fill it, and still had my first bundle of items sitting there.
In the end, I noticed the only place in the entire store that really is logical is in the pet food section, where you can find cat food and cat litter in the same aisle. What joy! There is perfection in the universe once again! Here it is, all in one spot... something goes in, something comes out...and you find the products for both in an easy stroll. The ying and yang of shopping is restored.
It was our place to meet up, share gossip and buy cotton tshirts. We all had the same clothing, and pretended we didn't.
We frequented the local businesses, too, but here, you could always find someone you knew, if you waited long enough.
I miss me my WalMart, and I assure you, it will be the first place I visit when I go back in August...right after I see every film that is playing.... at $4.25 a pop, it's heaven to go to the cinema.
Then, I'll see what and who WalMart has inside... catch up on the sales, the summer clearance, and all the town gossip.
I'd better plan on bringing an empty suitcase this time.