Wednesday, August 12, 2009


You can always count on coming across some interesting characters at Wal-Mart.

Today I went in to return a shirt I had bought for work a couple months ago but didn't really like (I wore one of my denim skirts even though M doesn't like them - apparently she associates anything denim with the 1980's thus deems it outdated. I wore the short one.) If I'm going to spend money on something, especially lately, I'd better really like it. It had puffy sleeves with elastic around the bottom to make frills. Not my style. At the time when I got it, I was looking for any white, button up top that would do. It no longer does. So, back it goes. Remaining, I have one short-sleeve shirt with a big rip in the back (it is currently retired, awaiting repair), a long-sleeve with a button missing (also awaiting repair) and, finally, one long-sleeve which is still, and will hopefully remain, in commission.

I found a decent parking place and started walking in. There was a family walking out which included an elderly woman riding on one of those Wal-Mart scooters with the attached shopping baskets in front. The basket was so full of bags that you couldn't see the woman behind them and, I realize as I'm typing this, I suppose she couldn't see me or anything else in front of her really, and I guess her escorts were helping her navigate the parking lot as I don't know how else she could have done it.

Waiting in line at customer service, there was a mother with three young children all of whom had very light-as-to-be-almost-imperceptible eyebrows, and all of whom were wearing crocks in varying states of deterioration and filth. The children, though, all looked reasonably clean. The youngest girl was already mimicking the concept of a (young) adult woman as best as her imagination could, carried a pocketbook, seemed very mature - despite the missing teeth - and took very well to giving her (older) brother threatening looks and generally bossing him around in much the same way I would rather suspect an eldest sibling would do. (Really, I guess she was just defending herself. The older brother was picking on her a bit.) She was very intent on relaying to her mother the sensation that some Burt's Bees preparation had caused on her face, i.e. that of a "mask." She was smiling, though, as she described it. Another win for Revlon.

Also in line there was another elderly woman bound to a scooter. She, though, could see everything around her and at one point slapped the hell out of her grandchild - I don't know what the girl was doing, but clearly the woman (I'm assuming the grandmother) disapproved. Very quick reflexes, this woman. She lashed out like a whip. The girl quickly removed herself from being within striking distance of the woman, who several times demanded that the girl "fix" her face (the girl was pouting). It's never been within my reasoning to understand why one would expect anyone not to show emotion after they've just been slapped or scolded, in public no less. It's very embarrassing, in case you've never experienced it and, within this context, I think pouting was an appropriate response, less it had been slapping the old woman right back.

Yes, this is obviously a break from my normally very austere approach to youth.


Anonymous said...

As a sometime Wal Mart shopper, I am horrified (and sometimes amused) by the parade of negative stereotypes.

terry said...

the last time i was in WalMart was on Sunday night, about 9:00, over Memorial Day weekend. what a surreal set of people! i felt like i had hopped into a parallel universe.

Amber said...

I do love the Wal-Mart.