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Ruminations from the Wal-Mart

Discussion in 'Anything goes' started by Batman, Mar 8, 2009.

  1. Batman

    Batman Well-Known Member

    We've had these threads before, but every now and then something just clicks inside me when I'm at the Wal-Mart after midnight. Time freezes, things move in slow-motion, I notice everything. Even when nothing remarkable is happening, there's always observational gold at that time and place.
    Tonight was one of those nights, so I'll try to channel my inner Bubbler. More than anything I just want to give this stream of consciousness thing some permanance before bed.

    Stopped to get flowers for the wife on the way home from work. Sure Wal-Mart is doing its part to destroy our economy, but where else can you get a $5 bouquet at midnight? On the way in, there's a 50-year-old guy in the parking lot talking to a woman I'm pretty sure is not his wife but that he has seen naked. He's got one of those "Yeah, I still got it" self-satisfied looks on his face. By the door, there's a redneck family mulling over some sort of unseen damage to what looks like a 1995 Buick. I'm pretty sure it's the nicest car they have ever, or will ever, own.

    I get inside, grab the flowers and a couple boxes of gummy Starbursts for the missus, and have a choice of two lanes. Lane 8 has a woman with a fairly full cart. Lane 9 has two people, one a 50ish black woman who looks to be about checked out and the other a 20-something hispanic guy with two items.
    I pick Lane 9, and almost immediately I can hear the loser's music from the Price is Right playing in my head. If there were theme music that played randomly in the world, that would be an awesome piece whenever someone makes a bad decision. But I digress.
    The black lady had a cart full of stuff, and naturally needed a price check on two or three items. The line slows to a halt. As the total finally pops up -- $160.77 -- she pulls out the debit card. I wish I could take bets on things like whether a person's card will be declined or not. Betting on this lady not covering a $160 bill would've been like betting on the 2007 Patriots.
    As the dreaded "Alternate tender required" sign lights up on the display, the cashier in Lane 8 is plowing through customers like she's the freakin' Flash and the Price is Right music starts playing in my head again. The hispanic guy gives me a knowing and somber look. I think he had plans.
    I make the best of it, though, and just start reading magazine covers and looking at the various baseball and football cards along the side of Lane 9. It's amazing how far a once-proud hobby has fallen. Every type of card advertises some sort of "game worn" memorabilia or an "autographed" rookie card by an NFL draft pick. That's great if you get a Darren McFadden or some such. But you know most of those autographs are sixth-rounders who got cut in training camp.
    My outrage is tempered, though, by the sight of a box of Barack Obama cards. Yes, Obama. Apparently, when you're elected president these days you get a contract with Topps. Who knew? If they had those in the '30s would you have had an FDR action pose? I shudder at the thought of some of Clinton's "game-used" memorabilia, though.
    There's also a smattering of WWE cards and Magic: The Gathering cards, which are an utter disappointment after I saw packs of WCW cards in another Wal-Mart a few months ago. For those not in the know, WCW was a wrestling promotion that went out of business roughly 10 years ago. I'm certain that those were NOT nostalgic re-releases.
    Eventually, I spy a pack of Topps baseball cards and almost pluck one out of the bin just for the hell of it -- and then I realize the damn things are $2 a pack. WTF!? I remember when they were 50 cents. No thank you, Topps. I'll keep my money securely in my wallet.

    After a moment, I snap out of my trading card induced stupor and see that the Lane 8 checker has cleared her line. Well done, ma'am! I weigh my options for a moment. Is it a douchy move to bolt for the other lane? Is this lady almost done? Stay or go? Stay or go?
    My decision is made when she breaks out the checkbook. Her debit card is denied, but Wal-Mart will take a check from her? Yikes.
    I make a break for Lane 8 and freedom. As Super Cashier is scanning my stuff, a cyborg-like grimace frozen on her face, I spy the poor hispanic guy still stuck in Lane 9. He really has no choice but to wait it out, but he doesn't have to be happy about it. He looks at me with a gaze that is laden with both jealousy and contempt. I shrug it off and resist the urge to do a victory dance as I pick up my bag and leave. Don Henley is playing over the speakers and his words stick with me -- "Don't look back, you can never look back..."
    So I don't. I smile and wave at the receipt nazi guarding the door. With his snowy white beard he looks like a wisened old monk bidding me safe passage into the night. I stroll through the automatic doors and get in my car.
    And get held up once again by the old black lady, who has finally made it out of the line and takes about 30 seconds to cross the street as I'm pulling the car out of the lot.
  2. KYSportsWriter

    KYSportsWriter Well-Known Member

  3. Petrie

    Petrie Guest

    Absolutely fantastic. I went to Wal-Mart late Wednesday night (technically about 12:15 a.m. Thursday), when a slew of employees were in the one checkout line to get their paychecks cashed. That, my friend, was an experience.
  4. Angola!

    Angola! Guest

    so, i'm guessing the lady in lane 8 was white?
  5. Football_Bat

    Football_Bat Well-Known Member

    Was there anyone in the parking lot playing "Bowling for Blowjobs" with a shopping trolley?
  6. YankeeFan

    YankeeFan Well-Known Member

    It's nice that you're not embarrassed by your prejudices.

    And a Nazi reference too, awesome!

  7. YankeeFan

    YankeeFan Well-Known Member

    Yeah, but she wasn't a redneck or a nazi. Otherwise only minorities need to be pointed out by batman who apparently attaches labels to nearly everyone he sees.
  8. txsportsscribe

    txsportsscribe Active Member

    i want my minute and a half back from reading the initial post
  9. Smallpotatoes

    Smallpotatoes Well-Known Member

    Can Bubbler please repost the original Wal-Mart at Midnight story?
    I remember it taking me 10 minutes to get through brake and bake because I was laughing so hard.
  10. Football_Bat

    Football_Bat Well-Known Member

    Wal-Mart + Bubbler + SportsJournalists.com = this board's finest moment.
  11. RossLT

    RossLT Guest

    So I am a little curious about why he thought the card would be declined.
  12. micke77

    micke77 Member

    Ah, late night runs at Wally World. Nothing like it to get the competitive juices to flowing and making you irritable for the rest of the week.
    I made a late Friday night run to WW to pick up a few groceries...no more than 10 items, max.
    So I go to the lane where it says "20 items or less."
    Naturally, the lady in front of me who has an ass so wide it also carries an area code, has a cart packed with no less than 50 items. And that might be a conservative guess.
    And I'm thinking (and even mumbling), "what the fuck?"
    Looking around to see any other open lanes, I find none. Mainly because Wal-Mart logic tells you that, if a SuperCenter has 36 lanes, we keep open only five and even during the Christmas holiday season when half of North America shows up to do their shopping. Why make it easy on our customers, right?
    So I fiddle with my Blackberry while waiting and semi-huffing and puffing and mumbling a few more "what the fucks?"
    Finally, Amazon Woman gets ready to pay for her plethora of items and--surprise, surprise--left her pocket book in the fucking car. Apologizes profusely, but I can see the cashier is as put out about this scenario as I am.
    Still no other open lanes or anything close to being open because, at this time of night, our local W-M gets a lot of traffic.
    Finally, however, I do spot an open lane where, again, it's set up for "20 Items or Less."
    The customer in front of me is a lady who, incredibly, meets the quota of "20 Items or Less."
    That's the good news.
    The bad news is that she pays for these items with a check. And I hear the cashier call out the total to her. It's $5.75.
    Five bucks, 75 cents.
    And she is writing a check.
    And, of course, the check doesn't get approved by the manager on duty who comes over with a frown that would rival that of Victoria Beckham.
    Let's see now: I have now consumed 45 minutes trying to complete what should be a simple mission.
    But at Wal-Mart, on any given night in any given city in America, it's a mission that oftentimes goes unaccomplished.
    Are we having fun yet?
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