Just like going to Wal-Mart parts of this post may be visually shocking. This is the start of an Etiquette Guide and the flow for the reader should be arriving, shopping, checking out, leaving. Please enjoy and if you have something that you think I missed, comment at the end and I will consider it for the final draft.
Parking Lot: This seems like the right place to start. Why on God’s green earth do people camp out for the closest spots in the two rows directly in front of the doors. Your blinker doesn’t make this situation okay. We are not teaching proper geometry in public schools. How ironic is it that we waste so much energy for a closer space only to walk into a gigantic store that we will lap three times because we can’t organize a shopping list. Some people shop like a drunken bumble bee just bouncing around the pretty flowers. I do this sometimes but I also don’t worry about parking close. Just park beside a cart return because that is the real pain, putting up your cart.
When entering or exiting the store, use some urgency. No need to run across the pedestrian crossing zone but also don’t cross at a diagonal taking the 100% longest route known to man. Walking to your car should be done on one side or the other so vehicles can pass and life can move on without you. Oh and regarding angled spaces and large white arrows, if you can’t figure out the correct direction to drive and then you look at me like I’m crazy I may fire a missile in your general direction. Wal-Mart is the only logical argument for gun control. There may actually be others but definitely Wal-Mart is at the top.
Large Family Carts: Until you can maintain a steady supply of the deluxe family carts I will henceforth have two children stuffed into one regular cart and two others circling wildly with no regard for anything but staring at the magical commerce all around them. They don’t pay attention and may grab random customers hands and call them dad on accident, they really don’t pay attention. The large carts have three seats with belts so I can strap everyone down in one location. I can never find these carts and it is someone else’s loss. Also an issue under carts; thumping wheels, broken seat belts, and thank you for putting sanitary wipes at the entrance. The wipes almost make up for the stamped concrete that helps hide the busted wheel thump until you are too committed to turn back and get a different cart. Almost.
Solicitors at the Front Door: This isn’t the tourist district in Mexico. I don’t need people hawking their causes each time I go in and out which sometimes is twice a day. Girl Scout cookies are an addiction of mine but they need to be hitting the streets and working for those sales. Catching hungry shoppers and making them feel guilty for cute little kids selling cookies is criminal. The cookies sell themselves, just give me a membership signup sheet for the website and coordinate the monthly deliveries. I totally care about veterans, feeding the needy, toys for Botswana, and the hundred other charities that put me on the spot for donations but I like to see where my efforts are going and there is no onus on Wal-Mart to make sure people are genuine organizations. I think the general rule is, “Don’t piss anyone off and we won’t call the cops.”
Dress Code: Should this even be a category? No. No it shouldn’t. There also shouldn’t be enough violations to start a website on the “People of Wal-Mart”.
Clothes sizes at Wal-Mart = Your Size Normally + 2 Sizes. Buy your stretchy pants based on this scale. Please in the name of all that is holy use the formula. If you have a Camel Toe on your outer butt cheek the pants are too tight.
Hoop earrings should be less that 75% of the diameter of your head and if your neck rolls support them more than your ear lobes…maybe you should reconsider the need for earrings. Have you considered cocaine or just not eating everything you see? I don’t want to spiral into a weight discussion because there are a lot of legitimate problems but, if you smash my toes with a battery powered Rascal scooter to get the large sleeve of Chips-A-Hoy cookies because, at 34, your self-induced diabetes has left your knees useless…. Priorities people, priorities.
Side note to Wal-Mart; Plug those damn scooters in the charger once in a while. I have witnessed up to three abandoned electric scooters scattered about the store with their low battery warning alarms blaring away. I know you hear them. Maybe you are too busy reminding the unsupervised kids having a cart race that running is prohibited “for your safety and ours”. They are ignoring you like you ignore the beeping carts, it is synonymous.
Pets in Wal-Mart: I haven’t officially checked because blogs aren’t held to any kind of standards but I would hope the Wal-Mart policy on pets is Service Animals Only. One day after I started to compile this post I saw my first ever pet brought into Wal-Mart. Actually two pets in one night.
The first was a cute puppy with its little cute puppy breath, awwww. I think he was a seeing-eye dog in training. We can disregard the puppy because it was adorable.
The second pet was more interesting. We were near the photo department and a large lady driving an electric scooter was having a price match discussion with the lay-away service representative. She had a large peacock T-Shirt (the shirt was large not the peacock), blue velour pants sporting a mean Moose Knuckle (think camel toe but much worse), and Chuck Taylors with fluorescent laces. This ensemble itself is interesting enough for discussion. Why would your dress up the one part of your body you can’t see? This seems like a perfect scenario for slip on shoes.
Nearby were two members of her family tree that I assume were the branch and the twig. The younger of the three looked about 13 years old and was wearing a Tattoo parlor T-shirt with a homemade haircut that highlighted a look of despair.
In the basket of the electric scooter was a black and pink Hello Kitty handbag and beside that handbag was a 30lb cat in a purple and green tutu. The cat was wearing a Hello Kitty vest that matched the handbag. I smiled and told our baby to wave at the nice kitty but I was dying inside. Here was a cat that matched its owner from outfit to obesity and even had the same lazy eye. It was lying motionless on a custom pet pad just looking at the floor or the ceiling, maybe both.
Just… why? Is the cat a counterweight for the scooter? Does it like to pick out its own ice cream toppings? I have no idea.
What were we talking about? Oh yeah, Wal-Mart.
Pharmacy: They suck at communication, filling prescriptions, checking messages from the doctors, typing names correctly, and stocking up on medicines that people regularly use. We all know these facts and still seem to be unable to change pharmacies due to “convenience”. They don’t even offer drive through service but still we don’t change. What is wrong with us? Let’s all agree to acknowledge this shameful loyalty with a forced smile and a shake of the head, no need to drag out a long conversation.
Shopping Cart Traffic: Treat the aisles like a two way street. Here in America you drive on the right hand side and cars pass on the left. Walking beside your cart and taking the entire aisle while you decide on the different brands of water packed tuna is a jerk move. If you come shopping on a Sunday afternoon around 4 or 5 o’clock don’t be in a hurry. Everyone has better places to be and getting all worked up isn’t going to help. How there hasn’t been a mass shooting at a Wal-Mart crowd on a Friday or Sunday night is beyond me. Besides getting cut off in traffic, an asshole on my tail in Wal-Mart is at the top of my hot button list. The best cart-rage is when two people never make eye contact but try to posture for place in the checkout line. A passive-aggressive showdown.
Kids in the Restroom: Another handy rule of thumb: If your kid goes pee-pee alone at school, maybe letting them go at the supermarket is okay too. I’m not keen on eight year olds going to the wrong restroom with a parent. It is creepy. Just don’t be that person. If you sincerely didn’t know, now you do. Don’t try to convince me of why you do it.
“But you don’t understand those bathroom are so dirty and..”
“Shhhhhhhhhh. I don’t care. Stop it. My kids lick the edge of counter tops that they get too close to. They don’t even know they are doing it. We have to let them go to live their lives and battle their own acquired diseases.”
Employees: I don’t know much about other states but in the South we have a gun department in Wal-Mart. A tip for upper management; if you have an early twenties male who looks like a loner and 3 out of 4 people might describe him as a serial killer, let’s not put him in the gun department. I asked a question about ammunition and he immediately wanted to talk about long range rifles and “large game” knockdown rounds. I felt like he might be describing hunting people so I complimented his haircut and left immediately. As I recall he did look like Lee Harvey Oswald. Hmm.
Clearance Sale: If you are trying to move inventory that sucks, clearance pricing might be an effective way to do that. However, knocking five percent off of AC/AD Live Guitar Hero which also dominates the sale bin in electronics is not a “Clearance” price. Clearance means we don’t want this crap and if you sold it for scrap you might make your money back. We’re talking 60% off before you should bring out the “C” word. And don’t give me a previous price that we both know to be a total lie. No one ever paid $59.99 for AC/DC Live Guitar Hero.
Car lots give thousands off MSRP, when are things ever sold at MSRP? At Target. Which is why I still go to Wal-Mart. Anyone who argues which is cheaper needs to check quantities; Poptarts are the same price at both places but at WalMart the box has 16 and at Target it has 12. Hmmm. It is the Family Dollar concept in reverse, make a cleaner store with similar prices and sell them less of it. Genius.
Great Value Brand: When will this generic rewards program extend to things like TV’s and Computers? I would buy a Great Value Blueray player. Think about it, it would be a Sony with a different box. Win.
Checkout Line: When did shopping carts become the same as cars in traffic? Probably from the moment they were put into use. The fear of a lengthy checkout makes people crazy. Society is pretty clear that if you are participating in a line of any kind, cutzies isn’t okay. The other side of that coin is that you won’t lose your place in line if you allow more than six inches between the front of your cart and the shopper in front of you. I actually got bumped in the ankle by someone crowding my bumper in the Wal-Mart checkout line. I admit I lost my cool on the poor man for a minute and said some mean things but deep down I feel there is zero need to ever be that close. When did we stop teaching personal space? A good rule of thumb is one invisible human between your cart and any nearby people. And while we are at it, calm down with the loading the conveyor and moving up on the credit card machine too quickly. If I want to load my cart to help the checker I shouldn’t have to ask you to move back so I can complete my payment. You have a brain. Use it and plan ahead.
All of this mayhem could be avoided by actually staffing at least half of the thirty two cash registers spanning the entire front of the store. You don’t pay fair wages anyway so it can’t be a big loss to have a few extra on the clock.
Who Are These Kids: Also along the personal space line of thinking. Watch your damn kids. It isn’t cute when a snotty petri-dish of a kid with a hacking cough wants to play with any of my children. Don’t touch my kids because I don’t know where you have been and you don’t know where my kids have been. Eating things they find stuffed in seat cushions, that’s where. Do you want to get slobbery kisses or germs from that? I don’t. So let’s keep our wandering free spirits out of the [nice man in front of us]’s ass. Toddling two year olds are cute and forgivable but a six year old who face plants in my butt crack is not.
Forgot an Item: Sending your kid to run and switch out an item while we all wait is going to give us all a stroke. We spent a lot of mental energy looking at line lengths and deciding which on seemed to be moving the fastest and you screwed the whole thing. Forgetting that you needed a 24oz. ketchup instead of the 18oz. is not anyone’s problem but your own. Back of the line. This is almost worse than holding up the bank line because you didn’t want to fill out a deposit slip like the rest of humanity. Almost as bad.
Creepy Social Media: Dear Wal-Mart coordinator of technology, it is creepy enough that you know when I shop and email me within thirty minutes. Please stop suggesting literally every item that I just bought. If I needed two I would have purchased both of them. Suggest something useful like if I buy diapers and baby food, maybe remind me about condoms and Tylenol. I’m just saying.
Security Procedures: What does the rent-a-cop patrol really do besides tell me to move out of the fire lane because I can’t park there. He knows my car is running and still in gear because I let off the brake every few seconds and inch up so he has to do the same to continue talking to me. By the time he is fed up with my game my wife is usually done grabbing whatever small item she needs and we move on. The rent-a-cop dwells on my subversion of his authority and takes out his rage on other violators of the parking codes. Maybe security should work to make the parking area more secure so people like my mother aren’t robbed at knife point. True story. Maybe share the security footage with law enforcement so it doesn’t happen ten times that week. Just some thoughts.
Discount Gas Station: Wal-Mart lowers the price on everything and gas is no exception. The savings are 5 cents per gallon at the most. Most of you are spending $20 to 30 dollars which is 7 to 10 gallons of gas. Congratulations, your road rage and thirty minute wait has saved a grand total of $0.50. That was worth it huh? Now move so I can fill my car up. I need that fifty cents and no I don’t want the fuel enhancer for $7.99.
Follow these rules and you can avoid being a jerk like me. You’re welcome.
Underdaddy to the rescue.