Walmart people aren’t like us. They are strange and different and disturbing.
Now I understand why we have the gene for prejudice. All through life we are told not to judge people, to meet them on their own terms.

Yet it’s hard not to. We do it all the time. Why then does evolution equip us with this horrible tendency?

Walmart. It is good to fear the people in the blue vests. It is wise and proper that your blood run cold at the sight of the smiley face flair button on the purple vest.

My first encounter is with Cartboy the Obsessive. Cartboy’s job in Bizzaro Walmart world is to collect the carts from the parking lot and return them to the store for the shoppers to use.

It sounds simple, and it works fine at other stores. Cartboy the Obsessive though is granted a foul implement. He has what I can only describe as the Cartrain Engine. The Cartrain engine is a powerful device that allows Cartboy to push around an infinite number of carts.

What Cartboy does is park the Cartrain engine in front of the good empty parking spots. The he collects carts and attaches them to the Cartrain engine. He will not simply collect 50-60 carts and return them to the store. For Cartboy the Obsessive, nothing less than collecting every cart in the entire parking lot and assembling them into the ultimate cart train will suffice.
Of course this is an impossible task. The long-haired hippy Cartboy the Obsessive stares balefully at shoppers exiting Walmarts with their carts. He follows them to their cars takes their carts and attaches them to his 100 yards of Cartrain, and Cartrain engine.

Though I’ve never actually seen the Cartrain in motion, there is a statistically certain chance that it will be blocking you into your parking space when you exit the store.

I avoid Cartboy by parking in the extreme end of the parking lot, and begin the hike to the store.

The weather is fine yet when I enter I am hit by an inexplicable blast of air from the heaters.

As I enter Walmart Proper I am met by Smeagol the Greeter. Smeagol the greeter has aged far beyond the allotted lifespan of humanity, and he’s paid a terrible price for his immortality, doomed to lurk just inside the Walmart entrance, he derives the energy which sustains him by detaining, confusing and disturbing shoppees.

Smeagol the Greeter will always stand in the middle of the entranceway and position himself so that as he accosts a shopper, the entrance is completely blocked so that nobody else will be able to pass.

I wait in line to be accosted senselessly by this demon, and the family of four in front bolts in sudden panic. Stealing my nerve I approach Smeagol.

“Gut Afdernoon, Velcome to Valmart” he says in what seems to be a parody of a German accent. Either that or it’s his vampire voice. I’m not sure.

I smile and attempt to pass.

“Are you heffen duh Cheddar?” asks Smeagol catching me with his Gary Oldman eyes, black orbs.

"Umm no thank you, " I say attempting to move on. He pulls a cart out, blocking me.

“Are you heffen duh Cheddar?”

“No. Please. I just want to buy some Nicorrette. Can I go now?”

“No. No. no. Heffen duh Cheddar. Heffen duh Cheddar. Are You heffen duh cheddar.”

A couple tries to sneak by behind Smeagol, but his unnaturally attuned vision catches this and he turns.

“Yes. I’m Heffen duh Cheddar. Thank you,” I say and pass.

Besides the monstrous presences in the blue vests there are more horrors that await me in Walmart. Something strange happens to people there.

I’m confounded by Irving the Indecisive. Irving is moving his cart in a fashion which at first seems totally random, and is travelling with the velocity of a beached loggerhead. Get to close, and the random motion is clearly a ruse. He will inevitably turn the cart straight into you.

You can’t resign yourself to fate and politely walk behind Irving or Carry the Collider will smash you from behind with her cart.

At the same time you must avoid the Aisle Thrusters. These are the people who lurk at the end of the aisle waiting for someboyd to walk by. As they do, the hurtle their cart out of the aisle and into you.

Avoiding these people I take the dark forbidden paths through vaccums and cleaning accessories towards the pharmacy. I smile as I make good time.

Then of course I run into a Thumper. The Thumper’s job is to walk towards you in the opposite direction. He will then run straight into you.

After bouncing off a Thumper I’m back in a main aisle. It’s a clear shot, with only a few of the nameless I-have-stopped-randomly-and-without-purpose-and-am-standing-inexplicably-in-the-middle-of-the-aisle types.

Then a true horror. I encounter THOSE WHO MUST WALK THREE ABREAST. There is nothing to do but back up and duck into an aisle with these folk.

Then I’m at the Pharmacy section which is full of the Loitering Lost, doomed to wait out entropy for their prescription to be filled.

The Nicorrette case is of course locked, so I must wait on line with the Loitering Lost for and indeterminate but endless period as they again ask if their prescriptions are ready.

I inform the blue-vested troll behind the counter that the case is locked, and she grabs the Intercom-that-once-worked-but-has-been-broken and attempts to invoke the Keymaster who is apparently being detained on some other plane of existence.

I can almost bend the plastic door on the case to get the Nicorrette out. Almost. Instead I sit on one of the chairs of lifting on display which help people who can’t stand up on their own by being so uncomfortable they never want to sit.

The Keymaster arrives and I grab my Nicorrette 4mg replacement box, and sprint for the registers.

Somewhere out there lurk the Nazgul on their motorized disability scooters…

…But I dare not say more about them.

As a veteran of Checkout Lines of Unending Detainment, I got on line, and ignore the false please of blue-vested orcs who attempt to decieve me with such transparent lies as “Aisle 17 is free. She can take you right away.”

Oh yeah! Like I’m going to fall for that. You may think that the trick is obvious. By the time you get to aisle 17 that line will be longer than the one you are on. But it hardly ends there. At aisle 17 your will be informed the aisle 64 is open. At aisle 64, it is aisle 21.

Aisle 21 will indeed be open. Nobody will be waiting in line. This is because that aisle is closed and there is nobody working checkout in Aisle 21.

So I just wait out my sentence in aisle 9. They change checkout workers, have management conferences, interminable price checks, train new workers on how to change the blue printing receipt rolls and all the usual stuff.

Eventually it’s my turn, and I swipe my card 30-40 times through the Credit Card Reader of Unsighted Obstinacy, collect my receipt, get in my car, avoiding Cartboy and return to planet Earth.

Hilarious, as always. One quibble: “detaining, confusing and disturbing shoppees” - shoppees would be “people who are shopped,” no?

Posts like this remind me of Stephen King. Now, before many of you immediately get this image of a horrormeister gleefully pulling the strings of madcap macabre, King has written a lot of insightful columns/short articles for newspapers and magazines, particularly a set of long-lost columns from his years at the University of Maine.

King’s style was to engage the reader in an almost conversational tone, to make him or her think King was speaking directly to them. And that’s kind of what Scylla does, to a point, because he takes a situation in which many of us have found ourselves (frequently) and offers just the right twists and turns - all the while keeping it familiar. Nothing seems made-up or artificial.

In other words, it is writing both honest and true.

Scylla, was that you I saw running out of Wal-Mart screaming in horror today? :smiley: :smiley: :smiley: :smiley: :smiley:

I’m pretty sure I’ve shopped at this store.

God, those greeters are the worst. Especially when the cashier forgets to disarm something, or whatever, and then the greeters have to rummage through your stuff, glare at your receipt, glare at you, rummage in your stuff some more…

Like I’d stop for a little ol’ lady if I actually stole something.

The last time that happened to me, and Hal 9000 or Robocop or whatever the hell that thing is that announced


Oh my, am I glad I swiched to Target.

Knowing Wal-Mart, it’s one of those greeters on one of those motorized wheelchairs with a little blue light on it.

What always appalls me is the fact that Walmarts are always so GODDAMNED MESSY AND DIRTY.

I realize there’s thousands of people herding through every day, but god damn, this is a major corporate retailer we’re talking about!

Can’t they assign like 10 people to just pick up and sweep the floor throughout the day? Any Walmart I’ve ever been in, regardless of location, time of day, or season of the year, always seems more akin to a open-air food market in Somalia than a modern store located in an industrialized country.

I just pretend it’s a giant obstacle course. If you time it right, you can slide between the legs of those with a more cowboy-esque gait. Sure, you get some stares, but it’s a lot more fun than hanging out behind Glaciera The Speedy.

And a minigun.

So, are you, after all, heffen duh Cheddar?

Man, Keith Berry. I hope you never have to visit the little town I live in right now (for several reasons)… the Wal-Mart here could get cleaned every hour on the hour, and I would bet a slick of filth would still materialize within moments.

I don’t know if anyone else has noticed this, but… at 1 in the morning, some of the notorious figures mentioned by Scylla can be avoided.

I love the greeters. Except at our Walmart they don’t greet they just look at you with a suspicious eye if you want to get the hell out of there as fast as you can, which is a normal reaction if you are sane.

Unfortunately I always fall into the Walmart trap. I am too disgusted with the place by the time I’ve spent 20 minutes there, so I never buy that much food (yes the Super-Walmart is the only good grocery store in town) this leads to the situation where I have no food in the timespan of two days, so I must return and the cycle repeats itself.

{{/me continues to be grateful that WalMart is still stuck out in Baie-d’Urfé for the time being, touch wood}}

Last July I went to Walmart and encountered Tom the Greeting Troll. Tom is around 35, about 5’ tall and has an amazing resemblance to a story book Troll. He has not been near soap for many moons. This particular day he was dressed in a pink tutu and pink bunny ears. As he accosted me I frantically searched my mind, had I forgotten an important holiday. Easter? no. Halloween? no. Tinkerbell’s Birthday? no.

I thought it must be for a store promotion so I commented “It must suck to have to dress like that.” BIG mistake. He came unglued yelling at me that he dressed that way because he wanted to, and who was “I” to judge him. I slowly backed away as he ripped off the bunny ears and started waving them at me.

I always use the other entrance now.

I’m jealous of people who have the luxury of choosing between Walmart and Target. When I go back to my hometown to visit my parents, I inevitably have to go to Walmart for some item or another. Since the Super Walmart came into town a few years back, it drove pratically all the other stores out of business (there used to be 4 or so other groceries stores and now there is only one that is dark, dirty, and full of expired food).

All of this means that on the weekend everyone is at the Walmart. During spring break I ran into more people I knew and hadn’t seen in a while in one trip to Walmart than I did the remainder of the week. It is truly a mad house.

As for where I live now, I do have the option of going to Target but since I’m usually so busy I choose Walmart as I can knock out a grocery store run in the same trip (Walmart actually has really good prices on frozen meals which I tend to live off of since I don’t cook). I can usually deal with the employees out there but generally there are a few fellow customers that make me want to double the dose of my antidepressants.

I love Wal-Mart. Everytime they send me out of town to work I check out all the Wal-Marts within a 50-mile radius. I even stop at any I see on the way. Course it doesn’t take much to make me happy.

WalMarts are turning into K-Marts. When K-Mart was the only mass convenience store, everything was fine - for a while. Then things got dirty and messy and there were spills and stuff all over the place as each store turned into the corporate equivalent of my bathroom.

Then WalMarts arrived en masse, and in contrast they looked CLEAN! SHINY! BRIGHTLY LIT! And all was good. K-Mart was now on the Road to Ruin. Wal-Mart reigned supreme as being the better-run store.

Ah, but in time Wal-Marts devolved into the same beastly entity that K-Mart had morphed into, and they became dirtier, dingier, grungier and grimier.

And then Target arrived …

I love Target, but they don’t always have what I want, and getting to the nearest one requires driving quite a ways or paying a toll, so I tend to go to Wal-Mart instead.

My beef with Crapmart: the stuff they carry is so goddamned cheap! The clothes look like theuy would fallapart the first time you washed them…and most of the other stuff is real low-end, made-in-china crap. That’s why it is so hard tobe poor-you wind up buying the same thing over and over again. You can’t affort to buy a quality item (which would last for years)-instead, crapmart drives their vendors to constantly lower prices , so the vendors take it out on quality…and you get what you pay for!
It seems that is what American retailing is evolving into-low end junk, pushed by cavernous “stores” like crapmart, with low-paid, poorly educated employees, and the false veneer of friendliness!