Yesterday I went to WalMart expecting a defining positive experience to start the New Year. Here is what happened. I had a short list: a large garbage bag to stick the artificial tree in; two furnace filters; a gallon of 1% milk; six 9 v batteries to put in the fire alarms before they start blasting; some dulcolax. Then on impulse a stuck in a bottle of bubbly juice. I started on one end of the store at the pharmacy dept., headed for the other side, which was approximately 5 miles away, to find the garbage bags in the household section, only to be informed that the large 55 gal. bags were in sporting goods. Why sporting goods? To bring home bags of ducks or an elk or something? So I dutifuly retraced the five miles, after locating a gallon of milk in the very farthest corner of the store, approximately in Australia, asked a guy in the paint dept. where they were, and was led to the sporting goods dept. The batteries were easy to locate, and I stumbled miraculously on the furnace filters. Feeling proud of myself for not keeping my wife waiting too long in the car, I sorted out the checkout lines and found a short one with only one person in front of me.
Huge mistake. This person was having trouble with her credit card which wouldn't go through, so I already had my stuff on the conveyor belt and people were waiting behind me. I twiddled my thumbs and recited the Star Spangled Banner while she twiddled and fiddled. When the card finally went through, she had to meditate for awhile before deciding she didn't really need any cash back after all. So there I was, still possibly getting out the front door in record time. Next big mistake. Checker tried to scan my Dulcolax and it wouldn't scan. He asked me how much it was and I told him but the amount wouldn't go in, setting up alarm signals in Bentonville AK and threatening the cash flow of the Walton family. He fiddled with it a while longer. I told him to forget it, that I didn't need it, which was a lie, but I felt embarrassed for the people waiting behind me. They cheerfully said it didn't matter so I relaxed. Ultimately WalMart Checker Guy signaled for help. Once, Twice, Thrice. Ultimately help arrived in the form of a 12 year old boy who said, "Well you put in the wrong code and jammed the computer and jammed the register." I asked the young man at what age he became a computer genius, and if he started learning computers at the age of 10. He said, actually, at the age of 4, to which his female supervisor said, "He's only 10 years old now." If you need help, you ask the youngest person in the room.
Thus, 20 minutes of wasted time elapsed in the store that sells stuff cheap and sends the winnings to the Walton family. I proceeded to leave the store whereupon I encountered a man who was confused about which door was the exit door and which was the entrance. "Pain in the rear," I opined and the man replied, "It sure is." But I stimulated economic growth and the GDP by $42. 63, reduced unemployment by .000000001 of a percentage point, made a profit for the Waltons, and left vowing never, ever to go to WalMart again. Until the next time I need cheap stuff and feel the Waltons need a few more bucks. And I need fresh material for writing another post on my blog.