My Love/Hate Relationship With Walmart

I fully understand that people from all walks of life shop at Walmart, myself included.

Before I moved to the city for school, I lived in a fairly sheltered suburb, where Walmart was probably the scariest place I could go. I should also inform you that my upbringing in such an environment made me a total snob, a characteristic which has carried over into my life at a notoriously wealthy and preppy private institution in Boston. But my family’s income doesn’t exactly match up with that typical of the average student at my school, so I’m forced to be extremely frugal. This explains why I even find myself at Walmart in the first place—in an attempt to offset some of the debt that I will inevitably accrue during my life as a coed by saving a few dollars here and there on my deodorant, mascara, etc.

But what can I say? I do get a kick out of watching the so called “People of Walmart” in the flesh, in their natural habitats.

Once, I almost carried a book into Walmart with me, simply because it was already in my hand as I had just gotten it from the library and I have a painfully one track mind in that sense. I promptly put the book back in the car because the mongrels that inhabit that godforsaken hell hole of smiley faced rollbacks and low prices might think I was too educated for them and trying to boast that by carrying a Vonnegut novel, if they even knew who that was. Either that, or my visions might come true: the visions where they gather around me to get a glimpse of the mysterious package of pages plastered with words far beyond the scope of their primitive imaginations and cave-like grunts. Their gorilla paws and curiosity clamber over me while I explain that all the symbols they learned in their short stints in grammar school can be put together to tell a story—sort of like a movie, but without the pictures because you have to use your own imagination.

It might be fun to watch them try to understand.

There have been weeks, though, where the most exciting place I’ve gone has been Walmart. It brings me more of a thrill than anything. There is something truly exhilarating that comes with the knowledge that anything—literally anything can happen. Maybe I’ll get jumped in the parking lot. Maybe I’ll just smile arrogantly as I search for the scorn and contempt in their faces when they, they being the “typical” clientele, notice my father’s BMW, my designer boots and pea coat, my Brooks Brothers attitude. Maybe I’ll pretend that I see hatred in their faces, when really they pay me no mind. They simply want to buy their reduced price makeup and their white trash clothing and their toilet paper in peace.

Clearly I don’t belong here.

Maybe this will be the time when I experience a true change of heart, and make silent amends with the outspoken and underdressed in this world. Or maybe today they’ll realize their status, covering their shoulders and exposed lower back tattoos and combing their hair. If I am truly lucky, they might even learn to control their offspring. They travel in packs, I tell you. They run and scream with their snotty noses and jelly stained fingers and total disregard for the busy people in whose way they perpetually stand. I don’t care if the government provides you with a free phone or you manage a Fortune 500 company, please, I implore you, keep your demonic children by your side and keep them quiet. Nobody receives pleasure from listening to the little angels with your eyes and nose and total lack of disrespect for society while he or she screams for candy. But I digress.

Maybe today will be the day I discover a great bargain on the soap I buy regularly, or the perfect “ugly sweater” for that sheltered suburban holiday swap. Who knows? Maybe one of these days I will meet my soulmate in line amongst the knock-off toys and year old, toxic candy. While we commiserate over our frugality (it is our cross to bear) I notice his nice watch and well-tailored suit. He is so out of place, yet so am I. This will be the day that I am wonderfully, beautifully and graciously thankful for the existence of the house of freaks more commonly known as Walmart. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

image –Kevin Dooley

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