Friday, September 05, 2014

Attention Walmart Shoppers

I have a bone to pick with you. Maybe a few. At least some questions to ask. You see, I shop at Walmart the same as you do. It's not like I can really avoid it. In our little town, Walmart pretty much is "the mall". But you, my fellow citizens, are not making the experience a pleasant one. Oh, I don't mean I don't enjoy bumping into you there... I do, really. But there are a host of little things that you've started doing that make the experience of shopping more difficult. So at the risk of being a curmudgeon (and I admittedly am), here's a short list:

Stopping at the door.
I honestly don't understand this one. Whoever is in front of me is going to stop just past the entrance or exit, blocking it. Typically it goes like this... entering the store, the person goes through the outer "airlock" door, gets a shopping cart (or "buggy" here in the South), walks through the inner door, and stops dead in his or her tracks, looking around as if they'd never seen the underside of a roof before, forming a nice little traffic jam behind them. I know that some autistic people have little rituals when they walk through a door, but I refuse to accept that all of you are autistic. It happens so often that I actually check myself to see if I'm unconsciously doing it. Of course, I'm not, but that's because I'm conscious of it, I suppose. Maybe if you were, you wouldn't do it. But whatever the reason, please...

I don't know a better word for this. In our Super Walmart, many of the aisles are big enough to drive a luxury car through. Nevertheless Walmart shoppers have perfected the technique of blocking them quite nicely. Imagine standing on one side of the aisle. In your hand grasp the handle of your cart. Now stretch that hand out, and position the cart perpendicular to the direction of traffic flow. Now contemplate whatever's in front of you for twenty minutes or so. I'd take photos and show you, except I'm not really wanting to embarrass anyone, and I'm really not wanting to pose for the photo myself. While prompting you to move does give me a valid excuse to introduce myself to you (usually startling you into jumping out of your skin), I always feel a little bit guilty about it, because you're always so very intent on deciding which ice cream it is you want, and I hate making you start over. Now me, I like to leave a little room on one side of the aisle to let other folks around me, and try to be aware of when people are trying to get to the same section I am. As a personal favor to everyone else in the store, if you find yourself expanding to fill all available space, please...

There's another form of expanding that involves having lengthy discussions with folks in high-traffic areas... I don't mind those so much as people rarely intend for the conversations to get lengthy; but when that happens to me I like to keep an eye out for the traffic around me and move the conversation, if necessary.

I'm really torn about this one, but it does bother me -- a lot -- so I'll say it. Walmart has done a very nice thing for people who are semi-handicapped (just having some difficulty getting around) by providing some motorized chairs. I say semi-handicapped because people who really need a wheelchair typically sit in one of their own most or all of the time. So this is really a godsend for people who are maybe using a walker, or are elderly and move slowly on their own. Or perhaps for people who are temporarily incapacitated and so don't have a wheelchair of their own. I'd have been pretty happy, for instance, if one had been available to me shortly after I had my hernia operation and had to stop by the pharmacy. But I found that a shopping cart makes a pretty good walker if you're otherwise able to get around on two legs, even with your belly sliced open and stapled shut.

Now once in a while I'll see that one is being driven by someone who has a cast on his (or her) leg or is carrying a cane or is obviously frail. More often it's just some fat guy. And yes, it can be difficult to get around when you're fat, but if you're really honest you'll admit that for most of you, that's because you don't get any exercise, which is why you're fat in the first place. I know it's why I'm fat, so I walk. Those chairs really aren't there for you. The best thing you can do for yourself is push a cart around the store like everyone else. And I know, I know... I don't know you, and I don't know your situation, yadda, yadda, yadda. But I have been curious enough about this phenomenon to pay close attention as one after another of you go through the checkout, then park the chair to jump up and stroll out of the store far more handily than your "debilitating handicap" should make possible. Maybe the chairs are fun... I certainly hope it's not because you're self-absorbed and lazy. And it's certainly fine to use the chairs if you really need them. I'm not deriding anyone with a legitimate need. But folks... folks... if you can get around ok without the chair, don't you think you should, and leave them for people who really need them? If you're abusing this charitable service, please...

I Don't Even Know What To Call This
When I Google "wearing pajamas to Walmart" I get about a quarter of a million results. It's not just the pajamas. It's going out in public dressed like ten pounds of butter in a five-pound bag... with bedroom slippers. It's wearing belts around the butt. It's not just our local store, but the ones in neighboring cities. I get it... Walmart is open late. It's still a public place. Have some pride and just...

Building Hadrian's Wall.
Lately this has become a biggie. You go to Walmart to pick up a few things. You pushed a cart around, and now, on your way out, you find that the bags are easy to manage and you don't really want to push the cart all the way out to the car and then to the corral. So you abandon it at the exit of the store. Note that you're not leaving it for someone else's convenience. You're not putting it back with the other carts, a mere ten yards from where you abandon it. You're not being helpful to anyone. You're just too lazy to dispose of the cart, and leave it there in the center of everything, blocking the door.

But wait! You're not the first! You've seen someone else do it, so it's OK for you! You're not even the second person to display a lack of consideration! No, you're the tenth or twelfth guy or gal to add to the wire-and-wheel maze at the exit doors, even though it would have cost you maybe ten seconds of your time (I've counted!) to push the cart around whatever products (today it's watermelons) Walmart has placed between the exit and the entrance. The result is that shoppers encounter a barely-negotiable obstacle course and fire hazard on attempting to exit the store.

I don't care if you've convinced your brain that you're "really" just being considerate and leaving a cart for someone else, or "making it easier for the guy who gathers the carts" (Which you're not. Just putting them in the corral would have made it easier) You're really just being rude and endangering your fellow citizens.

Stopping at the door.
I know! I started the list with this one! But you do it again at the exit. Who knows why? Many of you stop between the "airlock" doors, and some just beyond, but still blocking the outer doors, presumably to check to make sure you've got the same stuff you had when you packed your bag back at the checkout. Sometimes it's to unload that cart you're about to carelessly abandon, but often the reason just isn't apparent. You just stop. Again, there's that little traffic jam behind you. Maybe you forgot where you parked. Maybe you forgot if you parked. Maybe you were assaulted by the fresh air beyond the door. I don't know. All I know is that you're going to stop right there, and nobody but nobody is going to know why.

Bless your heart...



1 comment:

  1. For the past couple of months I have found myself noticing and getting irritated by people all over the place who stop in a doorway to look around. Come in or go out, but MOVE IT already! If what or whom you are looking for is in there you can determine it just as easily by taking 2 more steps forward and then one to the right before looking around.
    Or was that "A jump to the left, and then a step to the right?