Just got back from a torturous trip to Walmart, which included plenty of the standard Walmart creep-o factor. I wonder...how many times do I have to shop at Walmart before I become part of the standard set of Walmart creep-os myself?
Clara looked at me this morning and said "you're going to the store...like...THAT?" And I admit it, in my mind I actually had the thought "I'm fine - I'm just going to Walmart." I suspect that's how it starts. Just great.
We also had the mandatory "I hafta go to the baffwoom NOW," while at the very back of the store getting milk. Honestly - would it be too much trouble to put another set of bathrooms at the back of the store? So we did the pee-pee dance all the way to the front of the store so that I could bring my two precious little babes into the germ pit of hell.
Good grief - as if Walmart isn't bad enough - the bathroom makes my skin crawl. The lady in the stall next to us must have thought I was a complete raving-lunatic-mean-mommy-monster as she listed to me screech "THOMAS! STAND HERE WITH YOUR BACK ON THE WALL AND DON'T TOUCH ANYTHING! NOTHING! TRY TO HOLD YOUR BREATH! HURRY SAMMY! LET'S GET OUT OF HERE! WASH REALLY WELL - SCRUB LOTS OF BUBBLES! THOMAS!!! DON'T! DO. NOT. TOUCH. THAT!!"
And the shoes - Thomas has been complaining about "ouchies" when putting on his shoes lately. They're too small on him. So - being the good and brave mama that I am - I endured the torture of shoe shopping at Walmart with a little guy who would NOT stay within a 15 foot radius of me once I let him out of the cart.
Added to the joy of the shoe shopping experience, was the fact that there was not a foot measuring thingy to be found ANY. WHERE.
I finally wrangled Thomas enough to try on a shoe that was 2 sizes bigger than what I put on him this morning. I figured they'd be a little big, but that he could grow into them and we could make them last through the summer.
We made it to the cash register with our cart full of "low cost leader" groceries. No wonder the groceries are cheap - you make it home with bruised fruit and squished bread once Miss Grumpy Pants at the cash register gets through with them!
And then...back to the shoes. She rang up the total, and I turned to my purse to get the money. I turned around to see her fiddling with Thomas' new shoes...when she pulled out a giant wad of tissue paper from the toe of one of the shoes.
"There was paper in those shoes?"
"Well, yeah", as she waves it in my face with a "what are you a Walmart creep-o?" look on her face.
"Um, I didn't know that. I tried the shoes on him with the paper still in the toe!"
"Well, did you measure his foot?"
"No. I couldn't find a measuring thing."
Long, incredulous pause as she looked at me.
"Well, there WAS paper in the toe. Do you want the shoes or not?"
"Could I have them for a second, please? I'll see if they fit him."
"Fine" She hands me the shoes with one hand while planting her other hand firmly on her hip with an exaggerated (and rather smelly) sigh.
Of course - the shoes were far too big on him now.
"They don't fit. I'm not going to buy them after all. Sorry for the trouble."
"Well, there was paper in the toe, you know."
"Yeah - so what's my new total?"
She gets me the new total for my now bruised apples and squished bread. I pay her. She gives me the change.
And then for good measure, she says "There was paper in the toe of those shoes, you know."
"Yeah. I get it. That's why they don't fit him. That's why I didn't buy them."
"Yeah, because there was PAPER IN THE SHOE."
(am I on some sort of hidden camera show? please tell me this lady is not for real.)
"Yes, there was paper in the shoe. Okay. Bye now."
And as I walked away (really!):
"The shoes didn't fit because you left the PAPER IN THE SHOE when you tried it on him!"
Good grief - I half expected her to chuck those little blue and white tennis shoes at the back of my head as I walked away!
The truly sad part of this story is that I know I'll go back. I find regularly priced items at Walmart that are cheaper than the SALE items at other stores. How can I waste our money by shopping somewhere more expensive? And the really scary part is this: I know that every time I shop at Walmart instead of at the other (far more pleasant) store, I'm casting a vote. I'm voting FOR Walmart. I'm contributing to the possibility that the other (cleaner, less stinky, smaller creep-o factor) stores in my area will go out of business, and we'll be left with nothing but Walmart to shop at. Of course, if they're the only store in town, they'll likely raise their prices simply because they CAN.
The only thing worse than the Walmart experience is the Walmart experience at higher prices.
But what to do? They're truly cheaper. Ickier, yes. Smellier, yes. Scarier, yes. Dirtier, yes. But CHEAPER. And these days? Cheaper means a whole heck of a lot for our family of 6.
Besides...where else can I shop looking like...THIS?