People often give me grief about shopping at WalMart. Apparently, it's the evil empire and I'm actually down with that. Evil empires have a right to exist, and besides, not every evil empire can save you .15 cents a can on catfood.
But, there's another reason. WalMart is often a mental amusement park. I think I've had more moments of amusement, confused amusement, and out and out glee at the things I see/smell/and mostly overhear.
Today is a good example.
I was visiting Mom at the rehab place. (Mom is not doing well. We'll leave it at that for now) On my way home, I stopped at WalMart because I needed some loose fitting, comfortable clothing, some cat food, and some puppy pee pads (Chrissy, in her old age, has completely given up on using litterboxes for anything other than taking naps in. She will, however, use puppy pee pads. Since she's old, we figure we'll indulge her on this one) and coffee for Todd, who is one cranky SOB if he doesn't have his coffee.
and stop in the clothing section first. Get what I need. Then, over to pets where I also find OUT at a good price. Kitten food too. (I feed Chrissy kitten food because it's got more calories and she's too skinny, and it's easier for her to digest. Besides, she likes it.) Okay, load the cart, head over to the food isles and find the coffee.
As I'm deciding between Folgers and Maxwell House, a woman with a young girl comes into the isle. Young girl is that stage where she might be a toddler, she might be a little kid. She's sitting in the cart, looking quite cheerful.
Mommy (I'm going to assume she's the girl's mother. The girl kept calling her "Mommy," and that's good enough for me!) says, "Oh, I know what I forgot!" and she goes and grabs a box of Special K.
Little girl goes, "Mommy, I don't like Special K!"
Mommy gives the little girl a bright smile and says, "That's okay, this isn't for you, this is for your dad and me! It's our favorite."
Little girl frowns and goes, "But... I don't like it."
Mother reassures child that Special K is not being purchased for her, but for her Mommy and Daddy. But somehow, this little one is confused. "But..." she keeps saying, very slowly as if she's trying to make Mommy understand something, "I don't LIKE it!"
Mommy shows the box of instant oatmeal and some other cereal that are in the cart and reminds the child that these cereals, cereals that clearly this child loves, are also being purchased. Obviously, with this...feast of cereals, no one is going to expect this little child to eat Special K.
But, child just isn't getting it. Maybe the Big Red K on the box is giving the child brain damage, maybe something in the WalMart air is frightening her, because she keeps insisting, over and over and over again, "But Mommy, I don't LIKE Special K!"
Child does not toss a hissy fit. She doesn't begin to scream and cry, or toss things about. She just stubbornly keeps insisting that she does not like Special K, in a tone of voice that would make you think that the mother is going, "And when we get home, little one, I'm going to force feed you this cereal!" (Pausing to laugh evilly, and shake the box in the child's face) "UNTIL YOU EXPLODE! BWAH HAH HAH!"
And all mother is doing is in a gentle, loving, rather "parent of the year," voice, assuring her treasured child, fruit of her loins, sparkle in her life, that she will not have to eat Special K. That no one is going to make her eat Special K. The child can relax, eating Special K Will. Not. Happen."
Child, who is on some other wavelength, goes, "Maybe I'll like it when I get older, but Mommy, I just don't like it!"
At this point, mother has left the cereal isle. I'm following discretely, because hell, this is much better than reality TV and I have to know how this will turn out. Not knowing how to get her offspring on the same page as her, mother is just telling child over and over again that she will not have to deal with the horror that is Special K.
Child begins weeping. Not loud sobs, not trying to draw attention, the child is weeping as if her little heart is breaking. She clearly believes that just allowing this Special K to be in the same house as her will somehow lead her mother into forcing her to eat it.
This goes on for awhile. I'm sure to the mother it went on for hours and hours, and to the child, years and years, but it was a good 5-10 minutes. Finally, the mother, without resorting to screaming at the child, or falling apart and weeping as well, manages to get it through the child's head that she will not be forced to eat Special K. Hell, I think Mom even promised that she and Dad wouldn't even eat it in front of her, least the mere sight of it cause the child harm. Finally, the child's tears dry up. Mommy gives her a tissue to wipe her nose, the sun shines, birds sing, and all is well.
I go on and head towards the check out lines, thinking the show is over. However, the mother and child grab a few other things they need, and manage to get in the same line as me, right behind me.
As we're waiting, I put my stuff on the belt, then put up the divider so Mom can begin unloading her cart. She almost hesitates to put the box of cereal on the belt and I can understand why. Will seeing the box cause another melt down? Finally, when the clerk is about to start ringing my stuff, and the Special K is the last thing in the cart, the mother puts it on the belt.
The little girl sees it, points to it and says, "Mommy, tomorrow for breakfast, can I try that?"
I don't know what the mother said in response, because I was too busy trying not to burst out laughing. I avoided any eye contact as my things were rung up, bagged, and I paid.
But seriously... I spent money, yes, but I got goods for my money. And more than that, I was entertained.
I've shopped at KMart, I've shopped at Target, I've shopped in a lot of places. But rarely do I ever get entertained as well as I do in WalMart.
*(Why am I updating here? Why not. I love facebook for the most part, but sometimes... I miss this place. Mostly because on FB, the entries have to be really short. Which is probably good for a blabbermouth like me. But there are times when I'd like to elaborate. Will I be back here all the time? Doubtful. I just cannot find it in myself to make long entries frequently, and the more I tell myself I have to, the more I dread it. For now, I'm just going to take this with the attitude of, "If I feel like it, good. If I don't, that's fine too.)