18 November 2002
Pitchforks, Aisle 23
Wendy, aka Weetabix, describes the shopping on the far side of the Styx:
I hate going there. I hate it. I hate it so very much. When I die, I won't be surprised to find that hell is one big Wal-Mart, with Satan's mother running check outs and his sloe-eyed demons all standing by the door greeting everyone. I hate going to Wal-Mart, especially on a Saturday afternoon. It always has this feeling of urgency, like the hours before a big storm or the day after Thanksgiving. People are grabbing things, carts are overflowing, merchandise is lying on the floor and people are walking over it. Everything is permeated with the smell of popcorn, dirty diapers and retardation. It's as if the mere presence of cheap plastic crap makes people lose their minds. Things that would not be acceptable in normal society become acceptable in Wal-Mart. Or perhaps they pipe in some kind of gas that makes everyone dull and listless, stupid and slow like cattle. Everyone but me, who runs through there like a maniac, trying to get out before I am infected with the listless sort of wide-eyed expression and have the urge to walk sluggishly down crowded aisles and then stop short with no warning and be enthralled by a display of Wesson Vegetable oil for $1.49. Or maybe the siren call of low, low prices only affects white trash.
I dunno. I'm kinda white and fairly trashy, but I do my best to avoid Le Mart du Wal. I'll occasionally set foot in a Sam's Club, generally to buy incredible quantities of something I wouldn't want to be seen buying at Albertson's, but actually to visit a Wal-Mart? That's just not on the agenda. And it's not your standard left-wing Exploiter of Peoples argument, either; I figure any retailer that isn't exploiting us greedy buyers is only a few pages away from Chapter 11. I just don't deal well with Incredibly Huge Crowds. I don't go anywhere the day after Thanksgiving, for that reason alone.
And where was I four hours ago? The checkout line at Target (which, of course, is pronounced "tahr-ZHAY"). And they had (O frabjous day!) those Verbatim CD-Rs designed to look like 45s, priced way higher than any other recordables on the shelf ($8.49 for a box of ten with full-size jewel cases). Would I have driven the extra 0.4 mile to Wally World to save maybe sixty cents on these? Not likely.