If it’s Wednesday as of late, you will probably find me at the Pinellas Park Walmart in afternoon gathering food and whatnot for me and my little fella Harry the Cat, who stays at home while I’m on the hunt. Yesterday, with a tropical cyclone named Erika with strength and path to be determined later, I had to get a few more things which made the experience all the more memorable, and not in a good way.
We start at the front of the store and the all important task of cart selection. The Pinellas Park store that I go to, which opened way back in 2001, has shopping carts that worked well…in the Nixon administration. I pick out a cart that seems to maneuver well, until it carries some weight. One of my first stops is to the south end of the Supercenter to pick up cat litter for the little guy, and I get the $13 or so box that seems to weigh more than Roseanne Barr back in her heyday, which is a necessity because it has the odor control which doesn’t require me to throw in baking soda when I clean up Harry’s odd and even numbered waste.
Once I get the cat litter into the cart, you had to be Superstar Billy Graham back when he was WWF champ to turn the cart properly, and that’s when all the fun began.
I had the luck to visit Walmart the day when every young group of high school age and younger visits the store, and I run into about half a dozen of these groups that hog up the whole aisle, not allowing faster traffic to pass. I dart to the left and to the right to apply the proper psychology that they aren’t the only ones in the store, but they seem not to gather my attempts at telepathy. It’s not that the store was all that busy for around 6pm on hump day, it’s just everybody is everywhere I’m attempting to go. It seemed to me that there was this grandiose conspiracy that I’m unaware of. See the man in the white T-shirt and grey shorts in the moccasin shoes? Stay in his way everywhere he moves!
I then encounter one of these groups going the opposite way, with the mother of the group flanked by three elementary school aged kids, one of them sporting a cast on his left wrist. Fortunately, the kid evades my cart by inches as I pass by, and I’m relieved to have not unintentionally added to his woe. More on this group in a bit.
As I do when I go shopping, I gather things from the east end of the store, which contains water, Coke, and dairy products, and work my way west towards the front of the store. I’m driving the cart with great care, like a big rigger trying to negotiate heavy traffic in Los Angeles. I try to think happy thoughts, and I’m somewhat successful. I turn into one of the aisle, and this woman in a Walmart blue smock quickly says “excuse me” as I’m laboring to make a left turn.
What the Sam Hill is going on?!? Slow and non-single filed groups of kids I can understand. But Walmart employees getting in the way of shoppers as they run around their mouse maze to get the cheese at the end? This is just not my day, I reckoned. I’m trying to steer this cart, and these employees whose salaries I indirectly pay are messing me up as I attempt to steer their fossilized carts!
By the time I get to the end of my haul, I run into this group of kids with the mother who lacked control of her litter when I encountered them earlier. She tells the kids to watch where they’re going this time. I shoot the lady a dirty look. You could have said that to these kids when I nearly dinged the kid who had the cast!
At least there wasn’t a big line of people at the check-out, as often happens when I reach the end. After that, I head home, put away my haul, listen to the Rays game on Tunein (more about that in a future blog entry), put away Harry for the night, and I pass out quickly. Erika may pay us a visit, it may not, but it more than likely will treat me better than Wally World did yesterday, but all trips as a Walmart Warrior are random experiences of problem solving, applying logic, or the lack thereof.