December 28, 2010
Love it. Hate it. Love to hate it.
I don't know about you, but for me, those very seven letters conjure up so much. So many feelings, so many memories, so much frustration, rage, confusion, and a host of disturbing images that are forever seared into my cerebrum. If you're not sure what I'm talking about, and longing to understand, go ahead and hop on over to People of WalMart--whoa my word.
Whoa. My. Word.
Aside from a cheap eyeliner or two, I can't say I've ever had my ups with WalMart, but I've certainly had my share of downs, and as a result, in April 2010, I made a solemn vow to never step foot in my local WalMart ever, ever, ever again. Click here and here to read the story of the straw that broke the camel's back--you know, I'm the camel.
But from time to time, as we all know, even the most benevolent of nuns has been known to sell her soul to the devil. That's right, eight months later, I broke my vow and I went back. I did it in the name of an iPod Shuffle.
It's embarrassing to admit, but I think I love my iPod more than I love my husband. It's my sanity on my runs, in the car, at work, while I slave around in the kitchen. Its company and support are unconditional. My husband? Well, he only hangs around when I'm being pleasant. Clearly, the iPod wins.
Tragically, I lost my love a few weeks back. I think it happened after a trail run near the local high school. When I piece it all together, I'm quite sure I left it on the roof of my car and carelessly drove away. It's so sad I could cry just typing this--it's cold and alone, probably sitting in a puddle attached to my $23 ear buds that are specially designed for people with completely stupid shaped ears. Ugh, I mustn't go on.
In a moment of desperation, combined with a splash of middle class crunch, I decided I couldn't wait long enough to save up the money for a new iPod Nano. I'd bite the bullet and use a Sam's Club gift card to buy a Shuffle for $40 today.
Except my neighborhood Sam's Club was fresh out of Shuffles.
I didn't want to do it, I really didn't, but I glanced at the back of the gift card and sure enough, it was redeemable at WalMart. So I checked their website, and dang, my local store had plenty of Shuffles in stock--green, orange, and pink. My old iPod was green, so I decided I'd get the green one and pretend it was my Nano's little newborn baby.
At three o'clock, I picked up two hungry, tired kids from daycare and drove twenty miles to the crappiest place on Earth. We parked fifty miles away, and I pushed a cart with a bum wheel through a super slushy parking lot, in ten degree weather. We walked through the doors, were greeted by the same greeter who was there in April, and headed straight back to electronics.
Where were proceeded to find no iPod Shuffles in no colors because WalMart sucks.
But we were there, and I had broken my vow, and since the groceries truly are an arm and a leg cheaper at WalMart, I decided to load up on everything we could ever possibly need. From bags of flour to four pounds of cheese, my cart was completely mounded over. My sweet, little fourteen-month-old was wedged between two gallons of milk and six bags of frozen peas because "I don't care how cold you are! Muscle through it, Maggie! We're gonna save some money, damn it!"
After we packed every cubic inch of the cart with every food item we possibly could, we took one last spin through the electronic section, just to be sure that WalMart still sucked.
Yup, it did. Not a Shuffle in sight.
So we headed to the checkout, where Jan (names have been changed to protect the woman I'm dying to tackle) started to scan my items. When she was on the fourth or fifth item, a 40-something year old man (tall, good looking, great hair, nice jeans, and super fancy ski jacket--not your typical WalMart patron) approached her.
I heard him say, "Hey Jan, after....[whisper, whisper, whisper]...Okay? Okay?" Then he walked away.
I don't even know how to describe it. Jan had the most horrified look on her face that I think I've ever seen. I had no idea what he'd just whispered in her ear, but according to her expression, it couldn't have been remotely acceptable. He didn't fit the profile of your typical creeper, but she looked genuinely disgusted.
I said, "Are you okay? What'd he just say to you?"
And Jan said, "He's a creep. What a creep. He's just a creep. And a pervert."
So I said, "Are you sure you're okay. He's right over there. Should we tell your manager? Or security?"
"No," she said, "he's just a creep."
Jan continued to scan my items, and when there were three or four left, the man came back. And this time, he wanted to talk to me. Obviously, my guard was up. I didn't know what he was trying to do, but I had my two kids, so I decided I just wouldn't engage him.
He came up to me and said, "Hi!"
I looked at Jan, she gave me a very cautious shake of the head, and I said nothing.
He held out some sort of business card and I simply said, "No thank you."
He politely said, "Are you sure?"
And I said, "No thank you."
He smiled and said, "Really? You're sure?"
This time, I glanced down at the business card and noticed that it was black and said Random Acts of Christmas across the front. I didn't know what to think, so I made eye contact with the cashier one more time, and she shook her head and warningly widened her eyes again.
"No thank you," I said, in the most assertive tone I could muster.
The man shrugged and walked away, looking a smidge defeated. He met up with his wife and two daughters and they walked toward the exit. He looked innocent enough, but the cashier had convinced me that this guy was no good. According to her expression, he pulled that card straight out of his butt, or the card was an evil piece of paper that wanted to beat me up and steal my wallet.
"What a creep," she said again. "Pervert."
"What'd he say to you? I have no idea what just happened," I replied.
"Ugh," she continued. "He wanted to pay for your entire order of groceries. That just didn't seem right to me. What a disgusting creep!"
Did you catch that? HE WANTED TO PAY FOR MY ENTIRE $150 ORDER OF GROCERIES. It was exactly what the card said it was--a Random Act of Christmas.
"He what?" I asked, thinking maybe I had misheard.
"He wanted to pay for all of your stuff! What's he trying to do?"
He was trying to be nice. That's what he was trying to do.
I silently took my receipt and pushed the cart with the bum wheel past this really weird middle-aged couple that was chopping their daughter's hair off with a jack knife (seriously, what the hell WalMart?). I trudged the fifty miles back across the slushy parking, feeling like an absolute turd for treating a random good Samaritan like a creepy pervert--you know since the WalMart employee told me that's exactly what he was.
I went home, and before I took the groceries out of the car, I Googled "Random Acts of Christmas." Go ahead and try it. He was a nice guy, who had worked up the courage to do a nice thing for a total and complete stranger. I so wish I had taken him up on it.
I wish I could find this guy.
I just want him to know that if he prayed to find the right person, he succeeded. He has no idea how much we could have used a cart load of groceries right now. Even though I completely ruined it for him, I want him to know how grateful I am for his kindness and generosity, and for trying to help a frazzled mother on a really tight budget.
And more than anything, I want him to know that WalMart sucks so much. Not only have they managed to find another creative way to crap on spirit of Christmas, but they took it a step further and told me that my Christmas Angel was a "creepy pervert." Completely not cool.
Honestly, I want to find this guy--not for the groceries, just so I can explain how it all went down, say sorry, and tell him how much I hate that store. I don't usually ask my readers to link to my posts, but if you're willing, today's the day. If we find him, I'll do a really awesome giveaway in his honor.
He was maybe in his forties. He was tall, had a sweet ski jacket, two daughters, one wife, and goes to a nice church that challenged him to commit a Random Act of Christmas. He didn't look like he was from Maine, but he was in the Augusta WalMart around 5 o'clock, hanging around the actual creepy people who decided to lop of their kid's hair with a leatherman (really, that was one of those cerebrum-searing moments that I'll carry to my grave). Maybe he was taking his family on a ski trip?
Will you give me a link and help me find him? I'll swear I'll host a kickasstic giveaway to celebrate.
I'm telling you, I can't rest until I can look this man in the eye, thank him, and testify to him that WalMart has managed to ruin the whole "Peace on Earth Good Will to Men" thing.
I've said it once and I'll say it again--WalMart sucks.
Now where's m'damn Shuffle?
What a great story. I hope you find him!
Unbefreakinglievable! And I will leave it at that. (I did link up for you-good luck!)
No. FREAKING. WAY!!!!!
Oh, I so hope you find that man.
Is it possible that the weird Leatherman haircut was due to a chewing gum incident or similar mishap?
what an unbelievable story! I totally agree about Walmart....I just spent a week there the other night, trying to get them to honor the sign above the nine mugs I was buying for my co-workers that said $3.56, instead of charging me the $5 each they wanted to. I won! Hurrah!
Oh. my. goodness. That is the saddest thing ever. I hate Walmart too. Hate it. Hate. Hate hate. I wish my sucky town had more than one sucky store to shop at. I'll link you!
What the hell is wrong with Jan!? Grrrrrr
Oh man, I can't believe it! That sucks, a lot.
Just when you thought Wal-Mart couldn't possibly suck more...
This is just...unreal...
Hey, Am, I linked up on my blog for you. I hope this awesomely generous man thwarted by the Wal-Mart employee I'd hold down for you is found.
P. S. Super weird comments on your blog, huh. Where did the militant vegan comment come from?
So hear you for walmart. I bought a nano for my wife, then found out Target was offering a $25 gift card for nano purchases. I took it back, got my money back and went to Target. The price at Target was the exact same at WalMart, yet the bill came up $1.25 cheaper at Target (which is only 1/4 mile down the road and in the same city).
I would have started yelling at Jan. I can't believe that. Yea and weird comment,
Aren't humans amazing? And what about hamburgers? Aren't they delicious?
PS I know I already said so on fb but I really think you should take this story to the media: You find the good Samaritan and thank him which warms both your hearts and those of the viewers, plus waldemort is publicly shamed. Win-win. Good luck!
This is the first time I've read your blog, and I was pointed to this post inparticular. I feel so awful for that family who wanted to do a good, selfless act and was thwarted. But I also want to point out that it was a WM employee who acted as though the man were unclean and a pervert, not WM itself. I'm not defending WM by any means--they have so many issues and should step up in 1000s of ways. But this was the act of one employee, not the store or chain (unless she was instructed to act that way). I think if anything, we should have pity on Jan that she has such a demented and poor outlook on the human race that she can't acknowledge a selfless, kind act for what it is. I hope you find him and I hope he was able to help someone and didn't simply give up because of Jan's hostility.
WOW - goes to show that Jan must not have a nice bone in her body or what helping others is! CRAZY! I will link this and hope you find him! Good Luck!
Geez! Jan must be a really miserable person to mis-trust everyone as she does. I h*te that she ruined this guy's attempt at generosity.
I'm totally following you now so I'll know if you ever discover this guy. I hope so! :o)
This is the best blog ever! If I had to guess what you do for a living I think you write. Beautiful family! Fun to read blog! Can't believe that checker at WalMart. She has obviously never heard of random acts of kindness. I hope you find him.
I can't believe someone took the same vow I did! I wonder how many of us are out there??? I just think that store is the most depressing place I've ever set foot in. I'd rather pay more and be in a happy place. That's a great(horrible) Walmart tale. I hope you find him. I found a link to your story on facebook. I'll repost too. Maybe this way it can get out there and you can find him!
I can't stop thinking about this post. I'm so mad at that cashier for her poor judgement of someone's obvious generosity. However, and I'm only saying this because I don't know your financial situation, as much as it would have been nice to have been the recipient of his kindness, perhaps he went on to help someone who desperately needed his help this holiday season. Look at me, I just took lemons and made lemonade.
i can't get over the fact that the cashier thought there was something wrong with the guy-but after the way she looked and what she said, i would have done the same as you. we have a small breakfast place in town that my husband takes the kids to on the weekends to give me some alone time-twice someone has paid his bill-the kids think it's great and so awesome for them to see such a kind act.
It's possible that the cashier actually thought he was doing something salacious. It's not every day that someone offers to pay a $150 bill for someone else. It's not unreasonable to think that perhaps the cashier thought the man had less-than-pure intentions.
Also--Wal-Mart owns Sam's Club, so you support them anyway. Mua ha!
I should probably also mention that your attitude is pretty disgusting. It's probably best that a selfless act wasn't wasted on a classist, judgmental, holier-than-thou woman who would berate people about their haircuts.
Also, you weren't able to find an iPod fast enough?! Your life sounds SO HARD.
Hey eatmypatriot... "you should probably also mention...?" Really? Do you think it's classier and less judgmental to post mean comments on someone else's blog? But I'm guessing humor just isn't your thing, so you should probably move along...
I passed along the story on my blog, FB, and Twitter - and then realized what a nerd I've become. I hope that man realizes that he did choose the right person! What a story!
Try going to your local Craigslist site and posting under the personals or missed connections place. I have no idea how it works because I have never been so fortunate as to have someone kindly offer to pay for my groceries- although once the car in front of me did pay for my Starbucks- but then I paid for the one behind me to make up for it.
Wow. My heart really goes out to you on this- I can only imagine how you feel about wanting to make this guy know how much you would have appreciated that.
I can't tell you how much I hate and fear WalMart, but I have to let you know that my feelings are even stronger after your story.
and Jan is a bitch. I hate Jan more than WalMart.
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