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?