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Blog: SO Done With Wal-Mart

(originally written 11/15/11)

It was bound to happen sooner or later. After almost two decades of trying, Wal-Mart has finally lost me as a customer. And this time, it’s permanent.

Before 1992 when they opened a Vallejo store, I’d never even heard of the place, despite its long standing as a retail powerhouse.  It fast became a staple of my life, first when I was dragged there against my will by my bargain-hunting family, and later when I learned they sold baseball cards on the cheap. The commotion and crowding synonymous with WM doesn’t bother a teenager who’s beginning to earn (and treasure) a little independence.

An impatient 31-year-old misanthrope with little spare time, on the other hand…

In adulthood, I came to hate the place, for obvious reasons. It is ALWAYS packed, except maybe Sunday church mornings. Children confuse it for a playground, chasing each other, climbing shelves, etc. Adults confuse it for a refugee camp, often standing in place for hours at a time as if they’re waiting for a ladle of warm soup. The ex couldn’t resist the prices, though, so WM became our one-stop bargain center.

“Are we done yet?” “We already looked at the vacuums!” “I wanna go home!” “I’m hungry!” Yes, I became that adult reduced to childlike whining by a boring shopping trip. Looking back, I think almost every negative event in my life has taken place at a WM. From the Milpitas store parking-lot confrontation with a reckless motorist, to the shoplifting accusation at the Vallejo store, to two separate massive, diaper-bursting diarrhea blowups by Josie, to even a loose gunman at the Landover Hills, Maryland store during my DC trip. I’ve probably blocked out the most abominable incidents. 

Part of my WM abhorrence comes from my fellow consumers. You witness behavior and attire in Wal-Mart that just aren't seen anywhere else—not at this volume, at least. Customers cross the threshold and their automated pants-sagging mechanism kicks in. Not to mention the scale-tipping ghetto gals squeezed into pants that would be too tight on a five-year-old. No one pays attention to anything, especially their own wild children.

Some people, including those misguided individuals in the Occupy Movement, chastise WM for its’ allegedly unfair labor practices (which do play an indirect role in this decision). I’m not one of them. People choose to work there—they ain’t forced, which plainly shows what WM offers must be satisfactory to them. It is not like they lure people with the promise of full health, dental, vision, paid vacation, bonuses, 401K, lawn-mowing, etc., only to later yank the rug out.

But because WM offers its’ employees little other than a modest wage—how do I say this diplomatically—it often SEEMS most of their resumes were pulled from the “reject” pile of other companies (BTW, in another lifetime, I applied for a temp position there myself, but I’m not here to talk about the past.)

Which brings us to my final Wal-Mart straw.

After an immense struggle—and I do mean struggle—getting Josie’s birthday presents out of Site-to-Store, a transaction which should have maxed at five minutes but ended up taking 40 because A) the clerk forgot she is not Janet Napolitano and no terrorist is going to take down America one Wal-Mart theft at a time, and B) upon clearing that hurdle, Lloyd Christmas and his assistant Manute Bol, Jr. took twenty full minutes to find my order.

If that weren’t enough, while in line to buy some other stuff, I got stuck behind Danny Bonaduce wanting cigarettes—which are stored about 12 aisles away—then barked at by Marla Gibbs the Wal-Mart greeter when I wouldn’t put down my two big boxes and two bags to dig for my receipt at the exit (which I ALWAYS do, mind you, even though I ain’t got to).

From this day forward, I will not set foot in another WM again. The ex can’t make me now; we are broken up. The peace of mind, superior (and cuter) staff, shorter lines and classier clientele will more than make up for Target’s slightly higher prices. 

Where crack is whack, and terrorists are not allowed.

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