Monday, September 28, 2009
Attention Walmart Shoppers
I try to avoid Walmart when I can. No, I'm not protesting their business ethics or anything like that - I just don't like the store. Invariably, I'll get to the end of my list and realize that I passed up the pharmacy section, located approximately 4 miles on the other end of the store.
Plus, I just find it a depressing place. Usually. Not the other day. I witnessed something so funny that I think I may have snorted.
It was a Saturday (mistake number 1) around 11AM (mistake number 2) when I walked into the store the weekend before school started (need I say it? number 3). As you might imagine, it was so crowded that I had to wait for someone to finish shopping so that I could use their basket. The aisles were in disarray as pencils, lunchboxes, and the occasional half opened pack of children's underwear lay strewn about. It looked as if a kid had just exploded and there was nothing left of him except his batman underoos.
As I said before, it was the weekend before school started, so the place was crawling with kids. Literally. Babies were crawling in the aisles while tired looking mothers read from school supply lists trying to find wide ruled paper through bleary eyes.
That's when I heard her for the first time. The Walmart Woman - you know, the employee who comes over the intercom and calls for clean ups and extra cashiers. The voice from above who sometimes reminds you of sales and who is supposed to sound like she wants you there in the store. I will just record her announcements in the order I heard them and let you decide what kind of day she had been experiencing...
"Attention Walmart shoppers. We have just opened two extra check out lanes for your
convenience. Allow me to remind you that your children should be with you at all times. Thank you for shopping with us."
"Attention Walmart shoppers. Our seafood section is offering free samples of shrimp dip at this time. Come on by. And also, please remember that children should not be throwing bouncy balls in the aisles now or at any other time during your visit."
"Attention Walmart shoppers. Please note that not only should bouncy balls not be thrown in the aisles, but they should also not be thrown at other customers."
"Attention Walmart shoppers. Hi. It's me again. Maybe I wasn't clear in my last announcement. Find your children and tell them that just because they can't throw balls INSIDE the store, does not mean that they can ride the bikes for sale into other people's carts. It's rude and it's dangerous. I beg you."
The funniest part is that the only people who even heard her were the ones without children with them! I wanted to find her and tell her that she made my day, but I also wanted to get the heck out of there before I ran into those kids who were apparently terrorizing the store. In the end, I got what I needed and made for the exit, but not before I heard her one last time...her voice thinly disguising her irritation.
"Attention Walmart shoppers. Seriously. You will be held responsible for your children and any damages that they incur, bodily or otherwise. If you need help corralling them, that can be arranged."
At ScreamFree, we preach that you are not responsible for your children and the mistakes they make, but you are responsible to them. But there are some cases when you will be held responsible for your precious offspring. I still say that responsible TO is more important. Being responsible to your children and setting guidelines for behavior before you go in the store - and then following up with consequences if they act up - will help prevent them running through the aisles launching bouncy balls like hand grenades. I'm just sayin.
In all seriousness, I've been there. So tired you can't see straight. Work deadlines and babysitter issues so you have no choice but to bring your kids to the store in the first place. But it's precisely in those times that we all have to rise to the best parts of ourselves and act like the grownups we are called to be.