The Thing About Walmart…

…I know it’s the monster that swallows up the little guys. I know this, and I still go there sometimes. The thing is, it’s just so local and convenient. I can even get there without tripping over a Dollar General.

I needed white vinegar and pure cane sugar, toothpaste and mouthwash, and some peat pots for starting seeds. We had projects lined up for this afternoon, so I decided to drive the strenuous two miles up the hill to Walmart and buy the stuff we needed before we started the projects.

I found the things on my list, plus a yellow calla lily in full bloom, a variegated fern, and a pobby pink cactus. Also some deli chicken and a couple umbrellas.

The thing about Walmart is that it’s such a melting pot of Americana. I saw a lady overflowing her jeggings, loudly upbraiding the manager because the frozen ground turkey was outdated. Her son calmly played on his phone, not even noticing his mother’s upset. There was a middle-aged couple who had heaped their cart with clearanced children’s clothing, and then piled groceries on top of that, working as a team to push the cart and keep things from falling out of it. I waited in the aisle behind a guy who was selecting organic produce and lots of jugs of Naked juices, leaving in his wake a highly natural smell of one who avoids deodorant. My favorites were the nattily dressed elderly ladies who were making an occasion of their shopping excursion, savoring getting out, being careful to buy exactly the things they needed and no more. My vote for most incongruous went to the Amish gentleman with a beard flowing around and under a dirty blue surgical mask, and his wife dressed all in black from her bonnet to her shoes, except for a bright red bandanna tied over her face.

I could people-watch all day at Walmart, vacillating between hilarity, distress, and admiration. I hate how much money I spend there, and I like how organized the shelves are, and I hate how much planned obsolescence is part of their model, and I like that I can buy sea salt and socks at the same store.

That’s the thing about Walmart… there is just so much of it.

Do you shop there?

5 thoughts on “The Thing About Walmart…

  1. I used to. But since we’ve moved to the cabin the nearest Walmart is over an hour away. I don’t miss it. Elv does most of the groceries shopping on his way home from working in Wisconsin… At Walmart I suppose. Or Super One. I always hope Walmart really isn’t the most accurate cross section of America. I know better.

  2. I do sometimes, I have changed a lot over the years , I try to support small businesses , but there are times when I just don’t know where else to get it so Walmart here I come !! Thank you for writing !!

  3. I used to but since having moved a good 45 min from the nearest one I don’t so much. We have become one of those strange souls who raise or grow almost everything we eat and the rest of our needs I try to source locally as much as I can. But I get what you are saying! And definitely shop at similar stores some.
    The picture kinda changes a little bit when we have a small business of selling meat and realize that if we want others to support us we have to support them too! But each family has to find their way in that!

  4. Your articles make good “supper table” conversation!(and laughter 😁) If you live in the country with 45 min or an hr to the nearest Walmart you shop at the poor mans Walmart…Dollar General…which happens to be a mile down the road. If you badly need an item Dollar General or the Bakery/deli doesn’t carry, you put a plea for help on the church ladies chat, and like as not, someone is in town or going in the next day and will pick up your item. But ouch to my pocketbook when I hit the town that has Sams Club, Aldi and Walmart!

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