Forget dying. Forget giving speeches in public. Forget heights. If there’s one thing I dread in life, it’s going to Wal-Mart on the weekend.

{To be clear, I’m not one of those people who’s morally opposed to Wal-Mart because it put somebody out of business eight years ago in Broken Donut, Arizona. I find that kind of silly. Businesses go under because they can’t compete, which means that the company that makes the best product for the cheapest price comes out ahead. Complaining about a consumer’s right to buy a superior product at the lowest possible cost seems . . . strange.}

I can handle the teenage girls wearing pajamas in the ice cream aisle in the middle of the day. I can even appreciate the fact that I can buy 10 pounds of cheesepuffs in a container the size of my torso for $3.99. I can even get behind the theory that a store exists that sells both motor oil and olive oil. That stuff doesn’t get me. Nope, it’s the etiquette of Wal-Mart customers that causes me to stand teetering on the edge.

Ok, it’s not even really the etiquette. It’s the cart situation. The carts! Why must people leave them in the middle of the aisle? Name me one good reason!

I’m no longer afraid to use my cart as my own personal demolition derby car, and what’s more, I don’t feel at all bad about running into the offender’s cart and then saying sweetly, “Move that beast so the rest of humanity can get through!” while dropping to my knees and shaking my fists to the sky.

Maybe minus the fist-shaking.

It’s no wonder that I also have a difficult time with people who perpetually drive in the left lane. Or stand on the left side of the elevator. Get over to the right, dear people. Just do it. Please. I’m begging here. People have places to be, and you staking a claim in the middle of the aisle or the escalator or the doorway or the road will send the rest of us into orbit like a space shuttle. Save the planet. Merge!

I’m guilty of more than my fair share of uncivil things; let’s be clear on that point. But I absolutely refuse to hog the aisle. Or cruise in the left lane. Because if I did, somehow, some way, somewhere in Iowa, my dad’s neck would start to twitch, and I’d probably get a phone call that started with, “Think of the people around you!” and ended with “I didn’t raise you that way!”

And he’d be right.

5 thoughts on “shudder

  1. Unless the store isn’t very busy, I just park my grocery cart at the end of the aisle and walk to the item(s) that I need to get. Grocery shopping is less of a hassle that way.

    Also, if you’re shopping at Wally World, I recommend using the Garden Center cashier. Most people don’t think to go there and the line is normally very short.

  2. I really try to take your writing seriously, I really do. But you’re just so darn funny, I can’t help but laugh all the way through your angst. Broken Donut, Arizona…lol.

    Anyway, I totally feel you on this one. It practically gives me a heart attack when someone blocks an aisle with a cart, or stands in the very center of a public doorway. I have theories about those people. I think they’re control freaks in the worst way. Is it bad that I’ve given up on a polite “Pardon me” and now I just push past them and passive aggressively allow my giant, heavy mom-bag to bash into them?

  3. You have hit on a key difference between an urban (or even suburban) Walmart, and a rural Walmart. Like you, I avoid Walmart on the weekends in my small town, but mostly because it takes me 25 minutes of chatting to buy my quart of motor oil and jug of olive oil, making what should be a 10 minute trip a half hour sojourn…..

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