A trip to Walmart (or Barbarians at the gates)…

When it comes to grocery shopping in southern Cecil County, Walmart represents the least objectionable of three craptastic choices. Right off the bat that should tell you everything you need to know about the grocery situation here in the northeastern corner of Maryland. I would seriously consider selling a kidney if someone would build a Giant, a Safeway, or a Kroger somewhere closer than the current 90 minute round trip drive to get to any one of those options.

Since it’s the lesser of the local evils, that’s were I end up most weekends. I was there yesterday and here are my studied observations on the experience:

walmart1. There are approximately 237 billion parking spots surrounding Walmart, yet nine times out of ten I end up pulling down the lane behind someone who will sit and wait for the family of six to load their two carts of groceries, buckle the kids into their seats, adjust their mirrors, turn on their GPS and select the “home” option, back halfway out of the spot, stop for no apparent reason for 30 seconds, back the rest of the way out into the lane, spend 20 seconds trying to shift into drive, stall out, restart the car, and then drift away at approximately .175 miles per hour. All of this might even be acceptable if it were midnight on the day after Thanksgiving, but it’s 11AM on a Friday. There are acres of open spots as far as the eye can see, but the douchtard in front of me wants this exact spot for some reason. Well, congratulations. You got it. You saved yourself at least 15 extra steps you’d have had to take from one of the already available spots. This trip is not going well and I haven’t even gotten out of the truck yet.

2. There are three carts inside the door. One filled with some combination of leaves, trash, and possibly a diaper, one that has apparently hosted a seagull convention, and the third and final option… That one apparently doesn’t have any bearings in one of its wheels, so I get to spend the next 40 minutes wiping bird shit off my hands or listening to THUNK, THUNK, RATTLE, THUNK, THUNK, RATTLE, THUNK, THUNK, RATTLE, THUNK, THUNK, RATTLE every time I take a step. I don’t know if there’s a hell or not, but If there is, I’m absolutely convinced the background noise is THUNK, THUNK, RATTLE.

3. Walked by the ammunition case. No ammo. Or more specifically no ammo for guns that anyone actually owns or uses on a regular basis. Can’t blame Walmart for that one, really. It’s just another disappointing part of this little voyage of the damned.

4. Milk, eggs, bread… Even Walmart cant screw up the staples too badly. Just when I thought things might be turning a corner a three year old girl came charging out of nowhere and flung herself at my cart. Looking up to see what she probably expected to be the face her theoretically loving parent, what she got was a surly look from an unknown middle aged guy with a goatee. Clearly this was not what she was anticipating as the result was a yelp that I can only equate with what happens when you step on a dog’s paw and the child attempting to sprint away and running directly into a bottled water display set up in the middle of the aisle. It seems that with enough momentum, one can really bounce off the side of a few pallets of bottled water. Who knew, right? The last thing I saw was her theoretically loving parent showing up from the next aisle over and clearly wondering why her little darling was lying flat out on Walmart’s floor.

4. I wanted to make a roast on Sunday. Roast beef was a regular fixture at Sunday dinner at my grandmother’s house and about once a month I pull out the stops and make one with all the trimmings. I have found decent cuts of beef at Walmart from time to time, but they’re few and far between… as you might expect, this trip was not one of the exceptions to the rule. It looks like I’ll be partaking in the much more recent family tradition of Taco Sunday again this week.

5. I walked up to a checkout counter that had just cleared its last customer. Not waiting in line to checkout is practically unheard of here at my local Walmart and I thought maybe I was going to get a break here at the end of this test of my endurance. Of course it wasn’t. The cashier was apparently engrossed in her conversation with the last customer. After unloading my cart onto the belt, she was still engrossed. I pushed the cart forward so I was standing directly in front of her and she was still engrossed. I’m pretty sure if I hadn’t started adding my two cents to their conversation, she would probably still be engrossed. Look lady, I don’t need you to be happy to be there. I don’t even need you to be pleasant. All I need you to do is slide my crap across the little scanner thingy, take my money, and let me get on with the rest of my day. The sooner that happens the happier we can all be.

Basically, the only good thing I can ever really say about a trip to Walmart is that no one has yet set my truck on fire in the parking lot. That’s probably only a matter of time, though, because truly the barbarians are at the gates.

Today’s post is the latest installment of “By Request,” where the readers pick the topic and I rant about it.

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