The Markdown and the Damage Done
You could build a WalMart in the middle of Beverly Hills and I guarantee you…. hillbillies would arrive in droves. My hometown in Jersey was an upper middle-class area for over 30 years and when they built a WalMart there, yup- you guessed it- late-model minivans would stream in like clown cars full of extras from Deliverance. So, before we get to far into this let me say that I shop at WalMart because it’s cheap and close…. not because I’m about the lifestyle.
I didn’t think I would ever encounter children in New England named Bubba or Elvis. But one Saturday in the soda aisle I learned, several times and at the highest possible octave, that ‘lil Bubba and Elvis were a testin’ their momma’s patience. Luckily, we were too far from the Garden Center for her to yank a switch off the nearest sapling and give them what for.
A trip down the aisle featuring Italian items (clearly my inner voice was pronouncing it “eye-talian” like the local populace) made me question why the Mart needs 20 varieties of assembly line jar sauce? Clearly these people are as familiar with Italian cuisine as Lt. McCluskey from the Godfather. Five kinds of frozen meatballs. 6 varieties of frozen garlic bread- including Texas toast. Sorry, but the old racist from Pepperidge Farms (3 varieties of GB) doesn’t remember dick about growing up Italian and what Sunday dinners were like.
Next stop was the – no, I’m not joking – Nutritional section. I needed vitamins, a case of 5 Hour Energy shots, and some Cliff bars. Staring at the selection of dietary aids like it’s a civil service exam is a “Rubenesque” woman in pajamas…PAJAMAS…holding a newborn so incorrectly she shoulda held it up by its ankle like a prize bass. Her heavy, labored breathing reminded me of Mike Francesa drinking chocolate milk. I grabbed my energy shots and mouthed a silent prayer of thanks that my mother didn’t drink or smoke during her pregnancy.
Heading towards hardware to score some paintbrushes I spied an aisle labeled “Clearance”. That’s like shopping in a store called Nazi’s and seeing an aisle marked “Evil Shit”. I figured what the hell, how dangerous could it be wading into Thunderdome. Have you ever seen those churches down south where they dance with rattlesnakes? It was THAT, minus the conscious courtesy you’d normally encounter at the DMV…..BUT I DID score a red, white, and blue wristband for my FitBit for only Four Dollars!! I was able to reset my own shoulder back into place, slap some gauge on a knife wound I received in my leg….and decided discretion is the better part of valor and headed toward the storm cloud in the distance known as Checkout.
My cashier choices consisted of 80-yr-old Betty Lou (because no one born after 1970 was named Betty-Lou), a dude who looked like the old Tim Conway character from the Carol Burnett Show, and a woman in what looked to be a burka. Wanting to leave as quickly as possible and not get blown up in the event of a price-check (shut up, you’d think about it too) I opted for self-check-out. About 30 minutes later I successfully scanned all my items and was on my way to deal with the parking lot, a place attributed to more ugly accidents than prom sex. But that’s a story for another day.