Okay, we’ve established, I’ve been spending too much time in my house. Too much time in comfy sweatshirts and yoga pants and Mike’s fluffy, old cast-off socks. I’ve been making tea and jello and mashed potatoes and applesauce for the flu victim. In effect, I’ve turned into a mushy pile of bland goo. What’s really sad is how quickly I fell into this and how quickly I embraced it.
Today, when Mike got home, I put on a pair of real jeans – with a zipper and button. Foundation garments. A shirt and jacket I wouldn’t be embarrassed to give to Goodwill. And, I even added mascara and some gel in an attempt to tame my hair. Fan-cee! Yesiree Bob, I was headed to the WalMart.
I had a fairly short list – just some staples. I was also alone, which rarely happens, so I took the time to browse storage containers and I picked up a giant box of the snap-lid stuff I’ve come to love – all those nice boxes stacked in the drawer or the fridge. Next, I browsed through cards and gift cards for something for our niece who is getting married sometime soon. Finally, I went completely nuts and bought a new shower curtain for Mike’s and my bedroom. I know, reckless spending at its ugliest.
The whole time I was in the store I kept running into a young-ish couple (early/mid-20’s). They were horrible on so many levels I just don’t have words for it. It’s WalMart, sigh. But no matter how random my shopping patterns were, they were at every turn. It wasn’t just me. Even the weirdest of the weird folks shopping were actively avoiding this couple. ::::shudder::::
I finally opted to skip frozen foods and produce rather than deal with the pair any longer. Guess who showed up in front of me in the longest line in the store? Yup. As soon as I got into the line and saw them I tried to back up but there were two other happy WalMart shoppers behind me. There was no point leaving.
I endured them discussing every single item they placed on the conveyor belt. They seriously were putting on a show for the rest of us. It was bizarre in the strongest sense of the word. The poor woman working at the cash register was subjected to more of their nonsense. When it came time to pay, they each ran an EBT card through the scanner and together they came up short. There ensued a huge mess about them going home to get money and could Walmart hold the cart and they were adamant about not just taking a few things from the cart . . .
Honestly, I wasn’t paying attention to much of this until I had unloaded my entire cart onto the conveyor belt. But, then they left and the cashier was confused and suddenly there were managers trying to figure out what to do. I was not in a hurry and I’ve had enough jobs like that to know that none of the mess was the fault of the WalMart folks. But, when they announced that they had to freeze my lane and open up a new one, I nearly ripped open my jar of olives and started chomping on them furiously to show my anger. (Does anyone else remember the PMS med commercial where the lady wanted to ram her shopping cart into innocent people? That’s about where I was. Yes, we needed food, but mostly I was at WalMart because I NEEDED olives!) I had a LOT of groceries and now I was going to have to put them back in my cart and get in line again – behind all the people in line behind me who had much less loaded carts (which were still loaded in the carts)? And, then unload my cart again?
My hat is off to the manager handling the situation. She caught my eye and said “Do not touch anything on the lane – I’ll get people here to move your stuff.” And she did and I went through the new line quickly.
But, I left the store, struggling to push my cart and open my jar of olives at the same time, feeling conflicted. I was/am at the height of PMS, so I’m sure that’s coloring my feelings. But, gah! This obnoxious couple was comprised of two able-bodied 20-somethings who, at least from listening to them for the full hour I was in WalMart, are not overly educated (they should not be holding out for “management”). They were intent on spending the max on each of their cards (I looked it up. Yes, I am that pissy.). 5 4-packs of Frappuccino something. Really? You maintain that muffin-top and eat nothing? And, thank heavens for that debit card, otherwise you might have to give up your fancy, qwerty cell phone or the pedicures.
I support food stamps for people who are out of work and for people who have kids. I support giving those people the freedom to buy whatever they want with those food stamps. I’ve been really poor and sometimes, you just need a box of Twinkies or whatever. And, when you’re working, you’re paying taxes to support this program. I know lots of people who have used Food Stamps responsibly and as a last resort.
What I saw tonight was not a last resort. It was a lifestyle. And, the more I think about it the madder I get. I am constantly telling my kids “No.” No, I will not buy this or that simply because you can heat it in a microwave. No, we do not have the money to buy this or that. Always, always, always, I feel like I’m saying “No.” Mostly, my no’s are justified and have nothing to do with how much money we have. But, the times that my no’s are about money are harder. Not heartbreaking, but harder.
And, then I go to the store and have two exhibitionists buying up every “No” in my book, behaving badly in public and then not hesitating to hold up a long line of regular people and just being such horrible examples of humanity.
While I’ve never used it as a big punishment, I wonder, IS THERE NO SHAME?