No, I take that back. Walking around a Walmart with no intention of shopping is one of life's little pleasures. Shopping there is usually a nightmare.
The customers are bad enough but just where do they get the staff from ?
But I'm getting ahead of myself. First, the products. Today, non food wise, I wanted some toothpaste and deodorant. Simples.
Well actually no. There was a bewildering choice for toothpaste and this isn't always a good thing. I'm now used to seeing toothpaste here containing fluoride, baking soda and peroxide and I often wonder if toothpaste shouldn't be moved to the baking aisle in the grocery section.
That idea was reinforced today when I saw toothpaste with new (to me anyway) ingredients. Mint I could understand. But cinnamon ? Then there was a variant for those who couldn't choose between the two.......cinnamint ! I finally lost the plot when I saw toothpaste with "oxygen bubbles." I can get my toothpaste to foam quite nicely thank you. I don't need extra bubbles added.
In the end I picked the cinnamint option as I love cinnamon and just HAD to try it. I'll let you know.
Then I went to the 'entertainment' section to see if there was a line forming to buy the Susan Boyle album. Just by mentioning her in a previous post, I got the largest number of visitors to my blog EVER. So in a pathetic and shameless move to keep them with me, I'm mentioning her again ! Susan Boyle.....Susan Boyle. There.
Anyway not only wasn't there a line of eager buyers, there wasn't even an album to buy ! I searched the categories from Pop to Easy Listening and then went back to take in Country and Rap just in case the shelf stacker had been on crack and thought that Ms Boyle looked like the sort of artist to duet with Lil Wayne or Jay Z.
But there was no sign of Susan. I asked an assistant. Ha ! You've as much chance of getting help from a Walmart assistant as asking Stevie Wonder to score a penalty....from the centre circle.....at another ground. Ain't gonna happen. He did have a look even though I told him I'd already looked. He checked his system.
"We might get a delivery next week" he said with little enthusiasm in his voice.
NEXT WEEK ! It's only Monday of THIS week ! I think Susan got to No.1 in America DESPITE Walmart.
I went off to the grocery section to get a few items - less than 20 items as that is key to the next bit. You see like all supermarkets, Walmart has a few 'express' checkouts for anyone buying 20 items or less but, and this is a key but, their employees are told not to challenge anyone who has more even if they appear before them with a cart piled so high the employee can't even see the customer until half their shopping has been processed.
"Oh there you are, dear. I didn't see you behind those 536 items you've got in your cart."
So it's left to the customers to say what we all think....and have a go at anyone who breaks the rule. It rarely happens and the repeat offenders know this.
Last week we came into the store and all hell was breaking loose at the express checkouts. Someone had obviously said something to a woman who was placing half the contents of the store onto the small counter. It was a slanging match to behold, and behold it we did. Rather than just stand and gawp, we hovered around the rotisserie chickens taking it all in. It almost came to blows but as usual the one with the biggest mouth and the fewest words in her vocabulary won. Not surprisingly she was the overloader. We had to admire her ability to multitask as she was slagging off the woman who had had the nerve to challenge her while still dumping item after item onto the counter.
The checkout lady (ha !) just rang up each item with a mildly bored look on her face. Now if she had just politely told gobby woman that this was a 20 items or less checkout, we'd not have had this fracas - but then I'd not have had a blog post !
But that's Walmart. The stores are staffed by about 6 employees who don't know anything about anything but have turned the act of talking amongst themselves and ignoring customers into an art form. Even if they knew where an item was, they'd never go with you to find it. Today I heard a lady ask a member of staff if they could help her get a heavy trash can down from a high shelf and the staff member said she couldn't help right now as she was due to take her break ! I had to tell another shopper where the crock pots were as the staff member she'd asked had said she didn't know....and carried on stacking a shelf !
To shop there is to take your life in your hands as nowhere else in the world has such a concentration of disabled scooters driven by people who have only two disabilities....obesity and laziness. The really disabled people are reduced to being pushed around the stores in their wheelchairs as all the scooters are in use.
The Walmart slogan is "Save Money. Live Better."
There is an argument for spending a bit more and living longer.
Update : And this is a first for me...obviously. To all you visitors from forum.susan-boyle.com who have arrived in your hundreds today, thank you very much. SB is certainly is a global phenom but I won't abuse her popularity again......well not again today anyway ! Return again soon....and often....and bring friends...and jaffa cakes.....please.