I’d rather dance through a hunting reserve in a deer costume than go to Wal-Mart. Ever.

There’s just something about the atmosphere there that immediately stresses me out – I’m pretty sure God removed His presence from all Wal-Marts many years ago after one too many scary human sightings.

No matter how little I appreciate Target’s underwhelming sales events, they are Miley Cyrus in Hannah Montana and Wal-Mart is Miley Cyrus on stage with Robin Thicke.

Target is Lindsay Lohan in the Parent Trap and Wal-Mart is a conglomeration of every horrific iteration of Lindsay Lohan since.

Target is Instagram and Wal-Mart is Reddit.

Target is Anthony Bourdain and Wal-Mart is Adam Richman with Guy Fieri’s hair.

You get the point.

But it was my husband’s birthday.

And I love my husband. I love my husband so much that I was willing to put aside my from-scratch baking ideals and make him his favorite boxed cake.

Chris Birthday Cake

(And let the kids decorate it to death.)

I love my husband so much that I was willing to go the one and only place that still carries his favorite cake mix, Butter Pecan.

Yes. That place is Miley/Lohan/Reddit/Richman/Fieri-Mart.

I steeled my resolve, prayed blessings over my children, and managed to not have a wreck in the parking lot that is eternally a scene out of Independence Day right after the Aliens start shooting up the world.

I forced Noah to sit in the cart like an infant because I needed to minimize my distractions to make it through the American Ninja Warrior challenge to come. I could hear the commentators in my head.

Let’s see if Rachel can turn sideways quickly enough to avoid the lady in the electric shopping cart who can clearly walk but chooses not to do so. She did it – without even glaring when the Scooter tried to cut her off at the last minute!

Oh! She needs to duck! There are cans falling off the shelf due to an over-forceful stock boy.

Can she keep her three year old properly contained in the cart? No she cannot. But then again, who could?

Will she step on the fit-pitching child in the middle of the aisle? Rachel will get 100 points deducted if she does, and 500 points deducted if she rolls over him with the shopping cart, no matter how much he deserves it.

It’s time for Rachel to scour every tub of frosting looking for cream cheese – You can see her wheels turning, wondering WHAT CRAZY PERSON CAME IN HERE AND BOUGHT EVERY SINGLE TUB OF EVERY SINGLE BRAND OF CREAM CHEESE FROSTING?!?!

We got our cake mix, found the last elusive tubs of Cream Cheese Frosting, I allowed the children to shop for birthday presents to give their Daddy (Legos – obviously), and we made it up to the row of registers with minimal point deductions.

30 registers….5 with lights on.

The second round of competition began at picking the register least likely to turn on their blinky light for a price check…or worse.

We picked the last one in the row. Only one lady in line, and she only had four items.

What could go wrong??

That’s when I noticed that she was more blinding than The Star in the East.

I looked up to find the source of her light.

She was wearing a silver-sequined fedora – the kind you’d buy at Party City for a Tacky New Year’s Eve get-together. Her fishnet hose had such giant spaces between the fish nets that a school of Tuna could escape without breaking a scale. She was wearing peep toe shimmering heels, a cock-eyed black skirt with a separate silver sequined skirt hanging out from underneath, and a black business suit jacket…with more silver sequins poking out around the collar.

At first I thought she was also wearing a parole ankle monitor over her fishnets, but then I realized she just had the two biggest anklets ever created, but both still slightly smaller than ten out of twelve of the rings she was somehow managing to keep steady around her fingers.

When I got close enough to see what was going on, I realized she was singing. Softly at first, swaying back and forth minimally. The song swelled and her hips began gyrating.

In the name of Jesus you ain’t gonna take my money!

In the name of Jesus you ain’t gonna take my money!

In the name of Jesus you ain’t gonna take my money!

I don’t think that’s what He meant when He said “If you ask anything in my Name…”

The cashier just watched, with a level, bored, I’ve-seen-this-type-of-routine-every-day-I’ve-worked-here expression on her face.

“Ma’am. They’re $1.97. I’m sorry.”

I looked down and saw the item in question: a box of Candy Crush Gummy Snacks.

The song resumed, this time on the second verse.

They were a dollar last week and they were a dollar before that.

In the name of Jesus you ain’t gonna take my money!

You will need to adjust that price down to a dollar.

There was other bartering going on as well, one item in question being a neon pink sequined headband that had a clearance tag for fifty cents. Apparently the disappointment in the gummy snack price made her decide that this, too, was an outrage, so she threw the fuchsia headband onto the back of the conveyor belt.

I felt it was best, as she clearly had a silver sequin theme working for her.

“I need to talk to a manager or something. These gummies should be a dollar – they’ve always been a dollar and in the name of JESUS you ain’t gonna take my money!”

“I can’t adjust a price. Why don’t you pay for everything else you want, then you can go talk to a manager.”

She pulled from her pocket a large medicine bottle with the label ripped off. Through the amber plastic, I could see wadded up money and what looked like a couple of fake fingernails that had worked their way loose.

She sang under her breath as she pulled out the bills.

Apparently, Miss Sequins was also a magician, because as the clerk was bagging up her purchases, she found the pink headband in the bag.

“Ma’am. You didn’t pay for this. You said you didn’t want it. Do you want to buy it?”

“Uhhh! YES…I’ll buy it. How much is it?”

“Fifty-five cents with tax.”

“Fine! Just a minute.”

Out came the pill box again, where she pulled out a single bill from betwixt the fingernails.

(At this point I was just glad I didn’t spot any actual fingers in that bottle.)

She danced off with her bag in one hand and the gummies in the other. I assumed those gummies would magically move to the bag and she’d be walking out in no time.

The cashier and I made eye contact. She shrugged her shoulders and said “The characters you get in here…”

I laughed sympathetically and prayed that my children wouldn’t do anything to send this poor soul over the edge.

While she rung up my purchases, my eyes wandered down a few registers where Sequins had found herself a manager. Her dance was even more animated and her song had the passion of Adele after being stood up for a date.

In the name of Jesus you ain’t gonna take my money!

In the name of Jesus you ain’t gonna take my money!

In the name of Jesus you ain’t gonna take my money!

As I finished checking out, Sequins was stomping away, shimmering in the florescent Wal-Mart bulbs. She had her money and the manager was holding the gummies, watching her leave with fearful fascination.

So in the end, her song worked.

26 thoughts on “People of Wal-Mart: The Live Show.

  1. I have the SAME distaste for Wal-Mart here in Michigan. My husband and best friend found it funny to buy me an “I “heart” Wal-Mart” t-shirt for my birthday. I avoid the store at all costs, but my husband seems to love it. Luckily we have other options here in Michigan, and I am willing to pay higher prices, just so I don’t have to endure the above scenes.

  2. I have a walMart story too. Nothing as fascinating as yours, but appalling customer service!! I HATE shopping there.

  3. I am so with you! I try to avoid WalMart at much as I can! Sometimes when I go, a strange twitching comes over me! However, there have been times when I see it as an amazing ministry opportunity once the twitching stops. I’ve always found it fascinating that you don’t see those same types of interactions at Target or any other store! It must be the prices that end in a 7 that draws people there. :-)

  4. I’m hoping you bought enough of that cake mix to last your husband a couple birthdays, unless it expires before then of course! I’m very sad there is no picture to accompany this post. I’ll have to head over to people of walmart to see if someone else captured this beauty in all her glory.

  5. On a recent trip to Wal-Mart, my mom, sister and I were getting in a checkout line when we heard the most unbelievable screaming coming from across the store. I had to run back to get something I missed, and I saw the source of the screams–a man, obviously tweaking on something, hog-tied on the floor near the exit doors and yelling “I AIN’T GOT NOTHIN'” at the very top of his lungs. This continued on for a good seven minutes, then stopped kind of abruptly. As we passed the scene on our way out of the store, we were pretty sure the cops and security officers had Tased the guy, because he was drooling and appeared to have wet himself–it wasn’t stopping him from ramping his screams back up, though. All around him, a crowd of people stood, recording it all on their cell phones. And that’s Wal-Mart for you in a nutshell.

  6. Lol, you should have taken a picture for the Walmartians website. We have 5 Walmarts in our area and 3 of them are totally normal – clean, friendly, Target-like atmospheres. Two of them however…I would not be surprised in the least to see this kind of the thing. I avoid those two at all costs!

  7. This so sounds like something that could happen to me. I am a freak magnet. And I always get asked random questions like I work there. I must have an invisible name tag that only crazies can see…

  8. Ah bless! It seems the people of Wal-Mart are a whole ‘nuther step up on the people of ASDA (owned by the Wal-Mart group – a big supermarket which sells clothes and household goods).

  9. I went to a Walmart neighborhood market today in search of my husband’s birthday items. I go 3-4 times a year.. I hate it SO much, and drive an extra 20 minutes to go across town to the “safe” Walmart. I actually had a super scary experience at the Wildwood one. At least your trip made for a great story!

  10. Oh, yes. I’m willing to bet I know exactly which Walmart this was, too. I’m guessing it was the one closest to us. This was the same location where some magician vanished my cellphone from its perch on top of my open purse. Rookie mistake on my part. On another occasion I found an open bag of pork rinds, an opened can on salsa, and an open pack of styrofoam plates on an end cap in the grocery section. Someone had themselves a nice little lunch right there!

  11. Ok. Well… money is tight for us all. SO – now I shop at Aldi and Wal-Mart has become my Whole Foods… sad, sad… but it gives me humility. So… there is that. You want shocking. Go to Aldi.

    WITH THAT SAID… I live in Culpeper VA. It is 15 miles from the “safe” Warrenton VA WallyWorld – where the rich horse riders and traders shop to feel thrifty. And pay $20k for tuition to Highland.

    Imagine an atomic bomb went off between both burgs! One in Warrenton being Nordstrom. One in Culpeper being a store selling stripper fare. I often have to stop with my kids, gasp and cover scandalized little eyes, quickly shooting a pix for my uber conservative Catholic friends who text back… “Oh my sweet Lord, pray for us!” It is hilarious! Scary… humbling… but too funny and I am often… ok – weekly – in the Confessional asking penance for nasty thoughts about scantily clad girls and calculating how fast they will be knocked up to forever live on the national food stamp ticket.

    Well.. at least I admit it. We all think it. ;) Father even knows it’s me, I secretly think. Dying of boredom one week he asked me to dig deeper – lest other (more interesting) festering sins lurk. Sorry.

  12. ROFL! That sounds like any Wal-Mart I’ve ever been too. I despise Wal-Mart with a passion, but unfortunately that is pretty much the only place I can afford to shop.

  13. I feel ya. I try to avoid Walmart at all costs. Tonight (well, just now, really) I sent Josh because walmart is the only place open and I desperately needed anti-nausea medicine. You’d think he would be ok at 2 am, right? Nope. Buying one item, and he got stuck behind someone with three carts. Took him like an hour to get home. I barely escaped death.

  14. Your story telling is awesome! I totally agree with the Walmart atmosphere. Sounds like you described my hometown Walmart. I have to get a cold cloth and rest my weary soul when I get home from that place.

  15. At least she pulled the bottle of money out of her pocket instead of her bra! My mother-in-law goes around humming (loudly and off-key) to herself all the time. Drives.me.CRAZY!

  16. We have 3 Walmarts in our area, one in each of our 3 meshed cities. I guess our general demographic is boring. I hear stories and see the pictures but none of that ever happens where i can see it. I much prefer Walmart to Target. It’s closer, cheaper, has better checkouts, and better selections. No Starbucks in any of them, tho, Target has that going for it.

  17. I share everyone’s disdain for WalMart. I avoid it like the plague. The last several times I have been in there, I have noticed that their prices have gradually been increasing…kind of like putting a frog in a pot of hot water, he jumps out but if you put him in cold water and turn up the heat gradually he will cook. I think once-upon-a-time WalMart was somewhat cheaper in price, but not any more. I think people are still assuming that they are the “Low Cost Leader” and that is what they are counting on. I have found that stocking up on the buy one-get one sales and other deals along with using coupons to save me far more money than Wally World and I have a much more delightful shopping experience.

    One of my most shocking discoveries is that WalMart’s rotisserie chicken has yellow dye in them…WHY? I can’t trust any of their deli/bakery items due to poor ingredients. Their meat has “broth” added which adds to the weight so you think you are getting a good price per pound but you are paying for the added liquid. I have heard that their fruits and veggies are irradiated. Their WalMart brand cheeses taste awful. I could go on…

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