Thursday, April 17, 2008

the ugly truth

"Hey, Hubby, I need to go pick up a few things. Do you want to come with me? We can make it a date!"

It was already past 8:00 on a weeknight. After a long day of cleaning up the yard (and by 'cleaning up the yard' I mean neatly arranging the hubcap collection and sprucing up the blue tarps,) Hubby had just sat down in his favorite chair.

At my request for a "date" we both took a glance at his attire: work boots, sweat pants, t-shirt and a Carhartt jacket.

"Just give me a second to make myself presentable," he cheerfully replied. At that, he licked the tips of both index fingers, smoothed his eyebrows and announced, "I'm ready!"

Off to the perfect start.

Wanna know just how white trash we are? Our "date" was a drive thru trip to Burger King (I'm sorry, Clarice--I know you'll be praying for me) and shopping in separate sections of Wal-Mart. And as much as we like to pretend that we're not really "Wal-Mart people," like a mullet at a NASCAR event, we blend in.

Little things about that store irritate me and when it's time for the ordeal that is check-out I'm usually a little bit grumpy. 'Cause you know how Wal-Mart has 60 check-out counters but 59 of them are self-check-out and the remaining counter with an actual human checker is reserved for people with 10 items or fewer? No? You don't know because you don't shop there? Trust me--I'm barely exaggerating.

It's not that the self check-out process is overly complicated. In fact, it's designed so any average 3rd grader can manage it. The real problem is that it takes 14 times longer for me to scan and bag my items than it would take a wild monkey.

Having never attempted the self check-out himself, Hubby misinterpreted my struggle with the bagging step as inexperience.

[The bagging step, by the way, is confounded if an item is either too lightweight or else not in exactly the right position and the sensor doesn't detect that it's been bagged and a supervisor is called and you stand there looking like a below average 3rd grader while the supervisor condescendingly gets you back on track and pats your little head. Meanwhile, the wild monkeys have finished their transactions and are halfway home . . . ]

Thinking I didn't know what I was doing, Hubby had the audacity to ask someone for help. The nerve of that man. I'll be damned if I'll allow strangers to labor under the misguided impression that I can't read instructions and figure out how to bag my own items.

Repeatedly thwarted by the faulty bagging sensor, I was beginning to lose my patience. And by 'lose my patience' I mean swear. A lot. In the middle of Wal-Mart.

And also? That husband of mine? Didn't stand in the right spot! He kept standing to my left. Why would he stand to my left when I was clearly telepathically instructing him to stand to my right and take the filled bags from my hands. Has he been married to me all these years for nothing?

When it was time to pay, I made the mistake of resting my purse on the bagging platform. And finally the sensor worked. Only it was an illegal maneuver to place a non scanned item on the bagging platform and a light started blinking and the computer started yelling at me and an alarm went off and a swarm of security guards suddenly appeared to arrest me and take me to Wal-Mart jail. Trust me--I'm barely exaggerating.

By the time we got out to the parking lot I was so fried at the lack of checkers or anything helpful that there was a visible blue cloud of newly minted obscenities trailing behind me as I briskly walked toward the car. I was so irritated that I spat my gum (oh yes, not only shopping at Wal-Mart but doing so while chewing gum . . . ) into the landscaped island in the parking lot. I know. I'm so sorry.

During the drive home, to calm my nerves and round out our white trash date, we cracked open the Honey Nut Cheerios and ate them dry--straight from the box. Not even waiting until we got home and could eat them properly out of bowls. With beer.


Kuckie said...

I hate Wal-Mart. There's and evil presence in the air there that makes everyone leave bitchier than when they came in...and you're right, there is nothing and nobody even remotely helpful in that store. UGH!!!!

MissGotWings said...

Wal-Mart is the most evil place ever. How ever many circles of hell there are, tack one on for Wal-Mart

Optimist said...

Thank you for the wonderful deep belly laugh!! A great way to start the day!

The Walton family will never get another dime from me. Not only do they comprise 5 of the top 10 Richest People in the World slots, they pay their slaves in China 13cents an hour. Their empire is like a fecking virus! I'm lucky to live in a large city where I have other shopping venues - but small town people have run out of options since Wal-mart has put all the small guys out of business. It sucks.
Sorry for the rant! I'm feeling a bit unhinged myself!
Love you! Love your blog!

vuboq said...

Do you pour the beer on the cheerios? Or just have it in accompaniment with the cheerios?

My grandmother used to pour orange juice on her cereal. I thought that was the grossiest thing ever.

Geggie said...

Ugh! Self check out anything. I'm certain that it saves the store, but end up costing the shopper (read: ME AND YOU!!!) more time and frustration. There are a few that do it well, Whole Foods and also a Kroger subsidiary that I used to frequent in Phoenix.

I just want to deal with a person.

Althogh, I have to say that in my limited experience, the non-human self checkout system is MORE friendly and helpful than most of the actual humans in a Wal-Mart.

It's been probably a year since I've been in one. I'm not really a fan, but sometimes it's what's available, ya know.

Storybook Woods said...

Well I want to say "well you were at Wal-Mart, dah, what did you expect" but I won't. See you tonight xoxoxox Clarice

Influencebad said...

I've only ever been in Wal Mart once or twice (once was because I realized that I desperately needed a motorcycle helmet at midnight), but I'm pretty sure the self checkouts there are similar to the self checkouts everywhere. I throw a fit whenever I'm with a friend who insists on using that God forsaken piece of equipment!!! AGGGHHH! Makes me want to start grinding my teeth just THINKING about it!

And clearly there's no better start to a date than a trip through your local Burger King drivethru. ^_^ Romantic AND nutritious!

countrymouse said...

Omigosh, Kuckie and Kate--you're right! There *is* an evil presence!

You know, Optimist, I don't know what it is about learning the Walton family comprises 5 of the top 10 richest people in the world slots, but it galls me in a way I wasn't galled before . . .

Seriously, VUBOQ, does it matter whether the beer is poured over the cheerios or served on the side? But orange juice--now that's just disgusting! ; )

Geggie, you make a good point about the self-check computers being as friendly (or more friendly : ) as the human checkers ; )

I know, Clarice . . . I know, I know, I know. What was I expecting?

Ha ha, Becca--I can't say I've ever "desperately needed a motorcycle helmet at midnight." Ah, youth . . . : )

Whitenoise said...

Next time bring a couple little wild monkeys with you and let them do the scanning and bagging... Speaking from experience, more fun than a barrel of, well, you know...

Great post, Mouse. ;-)

Asthmagirl said...

I happen to like my beer on the side... off to the side of pretty much any other beverage!
Brave you for attempting Wally World at all!

And thank goodness the husband groomed his eyebrow before your date... nothing like unruly brows on a man to have folks staring!

It was great to meet you the other night. I totally enjoyed talking with you... when I wasn't so nervous that I was stuttering!

jenontheedge said...

You want to know what REALLY throws things off at Walmart? Bringing your own cloth bags instead of using their plastic bags. Do it sometime, just so that you can see the looks on the employee's face.

Mary said...

You know what's missing from this post? Being able to watch you mimic your husband's eyebrow grooming. Every time I think of you doing that, I crack up.

Great post!

countrymouse said...

I'm fresh out of wild monkeys, Whitenoise! Give me a couple years though : )

Hey there, asthmagirl! It's funny how many of us were nervous and almost couldn't force ourselves to go. It was so worth it!

Jen, you know what else would be fun to bring to Wal-Mart? A union rep ; )

Oh Mary, if you'd seen *him* do it you'd laugh even harder! That man is so funny : )

CheekierMeSly said...

Country Mouse, my belly laughs were fierce. I lurve how you put me RIGHT THERE, and I'm pissing and moaning and popping open the cereal right damn with you.