Saturday, November 10, 2007

Wal-Mart Hell

The Flying Curmudgeon is back from Wal-Mart Hell.

Wal-Mart - that modern-day monument to free enterprise and conspicuous consumption.

Wal-Mart - the 21st Century engine that helps keep the U.S. economy humming, in spite of $3.00/gallon gasoline, the threat posed by Al-Qaeda terrorists and wannabes, the collapse of the real estate market.

After getting back from a trip late last night, TFC had to make the weekly, obligatory trek to "Bargain-Shoppers Purgatory" today.

A trip to the dentist, a visit with the local gastro-enterologist -to have one of those long, flexible rubber things, with a camera stuck on the end, shoved up the nether regions - the periodic run to the neighborhood Super Wal-Mart. All of them, right up there on top of "The Flying Curmudgeon's Top Ten List of Favorite Things to Do" in his spare time.

It's not that TFC has anything against Wal-Mart, in principle.

Sam Walton's legacy has put the American Dream within reach of Americans and illegal immigrants alike. The prices are cheap, the selections are reasonable, and the service is, well - it's Wal-Mart, okay?

What more could one want?

Okay, TFC admits it. It does seem a little odd to complain about a store one frequents on a relatively frequent basis. It's just that shopping at Wal-Mart is like watching a train wreck - you know you shouldn't, you just can't help yourself.

What is it about Wal-Mart that makes it so unpleasant?

The Flying Curmudgeon has been all over the cell-phone issue in an earlier post. It's more than that.

Is it the "Demolition Derby" out in the parking lot, dodging the teenagers in their "rice-burners," Snoop Dogg thumping out of the speakers so loudly your fillings shake? Or is it the people who wait in their vehicles, blocking traffic for 10 minutes, waiting for the perfect space up front, rather than park a little farther away, like their doctors advised.

You know who you are.

Why not take your physician's advice and park a little farther out? The exercise will do you some good and you won't be creating a bottleneck right at the entrance. Oh, and by the way, skip the electric scooter once you get inside.

Who designed the parking lots anyway? The Marquis de Sade's great-great-grandson? Surely, Wal-Mart could have done a better job planning the entry and exit points.

Do you remember the old one about the guy who dies, and goes to Hell?

He is met by the Devil and shown a hallway, with three doors. The Devil says, "Okay, take a look at what's behind each door, and decide in which room you want to spend Eternity."

Behind the first door, there are people standing around naked, in a driving snowstorm, shivering violently with the cold.

Behind the second, people are in the desert, it's 105-degrees out, and they are dressed for the ski-slopes. They are sweating profusely.

Behind the third door, a group of people are sitting around in chairs, cow manure up to their knees, and they are drinking coffee. The man says to the Devil, "Well, I guess I could get used to the smell, this one's not so bad. I'll take room number 3."

A few minutes later, the man is sitting in his chair, sipping his coffee when a demon comes in and announces, "Okay, everyone, the coffee break's over. Everyone back on their heads."

Sometimes Wal-Mart seems like the room behind door number 3.


No comments: