Scenes From a Wal-Mart

On Saturday morning, the earliest mumblings began. “Two to three inches,” the hairdresser said she heard. “There’s always a big one in March, every year,” she explained. Three to five, someone else said. The storm was barreling up from the south. Snow was coming. Why, last week it was 60-degrees- and-short-sleeves weather, but the groundhog did predict winter.

Around here, life can be cancelled in less than inch. I have great memories of school being closed the night before, my sister and me erupting in cheers, only to have the Great Blizzard of ’91 turn out to be a single flurry. Around here, we’re wimps–I didn’t grow up in Minnesota, and I’m damn proud to be a wimp. Go out there? Are you insane? I’d fall flat on my ass and lose a tooth. And I have very expensive teeth.

Five to eight, they started saying. Boy oh boy–work, school, and dressing myself for the day was going to be cancelled on Monday! I started planning my awesome snow day. I was gonna sleep til noon, not get dressed, take an hour-long shower, watch TV for hours, build a snowman, drink hot chocolate, and eat an awesome breakfast. I could feel it in my bones–the Great Blizzard of 09 was coming–we wouldn’t be able to leave the house for days, and I’d have to make snowshoes out of tennis rackets just to leave the house. I always wanted to do that.

By Sunday afternoon, it was up to 12 inches. Remember, I’m a wimp, and at a foot of snow, my snow day energy began giving way to panic. We needed food and a 24 pack of Charmin and shit, maybe I should fill the tub with water! Yep, I’m one of those people, the kind that races to the store to stock up for what was now being dubbed THE MEGASTORM. This was big and there was only one way to make it bigger–make a journey into the county… to THE SUPER WAL-MART COMPOUND.


What you see above is 1/2 of the Wal-Mart–er, THE SUPER WAL-MART COMPOUND. Saying that it’s huge really does it no justice–there’s a goddamn ferris wheel inside! Just kidding. There’s not, but they could fit one if they tried. It does have a full grocery store, eight aisles of bedding, a Subway, and a Starbucks in the bathroom. Okay, not really, but they could totally fit one if they tried. Of course, the parking lot was the sequel to the film Jumanji. People were gnashing and foaming at the mouth to get into parking spaces.


Once inside, you had to have a game plan. You couldn’t just wander throughout the store, thinking about what you might need to stock up on. No, you needed to be cunning and heartless, ripping through the store, and ripping out people’s hearts if they got in your way. That’s not me. I’m indecisive. Or maybe I’m just extra thoughtful about each decision. The first decision was what to have for our awesome snow day breakfast. The girlfriend and I have been on a Pilsbury biscuit kick, and I always take a minute to mull over Homestyle vs Flaky Layers. Both come in Original flavor and Butter-Tastin’. Butter-Tastin’ Flaky Layers has been winning out.

Next it was chip ‘n dip. No snow day is for real without a stockpile of junk food. We needed some Barqs, Ruffles, french onion dip, and maybe some nachos. Or maybe some Cheez-Its. Or Utz. Utz or Ruffles? Ridges or no? Jalapeno poppers or potato skins? It was so damn hard and my snow day had to be perfect. The girlfriend pushed the cart along, cursing the bum wheel that made the cart pull to the left.


As you can see, the chip aisle was taking a direct hit. But we had to push onward, through the mass of humanity, past the deterioration of the sacred snack aisle, onward while the cart pulled left, to the boxed pasta section. There we would find the alternative San Francisco Treat, Pasta Roni. Quick, cheap, delicious. Pairs well with Texas Toast. The girlfriend suggested a salad. On a snow day? There’s no salads on snowdays!


That ain’t my cart, but it’s an example of the kind of madhouse shopping people were doing. There were even better smash-packed shopping carts, but I had to be discreet about taking pictures, looking like a complete jackass. I just waited for someone to shout, ‘hey asshole, take pictures of your own cart!’

Finally, THE LINES:


They all formed arcs on top of one another, and if everyone was wearing the same colored clothes, it would have formed a sort of rainbow. A Wal-Mart rainbow. They clearly brought out their war chest crew of cashiers for the MEGASTORM RUSH, because the lines moved pretty fast. We were back in the Jumanji game lot in no time, sitting down to a warm(ed over) Taco Bell lunch soon enough.

Oh, and the snow day itself, ya know, THE MEGASTORM? We got less than 3 inches and it all melted away by this afternoon. Life was cancelled though–no work for me, no school for her. I didn’t dress, ate no vegetables, skipped the gym, watched Hook, Big, and the Price is Right, and capped off the night with a Pasta Roni dinner. I even had two pieces of Texas Toast–Life is fine! Fine as wine!

If you had off, how did you spend the day?

4 thoughts on “Scenes From a Wal-Mart

  1. The Walmart in my neighborhood is officially the worst one I’ve ever been to. Imagine the Snow Day Panic but every single day. Also, you probably shouldn’t eat something called “Butter-Tastin'”, but it does sound delicious.

  2. Wow, this reminds me of every hurricane scare we have here in Houston. The shelves will be bare and every parking space is full. I’ve always overprepared in the past, but managed to underprepare for Ike, our last hurricane. I’ll never do that again. For every close scare I’d get a day or two off work. If nothing was too severe I’d basically watch TV and eat the junk food we bought during the days my workplace was closed. I’d always think that I would do something productive with the time out but that has never happened.

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