I’m aware that it may be incredibly hip to despise Walmart, but today I will join ranks with the hipsters to decry the villainy of the evil empire and expose their sins. And these sins are numerous, vast, even legion.
Don’t misunderstand me. I have no interest in exposing sweat shop scandals, employee mistreatment, or other ways Walmart uses questionable ethics to cut corners in an effort to deliver unto us the lowest price. These are concerns that are better expressed by others, and I’ll leave that up to them. What I am going to bring up today is that I am incapable of recalling ever having a positive Walmart shopping experience, and most of this is due to the staff. While normally I would refuse to ever return to an establishment that treats me how Walmart inevitably does every single time, the unfortunate truth is that there really isn’t much in the way of competition in the area in which I live. I jump at the opportunity to patronize locally owned businesses for whatever I can; there just aren’t very many of them anymore.
Let’s start with the beginning, shall we?
The first thing that I notice every time I enter my local Walmart is the greeter. I smile and say hello, but to hear them tell it, this might be the worst job in the world. To get them to even look at me, I have to dance around them while they turn about every which way to avoid eye contact. I’m not sure why this is difficult. I would say I’m a solid 7 to an 8 out of 10, so it’s not like my visage is unappealing to the eyes. And heaven forbid they manage to grunt a hello. I really need to find a way to get in on this sweet gig. I cannot think of a job outside of Walmart where an employee is permitted to show such apathy in regards to their job and still retain it.
So I did manage to get the greeter to acknowledge me, even if it took me tackling them and pinning them to the floor while they screamed that I was sexually assaulting them. More like assaulting them with friendliness while I gently nuzzled their gender inappropriate whiskers. After security hauled me off of them and threw me out, I returned with a fake mustache to attempt re-entry. Success! Now to find the items which required I come to this armpit of a store.
This would probably be a lot easier if the store shelves weren’t rearranged on a biweekly basis. Every time I walk into Walmart, I resign myself to a minimum 20 minutes of aimless wandering looking for what I want. I’m not one of those proud men who refuses to ask for directions when he needs help either. I used to stop and knock on the doors of strangers’ houses so frequently as a teen that my parents finally bought a cell phone for the car so that if I lost my way I could call and get directions from someone they knew would not drag me into their house and keep me like a pet in a cage located in a dark unfinished basement filled with the bones of previous “pets” the owners had forgotten and neglected.
The reason for all the aimless wandering is that the staff are either completely clueless or just have no interest in helping anyone. When asked where something is, they’ll vaguely direct me by waving their hand about, as though pointing and identifying an exact direction with a single stationary finger in a pattern that narrows it down from three-quarters of the store would cause a magical shark to leap out and bite off their index finger. No, it’s cool. I can find this on my own.
Assuming I even found what I came for, the two front attack at the checkout from employees and my fellow customers is an all out assault on my sanity. There are never enough lanes open, and somehow I’m always behind that guy who doesn’t know how to use a credit card. The clerk can’t be bothered to just swipe the card for them, either. No, this is tutorial time, never mind the increasingly long line building up behind them. Couple this with the fact that I am nearly always on my lunch break, and my impatience mounts. A low growl builds in my throat as my eyes widen with fury. By the time I finally make it to the checkout and the clerk apologizes for the wait, it’s all I can do to croak an “It’s alright.”
I understand that Walmart’s treatment of its employees isn’t exactly stellar and that they are underpaid and not given much recognition, appreciation, or incentive to perform, but isn’t that how most jobs are? The rest of us are still required to do our jobs, no matter how unsavory. It only seems fair that they do the same.