Wal-Mart Muses

“All good stories are about conversion.”

Flannery O’Connor

I’ve just been to Wal-Mart, one of my least favourite places on earth.

I find it overwhelming at the best of times, with signs and specials blocking my every step, more stuff than I could imagine ever being interested in buying, and ponderous souls pushing carts oh-so-slowly in front of me, keeping me from my destination as their rocking steps become slower and slower.

I had two thoughts:

I’d rather be writing.

I’m here for the kitty litter.

My first sight upon stepping through the sliding doors was the lady in the blue vest doling out with great compassion the shopping carts. I accepted one, and then had to wait while the person in front of me organized herself and her cart into the slow waddle I was destined to follow to the pet supplies aisle at the farthest corner of the store. Eventually I got around her, and made my way past Cheez Whiz displays and such, dodging small seniors intent on stocking up on Whiz.

The pet supplies aisle was blessedly empty; my 18-kilogram box of kitty litter within safe reach on a waist-high shelf. But when I tried to swing it into place, it knocked the cart, sending it on a lazy, squeaking trip down the aisle. I and the thousand-kilo kitty litter chased it as far as the dog biscuits, where it settled to a stop and I wrenched my back with the weight of the kitty box. Soft curses ensued as I waddled my cart slowly to the cashier. It took me ten minutes to get there.

The woman at the cash greeted me with a wide smile. Her front teeth were separated by a formidable gap, and her eyes smeared with disco-era green shadow. There was warmth in those eyes – while I paid for my kitty litter, she called me both “honey” and “sweetheart,” and seemed to mean it. I thanked her.

As I wheeled past the shopping cart lady in the blue vest, she wished me the best possible day in a voice rich with sincerity. I thanked her also.

Being called “honey” and “sweetheart” and being wished the best possible day by the ladies at Wal-Mart could only lead to one thing: I’ve had, in fact, the best possible day.


Categories: General.