I am not a fan of shopping in general. It overwhelms me. It makes me anxious. I have to spend money, and, worse, I have to make choices. I am quite indecisive. So that's why, when I need to shop, I head to Wal-Mart. It's my one-stop shop. Everything I need under one gigantic, flourescent-lit ceiling. Rows of groceries, racks of clothes, aisles of entertainment and toiletries. Even places to get your nails done, your hair cut, grab a quick meal, and then play some arcade games. Who could ask for anything more??
So of course when I pull into the Wal-Mart parking lot I'm super excited for my shopping adventure. Not because I like shopping, since I've already established that I abhor the whole practice, but because it's Wal-Mart. I wait for the teeny old lady to cross the crosswalk at a snail's pace, and then creep forward as people and carts spill in and out of the automatic doors...well, the one set that works. Cars playfully race in and out of the aisles of spots. I laugh at their antics as I slam on my brakes. I park next to the giant, rusted out, bumper stickered van and head inside. I smile at the small girl in pigtails, handing her daddy beer bottles to be exchanged for money at the can and bottle return machines. I greet the elderly women in the entrance and select a cart with as little rust and as many wheels as I can find. I take a deep breath and venture into the land of sweet and joy and joyness...oh wait, that's Candy Mountain...well, I go in anyway.
The cart I have chosen bumps and makes a loud noise as I push it into the store. It pulls to the left, almost taking out a small child. No worries, it'll be good for my arm muscles. I pretend I am in a movie, where the villian goes after innocent shoppers with a noisy shopping cart, but he's not a very good villian because of course the shoppers hear him coming. But it's still very scary. I decide to call it "The Chopping Cart Chronicles." Ooooo, creepy, right?? "Chopping Cart" hahaha I slay me...especially if I'm in the movie!!
I make my way across the store, weaving in and out of the groups of people who have stopped to chat or stare dazedly at the ceiling. I pick through the shampoo to find a bottle that isn't sticky, and shake the DVDs to make sure the disc hasn't dislodged and become scratched. I tap my toe patiently as the woman in front of the milk cooler attempts to shove more merchandise into her already overflowing cart. I attempt to find the least smushed loaf of bread, and lettuce with more green leaves than brown. I suppress my sigh at the carts parked across aisles as people stare in confusion at the wide variety of choices and attempt to make the best decision. I think tiny thoughts as the man in the motorized shopping cart attempts to squeeze between me and the post positioned in the center of the aisle.
Finally my list is complete and I am ready to check out. The lines are usually pretty busy, so I pick the closest one. Surprise! The next one over only has one customer, and the cart isn't very full. I quickly skip over. What? Price check? Okay...welll...that's fine. I unload my cart as the person in front of me searches for their checkbook. Who writes checks anymore? The cashier and then customer laugh over something. The price check comes through and the cashier finishes ringing up. The customer pays and leans up against the counter, engaging in a lengthy conversation with the cashier. My original line is now open, but all my merchandise is on this conveyor belt. Finally the customer bids his new friend farewell and I walk to the counter just as my cashier goes off duty. The new person, a high schooler it appears, comes on and takes several minutes to sign into their cash register. Finally she glances my way and says, "Hi, did you find everything okay?" I briefly wonder what would happen if I told her I didn't, but then smile and say, "Yup."
As I dodge cars in the parking lot, pushing my cart around the potholes, I think about my trip to the smiley face zone. I load up my trunk and grab the extra carts in the parking spaces I pass as I trek to the nearest cart corral, half a block away or so. What wonderful people. What excellent service. What low prices.