Well there it was again, like clockwork – that time of the month had arrived again all too soon. I absolutely dread it and I am so happy when it is over because I know I have a whole month before I’ll have to experience it again. But what can I really do about it…it is a part of my life that for better or worse occurs monthly despite my fervent prayer that I could get past it.
So, recognizing the reality of it all (and determined to be a warrior and not a wimp) I summoned my courage, cleaned the junk out of my trunk (my car trunk’s junk – not my “junk in my trunk” junk – although I could do with getting rid of some of that as well) and prepared for the monthly visit to the Super Wal-Mart – the monthly visit to beat all other monthly visits.
I am not a big fan of Wal-Mart – with a Super Wal-Mart you can super-size the sentiment. There are many reasons why I would rather clean my oven than shop at Wal-Mart, but the purposes of this discussion I will focus on the one that makes it so painful – the superstore format. The one stop shop for all things you could ever possibly need – light bulbs, laxatives, laundry soap, lamps, lemons, lotion, leggings, lettuce, lace, labels, etc. (don’t ask me why I picked “L”, but note that this is a good party game – pick a letter and list how many things you can find that start with that letter at Wal-Mart – and when you are done, please get a life – which I do not believe they sell at Wal-Mart).
People think I am clever when I call it Walley World; but no, that is not me being clever, that is a direct reference to the fact that going there is more than a mere trip to the store – it is an adventure – and sometimes a trying one at that. Those of you familiar with the Griswold’s quest to get to Walley World in the movie Vacation (circa 1983 with Chevy Chase) will completely understand the reference.
Superstores, while designed to be convenient one-stop shops, are shopping marathons. If you are someone who hates shopping marathons (at least the ones that begin and end at Wal-Mart) and refuse to go but once a month, the marathon turns into an Iron Man competition. Strength, endurance and intestinal fortitude are required to survive it.
I have to mentally gear myself up for this visit. I spend time reflecting on my strategy. The goal is to get in and out as quickly as possible. I theorized that arriving right as the store opened on Sunday would be a good idea (actually a few minutes after 12 as I don’t want to seem too eager to get into Wal-Mart). I figured most people would be at the lake, in church or eating lunch. My hopes were buoyed as I drove to the Wal-Mart as there were only a handful of cars on the road. Upon arriving, I realized that I was not the only one with the “arrive as soon as the store opens” strategy, but to be sure the parking lot was only about half as full as usual so I gave myself a pat on the back for that small success.
I had a list that was organized by aisles (this was not my first rodeo) and I moved through the store quickly. I was making really good time until I got to the Back-to-School aisles. I had my list and my pen to check things off, but I had to navigate around parents and kids who also had lists and discussions about things such as which size crayon box to buy. Somewhere between the markers and the binder aisle I lost significant time.
I was determined to make it up on the food side of the store, but by now I am an hour in on my Wal-Mart visit. Now everyone is seemingly back from the lake, home from church and finished with lunch and moving at a casual meandering pace down the food aisles at Wal-Mart – in pairs. Aisles are getting blocked by cart drivers that are absorbed in making just the right ice cream selection and couples talking about which pasta they should have for dinner. I have never understood the couple shopping phenomenon personally – I like to get in and out and not make an “outing” out of it; but clearly, I am in the minority as the store was filled with coupled shoppers enjoying a leisurely Wal-Mart shop. I don’t believe they appreciated that for me it was the Iron Man competition.
Well, I am here to report even with the setbacks I suffered in the school supplies section and with the coupled shoppers, I was able to exit the store a cool one hour and forty-five minutes later for $260.00. Given the diversity of items I collected and some of the setbacks I faced, I am counting this month’s visit a victory. Of course, when I came home I had to take a nap – I was physically, mentally and emotionally spent.
So there you have it – I survived another monthly visit. Now I can relax – until next month. I should be cheery for about three weeks and then my PWS sets in again and I become irritable…yep, you guessed it Pre-Wal-Mart Syndrome.
Day fifteen of the new forty – obla di obla da