Yesterday I went to Wal Mart. I hate Wal Mart. Since I retired, the funds I contribute through my writing are meager, so I try to help the Budget Beast (a nickname I have for Pat when he’s figuring out the finances) by shopping there as often as I can. It’s cheap.
At three o’clock in the afternoon, the parking lot was packed, except for the handicapped spaces. I see people getting out of cars in those spaces that don’t seem to have any handicaps except gray hair. I’m almost positive I qualified for one of those spaces the moment I received my first AARP magazine. If I quit dying my hair, I will surely get one when I collect my first Social Security check.
Anyway I kept traveling up and down the parking lot until I found a space way in the back. Too bad I hadn’t put my bike on the rack so I could have ridden the mile I was going to have to walk to the store entrance, the wind was picking up a little and the sky was looking a little dark in the east. Oh well, it wouldn’t take long. I just needed to get something for Pat’s dinner, and a few cards so I could get them mailed before the Post Office closed.
I got into the store and couldn’t believe how crowded it was. This was Monday a little after three. I read somewhere Wal Mart’s business had fallen off. After getting a cart that wanted to go left all the time, I fought my way through the crowd and all the items I needed (and some I didn’t) including the post cards, and then found a check out lane that didn’t wind all the way to the toy department and waited my turn.
While in line, I watched the two women in front of me, a mother and her teen aged daughter, both very ample women, broad in the beam, so to speak. The daughter reached for a Nestles chocolate bar, the mother took it from her and put it back, saying, she didn’t need it; she’d had enough sweets for the day. Then the mother spied a bottle of hand cream, picked it up, opened it and put some in her hand. Then she replaced the bottle to the shelf. When she saw me watching her, she took the bottle of cream and put it into her cart.
The daughter immediately took advantage of the situation and grabbed the Nestles chocolate bar, opened it and began to eat. I thought, you really don’t need that chocolate bar, girl. Then I wondered how many people have stood behind me in a line at the store and thought the same thing. Will it stop me from eating a chocolate bar next time? I doubt it. Chocolate has a way of clouding a person’s judgment.
Finally, it was my turn to check out.
Most times the clerks at our Wal Mart don’t ask for ID. Most times I have my driver’s license when they do. Yesterday they did. Yesterday I didn’t.
When I stepped outside the wind was blowing, it was raining and I’d left my umbrella in the car, which was alright because I wouldn’t have been able to hold on to it in that gale anyway. At least I didn’t have any groceries to contend with. ( I like to look on the bright side.)
Luckily I got home without even one of San Antonio’s finest stopping me to ask for my driver’s license. The phone was ringing when I got into the house. “Guess what,” my husband said on the other end of the line.
“I can’t imagine.” said I, dripping water all over the kitchen floor, “What?”
“You don’t have to worry about going to the Post Office, it’s Martin Luther King Day. The Post Office is closed,” he said, as though I were going to be happy that this burden of mailing the post cards had been lifted from me. (Actually I sorta was)
“Good,” I said, “And we’ll celebrate by going out to dinner.”
I hung up the phone and shook my head in wonder. Who would have thought that all those people who work in government offices all over San Antonio would spend Martin Luther King Day shopping in Wal Mart. I’ll sure remember that next year.