My task was to purchase a bath mat, a house plant, and a new vacuum cleaner. One would think that all three of those could be had at the local Super Mega Wal*Mart. One would be thinking wrong.
At this particular point in the year, the house plant selection in Wal*Mart consists of potted mums. That’s it. Not on my list.
The vacuum selection sucks; and not in the good way. The most expensive model they had was somewhere around $158. I was on a quest to replace the pathetic excuse of a vacuum we bought way back in 1998, which had ceased sucking to the point that it was an exercise in futility to use it. The dirt on the floor laughed in your face when you rolled over it with the old piece of shit. I knew that even the best model on the shelf in that store would disappoint me in short order.
On my wayfinding to locate the bath mats, the overhead paging system came on and an associate (I hate how Sam Walton infected the common vernacular) came on and made a plea for the mother of an apparently lost five year old girl riding a tricycle to go to the ladies’ fitting rooms and rejoin her charge. Sixty seconds later, the same plea was repeated, but it was at this point when the absolute contempt in her voice became apparent to me. I felt like I was personally intruding on the speaker’s existence, as if my mere presence in the store was a burden to her. The vibe continued with the demeanor of the cashiers at the garden door where I made my escape with the bath mat. Let me elaborate.
As I was standing in line on the left side of the check stand, there was a mother and son at the cashier to the right. The young boy had a pack of gum which he was handing up to the cashier rather than placing it on the counter. This is understandable to a five year old. However, when the boy decided to release the pack of gum, it fell behind the register; apparently into a crevasse directly to hell because the cashier said “well you’ll never get it now”. I was a little shocked at the tone and word choice. She could have said, “oh I’m sorry that happened, I can’t reach anything back there”, or something of the kind. Instead, she chose to intone to the mother and child something akin to “you stupid fuck, look what you’ve done now, serves you right”. To the boy’s credit, he didn’t throw a fit.
My cashier on the other hand made it clear that she’d rather be anywhere but where she was assisting me make my escape with a bath mat. The chi in that place is so negative that I’d rather spend a few pennies more shopping in a place that doesn’t feel like it’s trying to kill my soul.