Smackdown in the bread aisle

There are reasons I don’t like shopping at Wal-Mart:

  • One of my classes in business school focused on the business practices of several companies – Wal-Mart’s included – and I was completely disgusted by many of their practices.
  • I feel that, as the Low Price Leader, Wal-Mart makes it very difficult to support smaller businesses who cannot match their prices – and I feel Wal-Mart (along with other Big Box stores) is largely responsible for the deterioration of Main Street, USA.
  • I try to buy things made outside of China – even Cambodia, India, or the Philippines would suffice – and just about everything at Wal-Mart has a Made in China label. It’s not that I think poor products come from China; I would just rather support the economies of many countries, not just China’s. Of course, I’d be willing to spend more for something made in the good old US of A, but those things are harder to come by, it seems.
  • Except the one I visited in Frankfort, KY, all the stores are hideously filthy.
  • I have yet to have an experience at Wal-Mart where I wasn’t disgusted by either the appearance of the store, the personnel, or the clientele.

Despite not liking Wal-Mart, I occasionally go there because of convenience. If there wasn’t one right next door to work, I wouldn’t go. But when I’m short on time and need to get something to eat or pick up basic necessities for The Boy (they have to be really basic necessities, too, as Wal-Mart doesn’t carry half of the products I use for him – but Target does!), it’s extremely convenient.

Today, when I dropped off The Boy at school after his dental appointment, I learned that their Valentine’s Day party is tomorrow. They call it a “Friendship Party”, but it’s the same thing. I perused the list of things I could bring (Wrapped candy? Are you serious?) and decided to sign up to bring bananas (not on the list, but all the kids love bananas). This also meant that I would need to go to the store to buy bananas (because I don’t randomly have a dozen bananas at home) at some point today.

I think you can guess where I’m going with this. I was already going to be at work late because I was arriving late; I wasn’t about to stop at the store after work today, and tomorrow morning would be out of the question. So, a quick trip to Wal-Mart it was.

As I picked out my two banana bunches in the produce area, a loud, raucous screaming match began in the next aisle. I couldn’t understand what the voices were saying, but what began as two voices quickly became multiple voices, and then you could hear things banging about and crashing to the floor. Cashiers left their posts (despite waiting customers) to run to the aisle and watch the fight. I made my way to the one cashier still at her station and put my bananas on the counter before she could escape.

“They always do this,” she said, weighing my fruit and shaking her head. “They all want to see what’s going on.”

I paid for the bananas, thanked her (Lydia is her name) and left the store, realizing that she just told me this wasn’t the first time a fight had broken out at this Wal-Mart. Stuff like this doesn’t happen at Publix or Target.

At least patrons there have the courtesy to leave the store.


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