Because this has been a busy week (and next week will be equally busy), I did not make time to go to Sherman for grocery shopping and just went to the wal-mart here in town.
I admit, I understand I should feel grateful this is available: grateful there is an abundance of food I can afford, grateful I do not have to do as I remember seeing on the television years ago about the old Soviet Union and stand in line for hours for some potatoes and bread. And I am.
But there is so much about the wal-mart experience that is highly unaesthetic and makes me think, "This could be so much more pleasant."
For one thing: I had to get more nylons*. And that's smack in the middle of the ladies' clothing section. The way they have the aisles and shelves arranged is very claustrophobic - you cannot go through on a straight shot, you have to twist and turn through narrow aisles. I felt like a rat in a maze, especially as I would turn down another aisle that I thought would take me out of there just to see a solid wall of shelves in front of me. I am SURE that is a marketing strategy: "Trap 'em in the section, the more merch they see, the more they buy." Did not work on me, only made me annoyed.
Second, and I don't know if my local store is the only one that does this, but it seems like every six weeks or so, at least one section of the store gets totally reorganized and everything is moved around and nothing is where it was in my mental map and it makes me crazy. (This time it was shampoo - they moved it to the very last aisle of the pharmacy section). Again, I'm sure it's thought, "The longer we force them to look, the more they see and buy" but it just strengthens my resolve to get ONLY what I need and pay for it and scram.
Other things....the stores are very brightly lit and are just kind of ugly. And they're loud, sounds echo all over the place with the high ceilings. And in the grocery section, there are endcap televisions running ads on a constant loop and I feel like, "You've already got me in the store. I'm already spending some of my money here. Must you advertise at me on top of that?"
And (again, this may just be my local store) it seems like for all their vaunted "we carry everything" mentality (I have heard people say, "if you can't get it at wal-mart, you don't need it" which is SO NOT TRUE in my opinion). It seems like they carry only one brand or one variety of things, and if that's not the one you wanted, too bad, so sad. (Fresh mozzarella. All they had this time were the "pearls," which was not what I wanted - I wanted the whole solid ball). And they drop some brands after about six months, just when you've been lulled into believing they will carry it from now on. I know this is all cost savings and marketing stuff and all that but it still bugs me, especially as I live in a town that has essentially two other grocery options, both of which are lots smaller.
If you need help with anything, there really isn't any. My local place seems to employ the barest minimum of people it needs to do stuff. (And also, I have to check expiration dates on EVERYTHING. They have gotten bad, of late, about doing stuff like pulling expired yogurt off the shelf. So I have to take responsibility for not getting stuck with something outdated).
It just makes me sad to shop there. Oh, it's better on Saturday mornings, when the place is not so full of people that it's like Mad Max. But even then - there's one checkstand open, so if you get behind a couple people with full carts, you just wait.
And I know, I know: wal-mart is the discount place. All of the things about it that annoy me are stuff designed to save people money, and I know to most people saving money is more important than having a "pleasant" experience. But. Some weeks my one outing other than going to work or church is going to the wal-mart. I know, it's sad to look for the "fun" in your life to be grocery shopping, but that is my life some weeks.
How I wish we had something like the Fresh Market in my parents' town. Oh, we'd never get one, the consumer base here would never support it. But I'd shop there in a heartbeat even though it would mean paying more for many things.
(*Am I the only one who still calls them nylons? That's my mom's influence, I guess - she was growing up just as hosiery was changing over from something that was held up by various clips and belts into something that was an all-in-one thing. I really dislike the term "pantyhose," though, which is what they are and what I buy. And "tights," which I know is used in the UK, signifies to me a heavier fabric, like what I'd wear on a really cold day)
This week has just been long and sad. And now I need to get back to the crummy manuscript I am trying to write.
And the wal-mart didn't even have ANY blindbag ponies out, not even an empty box. Boo. I was hoping they'd have the newest wave out so I could buy myself one or two (or six or seven) as a treat.
This (especially the second goat in the compilation) pretty much sums up how I felt walking out of my office Friday afternoon:
(Every time I see that new Geico ad with the screaming "scapegoat," I think how appropriate it is to how I feel some days at the end of the day...)
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