I must be the only person I know that admits to going into a Wal-Mart. There are plenty of good reasons to boycott, but I only have one spurious reason not to - they carry the kind of toothpaste I like. If you can tell me where else to find Pearl Drops without having to get my tires muddy on my way to Judge Beans BBQ on Saturdays for more of my own personal on-going gall bladder experiments, I'm all ears.
This last Saturday found me with the regular itinerary [got my Symptoms Of Gastric Anomalies journal right here]. I'd never been to this particular Wally World location though. It just opened, I think. I'm not sure how you could tell anyway. They all look the same. Plus, those places are huge. Maybe astronomers can date them by their gravity signature, I don't know.
Went through my ritual of slowly creeping into a parking spot so as not to run over the poorly enunciating youth that appear suddenly out of nowhere. Parked my H3 [joke] & as I walked the gauntlet toward the doors, I tried to psych myself out to prevent my imminent panic attack. Curtly passed THE GREETER [if that's not the new touchstone of 'demeaning' you tell me what is] & barreled straight to the Dental Health aisle. As usual I grabbed all 5 boxes of Triple Action Pearl Drops that they had & pointed back toward the insanity they got going on up front at the registers.
Decided to go through that 'U-Scan' thing so I wouldn't have to talk to anyone in a blue vest. But on the way, something caught my eye. It was a rack of discounted DVDs. I know, I know. That's how they get you, isn't it? But they had a movie I really like for really cheap. It was 'Glengarry Glen Ross'. $7.50! And as I just can't pass up a bargain [if you can believe it, I once purchased 8 pounds of over-ripe bananas at the fruit market because they were 15 cents a pound], I nabbed it & proceeded to the closest open do-it-your-own-damned-self register.
Now, I am, without a doubt, one fast mother on ATMs & U-Scans. I can be done & in the car playing with the radio when most people are still trying to find their Kroger Plus cards. That said, I had just scanned all my loot & immediately noticed that the lady behind me in line is all up & crowding me. She's so close I can hear the person she's talking to on her flip-phone - yes, over all the noise IN A BUSY WAL-MART! Man was she in a hurry. She must have had to get back home to her Ritalin Rats before they ate all the Snackwells.
So in an attempt to avoid getting all flame-thrower on her ass, I just chanted to myself, "Be nice. She's probably buying stuff for Katrina victims." And I tried to accelerate through the Select Payment Type section. And so help me, the machine says & displays the following: "Halt! Restricted Item. You are surrounded. Please wait for Gestapo-Mart Management. Do not attempt to flee." The red light that towers over the register starts blinking as though to pin-point where to drop the bomb.
I look to the kiosk where the girl who oversees the self-checkouts is stationed, I guess she's there to make sure we don't cheat by scanning once but bagging twice on the plastic jewelry organizers. And she's staring blankly at her screen, looking puzzled like she's having trouble with the colored shapes monkey test she appears to be busy with.
What in the world did I scan that is restricted? What in the world does Wal-Mart sell that's restricted? Restricted to what? I honestly was baffled. I continued to wait because I figured she was working someone else's problem... right. Finally a non-blue-vest-wearing official looking man comes walking up. He informs me that the DVD has set off the alert. Seems they don't want children buying such movies.
I said, "Such movies? What does that mean?"
"Movies with foul language."
At this point, the lady behind me is explaining into her phone why she's going to be late for Sangria Night because some jaggoff in front of her at the store can't figure out the U-Scan. So after brandishing a birth certificate, passport, & Members Only Discount Card to Larry Flynt's Hustler Club I was cleared to purchase said filth.
I wanted to discuss this policy with the young manager. I wanted to ask him how they arrived at the logic of selling rifles & shotguns in the same store that has a contingency to deal with those who appear to be headed toward the register with an R rated film. Why? We have to protect our children? What kid would want to sit still long enough to watch 'Glengarry Glen Ross' anyway? It might as well be 90 minutes of a security cam shot of a credit union lobby. Any 8 year old you prop up in front of that thing will end up upside down on the couch making dinosaur sounds & kicking the wall.
"Yes, Virginia. You can watch all the violence you want on TV & in video games & even practice in the back yard with your new pump action shotgun but we can't let you see this awful movie because Jack Lemmon said 'Fuck'. We're afraid you might start using such words."
Well, I let it go & after being frisked on my way out the door by a 72 year old blind man, finally being OK'd by letting him gum my receipt a while, I made it home & a long way from such stores. With all the things in this world we as a society get wrong, this one's an easy one. This one's not even important, which is why you can count on me to broach it. I think this is the kind of logic that leads to manufacturers having to print warnings - such as a can of foot spray that reads, "Don't spray in eyes." Honest to our disappointed God, I saw that once. Or why they have PSLs for NFL stadiums. That's where you buy a license at an obscene price to then buy the season ticket. I just hope it doesn't rub off on me.
Maybe I should take the thing back to the customer service counter, wailing about how they sold it to my 7 year old daughter & now she's running around school with a spot-on impression of Pacino yelling about how the place stinks of the principal's farts for a week. Maybe to shut me up they might give me some free toothpaste.
Eh, fuck it.
Saturday, September 03, 2005
I don't have anything wise or insightful to say about the awful tragedy that is the Katrina disaster other than I'm moved & sickened & worried. But I can urge everyone to contribute by donating directly to The Red Cross Hurricane Relief Fund. And my way of doing that is to offer to anyone who makes a donation on-line, of any amount, the Jerry Hager catalog free of charge. That includes the 2 CDs Gentle Man & Miles From Brushy, plus an extra CD The Songwriter Sessions which includes bonus rare material.
Just make a donation on-line, print the receipt. [Feel free to black out the amount if you like.] Mail a copy to:
Blue Bourbon Music
PO Box 293057
Nashville, TN 37229
Include your shipping address & the CDs will be on the way.
So please help out. Donate, pray, count your blessings & enjoy the music.
Here's to those who are suffering & to those who come to their aid. God bless all of you.