Wal-Mart shoppers have a pretty awful, yet well-deserved, reputation. Fat, unkept, camo-clothed, uneducated hill-billies. Of course, most people there are just regular people; the reputation is more a result of confirmation bias. You just don’t even bother noticing the regular folk, and the stereotypes stand out in your memory.
But, the city I live in now is not like most Southern cities. We have one of the largest research parks in the world and one of the highest concentrations of college graduates. The two big industries are NASA and the Air Force. So, with all the engineers (almost 10% of the work force) and military types, you’d think Wal-Marts here would be well-oiled retail machines. So very much not the case. In fact, the less like a stereotypical Wal-Mart shopper someone looks, it seems the more likely they are to be a terrible customer. I guess the Wal-Mart regulars have figured out the basic protocol for shopping in a big box store. If you’re not aware, here are some of the basic rules (all of which I saw violated today, some of them multiple times):
1. Use normal driving rules. Push your cart as though you were driving a car. Stay on the right hand side, pull over when you want to stop, and obey the right of way. If you are turning off an aisle and someone else is going straight, they have the right of way, don’t cut them off.
2. If an aisle is crowded, park your cart at the end, walk down the aisle to pick up what you want, and then carry it back to your cart. The only exceptions are when you’re picking up something that’s very heavy (kitty litter, multiple 3 liter Coke bottles, etc), or when you have a baby in the cart. Don’t want to leave your purse unattended? Carry it with you.
3. If you decide you don’t want something you picked up, return it to where it belongs. Don’t put products back on the wrong shelves, and don’t leave a mother fracking steak on top of the candy in the check out lane.
4. If the store is giving out samples, dispose of your cup, napkin, toothpick, etc in a trash can. Either consume the sample right where it is being given away and use the trash can located there, or place it in the top basket part of your cart and then give it to the cashier when you check out.
5. WATCH YOUR GOD DAMN KIDS! I think that’s all I need to say about that.
Keep in mind that these are only a few of the many rules of shopping in a post-industrial society. There are many other rules beyond these, but you won’t break them if you follow the three basic principles of courtesy, respect, and not being a God damn fracking idiot.
Now, I know some of you might be wondering what’s with the picture. Definitely not representative of your average Wal-Mart shopper, or even your average Target shopper. Not even your average Whole Foods shopper. Nope, just a gratuitous hottie. You’re welcome.