Tales from the Big Box and Beyond

I’m not a regular WalMart shopper.  I don’t care for crowds.  Plus I’m easily distracted (and often frightened) by crying babies and unfortunate fashion choices. (For clarification, and at your own risk, watch this People of WalMart Video).

Lucky for me, one of Mr Wonderful’s primary goals in life is to shield me from unpleasantness.  As such, he journeys to Wally World “as needed” for the three products I just can’t seem to find elsewhere ~ not locally, anyway.

But a couple of months ago Mr Wonderful was out of town; and the task fell to me.  Oh, joy.  So I stepped into my favorite T-straps, buckled up for safety and headed to the big box on the west side.

It had been a very long time since I’d been to the Shopping Mecca of the Western World.  Walking into WalMart was sensory overload of epic proportions….

How may you help me? How may you HELP me? Um, if I give you my list, can you possibly have the items delivered?

The gentleman who greeted me was quite nice.  And I did manage to select a cart with four functional wheels (a minor miracle).  But at two minutes in, my experience quickly devolved* into a disturbing montage of loud voices, flashing end-cap television screens, freakishly enormous yellow smiley faces and b.o. so impressive I couldn’t believe it was invisible.

Devolution aside, product placement was so replete that nothing stood out.  There was too much to take in; and it was impossible to focus on any singular thing.  I was utterly overwhelmed.

In an effort to stay the course, I looked down at my list and concentrated on the items there:  Land ‘O Lakes Sugar Free Whipped Cream, Green Giant Chopped Spinach sans sauce and John Frieda Luxurious Volume Shampoo.

I plotted my route, which would include a four-mile expedition to the dairy department, a one-and-a-half-mile excursion into frozen foods and the fording of one major thoroughfare to reach “Base Camp” in the personal care section.  Suddenly, the 4-inch T-strap heels were feeling like a bad choice.  (Darn.  I knew I should have worn the peep-toe wedges.)

Tucking away my list and gripping the cart with both hands (Why is that sticky?  Please, God, let me have transferred the Purell into this handbag along with my wallet.), I quietly began to repeat, then chant, the three items I needed over and over:  Whipped cream and spinach and shampoo….  Whipped cream and spinach and shampoo….  Whipped cream and spinach and shampoo….  The “oh, my” was most definitely implied.

I arrived in the dairy department four hours later (okay, it was really four minutes later), slightly out of breath and somewhat disheveled.  Dodging other shoppers and free-standing displays had been a bit of a challenge.  (Did I mention I was wearing 4-inch T-straps?)  Imagine my disappointment when I discovered the Land ‘O Lakes Sugar Free Whipped Cream slot was empty.


Lingering was not an option.  Other shoppers were eager to cruise the near-by milk.  I quickly regrouped, got my bearings and pointed my cart (Seriously, WHY is that sticky?  And DO I have my Purell?) toward frozen foods.

I thought it would be a straight shot to the spinach; but I was forced to take a small detour when a little girl broke free from her mother and compromised an entire end-cap of Kraft Macaroni and Cheese.

No one was hurt; and nothing spilled open.  However the sound of 144 pasta-packed boxes being displaced was quite remarkable.  The child, beginning to conceive of the trouble she was in, started to wail.  Uh, equally remarkable.

There was no navigating through all those boxes (it is, after all, the cheesiest).  And, more than anything, I wanted to escape the noise.  So tightening my grip on the cart (Ooooh. Sticky and warm now.  Forget the Purell; when was my last tetanus?), I quickly backed up and maneuvered one aisle over, avoiding the mess altogether.

I blew through fresh meats and hit frozen foods at a low jog.  (Those 4-inch T-straps apparently work just fine with the right incentive.)  I located the sauceless spinach, placed four packages in my cart, briefly reconsidered, grabbed four more and cruised to the end of the aisle.

Now, I’m normally a pretty careful “driver.”  But I could still hear Little Miss Macaroni.  And I was certain she was getting closer….

Throwing caution to the wind, I took a deep breath, maximized my hold on the cart (Germs?  What germs?) and, without looking either way, brazenly shot out of the aisle.  I flew across the big thoroughfare and right into personal care ~ managing to avoid several collisions but quite possibly causing a few along the way.


I stopped short in front of the John Frieda products, snagged a 6-month supply of my favorite shampoo and minced to the end of the aisle.

I thought I was home-free then.  I could, after all, see the long line of cash registers off to my left.  Of course, it would mean a short-cut through cosmetics ~ which might’ve worked had I been wearing blinders.

Ooooh!  Sparkly!

And that is precisely how I ended up with the Hard Candy “Take Me Out” Glitter Eyeliner pencil.

Hard Candy’s “Take Me Out” Glitter Eyeliner

It was love at first site.  I wanted it to last.  But it just wasn’t meant to be.

Hard Candy’s “Take Me Out” Glitter Eyeliner pencil features a totally bling-ed out handle wrapped around intense, shimmering color.

Glitter, which is what makes this pencil so exciting, is exactly what makes it impractical and dangerous.

Packed with sparkles in a too-dry formula, the Take Me Out pencil goes on roughly ~ pulling and even scratching delicate skin around the eyes.

Once on, the color is intense and beautiful.  It fades throughout the day, leaving behind an interesting glittered ombré effect.

You can almost forgive the rough start until the sparkles begin to migrate to the corners of your eyes… forcing you to blink uncontrollably… before tearing up… and weeping actual bling tears.

I liked the color.  I liked the sparkle.  But, gee, I also like the color and sparkle of my own eyes.  And it just didn’t make sense to jeopardize them.

In the case of the glitter eyeliner, Hard Candy is anything but sweet.

*devolution |ˌdevəˈloō sh ən|

“Devolution” or “devolve” originates from the Latin (15th century) devolvere which literally translates to “roll down.”  Oh, so close to WalMart’s “roll back” catch phrase!


  1. Fluffy Cow says

    In case there is a next time:

    #1- iPod. Will work wonders… plug in and tune out. Gives you a great excuse for ignoring everything around you as well. “Oh, I’m sorry… couldn’t hear you”

    #2- I have a little independent coffee house across the street from my wally-world… they know when I come in that I just came from shopping and am rewarding myself for not hurting anyone. True story.

  2. Cheryll Dale says

    Hilarious!!! I avoid that store like the plague, until I just have to go there, then I park in the automotive end and cash out there, if its too busy there I go to the electronics section and cash out there, thus, avoiding the long lines up front, exit the auto exit door. Unfortunately, it seems others are getting the same idea and the parking situation is a little less easy to come by…sigh…the rigors we go through for a good deal….enjoyed your read, thanks…

  3. jad_juniper says

    I, too am often distracted by sparklies!

  4. Jennifer says

    Sometimes I wonder if there are others….
    And I’m glad there are! 😀

  5. Pam says

    Love this post! So funny!
    I hate shopping at WalMart, too, and usually go to Target for the basics. But I’m starting to see more of the WalMart crowd there. Nooooo!

  6. Shonni says

    My favorite “non-favorite” moments at Wally World involve maneuvering around the visits of people in the center of the aisles in front of exactly what I need and their superb acting job of not noticing I exist. A dear friend of mine is handicapped and uses a cart – she is repeatedly having to stop for idiots who walk right in front of her forcing her to slam on the brakes and unsteadily hang on to her cart in an effort to stop a lawsuit. Not my favorite place!

  7. Catherine says

    The only thing more distracting than sparkly things, is… puppies ;-D

  8. Jennifer says

    Oooh! Puppies wearing rhinestone collars! 😉

  9. I made the wicked mistake of going there on Sunday. Easter Sunday. When Target, Costco, the mall and everyone else seemed to be closed. OH SO STUPID choice. Unbelievable amount of people, I have never seen it more busy. 1 hour later I had a plastic bin to organize. Um, why did I think that this bin was worth an hour of my time, an assault on my senses and my nerves. Sigh.

  10. Walmart is out of the way here but it is a last resort. Watched the video — was more not impressed that someone thought it was ok to take pictures and produce a video to make fun of them, than the actual people.

  11. Jennifer says

    I respectfully disagree. I’m all for a standard. If shaming is the only way to enforce it, then so be it.

a peep out of you