Mildly Amusing, Sometimes Tart, Wal-Mart

Christmas Shopping 101

Christmas Shopping 101: A crash course study in the inanity of humanity. This course meets at Wal-Mart and studies holiday shoppers in their natural habitat.

Our first case study meets in the Lawn and Garden department where the aisles are wide enough to accomodate Calista Flockhart or a zipper turned sideways, but not both. Here we will observe the shopper who is searching for just the right large electrified plastic lawn ornament to compliment the plaid sofa and washing machine on her front porch. The shopper in this example wears leggings three times too small thus cutting off the circulation to her ears which is the only reasonable explanation as to how the she can be oblivious to the trail of bleeding ear drums and busted fluorescent lights left in the wake of her screaming child. The child, clad in a diaper and T-shirt, does not appear to enjoy Christmas shopping. He/she is positioned in the cart seat like a wet lasagna noodle and breaks from screaming periodically to gnaw on the cart handle.

Our second case study will take place in the Photo department where you will observe a 93-year-old deaf woman getting a lesson from the only clerk available on how to use her new digital camera. The clerk speaks loudly and ernestly about e-mail to which Granny Clampitt responds, “You say this is on sale?” The people in the line behind her, which snakes around the perimeter of Texas, are only there to pick up their photos. Their collective goal is to get out of the store before New Years or before someone’s toddler blows a gasket – which ever comes first. Those in line are conflicted in their emotion and alternate between exasperation and greater levels of exasperation.

Our third and final case meets at the check-out area where we observe the line from the Photo department has wrapped around and become tangled up with the check-out lines and some sort of spontaneous shopping-cart square dance has broken out. Off to the side we see an abandoned cart of carefully selected holiday gifts and a woman leaving the store holding a squirming toddler by the ankles. “Merry Christmas! Happy Holidays!” the greeter calls to the woman wrestling the child like a boa constrictor. “Yeah. Right. Merry Christmas. What. Ever.”

At the end of this course you will learn how to shop on-line.

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