I am a Walmart shopper, this I freely admit.
I did not start out being a Walmart shopper, it just sorta happened to me, sort of in the same way I got pregnant — I have no idea when it happened, I didn’t plan for it to happen, it just did. One day I wasn’t and then one day I was. And I still kind of can’t believe it.
Prior to having a child, I had never been in a Walmart that I can recall. I was a boutique grocery store shopper. I did not buy my t-shirts at the same place I bought hamburger. I liked the little grocery stores that stock 37 kinds of mustard.
But then I had a child and I no longer needed cranberry sherry mustard. I needed preemie diapers and formula that cost $25 a can. And as though divinely orchestrated, just before Sean was born a super-Walmart sprang up a short distance from my house.
I understand that some people have issues with Walmart and I even see their point of view. However, I needed cheap diapers and formula and hamburger all in one stop and there they were, so what was I to do? My economic ideals are not all that sturdy when it comes to cheap baby formula.
So then, that is my Walmart back story. It does not relate to anything hereafter other than to say that I have a history with Walmart.
All that to say, not too long ago I was at Walmart, not buying exotic mustard, unless you think French’s is exotic, and as I was strolling down the big wide center aisle, my cart automatically turned into the baby department where I have been a regular for many years. For almost seven years, that has been my zone – diapers, formula, little socks, adorable little rompers, play clothes, lavender baby shampoo, crib toys, the occasional lullaby CD and other first-time-mom impulse purchases.
Now perhaps you are wondering how I managed to stay in the baby department for six years and I’ll tell you: Walmart caters to a big baby. Sean is a string bean of a boy and when he was five, he could wear 2T. Although, admittedly when it came to long pants, a 2T on a tall 5-year-old makes for a Steve Urkel fashion statement. But then, we are Walmart shoppers, so obviously fashion is not a huge concern for us.
As it were on that day, I stood there in the baby zone, in the middle of all that luscious nougat baby stuff with my six-year-old who comes up to my shoulder and I realized I was in the wrong place. The baby zone was no longer my zone. I glanced across the aisle, towards my new zone, the boy zone with all those big not-adorable clothes, and I dropped my chin to my chest and wept silently. No I didn’t weep, because for Pete’s sake, it is just clothes, but I was sort of stunned. The thought of crossing over to the other side rocked my boat just a little. I could see from clear across the aisle that there were no cute little socks or luscious anything over there, just big boy stuff, and I knew that I wasn’t going to like the new zone.
And I don’t like the new zone. Unlike the baby zone, there is nothing impulse-purchase worthy to be had. One t-shirt is the same as the next.
As a mother, this sixth year has been one of many changes, firsts and milestones. Most mothers wistfully remember the day they sent their baby off to 1st grade. I remember the day I had to cross over the aisle in Walmart.