This flashback is the reason I will never again shop at Wal-Mart. Apart from the soul-sucking. It happened a while ago, but the shadow of the stupid still looms dark over all things "Wally World".
I wanted a foam floor mat for the babies to play on. I went to Wal-Mart on the recommendation of our former daycare provider, who had purchased just such a mat there.
Now, This Wal-Mart is a monolith. It is roughly the size of the Coliseum, with probably as much blood spilt to keep it in operation. It is an affront to god. If there is a god. If there is, whoever they are, they are very affronted. I would say on-the-verge-of-smiting affronted. Hell, god may very well have done some smiting. Probably on aisle six, but nobody knows, because no one has found the end of aisle six. It's that big. And the employees, down to the stockboy and up to management, are all stupid. Every last one of them. Stupid stupid stupid stupid stupid. Read on.
I go back to the children-y section of the mall of satan, which I think is a good place to start looking if you are trying to find kids playmats. I encounter a young female employee, and ask - "Do you know where I can find foam playmats? You know, like the ones they have in daycare? The alphabet on them and stuff?"
"Oh, we don't carry those."
"Because my daycare provider picked hers up here." "Wellll…we might, but I haven't seen any."
"So you don't know."
"I haven't seen any."
"Please tell me you are the ONE PERSON on this planet who has seen everything in this store, and so, because you have seen everything, you know, for a fact that there are NO playmats. Anywhere. In this store."
"You don't have to be rude." Thank you, Ann Landers.
" I want to speak to your supervisor, your manager, the person in charge of you." Gotta cover my bases. She's slippery. She calls her supervisor, who could be her twin. "What are you looking for?"
"Foam playmats. Letters on them. For the FLOOR."
"Well, we used to carry them, but we don't anymore." I notice she doesn't have a name badge that identifies her position. On a whim, I ask - "Are you a supervisor?" Scowl.
"Well, no, but I have seniority because I've been here longer."
"Is that what seniority means? So when did Walmart go union?"
I get another scowl.
"Look. I asked to speak to a supervisor. Can I PLEASE speak with your supervisor!"
Stony silence. She just stands there and stares at me.
"You're not going to go get your supervisor, are you."
"I'll get him!" she snaps.
She calls her supervisor, and storms off. A few minutes later, a very harried, bald little man approaches. "What can I help you find?"
"Are you a supervisor?"
"You're sure? Because the last person I talked to seemed to have a problem understanding that."
"I'm looking for foam mats for my baby to play on."
"For the floor?"
"Well, we had some in stock, but then we quit carrying those, and then we got a new brand…" And he launches into the colorful, albeit brief, history of the local WalMart. "Back in aught 6…" I half expected him to ring a bell and ask to keep the line moving. But, he looked happy reminiscing, so I let him finish. "…And so we expanded into fresh produce, hoping to take over, I mean, grow in that market as well." Snaps back to focus. "I'm sorry. Mats. Right. Nope, we don't carry those."
"Thanks anyway. Thanks for the apology too." I'll take what I can get. With a crabby look, he scuttled away. It didn't look like I was going to find those mats here, so I finished picking up a few things (can't beat a five pack of deodorant for ten bucks, right?) and went to checkout. On my way, I noticed a Subway at the front of the store, thought "Mmm…sammmich…" and headed over to pick one up. But as I made a beeline for sammmich, something caught my eye. And, as I turned to look at it, I realized exactly HOW stupid these people were. There, in the front of the store, in a GIANT FUCKING DISPLAY THE SIZE OF FUCKING VESUVIUS, ADVERTISED BY A FUCKING SIGN THAT MIGHT AS WELL HAVE SAID "HOLLYWOOD", WERE THE FUCKING PLAYMATS. FUUUUUCK!
"WHAT THE FUCK IS THAT?!?!" I screeched at the representative standing closest to me. She jumped back, looking around wildly, probably expecting a tyrannosaurus or a giant cockroach to come barreling down on her. "What?!? What?!?"
"That! Right there! That display. What is that?"
"That's what it says on the sign! But are you sure? Because I've had three – you know what? Not your problem. Can you get me the supervisor from back in the children's toy section please?" She calls him up. As he walks up, he sees me standing there, and rolls his eyes. I guarantee you, that was last time he EVER did that. I plucked his eyeballs out. Not really. "WHAT. THE HELL. IS THAT?!?!" I shouted in my most commanding baritone, pointing over his shoulder. I watched a stain slowly spread across the front of his pants. He looked, and immediately turned a brilliant crimson, amplified by his bald little head. "Those look like playmats, sir."
"And what, sir?" Suddenly he has become a polite amnesiac.
"And why, for the love of all that is holy, did you not know that they were here?"
"I don't know what you mean…"
It's like I'm in an alternate reality, where everything is stupid and nothing makes sense because it's stupid.
"Are you fucking kidding? I swear to god… Fuck you! I'm going to Target." I went up front, picked up my sammmich, and walked out. Still don't have the mats, though.