Friday, February 1, 2013

Friday Morning at Wal-Mart

I have decided that I enjoy shopping at Wal-Mart on Friday mornings. Normally the mere thought of going there raises my blood pressure and triggers the beginnings of a panic attack - but not today. Today was different.

The people I encountered there this morning were far more friendly and personable than the “usual crowd.”
Just walking in from the parking lot I was greeted with several smiles and a “hello” – all from total strangers (yes, for you dirty minded ones, I made sure there wasn’t a “reason” for the sudden friendliness…no open buttons or cleavage showing).

As I made my way up and down the aisles (didn’t have a list today – which is out of character for me – normally I know exactly where to go for what’s on my list – today I wandered) I was met with people asking each other for advice regarding which cold/flu medications work best, how that pain product they were holding worked and was there anyone who could reach that thing on the top shelf. Opinions were being offered and assistance given to those who needed it. Very civilized and friendly banter.
Even the employees this morning were a cut above what I’m used to. As I stood in the fabric aisle - pondering which flannel print to purchase – a saleswoman said “Uh oh! She’s deciding!” I laughed and said “This is what happens when you spend hours on Pinterest finding craft ideas.” The saleswoman stopped what she was doing, came over to where I was standing and talked to me for several minutes about why I like Pinterest. You see, she isn’t a “crafter” or a “sew-er” (her word) so she didn’t see the point. I asked if she cooked…DING! That did it! She said the next time she sees me she may be mad at me for sucking away all her spare time. See? Not the norm for Wal-Mart (or anywhere for that matter these days).

Later, as I stood in line to pay for may mish-mash of items, the little girl in the cart two customers ahead of me - munching on McDonald's fries (lucky kid) waved and said “HI!” I waved and said “HI!” back. Then the gentleman in between us turned (I assume to see who she was waving at) and struck up a chat about the yarn I was buying. Soon, he introduced himself and asked me what I knew about “Irish wool”…not much, I’m afraid…beyond how expensive it is.

Just then another register opened up and I she waved us over…my new acquaintance let me go first since he had already placed his items on the counter.

Feelin' all blue-skis and sunflowery today
I am thoroughly happy with humanity today.
For just a few moments it felt like the “old days” when I was a kid and my mom took us with her to Gemco. Every trip was like the one I had this morning. Friendly people, impromptu chats and courtesy all around!

Why can’t it be like that again…all the time?
I miss the way things used to be.
The proprieters of the local shops knew us by name - remembered to ask about things & people that we held dear. Sometimes, they even offered deals on products because...well, just because.
I miss living in a friendly community like that. What makes the whole thing sad is that I still live in the same neighborhood I grew up in. What has happened to us as a society?
We probably ought to do something about it - soon.

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