Sunday, December 6, 2009

Surviving Wally World

Janet writes: Ok, it’s Christmas shopping season, and sooner or later we will all have to make that inevitable trip to…Wal-Mart. I cringe at the thought. Oh, I have nothing against Wal-Mart as a store or a business. (We call it Wally World at work.) They usually have what I want and they almost always have the best price around. The employees are friendly or at least civil and I have never had trouble returning merchandise or using the bathroom. No, my beef is…Wal-Mart. Big, bright, giant, overstuffed, Wal-Mart.

The entrance to this store is misleading. You think you are ok. The carts are right there – scooters too – and a friendly person greets you. “Welcome to Wal-Mart”. Then you walk past the specials display and into the glare. No one can say this store isn’t well lit. The lights are incredibly bright and they reflect off the highly polished white floor. The isles of things are usually filled with extra isles of things and cross isles of things and special displays of more things and pretty soon you are surrounded by so many things that you forgot what things you were looking for in the first place!

All the “things” are actually manageable – if you go at midnight. Most of us go during normal business hours, however, so to the lights and isles and things you must add people. Many, many people. People going fast, people going slow, people standing still, people stopping abruptly right in front of you, and people standing right in front of the “thing” that you came for and not moving! Try not to scream, now! That’s very rude.

Anyone with cognitive issues knows that about five minutes of this is all it takes to give you one whopping headache. In fact, five minutes of this is enough to give anybody a whopping headache, with or without cognitive issues.

I have vertigo of unknown origin (they call it a migraine disorder), and between that and Tim’s MS, we make quite the pair in Wal-Mart. I spend at least ten minutes, sometimes more, wandering around trying to orient myself while I read signs and attempt to locate the “things” we came for, and Tim just follows with the cart because he doesn’t want to attempt to deal with it. After wasting a sizable amount of time, one of us usually figures out where we need to go and we get to the correct location in the store. It’s exhausting and frustrating. Yes, we do save money. It helps us pay for all the Advil we take after we get home.

I actually do enjoy shopping at Wal-Mart., that is.

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