Walmart – a Necessary Evil or Purgatory?



It’s been about three months.  I should get an award.  I managed to avoid the depths of Walmart for three months and I am proud of that fact.  I don’t know what it is about that place, but I can feel my sanity start to slip away from the moment I enter the door.  I know I am not the only one that feels this way; I can’t be.  The atmosphere inside is straight out of the Twilight Zone.

Today was to be a simple trip.  I had to return a handheld vacuum cleaner that was missing a part.  I then had to make my way through the store and pick up the replacement vacuum cleaner that I ordered online.  It was 4:15PM.

Easy.  I had this.  I owned this.

And that thinking was my first very big mistake.

The second mistake was making this trip a family outing.  Yes, I brought not only my husband, but my daughter and my four year old twin sons as well.  I still felt positive; I was superwoman.  I could handle this, and no matter what, my little family was not going to be one of those families you look at in the store and think “Yeah, they are definitely Walmart shoppers.”

That was my third mistake.

It began when we entered the store.  The greeter stopped us and asked us if we had a return.  I told her we did, and proceeded to wait for exactly five minutes for her to find her sheet of stickers and hand write “return”, along with today’s date on a sticker the size of my thumb and affix it to the vacuum box.

While my husband, my daughter, Talia, and my son, Romero, waited on the bench right outside the customer service area, I took my son Napier and braved the returns line.  There were five people in front of us and one stressed out cashier behind the counter.

It took twenty minutes before we made it up to the returns counter, and by that time Napier was done sitting quietly in the cart.

“Why do we have to be here soooooo long, mama?”

“What is taking so long?”

“Why can’t I get out and go sit by papa?”

“MAMA!  Why did this dumb vacuum cleaner not have the right part?”


By the time we reached the counter, my nerves were already frazzled.  I handed the woman my receipt and return and she scanned it into the computer.  Which happened to freeze at that exact moment.vacuum

She looked at me helplessly.  “This doesn’t happen that often,” She explained to  me, and proceeded to use her walkie-talkie to call for a manager.

Another 15 minutes went by while we waited for this mysterious manager to arrive.  My son was getting restless.  My husband was giving me death stares (like this was my idea of a fun time).  Talia and Romero began arguing over who was going to put the change into the charity machine and watch it spiral down to the bottom.  I was digging through  my purse,  wishing that I brought some Ativan with me and trying to calm my breathing and heart rate.

The manager finally showed up, entered her manager code and we finished the returns process.

One task down, one to go.  I only had to get to the back of the store, pick up the new vacuum cleaner and we would be done.

The five of us made our way to the site-to-store pick  up.  No one was there.  Not even a worker.  I used the phone page and it began it’s countdown.  Then I paged again when the countdown ran out without a response.  On the third time, someone finally made their way out of the warehouse and she asked me what she could do for me.

I bit back a retort about her giving me the last fifteen minutes of my life back and handed her the slip for the vacuum.

walmart3“One minute,” She told me and disappeared back into the warehouse.  I’ve come to realize that “one minute” translated into Walmart time means “you’ll see me again when you see me.”

But finally she returned with the vacuum, and we all breathed a sigh of relief.

My husband reminded me that the last vacuum cleaner was missing a part, and suggested we look to make sure the part was there before we left.

We opened the box, and (bet you can’t guess this one) the part was again missing.

I informed the cashier that the part was missing and told her we just returned one because of the same problem.

She looked at me blankly.

“I can’t do a return from here.  You are going to have to take this up front to the returns department and they can run the return for you.”

It was now 5:37PM.




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At my core, I am a writer and author, but I am also a crazy girl, a proud mama, a gourmet cupcake maker, a vixen, a website developer and a lost little girl.

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