Tuesday, August 3, 2010

The Walmart Parable

In the New Testament, one of Christ's disciples-to-be, responded with a note of cynicism, when informed that the Messiah was currently dwelling in nearby Nazareth. He--Nathanael--said, "Can anything GOOD come out of Galilee?" Well last night, I had to go to Wal-mart, and my sentiments toward the trip were quite similar. I needed more than my customary one or two light items, I was alone with the children, and I was leaving later than I'd planned. Indeed, could anything GOOD come out of a trip to Walmart? Well, here's the parable (and the interpretation thereof) and I leave you to decide.

Once, in the city of Greenville, there was a foolish woman who went to Walmart with her son and her daughter while the good man was not at home. He, behold, was out making the money. She, behold, was out spending the money in preparation for family vacation. She, behold, also needed to fill some WIC vouchers.

The foolish woman tried to leave at 3:30 so that her son and her daughter would not be tired and cranky, and also so that they would be home in time for dinner. Alas, the phone rang at 3:30, and the foolish woman ran her mouth until nearly four. It was now quite clear that they would not be home for dinner, so she altered course, and prepared dinner first. At 4:15, she sat her son and her daughter to the table. They then proceeded to take an hour to eat a slice of pizza.

Between five and five thirty, the foolish woman's foolishness was pressing upon her. Her trip seemed to be clandestine. Her neighbor stopped with more apples than would fit comfortably in her refrigerator. She was still waiting for the children to finish, so why not make applesauce? Then a friend called and asked to stop by briefly, so she waited.

The foolish woman's 2000 Ford donkey pulled out of the drive at 6:00, then onto the freeway, and then into rush hour Woodruff Road traffic. Traffic was so horrific, the donkey lurched from light to light, while the foolish woman held frantically onto the donkey's ears and blocked out visions of what might happen if she rear-ended someone two days before their vacation.

They finally arrived at Wal-mart unscathed. Moving quickly with her cart, the woman breezed onto the laxative aisle, only to find that the small size of the medicine she needed to assure her son's regularity was completely out of stock. This left only the $10.00 bottle to consider. Grumbling, she tossed it into the cart and moved onto the diaper aisle and then into the grocery department.

When the cart was laden with Miralax, diapers, 3 gallons of milk, eggs, and cheese, the woman's son started doing the potty dance. No, he simply could not wait. Groaning, the woman re-directed the cart toward the bathroom, already creating a bathroom strategy in her mind. You see, it is not permissible for one to bring one's buggy into the bathroom once it has groceries in it. The woman's daughter had footy pajamas on, and thus could not stand or walk on the floor, and thus her necessity to remain in the cart. A conundrum ensued.

The outcome of the conundrum found the foolish woman standing in the door of the bathroom, with her cart wedged half in and half out of the entrance, shouting instructions at her four-year-old son, who then pretended to forget everything he ever knew about independent bathroom going. He did not close and lock the stall door. Rather he greeted every woman who walked by the open door. He did not believe his mother when she assured him that these toilets were not self flushing. Rather he stood outside the abandoned stall with his undies around his ankles and his hands over his ears.

Now sufficiently mortified for the entire month of August, the foolish woman carried on. Thirty minutes later, the woman had all of her groceries except juice. The new super-Wal-mart management had surreptitiously placed it next to the wine. Victorious at last, the woman marched into a line--behind four other people with a zillion groceries and even more issues . . . or so she judged as she tapped her foot and waited.

And she was judged accordingly. When it finally got to be her turn, she lined up her six different orders on the conveyor belt--four WIC, the diapers out of one account, and the other groceries out of another. On the second order, the computer rejected her Cream of Wheat. Ten minutes later, the manager told me her she could not have the Cream of Wheat on her WIC order, even though it was marked WIC on the shelf, and was the same box pictured on the WIC pamphlet.

Too tired to battle any longer, the woman moved the Cream of Wheat to her regular order, endured the glares of the people in line behind her, smiled and thanked the cashier and manager and rolled it all--groceries, pocketbook, kids--to the car. On the way home, she replayed the scenarios in her head, and began to draw possibly helpful lessons from each disaster, and thus, yes, something good did actually come out of Walmart.

So yeah, this is when all ya'll "disciples" get to ask me what in the world I'm talking about, and what it has to do with weight loss. "The Interpretation of the Wal-mart Parable" is coming up next!


  1. Is your son afraid of self-flushing toilets too? Ella is finally brave enough to use self-flushing toilets, but when she first sees them, she flinches. Oh, and I think I've done that cart half in, half out of the bathroom doorway before.

  2. I've definitely had many a Walmart trip where I've wondered what good could come of it. Thanks for sharing! Made me laugh.

  3. Yes, Wade is scared to death of the self flushing toilets. I'm glad to know we're not alone in that state of phobia however!

  4. Kate is petrified of the self-flushers as well. She. Will. Not. Sit. Down. Ugh.

    I have done the multiple order thing before...I sooooooooooooo know what you are talking about there!

    Can't wait to hear the interpretation...so I can learn what I should have been learning all along myself. Why do people wonder when I smile so broadly when shopping solo??

  5. This was sooo funny Sarah. Elise is also afraid of self flushing toilets. This sounds very much like one of my trips to the wal-mart!!