Has Wal-mart become your mecca?

Nathan Sanderson

Nathan Sanderson

Wal-mart. Outside of the back country Ozarks of Arkansas on a Saturday night, no other place in the country gets as excited about a trip to Wal-mart as good ole Brookings, S.D. I seriously believe that there are Brookings residents who couldn’t go a single day without entering the place to buy something that they could have bought after a two block walk, but instead decided the 10 minute drive was more appealing. Somewhere, Sam Walton is whistling and grinning from ear to smiley-faced ear.

I am one of those individuals fortunate enough to be acquainted with a Wal-mart Customer Service Manager, or CSM, as they “in the business” call it. Through this relationship I have gained inside information on one of the world’s largest companies. (Basically, the extent of my knowledge is how to use the intercom, and their recent plot to secure valuable black-market Martha Stewart products from the soon-to-be-bankrupt K-Mart.) But since I have had these secrets revealed to me, whenever I walk around the store, there is always a Wal-mart employee two steps behind me.

Here’s something fun to do when alone and engaging in an afternoon Wal-mart excursion: Go up to those little phones, push the intercom button, and pretend to carry on a conversation with someone. It works best if you are adept at changing your voice so that it sounds like two people are talking. Then, when an employee tries to stop you, say, “Excuse me, you’ll have to wait your turn!” They banned me from the store last week for that little prank.

As I observe college students wandering the aisles aimlessly for hours on end, I can almost hear the thoughts going through their heads as they pick up items and look at them for a full five minutes, with no intention of buying them. They think things like, “Does DORITOS in Spanish mean yellow, cheese-dust covered, triangle-shaped, calorie-loaded goodness in a corn chip?” You will even see grown men, either wandering for the sport of it or waiting on wives searching for the softest toilet tissue available, mosey into the lingerie aisle. As they stare at the pictures of air-brushed models, their manly look says exactly what they’re thinking: Why don’t women who get breast implants have to wear a sign that says, “Contains Foreign and Domestic Parts”? Wal-mart carries auto parts too, you know.

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