Dumb Things I Saw at WalMart

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I am presently sitting in my hosts’ . . . uh, I don’t know that to call it . . . sitting room (?) watching a TV commercial for Farmer’s Mutual Insurance telling me that there are 15,000 clothes dryer fires every year caused mostly by people not cleaning out the lint filter and urging me to check my policy Real Soon Now to assure myself  that I am covered against such a tragedy. The commercial features a dude in a suit torching a gigantic lint ball with a flame thrower. It’s all very amusing, but scary, as it is intended to be. I cannot help thinking of how many people are, as I write this, scurrying out to the garage or laundry room or wherever to inspect that potentially dangerous bit of equipment.

Well, kiddies, I’m here to tell you that I am not of the timid ilk. My bravado is assisted by the fact that it has been decades since I owned and operated any such so-called convenience as a clothes dryer. Oh, yes, I do have a clothes dryer of sorts. It consists of a number of wires hanging from a carousel-like contraption out in my back yard. On sunny days my clothes dry in a snap. On gloomy days it takes a little longer.

Well. Now, that was interesting, wasn’t it?

I have been moaning about the weather. I’m tired of moaning and you’re tired of hearing me moan on and on about it. The sun came out today and do you know what? I’ll tell you what. It got freezing cold,  that’s what. Now I have something else to moan about. Here’s the freezing cold sun:

I forgot that the whole sun thing works backwards in Indiana at this time of year.

Before I get into the subject of today’s post I want to tell you about a very disturbing development in my life. I am becoming tragically absent-minded. A few mornings ago, about 09:00, I was getting my vitamin pills out of the big plastic bag of sundry medications and nutrient supplements which are keeping me upright and more or less mobile. As I was rummaging for C and Multi and B Complex and Magnesium and D3, I noticed that my little blister-pack of sleeping tablets was nearly exhausted. Well, that simply won’t do.  So, as I was thinking about how I might contrive a way to con a doctor into giving me a script for some Temazepam, my fingers took on a life of their own. Before I knew what was happening I found myself asking, “What did I just swallow?” It was at that point that I noticed the count of remaining pills had reduced by one.

I spent the rest of a very drowsy day wondering if I had just been introduced to yet another harbinger of the future.

Okay, on to one of my favourite activities, heaping scorn on Wal*Mart. I know that it is so very unfair of me to do so. It’s not only unfair, but hypocritical. I am, as are the vast majority of the poor and disadvantaged, forced by economic necessity to frequent the sterile and depressing aisles of the Big W when we would prefer to blow our meager disposable income at more trendy emporiums.

Yesterday, while I had an hour to kill as the Wal*Mart pharmacists slaved to produce a package of dream-time tabs for me, I decided to waltz about among the treasures of rampant consumerism to capture images of some of the dumber items I could find. I don’t present this as the definitive collection of The Dumb Stuff at Wal*Mart. I had nowhere near enough time. This is a mere sampler.

I’ll begin modestly enough by poking some fun at another of my favourite targets – those who lavish their pets unto death with every conceivable extravagance. I give you Beggin’ Chips:

Hey, aren’t dogs fat enough already? We need to give them calorie-laden treats to insure that their lives are free of unfulfilled longings? My dog, Sheba, eats no better than I do. I believe in shared suffering. What doesn’t kill me and my dog makes us stronger. And, while I’m at it, what’s with the missing g  on the end of begging?  I had nearly forgotten that Midwestern American English long ago economized the alphabet by making redundant the final g  from all of our precious verb forms employing it. Within days of returning to my indigenous roots I found myself talkin’ to people about workin’ in Madang and tellin’ them about divin’ and fishin’ from my boat and all about the books I’ve been readin’ and when they start askin’ me how I’m doin’ I’ve been sayin’ that I’m still livin’ but not enjoyin’ it very much.

I’m losing thirty years of progress developing my Man of Mystery accent. I’m most often asked if I’m a Canadian. Now I fear I’m suffering a relapse into my original Hoosier Twang. Alas, I’ll have to endure many snide remarks from my Australian friends back home who chastise me for not picking up Strine as my dialect of choice.

I’d best get on with my abuse of Wal*Mart. We have all experienced those distressing occasions in which an ordinary fan simply will not do. I distinctly remember those sultry summer afternoons in the trailer park when up and down the cul-de-sac could be heard the familiar complaint, “Hey, baby, this regular fan here just ain’t cuttin’ it. We oughta hop in the pickup and go git us one o’ them mistin’ fans.” Yeah, Clyde. A misting fan is just what you need and Wal*Mart’s got your number:

I can find plenty of sources of misting fans. It seems that many vendors wish to sell me one. However, I’m still a little puzzled as to exactly what a misting fan does. Presumably it will wet my face while blowing (or blowin’, as the case may be) air on it. Because of my intense frugality, I’m against the idea of tossing away sixty-nine bucks of my rapidly vanishing resources on a device that accomplishes nothing beyond the effect of a fan which I already possess combined with that of a wet towel.

I should probably mention that I’m writing this late in the evening and am slightly punchy from a long day of doing Very Important Stuff which I am now unable to remember. I went several places and did a number of things which were more or less crucial to my survival, but none of it registered in long-term memory. I’ll need to consult my notes. Hmmm . . . it seems I took no notes.

My final jab at our mom-and-pop-store destroying retail giant centers on the matter of absurdly large presentations of choices, namely forty-two flavours of vacuum cleaners:

Why, for pity’s sake, is it necessary or even sane to offer such a ridiculous and surreal number of vacuum cleaners from which to select? Personally, I would be struck dumb when shopping for a mundane household device if I were forced to evaluate so many possibilities. Thinking about it produces the same panicky feeling that I get when I’m purchasing bread at one of today’s colossal food mega-marts. At home I can get white bread, brown bread and bread with lots of unidentifiable seeds in it. The seedy bread also includes, at no extra charge, a range of little sticks and pebble-like objects which I reckon add to the fiber content. I buy the seedy bread. Here in America, The Consumers’ Paradise, I get giddy and nervous when confronted by 267 varieties of bread.

Okay, I am getting very sleepy now, so I’ll let Wal*Mart off the hook. Before I pass out, however, I’ll pass along, as a public service, a link to this partially literate article which I found on AboveTopSecret.com which proves, with absolute certainty, that Wal*Mart is deeply involved in Satanic activities.

I had every intention of entertaining you with several hilarious paragraphs about the Royal Coat of Arms and this depiction of same which I photographed on the corner of the old courthouse in Gympie, Queensland, Australia. Alas, I am now too tired and I must leave you to puzzle it out on your own:

The unicorn appears to be very angry.

Before I nod off, I’ll alert any astrology fans out there that an event of major significance is impending. Get up tomorrow morning and look to the east before the sun comes up. You will, if you have the eyes of an eagle, see six planets lined up as pretty as you please. Having consulted the foremost astrological experts today living I can assure you that you must immediately convert all of your assets to cash and arrange an electronic transfer of the funds to my Chase Bank account. Contact me for detailed instructions. Ignore this announcement at your peril.

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20 Responses to “Dumb Things I Saw at WalMart”

  1. kristy Says:

    You need to get out and go on a hike!! Enjoy the wonders of God’s world, as opposed to Sam’s world! ( Although at different times of our life, we have been regular Walmart customers!)

  2. L. Witham Says:

    If I consider what you do when you are pondering, while holding a bottle of sleeping pills, I think I’ll leave my money in MY bank account. You may start pondering and spend the money on …. Wal*Mart goods!

    I laugh but you made me worry, what with my own tendency towards daydreaming, that I’ll have to make sure I don’t do it while counting my pills! Wow.

  3. DogsDontPurr Says:

    Wait….I thought the aligning of the stars meant everyone was going to be depositing all their money in MY bank account!


  4. Madcap Maven Says:

    What’s sad is that of all those vacuums, most are about as crummy as the next one down the aisle. Some are just more expensive.

    The in’ endings aren’t that peculiar to the Midwest anymore. It’s rampant in the South, but that’s “a whole ‘nother story.” [sic]

  5. Ali Says:

    Ahhh yes, our obtuse Australian history.
    The weird rampant and mythical animals are of course just the Brits and the Scots vying for the best grip on the shield again. (in down town Gympie???) haaaaa

    “The Lion and the Unicorn were fighting for the crown,
    The Lion beat the Unicorn up and down the town.
    Some gave them white bread, some gave them brown,
    Some gave them plum pud and kicked them out of town.”

    Thank goodness we Aussies have since adopted the 2 most iconic Aussie critters for our REAL coat of arms. The Emu and the Kangaroo…. and Oh, did I mention that we are perhaps the only country that puts their national animals on the coat of arms and also on the dinner plate…mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm and yet we remain a lovable mob of weirdos. I blame our history ofcourse…
    PS some rediculous food for thought-
    (Perhaps the Scots ate all the Unicorns and that’s where we inherited the trend?)

  6. Ali Says:

    Thank you Jan, I feel quite normal when I see and shudder at the pictures of Wall Mart…..
    PS You better be careful confusing your pills like that.
    Did you hear about the man who confused his toothpaste and his hemorrhoid cream?
    He ended up with shrunken gums and a ring of confidence!

  7. MadDog Says:

    Kristy, I would gladly don my boots and take a hike, but it has been too freezing cold!

  8. MadDog Says:

    Lori I spend not a dollar these days that is not necessary to keep my upright and mobile, so I do appreciate the prices at Wal*Mart, but it is, nevertheless, an inviting target for sarcasm.

    I’m a little amazed at the number of prescription drugs which most people my age seem to be taking. It seems that many are taking four or five. I take my vitamins each morning, the occasional Panadol and one or two sleeping tabs a week, as needed. I’m saving a bundle! I’m also now being very careful and attentive when handling any medications.

  9. MadDog Says:

    DogsDontPurr, I’ll make a deal with you. Let’s both work our own sides of the street. We’ll pool whatever shows up in our accounts from the “Astrology Scam” and split it 50/50. Agreed?

  10. MadDog Says:

    Madcap, I remember selling vacuum cleaners in the retail stores we owned back in the ’70s. I felt like such a dork when demonstrating them. Hey, this is not rocket science, for pity’s sake. What model to buy? What difference does it make? They suck! That’s all. It’s simple. Buy one that sucks real hard, dummy.

    I’m being very careful in my speech. I don’t want to lose ground.

  11. MadDog Says:

    Okay, Ali, I admit to nearly nodding off until I got to your remark about the revered critters making regular appearances at (or rather on) the dinner table. You do have your moments.

    I am sure that there must be something very funny in the last line, but I’m hanged if I can find it. Elucidate, please.

  12. MadDog Says:

    I’m sure, Ali, that you will not believe this, but I once actually did that. I remember it as The Day My Mouth Stopped Itching.

  13. kristy Says:

    Even if it is cold, get out and hike!! The hiking will warm you up!!

  14. MadDog Says:

    Kristy, I’ve been too lazy. I’ll do a lot of waking in Canada.

  15. Ali Says:

    You missed the “L”
    You are hardly lazy, Jan, but waking before you walk is a good safe option.

  16. MadDog Says:

    Ali, I missed more than the “L”. I can’t even figure out what you’re talking about. Elucidate, please.

    The biggest problem I have with walking at the moment is remembering to look down when going up and down stairs. These new (FREEEEE!) glasses have nearly killed me several times already.

  17. Ali Says:

    OK- May 8th 2011 at 17:21 – On this post.
    You replied to Kristys advise to get out and hike to warm yourself up….
    You left the “L” out our walk…. (or did you mean to write that you wil do alot of waking in Canada?) Hence- my smart ar#e comment anyway.
    Hey, before you accidentally step off a cliff, you should ditch the glasses with the “bi-focal thingy”. Seriously, they are not doing their job and are a serious, bloody danger to you Jan.

  18. MadDog Says:

    Okay, Ali. I got the “L” thing now. You are certainly picky. Am I to assume that this is the ONLY typo you’ve found lately? If so, I feel good. Keep editing.

    I just have to live with the dangerous glasses. I have my choice of switching between four pairs of single-vision specs or wearing the fancy See-All pair which I was so generously given. I’ve worn similar ones for years (hence, my tumble from the Caravan), but these are a stronger prescription, giving me 20/20 vision from nose to infinity. This is something I have not experienced since I was in my early 30s. I’ll simply have to live dangerously and remember to look down when navigating steps.

  19. Ali Says:

    ha ha …nooooooo! I’m not picking on you… just happened to notice that one. Incidently the last typo I found was mine….did you see it?
    bahaaaa ha it was an “L” in my message to you.

  20. MadDog Says:

    No, Ali. I missed your missing “L”. I’m a poor editor.