You can’t buy that!

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I remember when I started driving. I was willing to run to Wal-Mart,  anytime, for anyone, to grab anything just because it meant I could be out and about. In my early 20’s it was nothing for me to take 5 or 6 kids in there with me. We’d load the basket up with goodies galore. Markers and crayons and easy bake treats just to name a few… I found all sorts of treasures there, including my husband! Something about going there was just All – American. But things change…

Personally I think the minute Sam Walton died the corporation turned from “Made in the USA” helpers of the community to just another company scheming to get as much of our paychecks as they can with no regard for anything but the bottom line. But I’ve made these complaints before, so what’s new? What’s new is that I am getting tired of Wal-Mart appointing itself as our moral compass. Here is a company that is well-known for sexual discrimination- paying men higher wages than women, cheating employees out of well deserved benefits, allowing labor practices that would raise eyebrows in any country, and destroying the Mom and Pop businesses our country was founded on, and yet they think they are holding the moral compass? Give me a break!

I can understand why they card me for alcohol, and some chemicals, but checking ID for spray paint has grown into something so ridiculous my 13 year old couldn’t buy a small tube of superglue to fix the handle bar grip on his bike because I wasn’t with him. It wasn’t like he tried to purchase 15 tubes of glue, but OK, I get the point. I’m annoyed by it, but I accept it. It’s equally annoying that my 17 year old can’t get her own allergy medicine. She doesn’t need my help taking it, but heaven forbid we run out at an inopportune time for me to run to Wal-Mart because apparently keeping us from buying Sudafed is going to rid our lives of crack-houses. I find it ridiculous that these stores think requiring id and limiting cold medicine purchases are really making a dent in our drug problems but I believe in the war on drugs, so I appreciate the efforts even when I don’t think they’ll do any good.

My grandpa once told me a lock is only good for keeping an honest man out. In other words, if someone is determined to do the wrong thing, they’re gonna do it regardless. I’d be willing to bet most crack dealers aren’t running to Wal-Mart and loading up on cold medicine. They’re stealing it, not shopping for rollbacks.

But all those grievances aside, my true source of frustration comes when they tell ME how to be a mom. For example, a few weeks ago the cashier observed me telling my child he could not climb on the basket. He is 6 years old, has ADHD, and can get pretty hyper. At times it can be a challenge to do things like grocery shop with him, especially if I have all the little ones with me. She could clearly see I was dealing with him, but instead of picking up the pace to get us checked out, she stopped ringing us up to tell me “he could get hurt if he keeps climbing on the basket.” DUH! I think that’s probably why I told him to get off…

I try to handle these moments with grace. This is a small town. I have to see these people over and over again. I try to smile and nod, smile and nod, smile and nod. But sometimes, like last weekend, I run out of smiles. I typically use the self-checkout because the lines are shorter and it tends to go much faster. I kind of think the self-checkout should give you a 10% discount, since you are saving them the cost of a cashier, but that’s another complaint… My 9 year old and I were shopping and he was helping me ring things up. When we rang up new tips for his arrows, the machine stopped and requested that my age be verified. So a girl comes to the register and asks me: “Who is buying these, you or him (my son)?” “I am,” I replied just as my son said “they’re for my bow and arrow”.

She immediately decided she could not sell them to me, because I was going to give them to him. “I can buy them, I’m clearly over 18” I told her and she decided she needed to consult a manager. The way I see it, I am free to purchase whatever I want to purchase in the store. I am of age, and the item is for sale. What I do with it once I leave the store is none of their business. Are they actually going to tell me that my 9 year old cannot go hunting with his dad? Last I checked, spending time with your children was a good parenting practice!

Personally I don’t dig the hunting. I cringe at the thought of my boys bringing home the bacon in such a literal way, but I love it that my husband is passing a tradition to his sons. Whether I send my boys out into the woods to shoot arrows or guns is for me to decide, not Wal-Mart. I could  see a store refusing to sell a 9 year old arrow tips, but not selling them to his mother? Get real! When the manager came over, she seemed surprised that the cashier was questioning the purchase, and she immediately ok’d it. The girl offered an apology, but it was too late. The mad momma in me had taken over. I was unable to answer her with anything other than some snarky comments about how she had butted into my business, infringed on my parenting, and worst of all, created a line in the self-checkout. Fortunately the guy behind me was a hunter, who took his boys with him too, so he was glad to see me stand my ground until I got the arrows. Unfortunately I think I am no longer known as the “nice lady with lots of kids” and have probably become “the crazy lady who bought the arrow tips”!

Maybe if Wal-Mart is so dead set on telling me how to conduct my business, they should take a few pointers on how to conduct theirs. Do you think it would be wrong if I went back and only purchased the things that trigger their check points? I’ll grab some super glue, spray paint, NyQuil, and bullets! Now that would be fun…

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6 responses »

  1. I feel your pain but as I work in a supermarket I can understand the position the girl is put in we don’t get to make the rules we don’t even agree with them all but the cost of uspetting you could be loss of job and a huge fine here in the uk upto £10000 I think at current exchange that is nearly twenty thousand dollars am that is without all the legal statuatory charges that can get thrown at you, it is made even more difficult to use common sense as the stores employ mystery shoppers to ensure the rules are being followed here in the UK at the company I work for you have to look over 25 or produce ID for ANY Age restricted product be that a film, booze or even party poppers, the girl who made the comment about your son falling should have had more sense but please remember when we are stuck with the ID issues the people to rant at are usually sat miles away in a big comfy office (managers can bend rules that normal cashiers would get sacked for no idea why!)

  2. It is not just Walmart; other stores are mandated to do the same. It may be overkill in the control department, but there are so many abusers out there, the normal folks have to suffer. Where I live is kind of like the Meth capital of the world, so restricitng cold medicines makes sense, except for the fact that criminals will always find a way around the law anyway. I just talked myself out of my argument–almost. 🙂

  3. Your granpa was right, a lock is only good for keeping an honest man out. It really was out of place to have nursed the intention of terminating a mother’s purchase for her child because of the mother’s intention. That’s more like prying into privacy. Well, glad you stood your ground and made the point.

  4. I despise Walmart. It’s a dislike so deepseated that I won’t talk on it a long time because…well I don’t want men to show up at my door in concern for Walmart’s everywhere.

    The way I see it, Walmart has no interest in creating a moral compass. They just want to cover their butts in every way possible to avoid a lawsuit.

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