Walmart is a scary place. It's like the convergence of Willy Wonka's Oompa Loompa Land with One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest all rolled up into a gigantic chocolate-covered meatball. Most of us could trade horror stories about trips to this Prozac-riddled fun park -- one of the only places in the world where you can buy guns and ammo, knives and swords, and toys and groceries, yet have to be 18 or older (with a valid ID) to buy Wite-Out. People... that's logic.
Sarcasm aside, I've learned a few techniques over the years for making it through this popular chain store unscathed. Mace and elephant tranquilizers are not required.
Here's how to survive Walmart in five easy steps:
Friend the S**t Out of the Greeter
Your friendly neighborhood Walmart Greeter is like the Great Oz. He or she holds the keys to the kingdom and can make the impossible happen. If you're pleasant to the Greeter, you'll have an enjoyable shopping experience. Roll your eyeballs at his or her "Welcome to Walmart. What a glittery day!" and things could get tricky. Did the cashier forget to deactivate a security label? Are red lights blinking and sirens blazing? If you were nice to the gatekeeper, all will be forgiven. But if you were a jackass, he or she might forget they ever saw you enter and make you wait in the small concrete room until the authorities arrive. Karma is the best law of defense when entering the shallow grounds known as Wally World.
Always Grab a Shopping Cart
When entering Walmart, always grab a shopping cart -- even if you don't need one. A shopping cart puts a safe distance between you and other human forms perusing the store. A cart can also be used for defensive measures such as ramming racks of random clothing out of the way, clearing a path through customer service to get to the nearest restroom, and riding out the front door just in case you spent $954 and the basket is now too heavy to push.
Never, EVER Make Eye Contact
Aisle for aisle, the worst thing you can do is make eye contact with ANYONE while shopping at Walmart. This opens the door to conversation. Are you prepared to discuss Billy Bob's hemorrhoid operation while trying to find Tylenol PM? Or discover that the girl with spiked blue hair standing at the jewelry counter was just released from prison for serial shoplifting? Make eye contact and you're two channels away from becoming the Jerry Springer of your own daytime talk show.
Wear Your Saturday Worst
Walmart is not a place to wear your Sunday best. So grab Saturday's worst and rock that style! You want to blend in. A pretty little skirt and ruffled top will ensure you sticking out like a red buffalo in crowd of snow weasels. If you stick out, you might as well strike up that conversation with Spikey Suzy.
Don't Assume Anything
The price tag might say $5.98. The shelf that holds Kleenex might appear empty. It's all an illusion designed to cause you mental and physical aguish as you frantically search for a sales associate (which do not exist). Nothing is as it appears at Walmart. Behind the curtain are rows and rows of every conceivable item that's now missing from the shelves. And it's like Christmas Day when you get to the checkout counter and discover that those cute little socks are really $5.97. Woo hoo!
Have a glittery day, Walmart shoppers!