Before COVID shutdowns, I had rarely if ever ventured into a Walmart. I had of course noted the 2018 controversy when an FBI hireling—an influential man—claimed as he shopped at a Southern Virginia Walmart, he could “SMELL” those who supported a specific presidential candidate. I found that statement bizarre, but paid it little attention. Then one day my husband talked me into shopping at Walmart with him. That experience was quite the eye-opener.
I log my steps every day and that day, I realized the vastness of the nearest store located on San Jose Blvd. in Jacksonville. By the time we left, my steps measured 1 ¼ miles. I discovered you cannot just shop for food at Walmart. There’s too much other stuff to look at and I found myself wandering into aisles. I found an exceptional gardening hat that day, for around $3. I was delighted with that purchase.
I found the selection of foods and goods in the grocery section better than I thought. I never have found bulghur there but I can’t find it at my favorite Publix either. I don’t think anyone carries it unless I find a specialty store. I settle for couscous and I’ve found that readily available. I prefer bulghur though.
Prices for coffee beans were incredibly reasonable. The produce—I’d heard some pretty bad remarks from others about Walmart produce—was of very good quality. Paper and cleaning products were less expensive here.
The breakdown was in the deli meat and cheese section. The young man working there that day either didn’t like people in general, didn’t like people who look like me, or didn’t like his job. I’ve experienced the same behavior since then in that department with one exception. There is an elderly woman who works there sometimes and does her job professionally. As a result, if I don’t see her there, I usually don’t get meat or cheese cut. My husband doesn’t care and he gets it regardless of who’s doing the meat or cheese cutting.
The bakery ladies are extremely nice and professional.
The pharmacist is stellar, counseling patients and genuinely showing concern for your health.
As I’ve become familiar with the store, I don’t struggle quite as much to find things.
I still shop my favorite Publix too. I love the deli and bakery and some of the products I purchase there I don’t find in other places. I use store coupons and that helps, but there is little doubt Walmart saves us money when we shop there. I try to buy toiletries, cleaning products, and paper products at Walmart because of the prices.
It does take me longer when I shop there. That’s partly because of the size of the store and partly because if I shop at a busy time, the cashiers and the self-checkouts are stacked up. The other reason it takes me longer is that I’m like a kid in a toy shop—there’s just so much to see I get distracted so that is on me.
What I did not perceive at Walmart were Trump supporters or for that matter, supporters of any party politician. What I did find was a cross section of humanity. Elderly people. Young moms with babies. Men with hardware items—they’re always in a rush with serious looks on their faces. Crunchies in both genders. Poorly groomed people and immaculately groomed people. A total mix of humanity. This is right up my alley because I have lived my life enjoying a total mix of humanity and that practice has brought me more blessings than I can count. I try to pass those blessings along every day of my life.
For my husband and me, cost savings are a priority in our budget. I never thought I’d enjoy shopping at Walmart but having given the store a try a number of times now, I do enjoy it just as I enjoy shopping at most places I patronize. I patronize as many local businesses as I can too—Hoby’s is one of my favorites in that category.
As for the “SMELL” of any political supporters, I didn’t smell anyone. I just saw Americans doing what we were doing. Trying to save money on the things we need. I think this is very relevant to anyone working in the arts right now because money is tight for most of those folks most of the time.
The first time I shopped there with my husband, I said something that always delights him when I say it. Before we went, he’d told me I wasn’t going to believe the difference in prices on some of the stuff we use regularly.
Once we’d loaded our purchases into the car, I looked at him and said the words every husband loves to hear.
You were right.
[Disclosure: I get absolutely no benefit whatsoever from sharing this opinion on grocery stores. Also I don’t know anyone in my circle who currently works for Walmart.]
(Kay B. Day/October 14, 2020)
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