I went to Wal-Mart with my mom today. She needed a 25-pound bag of cat food. Yes, cat food. That’s how many she has. But that’s a different story.
Naturally, cat food turned into eye drops and drink mix and a vast array of other items and it took forever. The whole time I’m walking along with her, pushing this giant metal beast with wobbly wheels through a crowd of Wal-Martians, I can’t help thinking something’s wrong.
Then I realized what it was. The experience of real world, brick and mortar shopping feels barbaric to me.
Everywhere I looked there were heaps of food just piled in stacks. Walls of cereal. Great frozen glaciers of milk and yogurt. Forests of pants and shirts fluttering in the artificial breeze of the A/C. And running through it all, hopping and skipping and scampering are the Wal-Martians … huge, hairless apes touching everything. Pawing through the clothes, picking the food up and putting it back down.
My mother kept asking where things were. You know how you find out? You walk around physically looking, jostling through the Wal-Martians, looking for some blue-smocked guide who, it turns out, doesn’t know much more than you do about anything more than 10 feet from where they’re standing.
It was horrible.
I can’t believe there are people who shop like this. I can’t do it. I like amazon.com and drugstore.com and all the other dotcoms. Where are the eye drops? Well, according to the little search box, they’re right here in my shopping cart. The invisible cart that doesn’t have to wait in line behind a dozen other Wal-Martians so that some blue-smocked arbiter of the public goods can go through my purchases passing judgement and assessing value.
Then, this guardian of the aisles stuffs everything you’re buying into plastic bags … as if they haven’t already been pawed over by half your fellow citizens. And this is the part that really gets to me. This is truly barbaric and amazing and yet nobody seemed to have a problem with it. After you give them your money, they make you carry the bags of crap out to your car and drive it to your house.
What the hell?
No. Not in my world. Not in the civilized realms.
Here’s how normal, civilized people shop. You open your browser. You click on what you want. It gets packed into a single, nice, neat box and then it gets delivered to your house. And if the shipping isn’t free, you’re doing it wrong. You bring one box six inches from your porch to your living room.
That’s how you do it.
But not my mother. And not the Wal-Martians. They continue to battle their way through piles of germ-infested crap where metal baskets squeak beneath the flickering fluorescent lights like giant foraging rodents of doom.
Thankfully, I can rest easy in the knowledge that my great-grandchildren will grow up in a world where this horror no longer exists.