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  Updated 1-2-08




























Attention Wal-Mart Shoppers 

by Carrie Metz- English

Whining, screaming, crying, kicking, wailing, biting, holding breath until blue.


That’s right.  I’ve become that Wal-Mart mother we all love to hate.


After threatening my children with throttling the life from their very existence while wielding the shopping cart down Wal-Mart’s topiary aisle, I realized I had become the mother shoppers like to give dirty looks to.  The look of “Can’t you tape their mouths shut with duct tape?  Can’t you leave them at home?  Can’t I for once have a peaceful shopping expedition in Wal-Mart without having to order a bourbon straight up to calm my nerves” has finally been glared upon me.


It’s not like I didn’t coach the children before our arrival.  They had it down pact, so I thought.


“We will not run down the aisles.”

“We will not scream and holler.”

“We will not grab little old ladies butts.”


Entering Wal-Mart, I was pleased to take note that my children had thanked the cart lady, perhaps taking the task a bit too seriously when they bowed before her.  But hey, at least they took my teachings to heart.


After meandering down the gold fish aisle and the cellulite removal aisle, the action started to heat up, comments reaching new decibel raising heights.


“She’s looking at me cross-eyed!”

“Big old bully, quit hogging the lane or my mommy will beat you up!”

“I need, I need, I want, I want, I just gotta have this or my life is over!”


Repeat 202 times.


I soon started humming Bibbiti-Boppity-Boo to calm my frayed nerves.  My head rocking from side to side, the intercom interrupts my relaxed state of clamor. 


“Lost and Found Alert- Found-One little blonde girl, pink Cinderella shirt, missing shorts and droopy diaper.  Says her mother’s name is Cruella DeVille.  Please claim her at the Customer Service Department.”


Realizing we were one short of kids, I sent my oldest daughter to claim the found item, not wanting to be held personally accountable for the runaway tactics of the child.  Along the way, I found her shorts by the beach towel aisle.  Guess she thought she wanted to take a swim in the plastic kiddy pool set up by the sand buckets.


After the hustle and bustle of our reunion, tantrums occurred after I buzzed by the Spiderman II aisle, the Bratz counters and the Care Bear displays. 


Mission Impossible- We must get out of here.


Finally we reached the check-out lanes and in a moment of incoherent whim, I decide to try out the new self check-out lanes.


Scanner goes berserk, security whistles blare, and the computer tells me never to attempt the self check-out lane again.  After waiting 15 minutes for a Self Check Inventory Control Technician to override the computer system’s message, my son tells me he has to go, like really bad.


I tell him to wait.  He tells me his eyes are starting to turn yellow.  I tell him the yellow compliments the green in his eyes.  He in turn retaliates by calling me the meanest witch he knows.  Youngest girl screams herself into a stupor over not being able to reach her Super-sized Lollypop and winds up spewing her lunch on the gum selections.  The oldest is calling my husband on the cell phone telling him to “Come quick.  She’s gonna blow!”


Having held my breath for the last five minutes, I gasped for air and yelled, “Listen here you little vagrants.  All I wanted to do was get a couple of groceries.  Now I am going to be charged with attempted murder and I have all these bystanders to witness that the act was a moment of insanity.  Don’t think I won’t do it!”


Murmurs from the near-by shoppers went along the lines of “poor children” “awful mother” “no patience” etc etc.


So that my friends is how I received the honorable glares of being “That mother in Wal-Mart.”


“Attention Wal-Mart Shoppers.  The price has now been reduced on all Anxiety Reduction medical prescriptions and headphones!  As always, thank you for shopping your friendly Wal-Mart stores.”


 Copyright 2004 Carrie English

* * * * * 

Though not from the South, Carrie English likes to think she qualifies for Southern Humor because she lives in South Dakota and not North Dakota.  Carrie lives in a huge town, population 429, with her three children (and all their food budget eating friends) and her husband.  When not conspiring to overthrow the menacing voices in her head whom make her write, Carrie bluffs her way through the Masters Program at a local college.  Her column appears weekly in three South Dakota newspapers.  
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