Up Against the Wal, Mon Frere

Posted on November 27, 2011


I think that within the last 5 years, I have stepped into a WalMart store 2 times.   Both times were on a business trip.  Once was when I was in need of some bottled water because I needed some to keep in the car as I drove up and down the state and often times the rest stops on these long stretches don’t have operational drinking fountains.   The other occasion was that my work cell phone was close to shutting down because I forgot the adapter to charge it at the hotel and there wasn’t any other place near the Oakland Airport to buy phone accessories.   Normally, I avoid Wal Mart’s in much the same way I avoid Dentists and Doctors and Hospitals.

I’m sure that my reasons are similar to millions of other shoppers who despise the whole Wal Mart ‘experience’.    In point of reference to culture, you have your typical mix of White, Brown and Black trash to whom WalMart is an integral part of the fabric of their existence.    Pardon me for the elitist that I am, but I can handle Target, a brief exposure to K-Mart, regular visits to Sam’s Club,  the 99 Cent only stores, various grocery chains and even yard and garage sales.   WalMart?  I can’t go for that – no can do.

I can’t think of anything that better epitomizes my viewpoint regarding WalMart and the type of people who shop there than the video here that captures a little bit of the frenzy that occurred at the WalMart in Porter Ranch, California.   How about the  morbidly obese White woman with the ‘Tramp Stamp’ and the anchor showing?  What is it with people who are just flat out hard to look at when they have modest clothing on, much less thinking that we want to see skin?  What gives them that idea?  When I think of the Jerry Springer show, I think of WalMart and vice versa with extra emphasis on the vice part.

The video doesn’t depict the actual event that was central to the big news story of a woman (using the term loosely) that busted out a canister of Pepper Spray on fellow shoppers so that she could get the XBox 360 before anyone else.  If the video shows it, then I’m just dense.  All I see is the people going apecrap over a bunch of toasters and what not according to the story that accompanies the video.   I suspect that the WalMart in-store cameras were the ones that have the spray incident captured in all its glory and that has been turned over to LAPD for evidentiary purposes.   Turns out she’s Hispanic – shock of shocks!   I originally wanted to know how the hell did she manage to do the Cucaracha dance to the checkout line, pay for the item and leave the store?   I still haven’t seen an explanation of that.   What are Mexicans doing with XBox 360’s anyway?  Did they turn Robert Rodriguez’ movie, ‘Machete’ into a video game already?

As everyone knows now, this sort of mayhem is commonplace at WalMart stores, has been for a number of years and is not strictly limited to WalMart, but most frequently there during the Black Friday and post Christmas shopping blowout scenes.  There were reports from everywhere in the country following Black Friday of fist fights, shoving, trampling and other types of melees.   The expression ‘Black Friday’ takes on a meaning that is perhaps unintended by the retailers.  What is all the fighting over – crap from China whose inflated currency and slave labor contribute to joblessness in the United States?  I know there are all sorts of ‘conservatives’ out there who blow all kinds of smoke in one’s face about WalMart being some kind of shining example of Capitalism and virtue and on and on, ad nauseum.  Sorry, this is one Conservative that isn’t drinking that Purple Gatorade.  But it’s a free country – you’re more than welcome to put more money in the hands of the Chinese so that they can build more weapon systems to target us with and sell to our enemies.   “But you must have something to say that’s good about WalMart – right?”  No.

There is so much material here for a subjective commentator – where does one start?   I guess these events tell a myriad of stories about America and the human experience – none of them good.   For nearly a century we’ve heard over and over from those who take the pulse of public morality and ethics, the  lamenting of the corruptive and corrosive influence of the commercialized Holiday season.   We’ve listened, smiled and thought “Oh, never mind those killjoys.  Just a bunch of Scrooges trying to rain on our joyous Christmas spree”.   Were they our generation’s voices crying in the wilderness?  I remember the big brouhaha (hahahahahaha) a few years back about stores demurring to greet shoppers with ‘Merry Christmas’.  That seems kind of hollow and meaningless now in light of this kind of disgusting behavior demonstrated by the maddening crowd doing their level best to replicate the running of the bulls.  I heard they don’t even do that anymore in Pamplona now.  We talk a good game, but we sure don’t walk one.

The video also provides another narrative about America –  our decadence, our lack of spiritual values, our materialism, our decline toward behavior and manners that would frankly cause a pack of Wolves to blush.   I’m not claiming ‘holier than thou’ status here.   Compared to the desperate poverty of most of the world, no one in America can assert that they are ‘non-materialistic’.   However, can’t we admit that some lines have been crossed – actually trampled over?  Cant we?  The ascendancy and triumph of the Trash Culture holds sway over a nation that is in widespread denial of the trials and tribulations ahead of them.

Of course, this should be balanced with some perspective.  Millions of people in this country did not spend money they don’t have and behave like vermin in stores.  I’ve heard of many who either opted out of Black Friday altogether or who simply took advantage of the sales to replenish necessities such as clothing and items for the home.   And most people did act like decent, respectful human beings and carried Our Lord’s teaching of the Golden Rule with them into public settings.   Even the pessimist that I am can concede that these outbreaks of abominable behavior caused quite a few folks to do a ‘check up from the neck up’ and reassess their own ‘family values’ for the good.  That’s what I think and that’s what I hope (oops, there’s that word again – curses!).

Oh, and here is a funny parody (O.K. – clever at least) of the ubiquitous, new viral video ‘Friday’ by one Rebecca Black.  I’m not going to subject those of you who haven’t already seen her video to a replay – but this guy’s parody of it is amusing, enjoy.