Just so you know, I hate everything about going to Walmart. I hate the long drive there (absolutely nothing is close to me). I hate the sprawling chaotic parking lot. I hate the crowd of zombie consumers who, for whatever reason, always seem to do their shopping in their pajamas or underpants. I hate the store as a concept. I hate it all. I’d banish it from my mind forever if it wasn’t for one thing: candles. They have this amazing collection of the most delicious smelling candles that cost just pennies. It’s for these candles and these candles alone that I occasionally brave a visit to the 9th circle of hell that is Walmart.
During a recent visit I had the pleasure of encountering two families which really tested what was already a very fragile patience. The first was a Mom and her daughter trying to decide where to sit in the Ledos, a pizza restaurant. If I have to go to Walmart, damn it, I’m eating at Ledos! So anyway, this mother was letting the girl (maybe 9 years old) pick the table. She wanted to sit close to the TV so she could watch a baseball game. The mom squashed that and said, “Do you want a booth or table?” The girl replied, “The table so I can see the TV. Duh.” She threw her hands out in this dramatic pose, shrugged her shoulders, and made a face that could easily be translated as “You’re an unbelievable idiot, Mom.” If that were my kid, first, she would know that kind of behavior doesn’t fly with me. But should she forget and mime the word “moron” at me as she turned her back to walk way (as this girl did to her mother), she’d probably have gotten a swat to the back of the head before she got out of arm’s reach. And it’s darn sure we would’ve sat at the one table that did not have a view of the TV, just so she knows who really runs things around here. Or out of spite. Take your pick. Either works for me.
Then, in line at the Walmart (so close to being out !), I’m standing behind this Mom and her two kids, a boy and a girl. The boy was 14. No, I’m not a stalker. I know his age because his little sister kept saying it. She was probably 11 or 12. All three of them—mom, son, and daughter—were truly epitomizing the worst stereotypes that define a “redneck.” They were quite the trio. The daughter was a whiner with a voice that seriously hurt my head, and she kept complaining that the boy was getting things that she wasn’t. She and the boy kept wrestling (yes, full out wrestling) in line while the mom prepared to buy a gun (an airsoft gun) to reward her son for his supposedly stellar report card. His sister wanted him to do something when they got home but the boy said, “No way, I’m gonna be busy with the gun.”
At this point the mother stepped in and said “No, you’re not. You don’t get it until the report card arrives and I can see your grades.” And the boy, with as much disrespect as is humanly possible snorts back, “Well, it doesn’t come to YOUR house.” The mother retaliated with, “Well, you’re not touching it until I see the report card.” And the boy, really snarling now, spits out, “I’ll just take it to my house then and you won’t have a choice.”
THEN the girl said to the (apparently noncustodial mom), “Look at you (cue sarcasm) buying a gun for a 14 year old.” See? Told you I wasn’t a stalker. The mother said, “I haven’t bought it yet and he’s not going to get it until I see the report card and I can always bring it back.” She was trying to be stern and provide discipline (I think) but it wasn’t really working. As the mother laid the gun on the counter the daughter said, “Well, NOW you’re buying it…for a 14 year old as a treat he doesn’t deserve.”
I wish I could adequately explain the voices these kids had. It was an incredible thing to witness, truly. Just full of condemnation, disrespect, and belligerence. It was oozing out of their mouths with no inhibition, no fear of consequence for their insubordination. It was simply phenomenal. Needless to say, the boy walked out of there with the gun in hand.
Now I’ve never really been a “spanker,” and of course I would never condone striking someone else’s kids, but I can kind of understand why people might go nuts and lose their mind for a moment to reach out and give a much deserved smack to kids who don’t belong to them. It’s like “juvenile road rage,” that brief nanosecond of insanity when you see a parent totally getting owned by their little tween offspring. That day in line, my hand fairly itched from inaction and my tongue was sore and bleeding from my attempts at keeping my own mouth in check.
Seeing such a display makes me fear for the future because these are the kids who are going to be non-productive adults when they get older and putting a kink into our whole societal system. Or worse yet, they’ll be in charge.