I Like Going To WalMart

Wait. Before the pitchforks and lobotomy scalpels are brandished let me explain.

No, Walmart is not an optimal customer experience. They’re consistently understaffed and the employees you do encounter aren’t the most friendly or informed. My wife prefers Target 1 Million X more than the Big Blue American counterpart.

I’ve heard many complain (especially on Facebook) that Walmart brings the worst out in people.

And I submit to you: That is why it is awesome.

Walmart Spouse hunting. New Sport.
Walmart Spouse hunting. New Sport.

Why I Like Wal-Mart

At WalMart people feel free to be their quirky selves. Almost no one on their way to WalMart says, “Wait, I forgot to brush my teeth!” or “Dang, I forgot to wear underwear again!” or “Whoops, I’m not wearing shoes!” It’s Wal-Mart, doesn’t matter. I may be twisted but I appreciate people who are a little publicly disheveled, unmoved by the status quo, who are swimming upstream with a fanny pack and jean shorts.

If I had the cojones to wear a fanny pack and jean shorts in public that would mean a hundred other things are probably right in my life: Namely, the sway of public opinion would have lost its kung fu action death grip on my ego.

That girl’s wearing her bear claw slippers.

That dude has a pet parrot on his arm.

That mom is breastfeeding her four-year old.

I’m not saying I want to be sloppy. Or weird for the sake of being weird. But I do want, desperately, to not be enslaved by other’s opinions of me.

This may sound like news to those who know me personally. Many have said to me, as a semi-compliment, “You just don’t care what people think do you?” And the easy answer is,

I do.

To appear “Not caring” is just another way to wear a proud badge before people, which is a disingenuous way to say I care what people think.

I go to WalMart to see my social heroes. My constituents. The regular folk who don’t have it together (like me). Peeps whose lives aren’t dictated by the whims of social media culture or fashion.

It reminds me how God uses the unrefined things of the world to shame the refined (1 Cor 1:26-27). It reminds me how much I still need grace no matter how self-assured the outward facade looks.

Mostly it reminds me of this:

The only opinion in all the world(s) is His: and in Christ He calls me a chosen dearly beloved Son (Gal 4:6)

Oh, and I go there for the incredibly low prices too.

What do you love/hate about places like WalMart?

Bryan Daniels

Author: Bryan Daniels

I am a follower of Jesus, a husband to Jessica, and a father of three boys: Josiah, Gideon and Judah. I teach high school math as a job, read reformed theology as a hobby, and write this blog just for kicks. With the rest of my time I coach football and track.

19 thoughts on “I Like Going To WalMart”

  1. I love people who can be themselves, who are less than concerned about what other people think. It’s a very admirable quality that is completely freeing. Great writing, Chief.

  2. Enjoyed the post Bryan, My attitude is very similar to yours, although I do find I have to guard against simply ‘not caring’ in my less good moments.

    I particularly like the ‘social heroes’ paragraph

    1. Def there’s a nuanced balance. We should care about the opinion of those looking to us as leaders, fathers, etc. We shouldn’t care about how “foolish” for Christ’s sake we may look in our walk.

  3. Every time I’m tempted to don my “educated, self-important, left bank Bohemian, coffee-snob” mentality (how’s that for stereotyping!?) I look at these quirky, out-of-place, awkward folks and think to myself: these are exactly the first ones Jesus would have had beers and nachos with in an effort to share his life.

  4. I do like Walmart despite the few poor experiences there (and that whole labor issue). The last time I was there the lady at the register kept accusing me that I broke her machine. Perhaps I’m wrong but I definitely felt some racism in there — being a passive Asian that would probably not defend myself — and after tons of patience I sort of yelled at her. It was pretty ugly and I should’ve handled it better, but honestly I did not feel too bad. All that to say, in line with your post, none of us have it quite together, do we?

  5. Hey there! Wal-Marts in Georgia sell boiled goobers outside, and there is usually at least one school bus with scriptures written all over it in the parking lot, which made it an interesting experience for me! I love the authentic, too.
    I have a soft spot for the bowling alley – wearing those goofy shoes is a great equalizer.

  6. I’ve discovered that I like Wal-Mart for the same reasons you cited here, Bryan. Where we used to live was closer to Target so I became a Target snob. After all, going to Wal-Mart was like visiting a third world country. But we moved four years ago and now we are closer to Wal-Mart. A Wal-Mart Supercenter. So much selection. You never know what you will see (or hear) in there but from what I’ve observed you can go shopping in pajamas and not be out of place. No need to worry about how you look before you make a trip there. Other customers are less inhibited and often speak to one another–even if just to blow off steam about one thing or another–or taste/eat a whole bunch of grapes from the produce section right in front of you. Just give yourself an extra half hour or so to check out. And of course the low, low prices.

  7. Hey I think that was my fanny pack and jean shorts you saw the other day!
    haha I kid I kid. But I have been on the lookout for a fanny pack! Hey hey!

    But yeah, I’m gonna have to agree with you. I tend to people watch. A lot. And one of the most interesting places to watch real, raw human mannerisms and tendencies is at your neighborhood Wal-Mart. I’ve seen good-heartedness at Wal-Mart. I’ve seen neglect at Wal-Mart. I’ve seen addiction at Wal-Mart. I’ve seen patience at Wal-Mart (YUP!)

    The weak, the rich, the wicked, the poor, the lost, the confused, the somewhat dazed fellow… They’re all there. So having been blessed by God for giving me the eyes to see these things, I pray that he uses me, pushes me to react to these broken things whether it be giving a simple smile or lending a hand with their groceries. Whatever it may be, I pray that the Holy Spirit uses us, to be the love that Wal-Martians so need!

    Thanks Bryan for liking my post! You have an awesome blog and I’m definitely following!

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