The Thing About Wal-Mart Is…

Walking across its grimy parking lot I always question
The morality of my decision in shopping in this mega
Store of undervalued everything and everyone too
Although every sign states in royal blue, Great Value
Born as the doors slide open is my experience in awkward
Pulling my cart free from behind the plastic vertical blinds
Always being welcomed by the sadness of a stranger who
Sits and stares through and past me while greeting in rote

This place where the poor look over-fed and the well off
Read the labels and check their iPhones for a possible
Better deal down the road at Target, cleaner and no
Host or hostess whose good afternoon fuels the guilt of
Always looking for the best deal in town, the blue light
Special no longer a strategy but an existence in bulk
And prices so low making jobs scarce everywhere but
China, where freedom, fairness, choice are shackled in red

Rushing through the aisles, looking the other way, as
The smell of poverty approaches and in an ear piercing
Hiss, Shut-Up! words from a woman punch into a boy,
Five, maybe six, who chirps, pointing at Skippy, a giant jar of
Peanut butter, and the words from his mother momentarily
Halting his joy, his bouncing, his excitement in these aisles
Abundantly lined, the hole in her thin white skirt evidence
Of stress no Walton or their shareholders will ever know

The check outs magically congestion free, there she is
Linda, the cashier who does not start a conversation and bags
My purchases in mechanized perfection her strategy fast
Unflawed and appreciated as the man behind me jokes
In familiarity with her, You must work every Sunday
Yep, I go to church then here, unless I’m dead which I
Was three weeks ago, my first Sunday off in months, she
States, frustrated stubbornness appealing to my democratic nature

Uninvited into the jocular exchange, I inquire did they recognize
Your voice when you called in dead? Oh yeah, she says, I got
Written up and told I’d better not do that again or I’d be canned!
We can’t call in sick or we are fired, so I called in that I was dead
They said you can’t do that again until July 28th to which she replied
Well, count on me calling in dead again then, the man and I laugh
I specifically look for you, and they would be stupid to fire you, I state
They will lose their best cashier and I plan to call and tell someone

All the Sunday employees, all the Sunday shoppers, and the rich
And powerful take it easy, freedom to enjoy choices in luxury
Not eating from oversized jars of anything to save pennies
Their need and greed for more and more, God only knows!
How much more poverty must they create pretending to be
Its benefactor when a cashier can’t even call in sick
“1-800-Walmart, honey. Give em a call!” But it is Sunday, the
Offices are closed. The Great Value only extends so far I suppose

2 thoughts on “The Thing About Wal-Mart Is…

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