9:03 PM: I have arrived at Wal-Mart. Also known as THE Wal-Mart, Wally World, Wal-Marts, and Purgatory.
9:04 PM: That greeter didn't greet me. What are they paying her for? I mean, really. You have like one task... greeter! I remember when that title used to mean something. I should've said something. Larry David would have said something.
9:05 PM: Off to the DVD's to look for workout videos.
9:15 PM: After searching thru electronics for ten minutes and almost buying the Barry Manilow Christmas album, I am told the workout DVD's are in sporting goods.
9:15:05 PM: What? Hey, "Mandy" is a darn good song! Lay off me.
9:15:15 PM: No, my parents don't know I celebrate Festivus. And yes, I fear their reaction should they ever find out.
9:15:30 PM: Leaving electronics, I see Garth Brooks' Ultimate Hits is only $13. Hmm, do I know anyone who would want that? I can't think of anyone. Maybe I should get it anyway. You know, one of those gifts you buy and decide who to give it to later. Those always mean the most. 34 songs for $13. You can't pass that up. It's like a two dollar t-shirt.
9:17 PM: In sporting goods now. They have exactly three workout videos. Not three different kinds. Three total boxes. One Taebo and two others.
9:19 PM: Browsing the golf stuff. I'll be back with you in a bit.
9:34 PM: You know, if that guy grew a moustache and lost like a hundred pounds, he'd look exactly like Tom Selleck. Well, Magnum P.I. anyway.
9:35 PM: On my way to the tools.
9:36:30 PM: Risk! (Sorry, I got sidetracked in toys.) "The game of world domination, played by two guys who can barely run their own lives." I always quote that Seinfeld line everytime I see a Risk game. I never had Risk, but always wanted it. I always wanted Jenga, too.
9:37 PM: Remember that Brady Bunch episode where they built a house of cards? "Watch your bracelet, Marcia!"
9:38 PM: My Little Pony is back?
9:38:05 PM: My Little Pony is forty bucks! Thank goodness for Santa Claus.
9:40 PM: You know, I would still play with Legos if it were socially acceptable. Or, if the top of this box wasn't strapped down.
9:42 PM: In tools now. They're right next to the toys. The logic behind that eludes me.
9:45 PM: Calling Dad to see if he needs any tools. You know, just as a general conversation starter. Not that I'm going to buy whatever he mentions and give it to him for Christmas or anything.
9:45:30 PM: Dad can't think of any tools he needs.
9:46 PM: Augh! That PA system is L-O-U-D! You can't even talk on your cell phone in here with that thing blaring. Automotive, code white? What kind of encoded propaganda is that? I'm tuning it out.
9:47 PM: Singing "Carol of the Bells" to myself. "Hark, hear the bells, sweet silver bells, dum duh duh dum, ding dong mmm k. Ding-dong! Ding-dong!"
9:50 PM: I've found myself on an aisle with no apparent theme. There are seemingly misplaced toys on one side and little gift sets of cheap cologne on the other.
9:50:10 PM: Strike "cheap" from that last statement. The jury will disregard. Since when is Brut $9.24?! It used to be like three bucks. Did Brut get some sort of minor celebrity endorsement that I wasn't aware of? Maybe like Tom Green or Alyssa Milano or someone?
9:50:30 PM: Thinking of Brut slogans in my head. "Hi, I'm Tom Green. If there's one thing I know better than bad movies, it's bad cologne."
9:51 PM: Actually, I kinda like Brut.
9:51:05 PM: I kinda like Alyssa Milano, too.
9:52 PM: On my way to housewares. Is that even a department? I'm just making these names up as I go.
9:52:30 PM: That guy just blocked me in! Look out, I'm taking the back aisle all the way down. Clear!
9:53 PM: The back, or outer, aisle is almost always the smoothest way around a crowded store. Sure, it's longer distance-wise, but there's much less traffic, or danger, if you will. Think of it like this. You're a CTU agent and Jack Bauer has just told you to set up a perimeter. The outer aisle is this perimeter. Well, that's how I think of it anyway.
9:54 PM: Some woman working in the floral section just smiled and said hi. Am I supposed to know her, or is she just an overly friendly Wal-Mart associate?
9:58 PM: I somehow wound up on the greeting card aisle. This lady is putting out cards in the section I need to get to.
9:58:15 PM: I begin to sing the "Dead, Dead, Dead" song from the South Park Christmas CD, hoping to frighten her away. "Dead, dead, dead. Someday we'll be dead. Dead, dead, dead. Someday we'll all be dead."
9:59 PM: It doesn't seem to be working.
10:22 PM: Most of the rest of the trip is uneventful. I make a beeline for the checkout. Leaving Wal-Mart kinda feels like escaping from prison to me. And if I don't hurry, the guards will hit me with falling prices from the watchtower and I'll be sentenced to another hour and lose even more money.
10:23 PM: The checkout lines aren't bad at all. I'm second in line.
10:27 PM: This appears to be the first time the cashier has ever seen the electronic price scanner. She scans at least six of my items twice, double charging me. She keeps having to go back and void the extras. Meanwhile, I'm having to watch the screen like a hawk.
10:31 PM: As I'm leaving, the worker standing by the door--I refuse to call her a greeter any longer--is peering into my buggy and remarks, "That's a big thermos you got there." I'm momentarily confused. As she draws nearer, she says, "Oh that's not a thermos. That's some sort of... well, I don't know what that is."
It's my pink yoga mat. Just greet, lady.
"Eight table dancers, seven packs of Redman, six cans of Spam, five flannel shirts..."