Oh my dear Walmart, how you test me. But it's okay. I think I passed yesterday.
As an overall day, yesterday felt like a visit to the twilight zone. It started out fine, until I decided to run off to Walmart to purchase some things my daughter, Chloe, needed for a little business she is trying to get started. While I was at Walmart, I decided to grab some things I needed for the office. I managed to collect these things in a matter of minutes. Then I made my way to the paint department to grab the last thing on my list. Krylon triple thick glaze. It comes in a spray can, which I discovered Walmart has locked behind a glass display.
I get it. I remember the days of seeing spray paint sprayed all over the aisle and shelves. I get it. People may want to steal a can or two, so a glass case makes sense. I have come across a Walgreens or two that keeps pregnancy tests behind a locked glass case....I'm guessing it has to do with loss prevention. "When would you have noticed that anyway, Maggie," you may be asking. TMI, folks. Now you're asking for way too much information. Let's get back to the story.
So, there I am. Me and the locked glass door. Cans of Krylon triple thick glaze lined up, teasing me. Oh, so close, but yet so far. I walk to the end of the aisle, where I see a Walmart employee speaking to a customer. They both look at me, and I wave my hand, lower my mask and say, "I need some help with the spray paint. It's locked." The employee points past me, and the customer he was speaking to gives me a crazed look and I hear him mumbling something but can't make out the words. When he hurries past me, I hear him say he is going through the same thing, but he has been told to go to a different department to ask someone to open the case. I watch as he walks towards the auto department and look back at the employee who now has returned to his post. I figure, "Okay, well, this other guy is going to get someone, I'll just wait here."
The customer returns, still with the crazed look of frustration. "I've walked all over the store and nobody has the key. What I need is right there. I remember when we could just come in and grab what we need and go. Why are they taking so long?"
Being the anger management "guru" I am (insert laugh here), I smile politely and agree. "Yeah, I guess they don't want people spraying things." I'm calm, no reason to be so upset. The customer and I engage in small talk and he continues.
"Oh, I know. It's so bad. That's what happens when people, they just open them up and spray everywhere." We wait for another several minutes, after which the customer walks to the end of the aisle and searches to see if someone is coming, and then goes on to pace up and down the neighboring aisles. By now I realize, "It is taking a while. Maybe I should call the front desk."
I pull out my phone, dial Walmart, and am greeted by an automated male voice, asking if I want to hear about Covid policies or if I want to reach the local Walmart. I press 2. I get another automated voice that goes into explaining something else and finally gives me the option to dial different departments. I dial 0. And that is when I feel something change in me. Frustration.
The phone rang for a long while before someone actually picked up. I ask the woman who answers if she could send someone to open the case, and she responds politely, "I'll page someone." I hang up, pleased with myself, until I hear the page above me.
"Someone to electronics for customer assistance, please."
Wait. What the f$%*! Ahem. Shake it off, Maggie. Remember. Use your tools, kid. It's not that serious. No reason to be upset, right?
Alright. Deep breath. Full exhale. Alright. Let's see if there is anyone nearby that can help. I walk around to the next aisle, and the next after that...and find no one. No one except the customer with the crazed expression, who is now speaking to his wife and explaining how he's waiting for someone to open the case. At this point I feel my frustration turn into slight panic. I mean, how long has he been waiting for? What if no one comes? Should I leave? I'm going to be late to work, I'm on my lunch break. This was only supposed to take a few minutes. I should be back on my way...but I'm already here. Chloe has been waiting for me to get this spray. She can't do anything without it. I need to get this so I can help her with her project. It shouldn't be that much longer, they already paged whoever they needed in the electronics department. Maybe they are connected somehow...I don't know...maybe they didn't hear what I said clearly? What if no one shows?
My slight panic begins to creep into my face, and I feel my eyebrows sink over the bridge of my nose. I'm feeling some moisture on my forehead, and my hair feels as though it's beginning to frizz. I see the customer walk away and realize he's given up. I can't give up. I'm not a quitter. I walk through the aisles now, determined, and the more I search, the angrier I become. I realize I'm mumbling to myself. "Oh my god," I say, "what's going on here?"
I finally see someone with the blue vest and I stop him. He looks at me, smiles, but I know the look in his eyes, for now I have become the customer with the crazed look. "Hi, please, help me..." I say pathetically, "the spray paint is locked away...I've been waiting for a long time. Nobody is helping. Can you open the door?" He is still smiling when he says, "No, but I can page someone-"
"No!" I say, and he frowns. "I"m sorry, I mean, they already paged someone in electronics...there's nobody here...could you page someone from this phone?" I point to the phone on the paint department counter. "No," he says, "I have to go to the fitting room to page someone."
"The fitting room?" I realize my voice has now risen to another pitch. "Okay, I guess." I watch him leave, in my heart knowing...he will be of no help.
By this point I'm about, oh, I would say a 6 on my anger meter. How do I know? Well, I'll admit it. I started to fantasize about how quickly staff would run to the paint department if I were to pick up a ladder or chair and smash the glass in. Oh, these mother!@$#%^&& would really come running then, but with my luck...none of them would have the freaking key! I did, however, take a deep breath, remembering, "Maggie, you teach anger management. What would you tell your clients? Are you being a big girl right now, or are you having a temper tantrum? You have a choice. Look for help, or leave."
The devil on my left shoulder suddenly appeared with. a smirk across his face and whispered, "Smash the glass door in, go ahead. It'll be fun," but I paid no mind to that little guy. I was still calm, now that my rational brain was back to work. In the meantime, I'm standing at my post again, when I see a man across the way, reaching for a plastic cup off the shelf. He's a tall man, so the way he is reaching for this one cup catches my attention, as I see him fumbling to get a specific cup, and in the process sends five other plastic cups crashing to the floor. My eyes widen when I see the man with the one prized cup in hand, looking side to side, searching for witnesses...and then walks away without picking up the plastic cups off the ground. "What the hell?" I stare, my jaw drops, and then I pinch myself. I start to wonder if I'm even alive anymore. "Did I just see that happen? Am I in the twilight zone? Am I...dead?" The idea that perhaps I was a ghost didn't seem so far fetched. After all, no one seemed to see me, no one was coming to help...maybe I was just floating around through the aisles of Walmart in my afterlife, witnessing the oddities of human nature. Perhaps this is what ghosts see day to day. If so, they must have plenty of their own stories to share.
I finally look at my phone to check the time, and realize if I don't find someone soon I will need to give up and go. I walk to the customer service section, where I ask for help, and eventually, ONE employee looks at me, and says, "Let's go. I'll get the key."
As I'm desperately grabbing cans and cans of Krylon triple thick glaze, I tell the employee, "Thank you so much. I'm just grabbing a few extra...hehehe...oh, maybe a couple more...hehehe....you know...hehehe...don't want to go through that again, right? Hahhaha...eheheh...eh..." She chuckles, and tells me I am welcome, and her chuckle shifted something in me, because now we are both chuckling. My 6 has now gone back down to a 3. By the time I checkout and leave, I take a deep breath and tell myself, "Well. That wasn't so bad. I didn't break any glass or shout at anyone....I think I did okay."
I drive back, get off the exit, and wait at the red light. Suddenly, a car comes zooming past me, through the red light, zooming around oncoming traffic and my jaw drops for the second time. "What the hell? Did I just see-what the hell is going on today? I must really be in the twilight zone. And where are the cops? If that had been me...not that I would ever do that...I would have a cop coming out of the bushes chasing me down....."
"Maggie," the little angel on my shoulder whispers, "you're safe. The car is gone. Just get back to work."
Moral of the story: As you can see, even someone who teaches Anger Management can get angry. It is, indeed, a normal emotion. l always say anger is secondary to other emotions, and the emotions I was experiencing at the moment were confusion, anxiety, helplessness...oh yeah, helplessness, that's a big one. After all, the Krylon triple glaze had been right there...right in view, and yet I had a locked glass door in my way. That's life folks. Sometimes there may be something we want and it's right in view, but you can't have it. At least not right then, when you want it. Impatience, that was another emotion. And I must add, my expectations also got in the way. Why would I expect any of the employees to rush and run around for little old me? They are people too, and sure it would have been nice for someone to have helped me sooner, but if it wasn't their department, why would they feel obligated to leave their post to cover someone else who wasn't available at the moment? I was the one who made a choice. I could have just left. But I chose to stay. So, I had to work through that decision or if I wasn't happy with it...at any point, I could have walked away. When we realize that the situation we are in is because of our own doing, our own decision making, then the only person we can be mad at is ourselves. I should have been more upset at myself for deciding to stay, but in the end, someone took the time to help me, and that was valuable. And I was grateful. Grateful that someone cared, that someone had shared a laugh with me...and grateful that I made it back to work in one piece.