Swindled and Pimped


I was driving to Wal-Mart with my eleven year old son on the weekend and, since our closest Wal-Mart is 45 minutes away, we had plenty of time to listen to Macklemore.

I’m a big fan. Of Macklemore. Of my son. Of not paying too much for toilet paper.

It was starting out to be a pretty good day.

“I call that getting swindled and pimped.” Macklemore predicted as we pulled into the parking lot, the hoards of cart pushers reminding me it was Saturday afternoon.

Oh well, we’ve got a list. We’ll be in and out.

“Run!” I told my son (with the sore ankle)  as I dashed for the doors in the pouring rain. He hobbled along behind me unconcerned as usual about the rain or his hair.

“If we each get a basket, we don’t need a cart,” I said.  He talked me into a cart.

Now, if you’re the kind of person who functions even reasonably well under 10,000 watt fluorescent lights, this would be a good time to scroll to another post, read the newspaper, even declutter a few things. You can come back when I start making sense again.

If you’re even slightly sensitive to the lighting in Wal-Mart, it won’t surprise you that I soon found myself in front of a pair of purple leopard print fleece pyjama pants (not on my list) thinking: Wow…Warm..Pretty…

And, if it weren’t for my son falling under the cart he was now riding through women’s wear, I might still be there.

“What just happened?” I asked, “Did that cart just attack you?”

And, it occurred to me to ask, as the cart gymnastics got crazier and crazier and I got angrier and angrier because it was taking us longer and longer to get through our list – what are we really saving here?

“I call that getting tricked by a biz-ness.” Macklemore’s lyrics came back to me as I caught the eye of the woman checking out in front of me.

She looked as pale and wasted as I felt.

Snatching up our three grey bags imprinted with the ironic “Save Money. Live Better” slogan, my eldest and I fled like refugees for the car.

And, as you might have guessed, it gave me an idea for a new category for the blog.

Swindled and Pimped.

As in, how can I avoid feeling that way by changing my purchasing habits to reflect my real values.

I don’t know the answer to that tonight, but I know that so many of you are living it and writing about it that there’s probably a year’s worth of posts just gathering all that information and applying it to my situation.

It’s really nice to be back.


17 thoughts on “Swindled and Pimped

  1. I’m so glad you’re back too! You make the ordinary stuff extra-ordinary (and I don’t mean more ordinary!) and alway make me giggle:) A gift. Keep it up!

  2. Wait… so you actually drove for 45 minutes just so you could enjoy the WalMart experience? There’s your first problem – I’m betting the cost of the gas more than made up for any savings you might have gotten on the toilet paper! 🙂

    Seriously, WalMart frightens me. It’s like massive swarms of humanity descending like vermin upon some some sort of made-in-China plastic prey in a consumerist feeding frenzy!

    Anyhow, I’m glad you’re back, and so glad you survived the harrowing experience of Wally World! Can’t wait to hear more stories from your new adventures!

    • Thanks Cat. I knew you, of all people, would understand the insanity. I spoke to four or five people at the kids school today who agree that Wal-Mart makes them feel physically ill. Physically ill! What on earth?

  3. Welcome Back! With 4 kids and a dog I’m always defending myself to shocked faces wondering how I can survive without a Costco membership. I too feel overstimulated and overwhelmed at Walmart and avoid it at all costs. Always love your perspective and the humour you bring to everyday experiences.

    • Thanks Andrea. Really good to hear from you. Everyone I told about hating Walmart told me that Costco is the way to go but I can’t set foot in a Costco without losing my mind either. And that gets really expensive!

  4. Hiya doll, Glad you hear from you. This email was in my inbox, just below the one from Beyond the Rack that I clicked on and wasted 10 min of my life perusing thumbnail shots of coats and shoes etc etc that I don’t need! Well, okay, I could use a few garments to cover myself as even my “pick up the kids from school sweats” have seen way better days. However, I don’t need to buy a lot of crap I will never wear. I like to save money, and if something I wanted is at a discount…Yahoooo! But I feel that just to get a little bit of savings, or to get the charge I get from saving, so much of my life is sucked out of me. It’s like the computer turns into a Dementor from Harry Potter. You feeling me?

  5. Great to see you again! I’m looking forward to more posts in this category. That seems like a common trajectory (with overlaps): first, declutter; second, start thinking about what you’re buying and where it is from.

    • Thanks Olivia. Now that I’ve got less stuff = more time, I’m feeling very protective of that time, maybe because it was hard won. The last thing I want to do is spend it in Wal-Mart 🙂 Thanks for reading and commenting!

  6. I’m so glad to see you again! Thanks for liking the post on my blog. I’d lost track of you somewhere along the way, I think when I quite google reader because of overwhelm. Now that I found you again, I remember how much I enjoy your tales about life and the Squirrel. (We have been referring to one of our coworkers as a squirrel ever since I found your blog – it fits certain people to a tee!).

    I LOVE Macklemore! LOVE that song. So true. (And he’s our local Seattle hero. And he writes damn catchy songs. I just put one on!)

    And Wal-Mart sucks. There are certain places that function like a vortex of ick and that is one of them. We can get through Costco with a list (right when they open, very focused, no browsing) but it helps that every item there costs $20, so there’s less temptation to add a couple of items to the cart. Most shopping feels very vortex-y to me these days – the nasty lights, the frantic music in some places, the noise and the crowds in others, the aisles of crap I don’t need…

    I hope never to set foot in our local Walmart again unless it’s to show my parents the People of Walmart in the flesh if they ever make it over from NZ. I don’t know if they’d want to though, not even for anthropological reasons. Smart people.

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