Tonight my 11yo daughter and I took one of those ill-conceived late-night trips to Walmart. It all started because were bored at home; my husband and two of the other kids were at a basketball game, my youngest was asleep and my oldest was watching me on our only internet-ready computer like hungry people watch leisurely diners from the waiting area at Cheddar’s.
We have a little bit of money from our tax refund, and my 11yo’s wardrobe needs to make the official leap from Girl’s Dept to Juniors, so we figured we’d go have some mother/daughter time and leave my oldest home to hold down the fort (and burn up bandwidth on Facebook).
Walmart after 10pm feels like another world. The odd mix of people coming and going and in-between with their plans or dates or whatever, the employees with huge pallets of inventory to rip open, and the general sense of fatigue in the store make for a very heady mix.
My daughter and I were mildly successful with getting her some new clothes, but we both petered out a lot quicker than we expected. There were exactly three lanes open when we dragged our sorry selves to the front of the store: express lane, self-help lane, and one regular lane. I opted for the regular lane and found myself behind a woman with a cart FULL of items she wanted the checker to price-match with a bunch of other store inserts she had.
For a second I considered going to find a folding chair so I could rest in line while we waited…and waited…and waited. But I didn’t want to seem rude, so instead I grabbed a Fanta and a bag of teriyaki beef jerky from the snack kiosk near the check-out, and stood enjoying some light refreshments while we waited. I think there were about six people behind me by the time I got to the cashier.
And just as he’s in the middle of my order, the highlight of my late-night Walmart trip: a guy in a gorilla suit comes running along the front aisle of the store, trotting a little monkey trot, “oo-oo”-ing quietly. The manager lets out a weak, “Hey, you!” (which sounded more like the plea for “5 more minutes” you hear from your kids in the morning), then the five of us who even noticed the gorilla looked back and forth at each other and just shrugged.
Business as usual for the after-hours Walmart crowd.