Tag Archives: Wal Mart

A Slightly Less Dumb Smartphone

A year ago I went to Wal Mart and bought a $35 smartphone. I was broke after returning from abroad and figured it would get me through the next two months before my student loans kicked in.

It lasted me a year.

And for almost every day of that year, I promised myself next time I would buy a real smart phone. A not-dumb-smart phone. One with an actual, decent camera.

Alas, today my dumb smart phone slipped dramatically from my hands and smashed quite dramatically right before I walked into work. I thought maybe I could keep using it anyway but turns out a cracked screen hurts your fingers when you try and use it. I still thought I could shoulder on, but then I tried reading an ebook and my fingers pricked every time I turned a page.

Nope, needed a new phone. Not a dumb smart phone. A real one.

I marched confidently into Wal Mart. And then nearly turned around and marched out. Do you know how expensive phones are?!

So I spent $100. I officially have a slightly-less-but-still-dumb smart phone. With an OtterBox. Because apparently I’m prone to dramatic slips that send my phone flying.

In other news, I am pleasantly surprised by how easy it is to transition phones. Gets easier each time.

Social Distancing (And Wal Mart Adventures)

How’s social distancing going? Today I broke my plastic hair-pin-lace loom by using too much force. Didn’t even know that was possible. I now have a quarter-finished scarf. 

Bethany decided I needed to get out of the apartment. (Actually, she decided we were out of chocolate and she wanted to go grocery shopping but she still doesn’t drive.) 

 So we went to Wal Mart.

On the bright side, the shelves are better stocked than they were. We saw toilet paper and hand soap. Still a lot of empty shelf space, though. 

It was surprisingly crowded. Wal Mart had signs everywhere encouraging  people to stand 6 feet apart and periodically made announcements over the speaker to tell people to go  home if sick and even if healthy, stay 6 feet apart. Which, lets face it, is nearly impossible in such crowded aisles. 

But it does lead to two extreme reactions in shoppers. The first type look horrified if you venture down the same aisle as them (even if on the other side of the aisle) and give you furtive glares every few seconds. The second type look amused at their daring in coming close to you. As soon as they break the 6 feet, they grin and look mischievous. 

I don’t know that either reaction is an improvement. 

Impulse Buying

I, admittedly, am an impulse buyer. And unless I am super focused, I will take a tour of the entire store no matter what I came for. I mean, what if I am missing out a great deal in toys because I only want milk?!

Bethany generally understands this about me and since moving in has been a trooper about our weekly grocery shopping. She also (generally) does a good job at steering me away from most of the stuff I want to buy. For example, on any given shopping trip you will hear me say:

  • “I so see an argument for Spiderman place mats.  Look how cool!’
  • “Of COURSE we need a six person tent. It is on SALE.”
  • “Two words: Lego Batman. I think I need this.”
  • “So hear me out, what if we bought a dozen more spoons so we would have to wash dishes less often?” 

Most of the time I am joking but momentarily carried away. (I did buy the stuffed Lego Batman.) The dangerous thing, however, is when Bethany agrees with me. 

Me: “So hear me out…this is a giant stuffed dragon and it is awesome.”

Bethany: “It is super awesome.”

Me: “And our nephew would love it…”

Bethany: “He would.”

Me: “But his parents wouldn’t. So we would have to keep it. And he can play with it when he comes over”

Bethany: “I would put it in my room…”

Me: “So…we’re buying it?”

Bethany: “Yeah, we’re buying it.”

And that is why there is currently a giant, blue, stuffed dragon across from me.

And possibly why Bethany has two Olafs in her room right now. (Sshhhh, one is a gift. So totally justifiable.) 

Dragon Fruit

“This IS a dragon fruit, isn’t it?” I demand of Bethany after Wal Mart’s self-checkout refuses to acknowledge it for the third time.

The Wal Mart employee who has been hovering for the last five minutes (does she think I’m going to steal the thing?) responds instead, “Oh, it is indeed! That is a dragon fruit!”

She politely pushes me aside and begins to type in, “Dr…”


She looks up all the fruit in D. All the fruit in R. All the fruit under fruit.

Dragon fruit is nowhere to be found.

She manually looks up the code for dragon fruit and types it in. Nothing! 

She tries a back, employees-only route for typing in fruit and tries again. Nothing.

We send Bethany to go look up the price. After a second, the Wal Mart employee turns to me, “How much do you think it was?”

I cannot even ballpark guess but I sheepishly suspect more than I wanted to pay. “$2.50?” I offer.

“$2.00 it is,” she says. 

At that moment Bethany shouts from the other side of check out, “$3.99!”

The employee smiles and ignores her. I walk away triumphant with my dragon fruit.

I ate loads of dragon fruit in Thailand. I find it fresh, sweet, and hydrating so I was pretty excited to enjoy it tonight.

It tasted pretty blah after the fresh stuff I was used to in Thailand. Apparently my allergies agreed because five bites in and my tongue began to swell. 

I am currently pumped up on antihistamine feeling disgusted that dragon fruit appears to be going the way of mango and pineapple. Dang allergies.

‘Is This Your Watermelon?’

I did the grocery shopping for my family today and decided to get a watermelon. My cart, however, was pretty full and so I stuck it underneath: a risky move. 

I kept staring at it as I walked around Wal Mart, making it sure it wasn’t about to fall out. Wal Mart rearranged while I was in Thailand so it takes twice as long to find anything. The cereal is in the swimsuit section and bacon is now by bagels. Totally confusing. 

So, it took a while. But the watermelon did not fall out.

Triumphantly I exited Wal Mart, loaded down with groceries, when I heard…

“Excuse me, is this your watermelon?”

I look and sure enough. My watermelon decided to make its escape…halfway across the parking lot. 

I ran after it, managed to avoid getting hit by a car, and brought it home once again triumphant in my success. Only to realize…we already have half a watermelon in the fridge.

Where Normal People Shop

I feel like I leveled up again in my Thailand experiences. After living here 5 months, I finally found a place where normal people shop.

See, prior to today the shops I found fell into two categories: Wal Mart or Prada. Either you go to Tesco or Circle C and get cheaply made clothing for a cheap price or you visit a super pricey mall and pay through the nose for something of extremely good quality. Which really begs the question, where are the Kohls? The Targets? The Shopkos? (Sob, Shopko is bankrupt.) 

Today my friend took me to a mall I had yet to visit and I feel like I finally found where normal people shop. Like most malls here, it topped 6+ stories. Unlike the malls I previously visited, however, it lacked organization. Basically, imagine the chaos of an outdoor market but indoors. But with affordable prices. And better quality clothes. 

In a sense, it reminded me of visiting Goodwill. You never know what you will find and you cannot return it. Except you also cannot try anything on because this is Thailand and for some reason trying on clothes before you buy them seems a foreign concept outside of high quality malls. 

But I am pleased. I may have less than a week to go here in Thailand but I’m still learning new stuff!

The Wal Mart Saint

Yesterday, the hassled looking Wal Mart employee running self-checkout told me I had the patience of a saint. 

By which I really think she meant she had the patience of a saint, but didn’t want to come out and say so. After all, she did all the work. I caused the problem. 

I just wanted to pick up some rolls and a new card game. I figured I’d save myself some hassle and pay with a gift card. But the card apparently demagnetized and wouldn’t swipe. I explained the problem to the lady in charge of self-checkout and she waved me over to her command station for a manual check out. 

Except that didn’t work either. She needed to call someone higher up on the Wal Mart food chain. He’d be right there…just a moment…

And she hustled off to take care of the people lining up for self-check out. From my angle, I got a view of the screen that lit up every time someone needed help. “Check I.D.” – “bagging error” – “help needed.” 

5 minutes passed. 10 minutes. 

“He’ll be here any moment…where could he be? We’re supposed to have a floater around for these situations…” She would say to me as she ran back and forth. I started feeling lazy standing there. After all, I could see the screen same as her. How hard could it be to check someone’s I.D. or get something bagged? Two people would get this done so much faster. 

She turned her back to help another customer and I saw the person next in line staring blankly, missing the empty check out machine across from him.

“Sir!” I motioned towards the correct machine. He nods. Then, remembering the employee’s frequent line about that machine, “It only takes cards!”

I feel quite pleased but then realize there is nothing else for me to do. The lady running the place can direct traffic quite well on her own. Another 10 minutes pass.

Finally, someone in a yellow vest walks over. He punches in some numbers and walks away. I go to put in the pin on my gift card…and put in the wrong thing. Everything freezes and then goes back to where it was before. 

In other words, we need the manager again. The Wal Mart employee takes this news with good grace. She goes in search of a manager again. 

A line begins to form behind me. I really want to get behind the register and help people. After all, that woman just wants to place the plastic laundry basket she just bought here while she runs back to get a non-cracked one. And that guy over there wanted to pay cash at a card-only machine. 

10 more minutes pass. Despite the long lines and cranky customers, the Wal Mart employee remains extremely cheerful. Every now and then she casts me an apologetic look. But I’m the one who feels apologetic. I want to help. Maybe she had an extra vest floating around somewhere I could slip on? Or one of those employee-override cards? 

Another 5 minutes pass. The guy in the yellow vest finally shuffles back. He lacks his co-worker’s cheery smile. Or any smile. 

I get my pin in correctly this time and wave to the employee. She says her line about me having the patience of a saint. But we both know she’s the one who has the patience of a saint. I get to go home. She gets to deal with the line of overwhelmed customers. And she’s still smiling. If anyone from Wal Mart ever reads this, you should know Sabrina-at-checkout does an amazing job. 

Can’t Wait Wednesday

Can’t-Wait Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted here, at Wishful Endings, to spotlight and discuss the books we’re excited about that we have yet to read. Generally they’re books that have yet to be released.

Guess what book came out in English yesterday? None other than…


Title: Just Dreaming by Kerstin Gier

Publishing Date: May 2nd, 2017

Plot: A dream traveler faces the greatest challenge she’s yet encountered in this gripping third and final book of the Silver trilogy. The course of dream travel never did run smooth—at least, not in Liv Silver’s experience. Able to visit other people’s dreams (whether they want her to or not), Liv has solved mysteries, unearthed difficult truths, fought madmen, and escaped life-threatening peril, all from the comfort of her own bed. But Liv’s troubles are just beginning.


Kerstin Gier is a German author I’ve been reading since her book Ruby Red hit Wal Mart’s shelves. I have mixed feelings about her books but I always look forward to them getting translated. I won’t go out of my way to find this one, but I will certainly be avidly waiting for the library to get it!

20,000 Steps in Heels

Today I worked 13 hours and took 20,000 steps in high heels. I feel fairly brain dead. To give you an idea how brain dead, the cable guy at Wal Mart asked me who my cable provider was and I told him “I live at home so I don’t have to worry about it.” I think I meant something like, “I live with my parents” but it wasn’t until I had taken several steps that his, “you live at home?” finally processed in my brain. Whoops.

It was a good day, though. I plan to end it with some Remington Steele and no alarm clock. Take that, morning. 

CD Player

After weeks of thinking about it, I finally went to Wal Mart and bought a CD player last week. I love getting audiobooks from the library but it takes forever to get through an 8 hour book when I only have my 25 minute commute to work. I figure with a CD player I can play the audiobooks during the day while getting odds and ends done at work. Today I tried out my theory…and it worked beautifully!

I got Fathers and Sons by Ivan Turgenev on audiobook from the library. At 8.5 hours, this book would probably take about a week and a half for me to get through normally. However, today I used my CD player and listened to the book all day. I made it through the whole thing! This is awesome. Books are so much more interesting in one go. 

Do I look like I am reliving the 1990s while I drag along my wanna be boom box? Oh yeah, but think how many more books I will get through this way!