Monday, May 9, 2011

Childhood Trauma: Part VIII - Walmart + Xanax

*This post is long and contains lots of words for you non-reading show me picture types (me). But this story cautionary tale is totally worth it. Like waiting in a long drive-thru line of cars at Whataburger for their delicious breakfast taquitos at 2:30 AM.

Walmarts terrify me. No, not just because of the poor people on the prowl for Rollback Savings. No, not the fact that I think this corporation is destroying America with their intentionally confusing store design. But for very, very personal reasons...

I grew up in a small town. The main activities available to high schoolers were the $2 movies and driving back and forth between the two Sonics while chain-smoking Kamel Red Lights. As you can imagine, you had to be really stupid or creative to entertain yourself further.

In my case, you can be a dangerously toxic combination of both.

One night my sophomore year of high school, my best friend and I got bored and decided it would be fun to try and steal from our small town's local mecca, THE Walmart. Yes, in small towns, it is called "THE Walmart."

I guess it was for the rush, out of sheer boredom, or possibly a dare from an upperclassman. I honestly don't remember, my body was full of nicotine and Route 44 cherry limeades.

We weren't in it for the loot or the glory, so we went to the cosmetics aisle... That's right, I got busted for walking out of THE Walmart with a $4 tube of COVERGIRL mascara. Proud moments.

We were 'interoggated' by the 'Loss Prevention Manager' and he was not pleased so instead of letting us go, he called the cops. Have you ever walked very slowly from the very back of a Walmart Super Center, past electronics, past the registers, all the way through the front door... in handcuffs?!

It is not fun.

In fact, it was probably the most embarrassing moments* of my life.

*I have yet to actually void my bowels in public, but I'll let you know as soon as this perp walk gets dethroned as the #1 most embarrassing moment in my life. (FYI - 2nd place is currently held by the time I let out the loudest fart heard this side of the Mason Dixon Line in 5th grade... while we were taking the Reading portion of the TAAS test.)

Anyway, back to my arrest. Handcuffs? Really?! I was a 135 lbs gay, Asian who stole mascara. What was I gonna do? Did the cop think I was gonna give someone a makeover on the way out of the store?!

I was taken away, prints were run, mugshots were taken, and parents were called...

Should you ever unsuccessfully shoplift at a Walmart, you should know, they hold grudges. I was banned from that location for 4 years. Going back on property would have been a felony or something.

Being the borderline mentally disabled 16-year-old I was, I thought this was a bluff and returned about a month later.

You see, due to my high level of activity in local school/small town events, I was pretty much a local celebrity and highly recognizable I was the only Asian in town. There in the electronics section, I came face to mustache with the Loss Prevention Manager who was not happy to see me.

As I was actively praying for God to strike me dead, LPM pulled me aside and said, 'I know you are a good kid (see local celebrity/lone Asian status), so I'm only gonna say this once, I never want to see you again. Turn around and don't come back into my store until you're in college.'

I did and I still haven't gone back to that THE Walmart since.

Even though I am WELL out of my banning period (and I have no permanent record), every time I walk into any Walmart (which is, thankfully, a rare occasion), my heart beats a little faster and my butt cheeks tighten up like a tight rope walker on a windy day or ANY Columbian entering the US. If and when I go, I refuse to talk to or look the employees in the eyes no matter how much I need to find wiper blades, a tennis racket, or jumbo tampons. I just wander in absolute terror fighting of anxiety attacks. I would take a Xanax, but I can't even look the friendly pharmacist in the eye to get the Rx filled.

Now, I go to Target and Kroger where I have yet to have been arrested for the any number of legal infractions I have committed in said establishments, their parking lots, and/or dumpsters.

Want more? Want to catch up on Parts I-VII? Just click these awesome links, y'all: 1, 2, 3, 4, 56, & 7!


Ginny in Seattle said...

You made me laugh out loud before 9:00 on a Monday morning. Thank you, John!

LGalaviz said...

I was thinking of stealing something from The Walmart, but now I have reconsidered. Thank you for saving me from a life of crime.

John said...

I'm just glad I got stopped when I did. First mascara, next, I would have been taking down entire Kiehls counters. The Walmart is truly the gateway drug of shoplifting.

Sarah B. SMITH said...

You so went there with me to get a gift card for Christmas 2 years ago. =)

Anna said...

This post gave me a serious giggle. My grandma worked for THE Walmart for years after it came to our area, and that's what they called it, too, "The Walmart".