Surviving Weekend Walmart Syndrome

Walmart on Saturday is CRAZY!!! 

It is like rush hour on the free way. Aisles jam-packed with shopping carts. Children like satellites or planets rotating about desperate parents. Peoples of all ages, mobilities, and ethnicities roaming in a cacophony of argument, discussion and intention.

As an avowed introvert, I used to develop “Weekend Walmart Syndrome.” The number of people combined with the amount of crowdedness had a peculiar power to suck out my life and brains and energy. Symptoms included tiredness, grouchiness, negativity, rudeness, pushiness, and frequently forgetting essential items.

In my opinion, the perfect time to shop at Walmart is early weekday mornings. When we were in Florida last summer I would go in around 6 am after dropping Chris off at the hospital. Heavenly!

But sometimes I can’t do that. Sometimes my schedule mirrors the “normal” 9-5. Sometimes I can’t procrastinate any longer – the larder is BARE! At such times, I have to go when the grocery store is at its worst. 

So here are my tips to make that weekend shopping trip survivable.

1) Make a list – a clear list. A definitive list. Don’t think, “if I write down mac and cheese, I will remember the cheese.” No, write down macaroni noodles, cheese, and milk on separate lines. I keep my list on my phone and delete it as I go. It’s nice if it’s organized by aisle or section, but not essential. As long as you know WHAT you have to get, you’re more likely to get it once you’re in the locura of the store.

2) Take a deep breath while you’re still in the car. Before you approach the store with hordes of other anxious shoppers… before you nod at the greeter… before you throw some elbows to get to a good shopping cart… take a deep breath and mentally prepare. “I’m going to get through this and it’s going to be bad but I will do it as quickly as possible and get out.” (An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!)

3) Move quickly and efficiently. On a Monday morning, it’s fine to compare the two brands of soup calorie-for-calorie, unit price for unit price. On a Saturday? Grab that can and run! Trust your judgment. Try something new. Don’t linger in the aisle because you may be run over by a shoppernaut or get stuck in a cartjam.

4) Smile at everyone. Frequently say, “Excuse me,” “I’m sorry,” “on your left” (okay maybe not that one).  But even if you’re as angry as can be, keep that smile plastered on your face!!

Why? Two reasons.

a – The smile will make you feel happier. It’s true! You will feel more positive even as you are choosing to smile rather than yell at that person for taking the last starfruit!

b – The smile and courtesy will make other people treat you better. Even a brief, insincere smile is better than a grimace. You are more likely to get through the cartjam and less likely to get caught up in any fistfights in the produce.

5) Get out of there as quickly as possible, go home, and recover. A nap? Yes. A shower? Probably. Whatever it takes to unwind and get on with your weekend!!

Hopefully you will be able to avoid Weekend Walmart Syndrome. Following this practical plan, I had a decent grocery shopping trip – only forgot one item. You can do it too!

 

 

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4 thoughts on “Surviving Weekend Walmart Syndrome

  1. I grad school, I had a Super Walmart close to where I lived. A buddy of mine and I, both fairly introverted, would usually hit the place at about 2-3 AM, sweeping through for groceries and sundries as quickly as possible.

    Usually, those late hours were the quietest time to go. Sometimes, however, it got exciting.

    Like the woman with a whole cart-load of paper towels. It left me wondering what she was cleaning up!

  2. I couldn’t agree more!! As a fellow introvert, and as one who was raised by a woman who “shopped with a mission”, I generally abhore shopping– most especially Walmarting on a weekend. I don’t shop, I hunt. Make list. Go in with single minded focus. Grab it. Cart it. Get out! I did NOT get the female gene for shopping. Bleck!

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