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Gloria's Gift Card of Guilt

By Gloria Diaz

Check out Gloria's Blog — Edge of Gloria!

Fort Wayne Reader

2009-04-30


I got gift cards for Christmas this year, probably the most Iíve ever received in my life. Bookstores, bowling alleys, and grocery/general merchandise stores. And Walmart.

I feel funny about that last one. Those who read my column on a regular basis know how I feel about this store. However, this WAS a gift card. Itís not my money that Iím spending. Thereís plenty that I could spend this on. Or, do I blow it all on one thing that would take up all the money on the card?

I decide to treat this as an experiment. Just how much can I buy from Walmart? What do I buy from Walmart? My thyroid prescription? Makeup? (I donít wear it to work anymore, because my job requires competency and precision, not lip gloss) Junk food? A hoodie? Iím trying to be careful with my money, and even though this was someone elseís money, I still want to come away from the shopping spree feeling I got what I wanted.

So with card in purse, I drove to the newer Walmart on Lima Road. A weird smell assaulted me as I walked into the store. I quickly realized it was the Walmart stink, probably made up of sweat from exploited employees and political dissidents who made the goods I was now exploring. The first bargain that caught my eye were those magic gloves, $1.40 per pack of two. Pretty shocking, I thought. A mere 70 cents a pair! But that wasnít what I wanted. What DID I want? After deciding against clothes and shoes, I hovered around the electronics section. I was tempted by a collection of 70s disco hits, because it had Andrea Trueís ďMore, More, More.Ē But I couldnít be completely sure that it was the original hit by the original artist. One thing I KNOW I wanted was a secure data card for my digital camera. I finally got the cheapest one I could find, which was a little over $10. After I installed it, I found that at the 1280x960 setting, Iíd be able to take and save 2,495 pictures. This was amazing, since my old card held about 500 pictures.

Anyway, I took my time going around the store. I decided Iíd have a laugh and asked the associate in the jewelry department, who didnít have enough motivation to approach me as I walked around the counter, if they had Rolex watches. Barely holding back a smile, she said no. I regret that I didnít take it further and start asking embarrassing questions of other associates, like how come Walmart doesnít sell porn and why the American flags were made in China.

I saw some unintentionally funny things, like an exercise bike surrounded by junk food and a quote by Ann Coulter, revealing the secret to becoming middle class in America: donít have kids when youíre single and graduate from high school. Hmmm. Several of my friends are childless and college graduates, yet they seem to be struggling. Maybe theyíre lower middle class. Iím thinking that lower middle class is just another term for ďpoor.Ē

The $5 movie display had quite a few people circling around it. An older gentleman with white hair responded to his wifeís enthusiasm about the cheap movies by saying they were probably old. I checked the titles, and probably the oldest movie there was 22 years old. If a 22-year-old movie is ďold,Ē what of Casablanca, Gone With the Wind, and Citizen Kane?

I heard and saw the usual altercations with kids, one father arguing with his son over a gift card and a video game purchase, one young tyke whose vocabulary seemed to consist of the word ďMommy!Ē repeated every few seconds, and the spectacle of overwhelmed mother repeatedly slapping her childís hand until the kid dissolved into tears. The toddler ran off to her two older siblings. All of them appeared to be under the age of six.

After a while, Iíd seen everything Iíd wanted. I couldnít find a purse that I liked, or something to keep my license and medical card and cell phone in. I did need Q-tips, so I swung by health and beauty and got the Walmart brand. I still have a little over $11 left on my card. So Iíll be back. Iím already thinking about what to get. I know I wonít get a Rolex there, but next time, I intend to ask why the American flags are made in China and why Walmart doesnít sell porn. Isnít it every manís goal to obtain Taboo and Juggs at the lowest price, always?

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