Sunday, August 16, 2009

Walmart Smackdown

Blogger update: I'm currently on foreign assignment in Argentina with good friend and photog Dan Denardo.  We stopped at a local Walmart in the small port city of Bahia Blanca to pick up some essentials.  Dan captured this photo of me in the parking lot and told me to "stay out of trouble."  It reminded me of an incident I had at Walmart three years ago.  Below is a repost of that day.


August 16, 2009

If readers of this blog ever get the notion that sometimes I'm one tough SOB, then they should consider themselves perceptive. Heck, maybe even take it up a notch and go for 'psychic!'

Yeah, that's right, I'm tough!  I'm just one lean-mean photog machine--out to save the world from the brink of destruction, one frame at a time. I've seen the best of man, the worse of man, the richest and the poorest, the sane and insane.

Speaking of 'insane,' today I met a man that defined every annotation of the word: INSANE!

Walking through Walmart, I cruised aisle by aisle, looking for adventure, deodorant and Powerbars. Pushing my cart, I turned every corner with ease, gliding ever so smoothly from hardware to pharmacy, electronics to canned goods. With elegance and grace, I maneuvered my cart through the gauntlet of Saturday morning shoppers, weaving through crowds of screaming kids and grumpy old men. The air was cool. The smell was fresh.

As a bachelor, I take pride in my shopping abilities. I value my time behind the wheel of a well-oiled shopping cart--because being single and shopping on a Saturday morning is like cruising in your woman-mobile down the strip with 'I'm too sexy' bumpin' in the background. Chicks dig a guy with a shopping cart full of protein bars and Old-Spice, beef jerky and AA batteries!  It's 2009, ya know.

So there I was, deep in the midst of going through the camping aisle, backed turned away from my cart, eyes glued on sleeping bags and over-priced tents. I felt a whisk of air brush the back of my neck--the kind you get when a thief runs off with your (man) purse.  So I turned around to look and it was gone--whisked away from me within the blink of any eye, a synapse of a moment. My shopping cart was no where to be seen!

I looked left, then right , up and down--but to no avail. My whole life flashed before my eyes. I saw sunrises in Indonesia, begging kids in India, amputated limbs in Cambodia, soldiers in Afghanistan. I saw night for day and day for night, felt the air freeze before me and time just stood still. Pinching myself awake made no difference, my body shook, shocked in awe and 'struck'n'stoned.'

Finally, after a lifetime (5 minutes) of searching, in the corner of my eye I spotted a cart full of Old-Spice. I ran to it--and in the midst of chaos, I was able to confirm that it was indeed MY CART. I confronted the man and told him that he'd made a big mistake. He looked at me like I was an alien from Mars. He shook his head and kept walking with my cart. I followed in hot pursuit. In my head I wanted to call the cops, the FBI or even Jack Bauer for back-up. I wasn't gonna let this guy off easy.

"All agents, please be on the look-out for a senior citizen, Caucasian male, 5'6", wearing a red checkered shirt with brown pants and smells Bengay and Preparation H."

I confronted him again, this time standing in front of my cart. Like Tina Turner singing 'Stop In The Name of Love,' I put my hand out, had him to a halt and looked deep in his eyes. He gazed back at me with eyes glistening from a high I'd never seen before--maybe recovering from an overdose of his Viagra. Whatever it was, this dood was INSANE to the MEMBRANE!

"Boy, you wanna' take this outside and settle it like real men do?" he asked.

Shocked, I replied, "No sir, I just want the contents from this cart. It's mine. I've spent the last hour picking everything out and I'd appreciate it if you took your cart back and give me mine."

"Get out of my way, China-Man!" he shouted. 

Oh no he didn't!

Was I really going to get into a fight with an 80 year old geezer--at WALMART of all places?
Was this going to end with someone in hand-cuffs and another in an ambulance?
Does this guy really want to fight me? I'm a quarter of his age, lean, mean, photog machine!

At that point, I didn't know what else to say to the man. I was sad. I had lost all hope in humanity. I no longer saw the light in an evangelical way--but instead, I saw myself wanting to show him the lights of my right fist! I felt as if the devil had taken me over.

But slowly, I just turned around, walked away and never looked back. I had settled for defeat. And like Hiroshima, I felt the baron landscape of my heart sink deep into the depths of the abyss, never again to be spoken of.

With an empty shopping cart, I ventured out again, aisle by aisle. 'Quit Playin Games With My Heart' by Backstreet Boys played softly in my proverbial juke box.


Ava said...

I was given an advice probably 20 years ago which I still find useful: "don't be upset by situations in which you've done nothing wrong." I think you've done the right thing by trying to reason with him, and to walk away when finding out that he was not to be reasoned. Good job, Ron!

Javier said...

hahaha what a crazy story, Ron! You did the right thing, though... fighting him wouldn't have been any good... him being 80 and INSANE.. bad combination...


Sarah said...

I'm pretty sure there's some kind of sedative they pump through the air in Wal Mart. I don't know what it is about that place, but I could easily see myself absentmindedly zombie-ing along and stealing someone's cart without realizing it. Just one of many reasons I try to avoid shopping there.

Of course, that doesn't explain the aggression or racism of your particular cart thief.

I hope you have a safe trip!

Vera said...

You were the strong one because you had the courage to walk away, even though you felt flattened by the experience. Thankyou for sharing, and sending out blessings to you as you journey forth out into the world.

Cheryl said...

Quiiiit playyying games with my heart, quit playing games with my heart, I should have known from the start, quit playing games with my heeeeeeeart.


Kristy said...

I can so relate, my 75 year old parents think they own Wal-Mart. Have a safe trip . . will keep you in my prayers.

John said...

LOL bro, I feel for you man. Totally understooded. And proud of you walking away from that situation like a real man. By the way, that's what a macho man is nowadays (it's the 21st century dood)!

TK said...

lol...i would have sucker punched him...taken his wallet, and paid for all the stuff in my cart. but that's just me. good for you ron. lol

The Demigoddess said...

Why would he steal that cart? It's not like you have already paid for them! You're right. Insane to the nth level.

Sebastian said...

You missed one vital ingredient for your Hot Rod Trolley Woman-Pullin' Machine -- a baby!

Also, if you had a baby in the trolley, the old guy _probably_ would've left it alone.


floreta said...

i love how you told this! be safe!

Sarah, The New Girl said...

hahahaha what a story. good for you for walking away-- walmart is no place for fighting!! :)

as for your bloggers note-- be safe!!

Kelly Samalik said...

Ron, you make me laugh and yes sometimes the elder can really be stubborn asses.

Deboshree said...'s funny to read but this guy seems to be totally insane.It takes a great deal of self control and patience to do what you did.You did the right thing.

I wish you the best my dear friend. I bet everyone here wishes the best for you and prays for your safe return.


Hillbilly Duhn said...

Good luck on your assignment.

What rude old man. They are out there, people like that. Sorry you had to be the unfortunate to run into one!!

Proud of you for being the bigger man.

Diana Saw said...

What a crazy story! Real life is stranger than fiction. A Canadian woman going out with a Korean man told me her boyfriend was grabbed by the face by an old Korean man. All because he dared to give her a peck on the mouth on the subway. Crazy people. *shakes head*.

TheChicGeek said...

OMG, Ron, LOL!!!!! You are totally cracking me up! Thank you soooooo much! That's a great story. You always make me smile. :) The WalMart Super Stud...LOL Love it! I have heard this from other men before...maybe I need to hang out at WalMart more :)

Awww, well, I am back from vacation and had a nice time...not too nice coming back but that's life...I'll deal with it. I've been praying for you 007 :)

Thanks again for making me smile :)
Have a Beautiful Day....and stay out of WalMart!!!! LOL

Linda said...

Give him a break. He just wants to look and smell like you.

Jenner said...

Wow, is all I have to say. Okay, and maybe it'd be interesting to see if he actually went and kept everything and paid for it.

Love reading your blogs!

Wander to the Wayside said...

This is my first visit, and I've just read thru probably a dozen posts. I am in awe. Seriously, I am blown away by your photos, your commentary, your thoughts, your experiences, your compassion, your dreams, your writing skills, your sharing...the whole package. I will be back when you are, and look forward to traveling with you.

Small Footprints said...

I'm reasonably sure that the same guy cruises the Sam's Club in my town. I've been victimized by him ... and walked away sadly as my hard shopping work was taken from me. I think there is a gang of seniors who terrorize the rest of us.

You did the right thing! I'll bet he felt like an idiot, and cried a little, when his wife beat him up for grabbing all those products that he'll never use. :)

Have a safe trip!

Small Footprints