Iconic   Americana or not, I've grown to associate WallyWorld with shopping misadvanture.

Iconic Americana or not, I’ve grown to associate WallyWorld with shopping misadvanture.

I have to go to WalMart at least once every other month or so. Not necessarily because they have what I’m looking for, but to remember why I resolved a couple of years ago to trade elsewhere.

And so I went in last Friday afternoon in search of the gasoline mixture for chain saw and trimmer engines. The stuff is a lawn ‘n garden section staple at any big box store that sells outdoor power tools, and since WalMart was the closest and also because I reasoned finding what I needed would be as simple as walking into the lawn mower/weed eater section, I struck out.

I went into the outdoor living section where I’m used to seeing lawnmowers and lawn equipment and, lo and behold, Christmas garb had taken over the shelves. Not a mower or weedeater or chainsaw in sight. I asked a passing associate where the lawnmower and chainsaw accessories had been relocated and was directed into the store to find that equipment near the sporting goods. So off I went. I knew exactly where that section was located.

After walking up and down the aisles in the sporting goods neighborhood and finding nothing, I approached the department service desk and told the clerk what I was looking for. She proceeded to explain, “That’s out in the lawn and garden section” as she motioned in the direction from which I had come. I politely objected, explaining I had just come from there at the instruction of the associate there. I got the blankest expression from that clerk, equivalent to an indifferent shrug, but not the slightest offer to assist or help me find out.

I could have hung around, probing and prying to get the facts straight, but what’s the use? In fact, at that instant the epiphany bulb went off in my brain: “Duh, remember why you quit shopping at WalMart in the first place?” So I hastened to leave the store to avoid wasting more time than I already had. (I had chosen WalMart that afternoon because I thought I would be in and out in a jiffy!)

Still needing the fuel mix, I stopped at AutoZone on the way home, not really expecting to find what I sought because AutoZone sells car parts rather than outdoor power tool supplies, but as I walked in, the sales clerk greeted me and asked if he could help me find anything. I told him what I was looking for, he pointed down the aisle to show me exactly where I’d find it, and within 90 seconds the transaction was complete and I was on the way home.

I’ll probably need to go back to WalMart in a month of two when the memory and the bad taste from this episode wear off, but until then, I’ll not be rollin’ back.

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