>Disaster Strikes at Wal-Mart

by jvaragona

>The fiance and I have been working on our wedding invites all weekend. It saves abunch of money doing it yourself, but takes a lot of time. I never realized I could be so passionate about certain fonts.

Anyway, today we set out to get seals for the envelopes. We hit up Party City, which certainly is, and got what we needed. The weather forecasters were then predicting severe weather, but who listens to those bozos anyway. We decided to go to pick up some ribbon for our favors while we were out, even though the skies were beginning to look a bit suspicious.

I was headed for Hobby Lobby, but our sense of budgeting and penny piching took over. We decided to go to the evil Wal-Mart instead, which I have done a pretty good job avoiding, but when it comes to ribbon, I figure save the fifty cents and give a kid in a sweat shop a job. I’m kidding, but saving money means a lot when you have none. That’s the trap these corporations put you in, and it works so well.

Of course the prices on pretty white ribbon were amazing, so we grabbed it, then the lights went out. I had experienced this before at Target and Home Depot, so it wasn’t a big deal, but Wal-Mart’s backup lights sucked and were for the most part non-existent. We considered shopping more, then as the rain and winds came, we considered running out with a cart full of merchandise like those folks in New Orleans did. Before we could finish our thought process, waves of people screaming “TORNADO!” started running our way.

This was it, the big one.

It was insane. Crowds were amassing at the rear of the store, some even daring to run into the back stock room for shelter. The workers didn’t even know what to do. As much as they wanted to rely on their walkie-talkies, they couldn’t hear anything because of the sounds of people screaming and crying.

Then it hit me–walk into a crowded theater and yell fire, or walk into a crowded Wal-Mart during a power outage and yell tornado. I called my mother for some kind of outside confirmation, because this all could be some really good, yet sick, joke. She did confirm that there were rotations in my area and a Tornado Warning was issued for the area we were in, but there was no confirmation of any touchdowns.

It was enough to calm us down, then the lights came on. We started to make our way to the office section for some envelopes when the lights went out again. This time management tried to gather customers at the center of the store, but we decided to keep shopping. It’s the American way. I’ll go down in a tornado, shopping no less…and for less.

I overheard different strategies people had. It is bizzare what you consider at a moment like this. One woman wanted to be near the food in case we were trapped, so she could be the closest to something to eat. A couple were running to the pillows and linens, to be near soft things in case of flying glass and other objects. I just wanted to go take a crap because the whole situation was making me feel funny.

We made it to the front lanes to check out. Some were trying to escape at this point. I noticed some women talking to an employee. One exclaimed, “What?! Why didn’t anybody tell us? What about my car?”

I thought maybe it meant hail or something, but I wasn’t sure of much. We got to the door, and the greeter was suddenly armed with a flashlight and checking receipts. Suddenly the most kind person in the store (and usually elderly or handicapped) has power. I just wanted to leave.

As we approached the exit to the outside, I noticed slabs of drywall scattered across the parking lot, apparently from the Lowe’s next door. The “1 Hour Photo” sign was destroyed from the winds and the “T” in the Wal-Mart sign was about to come crashing down.

The winds had calmed, but the rain was still coming down along with lightning across the gray skies. We were home free, but we know never to go back to Wal-Mart, because we received a sign.

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