Tales of a Tattooed Chick in the Dirty South Tryin' Not to be Noticed
Chapter 2: People of Walmart
Please watch video before reading...It is a classic. 9,000,000 people can't be wrong! I'm pretty sure I will be making an appearance in one of the sequels.
First of all, don't hate me because I shop at Walmart... I know I know, I'm a bad person. I'm not bad, just thrifty and a one stop shopper. Growing up, money was tight until I hit 8th grade. We bought cheap processed food in bulk. When you opened our pantry, all you saw was a wall of generic items in a white package with a green and black stripe on them. You couldn't tell the difference between a can of corn and a can of dog food. It looked exactly the same. You had to get right up on that shit to figure it out. To this day, my mom won't eat hot dogs, since that was one of our main food groups. Canned vegetables and potato chips were the other two. Things eventually got better financially in our family, but buying cheap food has stayed with me in a lot of ways to this day. I do balance it out by getting a locally grown organic produce every week...so i'd say i'm breaking even in the sell-out department. I also don't like to go to a bunch of stores to buy different things. I prefer to get my gun, cottage cheese and bathroom towels all at one place.
I can't seem to go anywhere without having a discussion about my tattoos or overhearing somebody else talking about them. I usually look like the Uni-bomber when I shop to avoid talking to strangers. People are always asking me why i'm wearing long sleeves when it's 90 degrees out. Well for one, I don't like the sun on my skin and for some reason, I think if they don't happen to look at my neck or hands, they might not notice my tattoos. I'm not ashamed of my tattoos, I just want to pump gas in peace without hearing about somebody who got their baby-mamas name on their neck for "real cheap". I can spot them eyeballin' me from a hundred paces. I'm not really sure how far that is, but it seems like that is really far away. As they start to walk in my direction, I immediately start analyzing them. I'm a horrible liar. I tell the truth to a fault unless I'm protecting somebody I love or I'm about to have a discussion about my tattoos with a stranger...again. I try to figure out exactly what it is they want to hear, and I say that whether it's true or not. I'm not trying to argue about shit. I want to agree with everything they say, so they will go away faster...."Yes, I do have a lot of tattoos. Yes, they all hurt. Yes, cheap and free tattoos are a good idea. Yes prison is the best place to get them."...and so on.
I've probably had more discussions in Walmart than any other place about my tattoos. I was a tattoo artist for about 10 years before I was a trainer. In my early days, I would make the mistake of telling people I was a tattoo artist...It would have been a better idea to slash my wrists. Then there were 5-10 questions of "How much would you charge me for________????" followed by shock and awe when I told them. They would say things like "Well my cousin bought a gun and tattooed me on the kitchen table for free and it looks real good!" And then I got the pleasure of watching them take off some article of clothing to show me the masterpiece. It was always AWESOME.
Eventually, I got a little smarter and said "NO" when they asked me if I was an artist. The best thing I ever did was date another tattoo artist. So then when they asked, I'd say no...but she is...and then I would slowly walk away and leave her there to answer questions. I would go to the end of the aisle and turn the corner and wait. I would peek around the corner or walk back and forth super pleased with my work. I'm pretty sure she launched a jar of pickles or two at my head for setting her up for failure...but it was worth it! I can't believe that relationship didn't work out.
As they stood there drilling you with questions, their eyes would go from your skin to your cart. They were always quite curious about what a freak like me had in it. I sometimes plant things like knives, shovels, Duct tape and maybe some plastic sheeting in there just for fun. I also know how pregnant women feel when everybody is always trying to touch their belly. Walmart shoppers REALLY want to touch my tattoos. They will start twisting my arm to see it all the way around to the point of snapping tendons. This is super fun for someone like me who jumps out of a window at a party to avoid "hugging it out" on the way out of the door.
I probably have had the most conversations with the employees of Walmart. Just last week one of them rolled up behind me and said "I like your tat's!"....that's short for tattoos in case you aren't familiar with the lingo. The full word tattoo is never used at Walmart. I turned around and said "thank you." She said "I have 16 and I'm working on more." And I know I'm a horrible person for saying this, but as she spoke the only thing I could think was...maybe dental work would be a better investment since she only had about 6 teeth. I guess we all have our priorities. On that same trip, two of her fellow employees were walking toward me and said...wait for it... "I like your tat's." Again, I said thank you and tried to keep moving. No such luck. They said "What does it say on your knuckles?" I said "WORK HARD." And they said..."Oh no...we don't like to work." and I said "Clearly."
Every trip ends with me standing in line where one of two things happens. Usually there is a mom and several children standing in front of me. One of the children always starts pointing and says "Mom...look at her!" over and over again until the mom turns around all uncomfortable and gives me one of three looks. 1. I'm sorry. 2. I'm not sorry or 3. Don't steal my purse. If there are no children involved, then I get the what I refer to as "the don't look now lean." Two people will be standing in front of me. One person will notice me and lean in to tell their friend... "Don't look now, but there is a freak behind us." I watch as the person struggles not to look, but can't resist. I usually look them right in the eye and wave.
Once I finally check out, I watch the heads turn as I push my cart towards the anti-theft sensors by the door. They wait for them to go off as I pass under the threshold...but no dice my friends. People that look like me don't break the law. I have a target on my back at all times. When you watch the news, you always see some neighbor talking about "He was such a nice normal guy. I would have never suspected there was a pile of bodies in his basement."
Upon pulling out of Walmart, I always swing through McDonald's for a "you made it through another trip" chocolate dipped ice cream cone. Moral of the story? There is a price to pay for being thrifty...but you can always reward yourself with ice cream :)