Tuesday, June 21, 2011

When Did Walmart Start Hiring Floor Mammies?

Okay. It was my fault. I should not have been in Walmart on a Saturday afternoon so I guess I brought this experience on myself.

I’m standing in an epically long line. I imagine that outside of this discount retail cocoon, civilizations are rising and falling while I wait. There’s a family in line behind me: parents, two kids. Their youngest was a little boy of about four. Together with a little friend the two of them were very busy laughing, tussling and playing. And then it got a little too good to them. They started chasing each other around the register in faster, and faster laps. It is, of course, impossible at that age to run without screaming. But there comes a point when the sound of young people playing at the top of their lungs swings from being endearing to just straight up annoying. I reached that point with surprising speed.

If you’re wondering what the parents were doing while the kids were turning Walmart into a track and field meet: nothing, absolutely nothing. They just stood there quietly abdicating their authority.

Partial kudos here to the Dad, he made an attempt to slow the boys down with a weak and feeble, “Hey, c’mon you guys.” But the Mother of the Year stopped him and said, “No, let them wear themselves out.” Seriously? Let me remind you we were in Walmart. Regardless of your personal feelings about Wally World, it is a place of business, not a playground. There wasn’t a swing set, a monkey bar or a seesaw in sight. Had one of these little Olympians fallen and hurt themselves, their parents would have had a lawsuit filed before getting them to an emergency room. I wish they would. In this case, I’ll happily testify for the defense. “Yes, your Honor, I saw the floor jump up and smack that child in the back of his head.”

As the cashier began ringing up my purchases I asked her if Walmart sold belts.

“Belts?” she asked

“Yes, belts. To beat unruly children.”

was joking of course. I wanted to beat the parents. And, no, I didn’t care that the mother heard me. Why should I? She didn’t care that her kids were disturbing everyone in the store. I might be wrong here, but I thought that part of a parent’s job was to teach their little monsters how to behave in public. Well, #fail.

And then I heard a mighty rumbling. A woman, who clearly hailed from Amazon-Klingon-Valkyrie stock — a walking, talking solar eclipse — strode up and pronounced,

“No running in the store!”

It would be hyperbolic to say that a hush fell over the store, but there was a noticeable drop in the noise level. I myself, who was not running, made sure my feet were rooted in place lest I catch her disapproving glare.

It was then and only then that the so-called parents of the offending hellions thought to stop the kids from running wild. Oh, “now” you do something? The Model Mother said, “Okay, stop running you two, or the police are gonna come get you.” Lady, if you’re threatening to bring the cops in now, your four year old’s rap sheet will be longer than his resume.

While I was grateful that somebody finally said something, I was bothered that it even had to come to this. How did the parents not know that Walmart wasn’t the time and place for playtime? It’s gotta make you wonder where else they’re dropping the parental ball.

Now, I know I’m reading into this. Perhaps I’m even projecting my own stereotypical issues onto the event, but why — of all the people who work for Walmart — did it have to be The Big Black Woman who came out to “Madea” the situation? Were the Walmart Over Lords watching remotely and decided the best course of action was to dispatch The Black Nanny McPhee?

Is Kid Wrangling an actual position at Walmart or is it one of those “unofficial” responsibilities? If it is she should get paid extra for it, perhaps with a surcharge added to the parent's bill at check out. To show my gratitude, I wanted to slip her a tip but I’m saving up to buy a belt.

The Supreme Court ruled this week that the discrimination lawsuit filed on behalf of almost 1.6 million female Walmart employees cannot currently proceed as a class action suit. If I worked at Walmart this might be my cue to take Store Mammy off my duty list.

Join The Urban Erma on Facebook or follow on Twitter. You can listen to the podcast on Podbean or subscribe on iTunes. Leighann Lord is a stand-up comedian, who's style is best described as "Thinking Cap Comedy." If comedy were music, she'd be Jazz. Check out her upcoming shows @ www.VeryFunnyLady.com. Join her on FaceBook. Follow her on Twitter.

No comments: