Contact theSOPAbout theSOPSupport theSOPWritersEditorsManaging Editors
theSOP logo
Published:December 16th, 2009 14:53 EST
Another Sunday Night at Wal-Mart

Another Sunday Night at Wal-Mart

By Ed Roberts

Another Sunday Night at Wal-Mart


It was another Sunday night trip

To Wal-Mart

A once-a-week excursion

Often dreaded

Especially this time of year

Less than two weeks before Christmas

So many people

Aisles filled with shoppers

Some with lists

Some without

Some with absolutely no clue

What it was they wanted to buy

As for me

I had my grocery list

My coupons

And a simple prayer

God, please let me get in

And get out

In less than an hour


Luckily I was able to avoid the most popular areas

Not too many people roam the frozen food section for presents

The pharmacy aisles were a different story

I`m not sure who thought this would be a good place

To put two aisles of cologne

But getting to the mouthwash was an excursion

Had to leave the cart at the end of the aisle

Mouthwash and cologne

Hopefully no one will mix the two

Thankfully didn`t lose too much time here


After only twenty minutes in

I found myself at the bottom of the list

Half way in shock

I found myself checking off each item

I was overcome with true joy

Of course this was short lived

Reality sank in once I arrived at the front of the store

And realized there were only five lines open

And in each one

At least ten people stood patiently waiting

Of course patiently only applies

If the meaning of the word ranges from

Either talking on your cell phone

To trying to wrangle five young children

In a very confined space


One could actually write a book

Or at least a short story

About what we do

While waiting in line at Wal-Mart

There are always the different magazines

You know the ones

The ones you often look at

Sometimes pull off of the rack

To grab a quick glance at

But very seldom

Actually buy

Then of course

There are all the necessary items

Ranging from super glue to duct tape

And almost anything in-between

I do have to admit

I did read a short article about a holiday diet plan

But I spent most of my time

As I usually do

Watching the others in line


There was a couple in front of me

A father

A mother

And their daughter

I could only presume this however

Since they all spoke in Spanish

Still I am pretty sure this was the case

You don`t have to speak the language

To understand certain looks

Or vocal tones

I imagine there were a few occasions where

Sit back down`


Put that back "

Came into play

But for the most part

The little girl

Who couldn`t have been four years old

Behaved quite well


While they were checking out

I paid close attention to the father

He would pick up one of the toys

They had placed in their basket

Hand it to the cashier and quietly ask her

How Much? "

She would scan the item

Then hand it back to him

He then would place the item on the empty cashier stand

That stood behind him

This happened twice


The third time this happened

There was a small doll

The father handed it to the cashier

As he was about to place the doll with the other toys

The mother stepped up and removed a couple of the food items

The ones the cashier had already rang up

Placed in a bag

And the father had placed in their cart


The cashier voided out the items

One by one

And rang up the doll up instead


I could actually hear one of the people behind me

Say in a muffled voice

Come on folks "

I guess it does come down to priorities

How we spend our time

As well as our money


The father paid the cashier

In cash

Counting out singles

And change in the end

And the small family started to leave


You have to understand

I am not a person of means


Or fame

I am however a person

Who sometimes is given a chance

Even if it is a small one

To sometimes make a difference

I quickly reached over

Picked up the items of food

That the couple had set aside

And asked the cashier if she could ring them up


There was a look in her eyes

She quickly understood

The magic of this moment

She walked over to the mother and father

Came back

Rang up the items

And gave them to them

In a nice little plastic bag


I have to admit

My Spanish is extremely rusty

But a hug and a thank you

Is the same in any language

And in that moment

Once again

I found the spirit of this season



I may not be a person

Of means, wealth, or fame

But tonight

This thirteenth night of December

I have again been blessed

In a way

Few can begin to imagine


Merry Christmas to all

And to all

A good night


Ed Roberts 12/13/09