Sunday, January 27, 2008

But The Tard's Gotta Go

Look: I'm all for employing the unemployable but one thing I don't need is for my WalMart shopping "experience" to be marred by the outburst of an agitated Tard.

My local WalMart seems to have managed to scrape the very bottom of the barrel of Undesirables (see the link for proof from their very own website.) Maybe it's because it a rural area, I don't know, but there are more toothless, 400-pound behemoth sob-stories-in-shoes than you can shake a stick at here. "Welcome to Walmart," wheezes the 108 year-old guy that looks like he's about to crumble into a pile of noxious dust as I sail into the store. It actually frightened me. I think WalMart makes enough money to hire the guy and then, let him stay home. But my real complaint are the Tards.

Yes, I know it's not politically correct. They're Learning Disabled or Mentally Challenged, right? Wrong. They're Tards - short for Retards. They're tardy in the head, short on the uptake, right? "What are you, a retard?" was a popular schoolyard taunt when the catch was missed. I kind of like that it's been shortened to one syllable. 'Tard - has a nice, dulcet ring to it. (Image is glommed from Daily Pepper - read a column about WalMart there.)

I'm Mentally Challenged when I try to figure out why my boss is an a**hole and I need to think my way out of being on the firing line and when I'm desperately juggling bills. Now, that's challenging. I'm Learning Disabled when I enter into a drinking contest with myself, yet again, and lose, yet again. I have cable channels that come in scrambled - they're disabled, you see. Turned off. It is a state of being for Showtime on my set-top box. No amount of coddling will get that box to ever let me see the last season of The Wire. The only Challenge there is to my wallet.

Speaking of my wallet, I have it whipped out when I enter WalMart. I want to spend as little time there as is humanly possible. I don't even take a cart. It's a nasty, nasty place that reminds me how far we have fallen as a nation. Style-less clothes, plastic shoes, generic Salisbury Steak Meals for a dollar (okay, they're not that bad, maybe), and fat families wheeling around in a daze, with pock-marked children and Grandma trailing behind in the WalMart Electric Kool-Aid Shopping Cart, with plenty of space for the de rigour oxygen tank, looking for God-knows-what. For these Unfortunates, it truly is a Shopping Experience. I, on the other hand, am OJ, vaulting my way past them, keeping eyes averting lest they suck me into their despair. All I want is a cheap roll of packing tape and a large box. That's it. Really.

Then came the Tard. Again, I love it that the Village Idiot can have a meaningful career. I really do. But not at my expense, okay? WalMart is weird in the sense that one can saunter through the entire store and never encounter a Slave, er, Associate. They all seem to congregate at the front of the store, as if the building itself is tipped just a bit and they have all slid forward by virtue of the inexorable force of retail gravity. This also happens to be where the Tards live. They seem to mostly be Greeters, as agressive in completing their greeting task as a Jehovah's Witness is in "enabling" your soul. Yes, there is one Tard who is a checker, at this Tard is the worst of the bunch. He has risen to SlingBlade competence but actually knows it and, unlike the other humble Tards, defends his success. WalMart is, clearly, his life.

But, it's not my life. Management there should understand that I don't share in their compassion. I want to find my item, pay for it and go far away. I don't want to smile. I don't want to nod my head at the Greeter. I don't want to be greeted, for that matter. It's claustrophobia-producing enough, already - don't use the leverage of nearly unhinged Tards to let me know that a) you claim to love me, which you don't and 2) suggest that you're furtively watching me and everything I do within your store. Don't believe me? Next time you're in a WalMart, look up. What did you see? Yes, a gazillion cameras in ominous-looking black orbs hung by posts from the cavernous ceiling, watching like the eyes of a hummingbird, soulless, unfeeling, without expression.

So, this Tard In Chief was on Greeter duty today, I guess, and I rushed by - or I tried. "Nelwcum du Wamaat," he fairly shouted at me as I passed. "Yeah, okay," I mumbled and continued forward. "What, sir. Whaja say?" Oh, no, I had his focus. "Thanks!," I smiled and waved over my shoulder and started to rush even more. "Sir, sir . . " he was actually waving me back. WTF? I stopped. Now, why did I do that? I was in the mood to tussle, I must admit, but, with a Tard? I walked back a few steps, "Yes?" "I was newlcummin you to WalMaat!" "Okay, um, thanks." I turned away. "Don't you wan a caat?" "No, no, thank you." "We have DVDs on sale in Electronics." OMFG - why me? I turned and walked back to him, all the way, this time. I said, slowly, in my best Tard accent, "Thank you. I appreciate your help. Now, I'm going to go spend some money in your store so that WalMart doesn't replace you with an H-1 from Mumbai, okay?" "Unkay. Tnank you! How about a basket?" Grrrr. I didn't answer. I had adhesive-coated polyethelene to acquire, pronto.

When I was about a half-block away, a great commotion rose up from the front of the store, where, thank God, there would be many witnesses. Why there isn't more crime in WalMart's sporting-goods section is beyond me. More proof that criminals are stoopid. I turned, and my six-foot-three (did I mention that his Tardness was quite tall?) mental midget was throwing a fit, as they say around her. "Where are my gloves? I can't work without my gloves." He was a-stompin' and a-stormin'. A line manager came by to corral him as the flow of Guests was being cut off at the door. I saw her approach him as a cowboy might warily size-up an Appaloosa with itchy testicles - the horse, not the cowboy. She touched his arm and that had his focus. She said something and gestured up toward the ceiling. He looked at the Orbs of Doom that had seen all. He hung his head and he went with her to the back of the store, perhaps for some restorative cunnilingus. To myself I said, "there but for the grace of Darwin goeth I . . ."

I know the Tardster was upset and not succeeding in properly greeting me. I don't have truck with gnarly brats, either, I don't care if you are my sister-in-law. Rope them in, dammit or you're going to make me bitch-slap them and I'll do it, too. I'm not obligated to figuratively pat them on the head, too, am I? I don't think so.

By the way, they were out of boxes. They were out of tape, too. And yes, I'll be back, because I'm broke and I need to save 26 cents on toilet paper as much as the next guy, Tards notwithstanding.