A Man’s Guide to Shopping at Wal-Mart

  1. When arriving at the Wal-Mart parking lot, you should always be prepared to remove a shopping cart from the space you attempt to enter.  In a perfect world, it should be legal for you to find the person who left the cart there and punch him or her in the throat.
  1. When you enter the store you are likely to be greeted by an excessively happy senior adult (the greeter).  No matter how grumpy you may be, smile and say hello to the greeter.  After all, when you are a senior adult, your wife may get tired of having you around the house and insist that you, too, become a Wal-Mart greeter.
  1. If your shopping “list” has more than one item on it, rest assured that at least two of the items on the list will be on opposite walls of the store.  While this can be frustrating, you can use this as an opportunity to get in your recommended 10,000 steps for the day.  A useful formula to help you estimate how far you must travel to secure all the items on your list is  Total Distance = 500 x n, where n is the number of items on your list.  If your wife is with you, you can adjust this basic formula to Total Distance = 5000 x n.
  1. You should never, under any circumstances shop at Wal-Mart on a Saturday afternoon. In some states, a man shopping at Wal-Mart on a Saturday afternoon is enough evidence for his wife to have him committed to a secure mental facility.
  1. When your wife sends you to Wal-Mart with a very detailed, specific shopping list and accompanying instructions, you will not be able to find all of the items – you will need additional help.  You have three possible resources for this assistance.  You can call your wife and ask her for further instructions/directions.  The longer you have been married, the less humiliating this will be for you (she already knows she married a moron).  You can ask a friendly, courteous Wal-Mart associate for help.  Before doing so, however, you may want to make sure that Wal-Mart does not allow said associate to carry a licensed hand gun.  Or, you can go to the Customer Service desk and ask them to give you a handy map or GPS app that you can use to find what you are looking for.  Please  note that the map or app will only be relevant for a maximum of 30 days at which time the store manager will decide to completely reorganize the entire store.

6.  While you may only be at Wal-Mart to shop, you should be aware that others will be  there to shop, see the sights, and be entertained (sort of like going to Disneyworld).  If you are following such “shoppers” be prepared for sudden stops (for no apparent  reason) and long periods of fascination with a variety of Wal-Mart displays (often  accompanied with prolonged “oohs” and “aahs”).  Some of the more popular sight- seeing venues are aisles containing truck accessories, Wal-Mart designer clothes, Blue Bell ice cream, guns of various types, liquor, and the aisle with Christmas decorations (this display is scheduled to be up around July 4th of this year).

 7. If you have more than 72 items in your cart, you should not use the 20 items or less cashier line.  You will be ridiculed for not knowing how to read and/or how to count.

 8. If you have trouble operating a pickle jar, never attempt to use the Self Check-Out line. If you fail there three times or more, you will only prove that you are not smarter than a 5th grader.

 9. As much as you might want to, you should never use a cattle prod to “encourage” the shopper in front of you to move along (this is a form of aisle rage).  This use of cattle prods is illegal in the United States except in certain areas of Texas where using a cattle prod on a person is considered just one way to say, “Howdy, pardner!”

 10. Be prepared to see people wearing clothes that are completely inappropriate for their age, size, and/or gender.  Warning – some of these images you will never be able to get out of your head.


Terry Goodman spent his entire teaching career working with future math teachers at University of Central Missouri (previously Central Missouri State), and officially retired in 2011, after which he returned to his home state of Texas.  (His comment was that the move raised the average IQ of both states!)  Terry and I collaborated on MANY projects in mathematics education over the years – he was a terrific (and highly organized!) colleague and he remains a close friend!  His wife and mine get along famously (too well!) and the four of us have gone on more than one vacation together!  We miss him here in Missouri!

To re-read Terry’s first Guest Voice, visit TerryG.GV.StudentStories.

To see the Guest Voice archives, visit GV Archives.