Standing outside the doors that open and shut like a horizontal guillotine I took a deep breath and said a prayer before closing my eyes and venturing inside. The chances of me surviving a trip to what I refer to as Hellmart on a Friday night had to be less than 50 percent.
As a matter of fact, I make it a point to never walk through the guillotine doors unless it is an absolute necessity. But you can't always buy everything you need at stores with Dollar in their name so there I was.
Normally I make my trips deep into the walls of Hellmart in the wee hours of the morning but as I have aged I tend to sleep in those wee hours. So there I was, walking deep into the bowels of a beast that had me outmatched.
I walked through the doors and swore I heard music from Friday the 13th: Tch, tch, tch, tch, ah, ah, ah, ah. Quickly I grabbed my cart and entered the store. Five seconds later I realized I had a cart with wobbly, squeaky wheels that pulled to the right and everyone in the store turned to stare.
I realized right off the bat I didn't dress for the occasion. There must have been a sign for "Pajama Night" because staring at me were a horde of people dressed in pajama pants, thin tank tops with no bras and flip flops. They stared at me in my T-shirt and jeans like I was in a three-piece suit.
As the eyes pierced through me like a dagger I lowered my head and inconspicuously as possible pushed my clunking, squeaking cart up the aisles. Of course, as I come upon the aisle I need to go down there is a family of four standing in my way. I stood there patiently and waited as they debated whether they wanted shampoo and conditioner in one bottle or wanted one of each. I didn't have the heart to tell them they were looking at the hair gel but then again they must not have seen me or heard my cart that was breaking noise records since they wouldn't let me by.
Not wanting any conflict I decided to go down a different aisle and backtrack. As I turned to leave I could feel their eyes on me like I did something wrong and again I heard the music: Tch, tch, tch, tch, ah, ah, ah, ah. I glanced back deciding I would come back to that aisle later, or just shave my head.
I continued my shopping with my loud cart when I came across a rather large woman on a tiny motorized vehicle. Now my first thought was: How do I get one of those? Then I quickly retracted that thought. Exercise is good, very good. No need to get to be so big I couldn't walk around a store. After all, I want to get through Hellmart as quickly as possible and be able to run away if need be.
I think the woman could read my thoughts because she cut me off and then had the nerve to look at me and say "excuse you." Then I saw I was blocking her way to the chocolate. How dare I?
Shaking off the encounter I continued on my trek to get my stuff and get out. That's when I was nearly knocked over by a gaggle of kids holding toys screaming for their dad, who seemed to be hiding or escaping. They quickly spotted him by the condoms. He saw me and we exchanged understanding nods and I moved on.
Deeper into the bowels of Hellmart I encountered more interesting creatures. The couple holding hands walking so slow they were passed by a turtle. You know the economy is tough when date night is a walk around a store.
I saw another gaggle of kids screaming at a video game they were playing and a woman so into her story she was telling to what I hope was a friend that you could hear her 10 aisles over.
"Girl, I told him it wasn't supposed to be that color..." Tch, tch, tch, tch, ah, ah, ah, ah.
As I moved on from the paint I saw a woman leaning over to get a case of soda. It caught my eye because her (ahem) shoulders seemed to be showing in her tiny tank top as she bent over. I walked past but then came back to help because a woman with (ahem) shoulders like that probably needed some help lifting her heavy sodas.
After a short conversation and back on point I finally finished getting my items and headed to check out. As I reached the front of the Hellmart there were two huge lines with about 10 people deep. I guessed it was hard to find help at the Hellmart until I saw five or six employees just standing around talking. Maybe only two registers worked.
So I nestled in the line behind Condom Dad and his three kids with a cartful of toys and candy. I figured nobody wanted to get out of line faster than he did. Then his wife with the (ahem) shoulders pulled up in her cart full of groceries, and yes a case of soda.
Before I could even smile at her I was bumped from behind by Jabba the Hutt on her motorized cart. Tch, tch, tch, tch, ah, ah, ah, ah.
"I've only got three things. Can I go in front of you?"
Twelve hours later, and completely understanding why people wear their pajamas in Hellmart, I finally paid for my items and walked back through the horizontal guillotine they call doors a beaten man. Another victim of the Hellmart. Tch, tch, tch, tch, ah, ah, ah, ah.