Hello, are you at Walmart?

by Andrea Mulder-Slater

Yesterday I called my local Walmart store to see if it was open.

Walmart is always open, just like gas stations, amazon.com and that guy named Slippy who sells acetaminophen at cost. Still, I felt the need to call because I am philosophically skeptical. Unlike Slippy.

I held the phone to my ear. There was no ring – only some muffled noises somewhat reminiscent of the sound a cocker spaniel makes when he licks a goldfish. I’m only guessing here.

As so often happens to me, I was dialing out, while - at the exact moment -  someone else was doing the same. Only, the man on the other end was not aware of this phenomenon and instead thought I was his wife. Or God. Whichever. I on the other hand, grew up in the country - with a party line - so hearing confused strangers on my telephone line is nothing new to me.

ME: Hello? Is anyone there?

Voice: Margaret? Is that you?

ME: Are you at Walmart?

Voice: How did you know I was at Walmart?

ME: I can see you.

Voice: You can?

ME: Yes.

Voice: Where are you?

ME: I'm here. Where are you?

Voice: I’m at Walmart.

ME: I'm sorry. I'm not Margaret. I can't see you. We must have just dialed our phones at the same time.

Voice: What do you mean?

ME: I was calling to see if Walmart was open.

Voice: But my phone didn’t ring.

ME: Neither did mine. That’s the point. So, how long are you open?

Voice: I’m not open. I’m trying to call my wife.

ME: She’s not here.

Voice: Ok. Thanks.

ME: WAIT! Don’t hang up! Is Walmart open?

Voice: I don't work here. Here's a cashier.

Cashier: Hello?

ME: Oh, thank God. I was just checking to see if you are open but someone was calling out from there while I was calling in.

(For the record, I always get this excited when I find out stores are open on a major holiday. I don't know why.  I may need counseling.) 

Cashier: I’ve never heard of that happening. I just loaned a guy my phone so he could make a call.

ME: I. Can’t. Not. Blog... about this.

Cashier: I'm sorry?

ME: Don't be. Seriously.

The moral of this story is to never, ever call Walmart. Or anyone who goes by the name of Slippy. Your choice.

No, really.

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