Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Walmart Sightings: A Tale Of Obsession And Madness

For all of those who were drawn in by the title prepare to underwhelmed. The following is a true story based on real events that actually occurred. Only the names have been changed to condemn the innocent.

It was about 7:30 on a warm summers eve. I had just escaped from the oppressive walls of a local Walmart that was crawling with people the same way that a dumpster might be filled with maggots. True to form I had started a useless argument with my wife that had no foreseeable end beyond me choosing to stop flapping my gums....which I rarely do. The argument continued as we got into our car and we both sat looking forward through the window exchanging heated pleasantries. At some point in my carrying on I stopped mid sentence and shouted "What the hell is THAT GUY doing?" to which my wife replied: "I was just thinking the same thing."

Across the parking lot a few rows over there was a potbellied middle aged Asian man. He wore a blue and white horizontally striped shirt, tan khakis and sandals that were crafted circa 1970. He was balding  at the back of his head and walked with a slight limp that favored his left leg. He held a shabby, dirty rag in his hand and he was feverishly buffing the front end of his car. His car was a silver 2003ish Honda Civic 4 door. I said to my wife as I watched him "I bet he's selling it." To which she said "Yeah probably." Then I said "I bet the person who buys it is going to arrive in an 82' Corolla." To which my wife said "Yeah or some college kid." My interest was piqued so I said to my wife "Do you mind if we hang out for a few minutes to find out who shows up?" "Sure" my wife said. For the next five minutes I watched the guy buff his headlights. He then went on to shine up his windows with the same rag only taking a moments rest to wring out the cloth.

SUDDENLY.....an older green Honda Civic pulled up and parked beside him. This was the moment I was waiting for the big reveal of who had arrived to buy the car. It was a woman she was vertically challenged and wore Capris that fit her legs like someone who was wearing pants that had been hemmed too high. She was otherwise frumpy in appearance with big framed glasses, poofy, frizzy untamed black hair and white tube socks stuck inside white running shoes. By the look of her she didn't  meet my test driver profile yet she walked right over to the Asian dude and started talking to him. After a while it became apparent that the woman was either the guy's wife.sister, relative or friend. The carried on talking for a bit before the woman walked over to the back of her car and popped the trunk.

FROM THE BACK OF THE TRUNK she pulled out a bottle of Windex and handed it to the dude. The Asian guy immediately sprayed the hood of the Honda with the cleaner and began buffing it AGAIN.   Amazed I announced "The car for sale theory is back on the table." The guy then handed the woman his rag and walked off into the distance. presumably to a Taco Bell which was at the other end of the parking lot. While he was gone the lady opened the passenger side door of the car and got in. From our vantage point we deduced that she was hurriedly cleaning the interior.

It was now 8:00 p.m. and several minutes had passed since we last saw the potbellied Asian dude. I was starting to lose hope that the person who was buying the car was never going to show up and my wife was starting to lose interest with my mounting obsession.  JUST THEN...we spotted the Asian guy sauntering back from the Taco Bell area carrying a Jug filled with water. He reached into the backseat of his car and produced another towel and began wiping his windows AGAIN! first outside and then inside.

INTERMISSION: As all of this was happening a random very thin Indian dude who  was almost completely bald except for a wisp of hair came into focus. He was notable because he was wearing a zipped up jacket on a very warm summer evening. He had an extreme limp like one leg was 10 inches shorter than the other. He was also wearing sandals which also appeared to have been constructed circa 1970. Strangest of all though he was pushing a like-new red and black baby stroller with nothing in it as he walked into Walmart by himself.


It was evident that these two were in on the car sale together and both were diligently scrubbing. My wife then threw out a wild idea "What if they just bought the car for their son/daughter who is going back to school?" We deduced that the probability of that was low because who gifts their son/daughter with a surprise car in the middle of a Walmart parking lot? This lead us to begin developing more theories. The most likely one was that the couple arranged to meet in the parking lot where they would take one car (the clean Honda) to their destination. BUT! the woman's shabby appearance and busted running shoes did not denote any sort of celebration where a spontaneous clean car was necessary.

About 8:15 a newish Nissan Maxima pulled up and parked in front of the Honda. The people who exited the car met our profile, a mother and a daughter of college age. They briefly looked over at the guy working on his car before quickly turning left and walking directly into the store. It was then that my wife chimed in "This probably isn't going to happen tonight." To which I replied "I know but I need some closure." We both looked to the sky and the sun had all but faded prompting us to say in unison "No one buys a car at night, right?" So if they WEREN'T selling their car, just WHAT THE HELL were they doing?

Taking a break from cleaning the Asian dude walked toward us and stood atop one of those concrete medians between parking spaces with a tree planted in it. He leaned forward and vomited a sizable quantity of liquid on the bark mulch below. Wiping his lips off he returned to his car where he began fogging up his windows with his own breath. He went around his car from window to window making a loud "Ha!" sound as he exhaled hot air. 

THEN...his lady friend opened up the trunk and produced two pillows and a sleeping bag. She opened the sleeping bag and laid it down in the back seat. She then put the two pillows on the passenger seat. I said to my wife "Are they going to sleep in the car?" "I don't think so she said."  It was then that the lady got into the drivers side and turned it on. The Asian dude stood about 10 feet in front of her motioning her to drive forward. A few minutes of stereotypical driving and directions took place of which I might seem sexist and racist if I described them in detail. By the end of their interaction the woman had moved the car a total of 4 feet and it now rested in two parking spots underneath the shade of  the aforementioned tree. "I think that they are going to sleep in the car!" I said excitedly. We looked on as the husband and wife produced several opaque light deflecting circles. They went about putting one on every window until it was impossible to see inside the car.  Eventually they both emerged from the vehicle and they closed all the doors.

IT WAS AT THIS TIME that the guy hit the little clicker and made the Honda go "Beep Beep!" "Aha!" I said. "So they are going to leave the silver Honda here and take the green Honda to wherever they are going!" The couple hovered around both cars but they never got inside either of them. Every minute or two the guy would re-hit the clicker and reset the car alarm. 

JUST THEN the lady quickly got into the green Honda and turned it on. "It's happening!" I squealed. At this same time the Asian dude starting walking off in another direction. "What should I do?" I yelped. My wife  said "Follow the guy, the lady is a red herring!" As she drove away I put the car in reverse and peeled out. At a 3 way intersection in the Walmart parking lot I encountered a driver who arrived well before me but decided to wave me on INSTEAD OF JUST FOLLOWING THE RULES OF THE ROAD. Of course he had no way of knowing that I was slowing stalking a middle aged Asian man on foot. However, I waved at him to go instead and gave him the YOU GO NOW EYES. To which he gave me the I'M BEING GENEROUS AND LETTING YOU GO EYES. To which I responded by repeatedly flashing my headlights signifying that I was rejecting his generosity and  unless he wanted to have an epileptic seizure that he better MOVE IT!. Finally the dude obliged and the world's slowest chase scene was back on.

I put on my hazard signals and followed the Asian guy as he slinked along the outside of the Walmart. He stopped briefly at a soda machine mulling over the pros and cons of purchasing a carbonated beverage. He continued on along the sidewalk until he eventually slipped into the front door of the store...never to be seen again.

Epilogue: From the evidence produced we were left to deduce that the lady in the green car was most likely the Asian guy's wife. She had arrived in her car to drop something off to her husband before he went to work. When she arrived on the scene she noticed that he was cleaning his car to fill time before his shift. She decided to join in on the fun and get the car nice and shiny so that it would be gleaming after the guy got back from an evening of stocking shelves. Just a regular, useless, average, pedestrian,  life experience.



  1. There are still too many variables as to justify the epilogue as a suitable explanation. What's with the sleeping bag? Why did the man vomit on the tree? What's with their extreme lack of fashion?

    But in all seriousness, people watching is always fun despite the outcome. Also, I could read about Walmart stories all day. It's been too long since I've ventured there.

  2. I think the man killed someone - blowing the person's brains all over the interior of the car (à la Pulp Fiction) and was cleaning up the spattered DNA... But instead of Harvey Keitel arriving to help him clean up the mess, all this poor schmuck is able to get is his wife/girlfriend.

  3. Question?

    Did you have Lonestar's "Amazed" on at the time of this event?

    Welcome to your stalking years. It appears as though you have taken on some of your Father's traits.

    For reference purposes only: "Stalking is a term commonly used to refer to unwanted or obsessive attention by an individual or group toward another person."