I never thought I’d be cheering a tropical system, but…

3 minute read

June 3, 2007, 3:55 PM

I never thought I’d be cheering a tropical storm system, but Tropical Storm Barry is working out for me. It’s giving the area a much-needed soaking, plus, for me, it cleared the air for those of us who suffer from springtime allergies. These last few days have been rough for me. I was running some work-related errands around Dupont Circle on Thursday, and my eyes got all swelled up. It was not fun, needless to say. This clears out all that junk from the air, and makes it much more pleasant for springtime allergy sufferers like me. I’m just glad that we’re now in the final month of allergy season, because once it’s past, life will be normal again for about ten months.

Meanwhile, yesterday, I went out to find the local Wal-Mart to see where it was, and to do a little shopping. I found it, and it’s in Germantown, store #2357. And it’s not likely I’ll be going back any time soon. It’s also stores like this that help explain why the DC area has generally shunned Wal-Mart. I was not impressed with this store. Let’s just say this: It makes the Wal-Mart where I used to work at in Waynesboro look like an upscale department store.

First of all, the place was dirty. The floors were gross, and there was trash everywhere. Additionally, the shelves were a mess. I don’t think that these people had ever heard of the concept of “zone defense”, which, in Wal-Mart terminology, is where associates basically get their departments in order – straightening the shelves, cleaning up debris, etc. This store looked like it hadn’t been zoned in weeks. The shoe department was especially a disaster – all the flip-flops were just thrown in there, and a lot were just sitting scattered on the floor. Then let’s talk safety, which is a place where Wal-Mart puts a big emphasis (or at least is supposed to). I stepped on a piece of loose cardboard in their main action alley, and nearly went flying. That’s not my idea of a good time. Meanwhile, the associates, where I actually could find some, were kind of rude.

Even the signage looked bad. They had the same signage as my ex-store in Waynesboro – black and blue, like this:

Wal-Mart department sign

However, this store had major signage issues. I don’t think any of the signs were even hanging straight, and a number of them were missing parts. A couple of them were missing the blue part, and the black bottom was brought up to the top to compensate. Then others were missing the bottom part that says the name of the department. Then a lot of them were just dirty. How the overhead signs get dirty like that, I will never know. Then the little black aisle signs that show what’s in the aisles were hanging crookedly.

Up front, the place was busy, and there were very few lines open. There were four self-checkout lanes, but two of those were down, and the others had lines out to the clothes, like the regular registers. Then a number of the registers’ number boxes were missing the number panels altogether, or they were knocked out of place and sitting back in there.

The one bright spot in that Wal-Mart was the restrooms, which were actually half decent. They appeared to have been recently remodeled, based on the beige tile on the walls and floors. I think those were nice only because they had not had an opportunity to become trashy yet like the rest of the store.

I had also never seen a non-Supercenter Wal-Mart with two entrances before, and an in-store McDonald’s with an entrance directly off the Service Desk.

Still, I don’t think I’ll be going there again to shop. There’s too much traffic to contend with to make the drive worthwhile, especially with the Target in Wheaton’s being maybe three miles straight down the road from me, and with that store’s being neat and clean, and with friendly “team members”.

Web site: about the Germantown Wal-Mart. Seems this is not a recent phenomenon...

Song: Dangeresque theme: ..."with Renaldo at his side, with Renaldo at his side, Dangeresque! (Dangeresque!)"

Quote: So now I know where it is, and know to avoid it. Somehow, I think it serves Wal-Mart right.