Fredericton — It’s been a difficult few weeks for everybody on the planet, but New Brunswickers say the hardest part of the COVID-19 pandemic has for them been cutting back on trips to Walmart.
“We all love Walmart. It’s been hard on everyone,” said Fredericton mom Sheila Rogers. “Yes, I can still technically go to Walmart, but not every day, and you have to wait in line now, and it just doesn’t have the same fun atmosphere these days. But I understand that we all have to make major sacrifices to get through this thing.”
A Manatee reporter interviewed a few folks waiting outside the Two Nations Crossing Walmart on the north side.
“You know how when you used to go to Walmart, in the ‘Before Times,’ you’d bump into a bunch of mouth-breathers who’d just be standing in an aisle, totally oblivious of everything and everyone around them? You’d ask them to move and they would just stare at you, stunned, and eventually shuffle aside about two inches for you to get by? I kinda miss that,” expressed Tom Killam, who was fifth in line. “With ‘social distancing’ you don’t get much of that meaningful human interaction anymore.”
Though she was standing two metres behind Killam, northsider Amy Lowell overheard the conversation and piped in.
“Yeah! I used to come here every day, but now according to the ‘rules’ I can only make it once a week, and I can’t bring my husband and kids, so we can’t really make a day of it. We used to shop all Saturday morning, have McDonald’s for lunch, then shop again all afternoon, and have McDonald’s for supper.
“That was the weekend, but now I don’t even get my weekday Walmart ‘me time.’ I’d wander through the beauty section and smell all the lip balms and shampoos, then I’d head over to apparel and try on some shoes I had no plan to buy, then walk over and leave the shoes in the housewares section while I looked at nice pillows and picture frames…
“You know what, I kinda think it’s a human right to be able to do this!” Lowell suddenly yelled. “They can’t take Walmart from me! Outta my way!”
Lowell got herself so riled up that she barrelled past the employees at the doorway who struggled to apprehend her and call the police.
Though it’s risky, some New Brunswickers have considered seeking employment at Walmart, just so they can still visit the big box store as frequently as before.
“I’m going through withdrawal, man,” said Brad Allen, who was waiting with an application in hand. “I don’t mind risking the virus if it means I can still hang out in the electronics section and then grab some XXL George khakis for $19.97 and some Great Value frozen dinners on my way out. I don’t know what to do with myself anymore! Hopefully they’re desperate enough right now that they’ll look past my criminal record.”
In an emailed statement from Walmart Canada, CEO Leo Tappenden assured New Brunswickers that the company is doing everything in its power to make sure patrons are well taken care of during this pandemic.
“We are working harder than ever to ensure regular business resumes quickly, and that soon you’ll be able to visit our stores multiple times daily, as in the past,” read the statement. “Failing that, you could always get a life.”