*This is a work of nonfiction based on actual events as told to me by my mother, who experienced them firsthand; used with permission.
"What's next? Are they going to pitch a tent in the middle of the store?"
My mother retired from Walmart after a decade of faithful service.
As crazy as it sounds, I'm not surprised. Walmart is a place where people can do whatever they want. You never know what you're going to see there.
As you might imagine, during those ten years working at Walmart, my mother saw a lot of interesting things. For example, one day, she and her coworkers saw a couple having a romantic picnic in the middle of one of the aisles.
The couple marched into the store with a picnic basket, selected a beach blanket from one of the displays, borrowed a vase and a cluster of fake flowers, and set up a lovely place to eat lunch, lovely except for the fact that it was in the middle of Walmart.
My mother decided to look the other way, but several of her coworkers ran to management for advice on how to handle the situation. "What do you want us to do?" they asked.
The manager on duty was calm as a cucumber. "Let's just let them enjoy their picnic," he said. "If they don't take anything, or break anything, just leave them alone. Maybe they didn't have anywhere else to go."
"What's next? Are they going to pitch a tent in the middle of the store?" one of my mother's coworkers groused.
"Just leave them alone," the manager reiterated.
Sure enough, once the couple was finished with their picnic lunch, they folded up the borrowed beach blanket and returned it to the shelf. Likewise, they replaced the fake flowers and the vase in their original spots.
They packed up their leftover food and trash into the picnic basket they'd brought with them, and without a word to any of the flabbergasted Walmart employees, they exited the store, never to be seen again.
It's been years, and my mother has never forgotten the time a couple had a romantic picnic in the middle of the aisle at Walmart. I'm sure they have passed the story down through the generations of Walmart employees, and it's a good thing, too. It's a delightful story to tell on a slow day at work.
It's a story that still makes my mother laugh. She always said that the craziest thing she ever saw was when that couple set up a romantic picnic in the middle of the aisle. My mom said it was pretty funny to see.
"There are plenty of places to have a picnic that are more romantic than Walmart," she told me, "but they looked pretty happy."
I'm not sure what's more surprising: that someone would have the guts to do something like that or that Walmart would allow it. Either way, it's a pretty funny story.
What are your thoughts? Was it romantic, tacky, or just plain gross to have a picnic at Walmart? Please leave a comment below.