Her clothing appeared clean, her equipment was in good order (for a stroller) and the children seemed to be well-fed.
|Wal-Mart lady photo I refer to|
In fact, the only thing that seemed to qualify her for the standard ‘Gosh-Awful Wal-Mart People Show’ was the fact that she was carrying what appeared to be a sudden weight gain on her thighs, hips and buttocks to the point where the jeans, which appeared to be decent quality ones, whatever the maker, did not have any looseness in them and her outline seemed distorted. Not badly distorted, mind you. She might have taken a size 18 (US) in trousers over the thighs. The rest of her was fairly slim. Oh – and she did have a tattoo across her lower back. If she had worn jeans that actually fit, I doubt anyone would have snapped the photo.
I frowned and eyed the picture again. Two children, apparently under 3 – 4 years old. Very tight jeans – pregnancy weight, maybe? Based on some other observations, she might well be a nursing mother. And she was in the Wal-Mart parking lot. Hm.
That photo made me think, and I remembered the various slide shows of ‘Wal-Mart people’ that I had laughed at over the years. It struck me that maybe I wouldn’t be laughing at them any more. Or, at least, I wouldn’t be looking at them any more.
Why? Well, a couple of reasons. First of all, it seems that a lot of the ‘gosh-awful Wal-Mart people’ are overweight. Some of them are very overweight, indeed. Does that make them somehow contemptible? Or less worthy of respect? A dear friend died this summer. She was very heavy, but she dressed well and carried herself with pride. I imagined someone putting her in a ‘people of Wal-Mart slide show and cringed.
Some of the outfits are truly bizarre – but speaking as one who has walked down the streets of New York and Philadelphia , the clothing and hair is no more weird that I’ve seen on the streets. For that matter, if someone had been around last Thursday morning at 5:30 AM they might have had quite a photo opportunity with me trundling my trash receptacle to the curb, wearing my night attire, with hair uncombed, muttering under my breath about the annoying company that handles recycling for my town.
And let’s be honest here – a lot of people are hurting for money and they need to shop somewhere cheap. And they can’t afford to buy new, larger jeans (or spiffier clothes). While I don’t like scammers and criminals, the bulk of people hurting for money are neither.
A very thoughtful post. It's all too easy to make snap judgments about others based on a split-second glance at their appearance. This was a nice reminder that it's better to be kind than funny.
Thank you for this post. It's a good reminder to think about ourselves and our reactions before showing our thoughts to the world. Reading deeper into the situation really can cast a different light on an initial reaction.(I think I've used 'reaction' a lot in just a few sentences, oops)
Thanks, Lara and Heather -I had a friend say, once 'We build the walls around ourselves with the bricks that others throw at us.' (pretty profound – and she was a really funny but perceptive person.)
I am sorry. While some will spout to being non-judgmental and accepting of “whatever goes” (just to be politically correct), I cannot. Since I moved to Arkansas, I have been “reduced” to shopping at Walmart and–believe me–the fleshy sights one must endure are astounding.While someone might be wholesome (Austrian-speak for more than curvy), wearing unsuitable attire has nothing to do with any financial ability to cover up. It is an attitude of “anything goes,” that unfortunately seems to pervade. No wonder, we Americans are easily picked out in other countries–and not exactly in our favor.Like it or not, clothes still do make the man (or woman).
I take your point, Inge, but mine was that we must have charity when dealing with others.I agree that there is a certain respect (self and otherwise) that must be shown, the attitude of a lot of the photos I've seen (and the commentary) is not 'Gosh, these people are sloppy' so much as 'What a pack of weirdos! Come join me and laugh yourself silly!' I went through a number of collections of photos of Wal-Mart people and found that a great many of them were simply people dressed normally but looking poorly. An example is a photo of the terrifically obese man who was disabled and getting round on a motor scooter. That he was the way he was indicated (1) a severe disability and (2) depression. He is an object of pity, not of scorn.But we can't all be as elegante and soigne' as you, Inge! Alas! (My little Lipizzan is happily ensconced in my étagère…)