Wal-Mart, The Christmas Musical (Redux)

Christmas is all about traditions.  Every year we unpack our favorite, old ornaments.  We unearth our Bing Crosby and Manheim Steamroller CDs.  We watch A Christmas Story, Miracle on 34th St. and It’s a Wonderful Life.

Around this blog, tradition means dusting off the ghosts of Christmas blog posts past.


A speedy trip to everybody’s favorite big box store for toilet paper the other day turned into an Ordeal from which I barely escaped with my life.  This reminded me of one of my earliest posts (still a major contender for the coveted “Favorite Blog Posts I Ever Wrote That Were Totally Ignored By The Freshly Pressed Gods” Award.)

Sit back and relax while we present, with apologies to Broadway, the soon-to-be classic:

Wal-Mart, The Christmas Musical

Thanks to People of Wal-Mart for the cast member photo.

Thanks to People of Wal-Mart for the cast member photo.

Most Americans have been to Wal-Mart.  But you haven’t truly experienced it until you see Wal-Mart, The Christmas Musical.   I attended a performance just a few days ago.

The entire play takes place in a Super Wal-Mart.  It is Sunday afternoon during the busy, holiday shopping season.

Here’s the story in a nutshell.  Our heroine, a young ingénue who looks almost exactly like me, visits the Land of Wal-Mart.  She has been sprinkled with holiday cheer fairy dust and sent on a quest.  She must find a magic wand that will reanimate the Christmas tree lights when half of each strand has gone out (kind of like a Christmas light defibrillator).  Then she must get checked out and back to her car before the dust wears off and she turns into a mean, bitchy old crone.

During the prelude we were treated to Mariah Carey’s spiritual take on “Santa’s Got A Booty Call (So You Better Be Naughty!)”.

There wasn’t a dry eye in the place when one of the female leads, imaginatively costumed in black stretch pants and a shirt cut low enough to reveal a pair of angels tattooed on the upper slopes of her…charms, softly crooned a simple ballad to the children gathered around her cart: “I TOLD You 20 Times”.

“I TOLD you 20 times you gotta be 8 years old before Santa will bring you Call of Duty, Black Ops.  I’m going to have your daddy (Rodney, that guy whose staying with us and kinda like your daddy) WHUP YOUR A** if you ask me ONE more time!”

I wasn’t the only one who left the show singing THAT moving tune.

The children’s choir almost stole the show with their rousing hit, “I Want THAT!”   The lyric was not complicated – only “I Want THAT”, over and over – but the performance elevated the words to art.  The volume of their childish cries built and built to a mighty crescendo.  The number ended with the whole choir falling to the floor and kicking its collective heels.  Unforgettable.

The Greeter’s Gospel Choir’s a cappella rendition of “Go Tell It On The Mountain (The Holidays Are Here)” had everyone clapping along.   The reworked lyrics explained in an uplifting, catchy way why saying Merry Christmas at the door would be the same as forcing shoppers to join a church and submit to full-immersion baptism in order to get in the store.  Entertaining and really thought provoking.

But the showstopper was the big production number finale.

I took a couple of dance classes as a kid, so I’m familiar with steps like the flap-ball-change.  But I’ve never seen the moves the Wal-Mart Shoppers Dance Troupe perfected for this extravaganza, a routine they call the Oblivious Shuffle.

Each shopper/dancer leaned on his or her cart and pushed it slowly, oh so slowly, back and forth across the stage.  Their shuffling gate kept one shoe (or house slipper, as the case may be) on the floor at all times.  The shuffling feet made a “shush, shush” sound that underscored the “squeak, squeak” of their unoiled cart wheels.  The occasional crash of colliding carts played like cymbals in the composition.

About half of the dancers had cell phones pressed to their ears.  One at a time, each would burst into song with lyrics like “…so that witch he married said they couldn’t take the kids Christmas Eve and I told her if you think I’m going to pick them up on HIS weekend, you can just tell their dad…” Their solos were incomprehensible, one-sided conversations when taken by themselves.  Together, they wove a timeless Christmas story.

The dancers went through their movements with vacant, glassy stares that gave the illusion that they were totally unaware of everyone else around them.

Think of Night of the Living Dead as a ballet.

Meanwhile, the young ingénue wove her cart skillfully in and out of the shuffling throng, trying to get to the registers.   The checkers each turned their lights off as she approached, crying “price check on 10″, “change needed on 5”, “register frozen on 8“ in a surprisingly harmonious medley.  Everyone held their breath when a determined shopper with 2 carts piled high cut in front of our heroine in the “15 items or less” line, but there was no collision – it was all just part of the magical show.

I don’t want to give away the ending in case you decide to see it.  Suffice it to say our ingenue bore a marked resemblance to the apple-wielding hag in Snow White as she hobbled to her SUV when the curtain fell.


About pegoleg

R-A-M-B-L-I-N-G-S, Ram...Blin!
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58 Responses to Wal-Mart, The Christmas Musical (Redux)

  1. “Al’s zee is also that had no. That is a P’s of work!”

    That mess up there is my attempt to dictate a comment instead if tap it in. It says:

    Holy shizzlesticks, Pego! That is a piece of work! I’m serious. That said, I’m troubled. I am left wondering why there were no reindeer sightings on this journey. Seems like there should have been a reindeer or two bopping around. And by reindeer I mean tattooed and pierced drug addicts hopped up on OxyContin screamin’: “I just need a l’il sumthin’ to take the edge off! You understand? Just a little sonethin’!” ‘Tis the season.


    • pegoleg says:

      Dictate comments? You are so right-now with the technology, Miss Reneenay! You’re right – this piece needs a few reindeer thrown in, especially the hepped-up-on-oxy kind.


  2. I’m glad you presented and encore performance. Brava!


  3. SocietyRed says:

    Wow! I am one of the few who haven’t been to a Wal-Mart and your description has me convinced to stay away. Wonderfully written and descriptive in a way that I want to go get a xanax to chill out after the show!


  4. Go Jules Go says:

    Ahhhh! The “Oblivious Shuffle”!!!! That’s it. That’s right where I lost it. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve almost lost my life, or waited an extra 5 minutes to get to a register because someone is standing in the middle of an aisle, blocking everyone…

    Thank chipmunks for Amazon.


    • pegoleg says:

      I’ve actually ordered a few things online this year, but I prefer the visceral thrill of full contact shopping – down in the trenches where women are women, and stores are glad they are. Whatever that means.


  5. Al says:

    A migraine inducing musical. What will Hollywood think of next?


  6. bigsheepcommunications says:

    A classic Christmas favorite!


  7. mistyslaws says:

    That musical just gave me PTSD. Who do I sue?


  8. Tori Nelson says:

    Haha. I’m with Misty. Also I felt so bad I went out and bought that kid Call of Duty. Then I realized what he really needed was a new mom.


  9. k8edid says:

    I love this – how did I miss it before? Our Walmart has a cashier who has eyeliner that she draws all the way to her hairline at her temples. I don’t know her name, but if you ask anyone in this town if they have seen her – they will tell you all about her.

    Here in the land of retirees, everyone is doing their shopping in capri pants (preferably pastel) and tank tops. The Salvation Army bell ringers wear parrot head shirts and flip flops. I just can’t get into it…and I had planned to avoid Wally World until after the new year, but after this review I may just have to check it out.


    • pegoleg says:

      I feel for you, Katy. Can’t imagine Christmas where it’s warm.

      As to Eyeliner Lady, don’t you wonder about people like that, can’t they SEE themselves in the mirror? My theory is they had a certain look going when they snagged their man, and that’s where they freeze.


  10. Dana says:

    I loved this post the first time around, Peg, and it’s just as priceless now.


  11. notquiteold says:

    I’m afraid the encore is the returns line. Maybe several encores…


  12. pattisj says:

    I’ve seen that show, not going back!


  13. Standing ovation 🙂


  14. egills says:

    I’m so glad we don’t have a Walmart on this side of the pond! All I can say is thank God for Waitrose


  15. Elyse says:

    Please wake me up in January. And Happy Holidays, Peg 😉


  16. oh, yes, a classic! I have to go to walmart this week and I’m already dreading it.


  17. I don’t mean this to sound snobby, but I’ve only been in a Wal-Mart a couple times on road trips, and I always wonder if they’re really like people say. But now that I know it’s actually a massive piece of performance art, and a delightful musical production, I’m on my way!

    (What a great idea for a post, by the way)


    • pegoleg says:

      I really did see all this on a trip to Wal-Mart: the woman with angels tattooed on the tops of her ginormous breasts (nearly totally exposed by her scoop-necked black t-shirt) who was screaming at her young children (grandchildren?), the kid having a temper tantrum in the aisle, the rude, clueless shoppers shuffling along blocking the aisles while I was trying to GET OUT!

      All that was missing was the proper soundtrack and choreography and if you squint your eyes (and take enough medication), your imagination supplies that.


  18. With my luck I’ll end up being featured on ‘People of Wal-Mart’ at some point.
    Which will make it difficult for me to complain about Wal-Mart.


  19. I love this post! I must say, when I lived in the States, I quite enjoyed my occasional trips to Wal-Mart! Not sure if I should be admitting that publicly…


    • pegoleg says:

      It’s OK Vanessa. Everybody loves to pick on Wal-Mart, but they all shop there anyway. Although, l must admit I’m not a big fan. Now that they’re all Super Wal-Marts, the place is just too big.


  20. Reblogged this on The Podgorica Tribune and commented:


  21. Jackie says:

    I love it when you go in the vault and bring out treasure. This is a great re-post. It appears you do some of your best writing when inspired by the holidays. Nothing like people taking their crazy out for a walk to get the fingers firing, eh?


  22. I knew there was a reason I shop on-line. Marvelously done, this is certain to keep me out of Wal-Mart for another year, twenty and counting.


  23. Another classic! Sadly, I see a mini version of this scenario whenever I go in the school-town Wal Mart. It’s still big, but more manageable than Sam’s Club and the Wally World in the bigger town north of us.

    And, of course, I always run into present and past students when I decide to buy beer in the school-town store.

    I swear they make the carts bigger and the aisles smaller so you can experience optimum frustration – especially when it’s holiday season and they have endless end-cap displays.

    Gee – nothing funny in my comment. I’ll have to work on my witty repertoire’ (sp?)
    TGIF. I’ll try to get my groove on over the weekend! 🙂


    • pegoleg says:

      As long as your students don’t expect you to buy for them, it’s all good Miss Tar. I sure wish it was TGIF again, but that would mean I’m only a week away from Christmas and STILL unprepared!!!


  24. crouland1953 says:

    Very creative sounds like lots of fun.:-)


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