Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Ode to Walmart

My aspie and my husband loathe shopping.  They do not like shopping for different reasons, but both are in agreement that it is not for them.  My husband outlook on shopping is that he should only go if the items are specifically for him.  There is no reason really.  My aspie hates shopping because it is a sensory overload.  The people, the loud noises, the business of everything is way to much.  He has gotten to the point that we can no longer go to malls, the outlets, or any other place except...Walmart. 

My husband and my aspie like Walmart.  My husband does because he can buy his hunting and fishing gear, his underwear, his jeans, food, and razors in all one spot.  For someone who hates to shop, this is a blessing.  You're in, you're out, you're done. For me, I use to despise Walmart. You go in its visually blah, it always looks the same, it has such high ceilings it feels like you are in a warehouse instead of a store, and it does have hunting/fishing, ammunition, milk and clothes all in the same place, and the shoppers and employees are generally in a bad mood for some reason.  For a person who likes to shop, this is horrific.  I like stores, not a store.  I like happy people, not the doom and gloomers.  But since, this was the store that two out of three of us perfer, and the two that perfer it can scream louder than me, I have given in.  But then I realized, that for a child with aspergers, the same monotonous layout, the lack of decorations and fluff, the warehouse feeling of being large and not confining, and the fact that each Walmart around here is laid out the same is truly perfect!  There is no change, its predictable, and its got toys as a reward at the end.  Yes, its loud, but he can handle that since he knows that Walmart carries Thomas the Tank Engine Trains.  And in my aspie's book, he can handle the noise for a train. 

There is still one issue with Walmart that I had to work on through trail and error to allow for the best shopping experience for my family:  The loads of people that can be there.  People are not good for neither my aspie nor my bipolar.  Mean stupid people set off my husband, and people who want to talk and fuss over the two cute boys in the cart set off my aspie.  Not good.  This is especially bad because my aspie usually responds to people's demands for his name and age with "I don't like you" or "I don't like anything," which are two scripts he says whenever he feels overwhelmed.  Then I stand there with an awkward smile and say, "Oh we are going through a shy phase, and this is my son who is 4.  He has to go to the potty now."  And then we leave the awkwardness behind us.

 There is actually another reason though for avoiding people with my husband.  Little old ladies LOVE him.  It's quite crazy.  I cannot tell you how many times I have had to wait in the car for him because some blue hair has asked him to help her to their car with her bags.  Or how many times he has walked with one to the right isle because they cannot find something and stop to ask him.  He's the old lady whisperer.  So because my aspie and my baby have a shopping timer that if we hit the limit all hell breaks loose, this is a problem.  Therefore, I have been on the search for the absolute perfect time to visit Walmart.  Here's what I have found out in chart format (my PhD advisor is smiling right now):

People Type
Danger Level
7am-2:30 pm
Older retirees, stay at home moms
People type love children and must talk to them, touch, fuss over them, do not take hints to please go away
Code RED – only go in emergencies
After school kids and people getting off of work
Kids crazy from school, workers grumpy after working
Code Orange – Run in and run out, no large orders 
7:00pm -9:00pm
Families, singles, couple
People minding own business but toy isles busy, lines are long due to large orders
Code Brown – Can do but can be frustrating to wait in line, due with two adults
It’s a mix of all of the above and all things can happen
Code RED – only go in emergencies
Families and those who have come from church
As my husband says, “there’s something about the word of the Lord that makes people want to spend money.”  To busy and too long of lines
Code Orange – Run in and Run out, no large orders

So when then is the best time to approach Walmart?  It's Friday between 6:30 and 9:00. There are usually only a few couples, some families, but everyone is pleasant, not in a rush, and the lines are pretty short.  The blue hairs are at home watching Jeopardy and "The Wheel" and so that threat is low.  (To be honest, both hubs and I love these shows too, which has made us worry about our age situation.)  And most importantly, the threat of people trying to talk, touch or make over our aspie is very low.  And therefore, our big outting for the week occurs on Fridays to Walmart.  I know, big pimpers here.  Sometimes, for an extra kick we top it off with a quick drive thru at Starbucks for a treat for mom and dad and some milk for the boys.  

Feel free to use the chart above to plan your next shopping adventure to our beloved store.  I have worked long and hard on this (sort of)  and can assure you that it is tested and stands true.  0.1020166

0+1  That is from the baby and I will leave it in for character.  I think he sums it up perfectly!

1 comment:

Ashley Williams said...

Soooo Prof, I think I am entitled to give you a grade on your tables, while it is pretty good chart but there is one thing I would change and you can't see the brown in the danger level :p