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Laura on Life

Exercising at Walmart

April 7, 2010
Dysart Reporter


Laura Snyder

Going to a Walmart store feels like going to the dentist. I know I should go because the prices are generally cheaper than other stores and I can do most of my shopping in one stop. But I would rather eat dirt than go to Walmart.

As soon as I pull into that sea of cars in the parking lot, animal instincts kick in. I will find a spot near the door! It may be good for your health to hike to the store from the back forty, but if you are as busy as I am, you don't want to waste time exercising when you're supposed to be shopping. Where did all these people come from? Don't they know the store is open 24/7? Why do they all have to be here at the same time I am? My "strategy for parking and you have to have a strategy" is to go down to the aisle furthest from the lot entrance and look for a spot closest to the store. Most people won't go all the way to the end, so I've got a better shot at a closer parking spot.

This is only a good strategy if your car is more than two years old and door dents don't put you into a foul mood anymore. Otherwise I wouldn't even consider parking near the store. It appears that I may have stumbled upon a connection between the age of one's car and one's good health: The newer the car, the more exercise one gets. The only loophole in my strategy is that if there are no open slots down that furthest aisle, I have to turn into the next aisle where the diagonal at which all the cars are parked will not allow me to pull into a spot unless I park in reverse. This, of course, means that I will not be able to put my purchases in the trunk like normal people unless I crawl on the hood of the car parked behind me, which, I will add, is not normal. Because the parking lot is set up in alternating diagonals, the reverse pull-in is the only option from that point on. Clearly, it is a gamble to expect an open slot in that first aisle. Once you arrive in the store, a world of infinite possibilities opens up before you; like entering the Pearly Gates, only Walmart gates are so- not pearly.

Should I go to the left and get my groceries or to the right and get a birthday gift for someone I barely know, a car battery, a shower curtain and a prescription refill? Well, there is meat on my list, so I should go to the right first. On my walk, I discover a display with "buy one, get one free" toothpaste. I have plenty of toothpaste, but the deal is too good to pass up. I found the one-cup coffee maker I've been looking for and a lost child I was not looking for, but surely somebody else must be. I also found the newest diet pill, guaranteed to make you lose ten pounds if you exercise enough (and if you shop at Walmart, you've got it covered).

By the time I reach the cash register an hour later, I have everything on my list, plus extra toothpaste, an extra coffee maker, an extra child, and some diet pills. I wasn't planning on a diet, but I'm already doing the exercise part so, why not?

Laura Snyder is a nationally syndicated columnist, author & speaker. You can reach Laura at Or visit her website



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