My first time visiting the new Wal-Mart in town—or rather, my first time in the new town visiting Wal-Mart (see? word order makes difference!)—I literally stopped in my tracks to get my bearings.
My equilibrium was shaken and I reeled. My vision clouded for a moment. I felt as if I had walked through some sort of space-time continuum.
The store was backwards!
In the store I’m used to, the left-hand door opens into the housewares/“stuff” part of Wal-Mart, and the right-hand door takes you to the food. I walked in the left-hand door here, and I found myself in what I mistook to be Kroger. The food was there, starting with the produce, on the left-hand side of the store.
But the signs said Wal-Mart. I had not, in fact, found a magic door to take me halfway across town. Though that would have been fun. I could have made some serious money giving space-time-continuum tours.
Then I wondered if I had walked into a magic mirror where the things you saw mirrored became real. Maybe the doors to Wal-Mart were actually the front of the mirror—what woman hasn’t glanced in the door’s glass to make sure her hair was okay? I theorized the doors were the mirror and I had walked through to the back of the mirror, where all the things that you normally would see were flipped and vivified. That would certainly have explained the backwards layout.
Except the signs weren’t backwards—I could read them without trouble. Nope, not a magic mirror either. There goes the second get-rich-quick scheme.
I went on with my grocery shopping as if I were in my old familiar Wal-Mart, except I kept expecting to walk into another mirror any moment and find myself back in the comfortable layout. No mirror materialized. I got my carrots, broccoli and bananas without much trouble, thanks to all the signs pointing to them, then went exploring in the other side of the store.
I should have brought a machete for the jungle I found. The “stuff” part of the store was completely topsy-turvy. I think I walked by the fish tanks before figuring out I wasn’t where I needed to be. Either that or the cat food. I neither have a cat nor want a fish. I walked past the school supply aisle, also an unnecessary detour, before finding the checkout lanes and breathing a sigh of relief.
I emerged unscathed from the jungle of the mirrored Wal-Mart. But in the future, you won’t catch me there without a map. Those stores are big enough to get lost in.