John wakes up at promptly eight thirty. He gets out of bed, without hitting the snooze button and goes straight to the bathroom. I’ve always been envious of those “morning people” who don’t have to use the modern-day miracle of a snooze button. He showers his six foot frame and then proceeds to brush his thirty-two teeth. Clothed in a medium-size dark-colored shirt, thirty-two inch dark-wash jeans, grey Saucony’s and black frame glasses, he brushes his sandy brown hair, adjusts the stray hairs of his over-grown beard, grabs his black Velcro wallet and keys and walks out of the vintage, art-deco inspired loft apartment.
At ten o’clock on a Tuesday morning, not much is going on at Wally World. There are retired men and women going for their morning walk, as depicted by the nice khaki and black slacks, the rainbow of button-down shirts and white Reebok walking shoes. After the exercise, they congregate at aisle number six to pick out today’s Number One Doctor Recommended Vitamin Supplement For The Senior Society. Gathering the necessary weekly items of wheat bread, whole milk, and Fig Newtons, they march to the tune of “Blue Suede Shoes” to the register and check out.
Noon comes and goes with the rush of business professionals grabbing personal provisions. The hurried click of dress shoes resonate off the hard cement floors and up into the twenty-five foot high ceilings. A flash of black dress pants and a pressed, white-linen shirt speeds by to grab a “healthy” lunch from Subway (it’s better than McDonald’s, right?) and the aroma of Genoa salami, spicy pepperoni, Black Forest ham, lettuce, tomato, provolone cheese and freshly baked bread linger longer than the professional’s entire rendezvous into Wal-Mart.
It is now after five in the afternoon and the scene has changed. Busier, more hectic, and more vibrant is the atmosphere. Young parents toting small children and pushing shopping carts over flowing with frozen pizzas, Kool-Aid packets and diapers maneuver their way through the crowded aisles and to the line.
“Mom, I want this!”
“No. Put it down!”
“No. Put it down!”
“But I NEED it!”
“You don’t NEED anything; PUT IT DOWN!”
Teenagers are now rudely pushing their way between the young families, bouncing children’s rubber balls, riding bikes through the aisles and shopping for new clothes, makeup, and electronics. As John is walking the store, a young teenager catches his eye. She is wearing jeans that have multiple tears in the legs, a neon green tank top, a sweatshirt that looks to be two sizes too big, and on her shoulder is a cute multi-colored handbag. As she shops for eye shadow that specifically matches her tank top, she discreetly drops a small container of face cream into her bag.
Keeping his distance, but never losing sight of her, John follows her. She meets up with her group of friends and proceeds towards the checkout counter. As she digs through her cute multi-colored handbag to retrieve her wallet, one of her friends says something funny and all three of them start to laugh. She pays for the eye shadow and walks towards the door.
“Excuse me, ma’am, my name is John and I work loss prevention for Wal-Mart. I have reason to believe that you have something in your purse that you have not paid for. I need you to follow me to my office so we can talk more about this.”
After having her empty the contents of her handbag on the counter in his office, John finds three containers of face cream, a tube of mascara and a 100-count package of hair bands. Big blue eyes tear up as she takes a seat on the cold, ugly, brown leather couch.
“According Wal-Mart policy, I am going to have to call the authorities. Wait here while I go make the call.”
John calls police dispatch to get an officer to the store. The police officer shows up within twenty excruciating long minutes and the young teenage girl with the neon green eye shadow gets escorted off by the officer. As she is ushered out of the door, she turns around and exclaims,
“I’m sorry, sir! I promise, I will never do it again!”
“I am so glad to hear you say that, Miss. Have a Nice Day.”
Forty-five minutes of paperwork and one less indigent later, John walks back out on the store’s floor to look for another thief, another victim of society’s “entitlement fever”, another man or woman, another teenager or business professional. Digital cameras, face cream, dog food, DVDs, golf balls, and packaged meat are all under the protection of John.
A perfectly symmetrical circle, colored a pleasantly bright yellow with black markings inside the shape, depicting two oval eyes and a thin mouth. Brought into pop-culture existence in 1963 by American commercial artist, Harvey Ball, then internationally through the use of multinational public corporation, Wal-Mart, we now see this emblem and think to ourselves “Don’t Worry – Be Happy”, “Have A Nice Day”, or “Roll Back Prices!”.
All shapes and sizes of people will walk into a Wal-Mart store at any given time – day or night – at any given location. Upon seeing this American icon when entering the store, it is their choice, as well as yours and mine, to “Have a Nice Day”.