#980.5: The Adventures of an Anxious Walmart Shopper on Easter Saturday

“Hey Jen, if you’re up early enough, let’s go to Walmart tomorrow morning.  I want to look for that new Coke,” I said stupidly, not thinking about what weekend it was.

“Sure,” she agreed, and that’s how it ended up that we left for Walmart at 9:45 on Easter Saturday morning.

The “new Coke” I was referring to is “Coca Cola with Coffee”, available in three different brews:  Caramel, Dark, and Vanilla.  I want to try all three.  I was a big fan of Coca Cola Blaq about 15 years ago, their first attempt to mass market a coffee/Coke hybrid.  Coke Blaq was delicious, like regular Coke but with the extra note of coffee bean.  I’m eager to try these new ones.  Coke Blaq came in a small black bottle in these come in cans, which makes me wonder if they are similar to those creamy coffee beverages, with a Coke taste?  Or something more like Coca Cola Blaq?  Inquiring minds wanted to do, and I had heard that these were showing up in Walmart stores.

Walmart was already pretty busy and then I smacked myself and realized, “Of it is.”  Ah well.

I wore an N95 mask this time; my first time.  Easy breathing but hard on the ears.  If I’m wearing one long term I’ll have to do something about the ears.  About 75% of Walmart shoppers were masked, and 100% of the staff.  This is good since virtually everybody I know has Covid, or has had a recent close brush.  I can’t believe this is my third Covid Easter.

First I made my way to the entertainment section where I picked up the newest Blue Rodeo album, Many A Mile.  On slide guitar, The Sheepdogs’ own Jimmy Bowskill, once a child prodigy discovered by Jeff Healey at age 11.  Blue Rodeo are one of those bands where I just want to own all the albums, and stay current, even if the last five or six albums have been good but not memorable.  There’s never anything wrong with ’em.  Many A Mile is as good as any.  In some regards, it’s a throwback to the classic first three Blue Rodeo albums.  Lots of awesome guitar work and hooks.  Just gets hard to remember the songs, record after record after record.

Also found in the music department were the new albums by Slash and Greta Van Fleet, but I found myself staring indifferently at them.  I didn’t even know Greta had a new album out.  Have they already dropped off the radar that badly?

Come on, where are you Spiderman: No Way Home?  Not in stock – sold out!  They had a three-fer with all three MCU Spidey films in one, but I wanted something with the bonus features that I crave.  Ah well, next time, I’ll get you Spiderman!

Finally a trip to the toy section.  No Marvel Legends figures at all, and only a couple Star Wars Black Series.  They were well stocked in Transformers and I noticed they had some reissue Beast Wars toys.  Hard to believe Beast Wars was 25 years ago.  I never bought an original Beast Wars toy, and wanted to give one of these reissues a shot.  They only had Optimus Primal and Megatron, so obviously I chose the dinosaur.  Beast Wars has always been an enigma to me.  When it was new, the toys seemed to barely transform.  The cartoon was very primitive in terms of computer animation.  But Beast Wars appealed to kids worldwide and it saved the Transformers franchise.  Curiosity got the better of me and now I am the happy owner of a reissue purple dino Megatron.

Finally, the Coke. I scoured the racks but they did not have the coffee beverages that I require.  I shall have to try convenience stores and gas stations next.  I love Coke.  I try every variety that I can get my hands on.  I have no problem with Pepsi, but it’s Coke that I want to catch ’em all.

Walmart did have two sweet looking consolation Cokes:  Quebec Maple, and British Columbia Raspberry.  Only having enough hands for one case, I chose Quebec Maple.  Upon paying, I realized that someone swapped out one bottle of Maple and replaced it with a Raspberry.  Win!  I get to try both.

I only had one panic attack while waiting to pay, and I managed to breathe my way out of it.

Walmart had run out of plastic bags and only had the more expensive cloth ones.  I could feel the tension as word spread among the customers.  I hate standing in line at grocery stores and Walmarts.  Everybody does, but I get tense.  It passed; my glasses fell off because of the way the N95 pulls on my ears, but I paid for my stuff and got out.  Didn’t need a bag.  Didn’t have the energy to look at Sunrise Records or Toys R Us.  Just came home.

Put the Coke in the fridge, pulled up a chair and started listening to the Blue Rodeo.  They’re usually pretty good for reducing the anxiety. I feel a lot better already!  Happy Easter everyone, and stay away from places like Walmart if you can!


      1. See you grabbed your homeboys CD. Make sure you grab that RUSH MP 40TH. I can honestly say its the best live RUSH I have ever heard. It’s raw and live. Peart slays YYZ as he is playing it an 120 mph clip. Different than the one we have heard on ESL for decades! I mean doing a reggae version of Working Man that goes into By Tor? friggin gold
        Amazing time capsule of a band…just wow!


  1. I have seen people (ie: nursing staff) using a short cloth strap with a large button sewn on each end where the mask’s elastic loops wrap around behind your head and hook on the buttons; easy to make one. I think an unfolded large paperclip would also hold the elastics off your ears, but a little harder to hook onto and use. I’m sure there are other ideas that would work in a similar fashion.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I wore an N95 at the early stsges of the pandemic for a full day while working.
    Many a time I found it hard to breathe, especially as the weather got hotter and more humid.
    But for a quick Walmart trip it would be ok.
    I switched to a blue medical mask for longer periods and feel safe enough.
    It’s all your own comfort level.

    You seem to be like I was in 2020. Hopefully the fear and panic can get better for you.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. You’re a Coke fan? Last century(it feels like) I used to hunt down those Vanilla Coke cans. But it’s been years since I’ve had those. Have noticed that new flavors keep popping up. Here not many people buy them since those weird flavors are always on sale.

    I’m a Pepsi fan, the original with sugar. But I admit that cold Coke in a can is great. But if it’s not cold then I’m not drinking it.

    Nice story. Which Greta are u talking about? It seems most releases just happen unannounced. Without John’s Friday releases lists I’d be totally clueless (could be my natural state at this age..)

    Happy Easter!

    Oh, I’m listening to Don Dokken: Up from the ashes…following that info u had on Stranger Things and Freddy…Cannot wait. Imagine having this series back in the 80’s. We all would be wearing Stranger things shirts. Talking of t-shirts. I got 2 Maiden shirts for my birthday. Eddie with Wolverine and Eddie as superhero. That Marvel series.


  4. I bought that Blue Rodeo and it’s very good indeed! You’re right, it’s hard to distinguish anymore but does it really matter? Our Mallwart here is the same, though I think we have fewer people wearing masks. I guess that genie is out of the bottle now. Me, I still wear mine! You should talk to James about trying new sodas and stuff, he likes it too.


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