The Walmart Experience| Natural Language Institute

Insights and Experiences


The Walmart Experience

By Rita Elena Daniel - 26/oct/2015 #History, Culture, and the Arts

When I arrived here and I saw that they have Walmart, I thought, “I refuse to fulfill the stereotype and be an American who shops at Walmart while living in a foreign country.” Yet, certain desperate circumstances led me to break my vow and venture forth into the unknown. Now, let me explain: today I had a misadventure—I’ll say that, ultimately, it led to an amazing incident which will reiterate the level of kindness I’ve experienced thus far as an American in Brasília. I decided that I needed to solve a problem which was really bugging me. I recently bought a water boiler so that I could make myself instant coffee, (a sick joke, I know, since coffee here in Brazil is the best— but it is more convenient than buying a coffee machine) tea, and ramen noodles, and I realized too late that the electrical outlets in my apartment don’t match the boiler’s plug. That annoyingness aside, I realized I had to solve the problem, but how? “Well,” I thought, “a converter ought to do the trick!”

Such a simple solution, right? Well, not exactly. I went to 3 different stores before I got desperate enough to go to Walmart. I couldn’t find what I needed anywhere else, so I rationalized that Wally World would have the jackpot. Apparently, while I was there, explaining my situation in broken Portuguese, I must’ve looked desperate, because out of nowhere, this young woman appeared, and like a guardian angel, helped me to explain what I was looking for to the sales clerk. She spoke to me in English, asking me what I needed, and I told her. When we found that they didn’t have the converter at Walmart, either, she drove me to a hardware store, which didn’t have it either.

A natural inclination might be to groan about the inconvenience of going to a country where electrical appliances’ plugs and their outlets don’t match. Despite the irritation, I’m glad that I had this problem, because it led to an even better experience—a human experience, in which my life here was made better through the acquaintance of a kind soul.

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