Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Stinky Walmart

I really hate going to Walmart. As Max told me yesterday "No, not Walmart, it's stinky!". Perhaps it's my imagination, but there is an odor about Walmart that just doesn't stimulate my appetite. Can't put my finger on what it is, wet cardboard/fish/cleaning products, it's not overwhelming, it just perches on the edge of my nose and makes me want to get out fast. Unfortunately, the main Walmart in town is in between work and home and Max's school and home and is therefore convenient when I am driving and have the "Oh crap, we need eggs and milk" moment. For the big shopping excursions, we'll choose Soriana or Mega over Walmart every time, but on days when I only need a couple of things, the convenience of the big blue W forces me through its doors. In addition to the "aroma", Walmart is usually packed, has long lines at the checkouts and less than friendly cashiers. It's also a tourist mecca, wife beater shirts and socks and sandals trying to figure out why the milk isn't refrigerated. They hear me speak to Max in English and see my uniform and correctly guess that I live here. Suddenly I am a grocery interpreter, helping them choose the mayonnaise they want and pointing out where they can find the tequila and deodorant. I usually don't mind helping, but it sure slows down my whole "get in, get out" game plan.

Yesterday I had the "Oh sh*t, I forgot to get bread!" moment just as we were passing the Walmart Supercenter, made the quick turn into the parking lot, only to be screamed at by Max. He threw a mini-tantrum, screaming "Walmart is STINKY! I want Soriana!!!". Well, phooey kid, you get what you get, now let's go. It was a zoo, filled with tourists (nice to see after hunkering down at the computer reading all the alerts and warnings). I realized I should make the best of it and have some fun so pulled out my camera to become the crazy woman taking pictures of fish. Sooo, here's a peek at some of the delightful things you'll find in Walmart in Cancun.

The Deli
Would you like ham, ham or ham?

I'm sure that about halfway through the bottle
that goat starts looking pretty mean.
"Whatchoo lookin' at Mr. Goat? Eh? I'm going to kick your...."

Expensive shrimp at that, 454 pesos/kilo!

Jaiba- Much cheaper, too bad I don't like it!

Fresh Fish
(Max told me not to get too close to take the picture,
he felt it was "dangwous")

Run For Your Lives Frozen Shrimp,
The Octopus is Coming For You!!!!
(Another item I don't like, I can't stand 'pulpo', the texture
kills me, ewwwwww)

The Creepiest Photo of Pastor Ever
(Can you see the floating face over the onions? There was no one there
when I took the picture, ooooooooooooh, freaky! And is that steam
or some kind of ghostly vapor coming off the meat?)

And there you have it folks, the lightning tour of stinky Walmart. It must be haunted, the "buy more" spirits were certainly present, I went in for bread and came out with a lot of crap I don't remember needing. If you see me in Walmart, don't be afraid to ask for help, I promise not to bite your head off or mock you in the blog. No, really, I'd hate to see you walk out with crunchy instead of smooth, that could ruin your whole trip.


ElleCancun said...

Jajajaja - I too must admit, I am NO walmart fan, however, I do like that it is open all hours of the day :)) Even in Canada I wouldn't go to a Walmart (it's stinky there too!!!) I like you, don't mind helping out tourists either! It makes me feel good, as usually I'm the one asking hubby for help! LOL

stalkermom said...

Oh that floating face scared me!

Kelly said...

That octopus was SUPER creepy! I really hate Wal-Mart and yet I shop there almost exclusively because it is significantly cheaper and the ones here carry a lot of Mexican brands of candy and cookies that I have become addicted to.

It does not get invaded by sea creatures, though.

K.W. Michigan said...

Wal-Mart is my first stop in Cancun! I absolutely love the ready made wing dings. (a bit spicy - yum) But we do alot of shopping at Mega too. Here at home Wal-mart is so much cheaper, so I do my main grocery shopping there. And I agree with Kelly's comment - they carry a lot of Mexican brands that I love.

Unknown said...

A couple of the grocery stores here have that bad smell, Walmart isn't one of them. I think it's bad a/c or rotten food. One of the Sorianas has it and one of the CMs. I can't grocery shop there it makes me ill. It's funny but the other Soriana doesn't and neither does the Mega CM.
I got told not to take photos at the grocery store when I tried to do it for my blog.

Alex said...

where is that floating face? like on the wall or where?! ack!! I know somebody that thinks Walmart stinks and -almost- throws tantrums: my husband! it does smell funny (everywhere!) I rather go to super target!

Anonymous said...

holy crap, this shrimp is expensive. is that like 30 USD? nuts... here it is probably $10/kilo.

pulpo is gooooood... i used to hate it too till i tried it out of pressure cooker. in japan when i ate it it just tasted chewy but out of a pressure cooker, very soft.

Coby said...

Thanks for the pictures! It's pretty interesting to note the differences between your Wal-mart and those a bit further north...

CancunCanuck said...

Posting this on behalf of Rivergirl who can't comment because one "anon" idiot ruined it for everyone.

"I detest Walmart here in Cancun and only go when there's no other
choice. We buy milk and eggs at Costco, cheaper there. And Costco
seems to have the freshest eggs I've found anywhere in Cancun.

I never noticed it being stinky, but Max is right, it's not neutral
smelling in there.

I always notice that the guys working in Walmart like to steal the gringa's shopping carts and hide them in another aisle, it's happened to me 3 times and lots of other Cancunense gringas have reported the same thing to me. I think the guys thinks it's funny or something. Wankers."

My Way said...

Chedraui by far is the most stinkiest ever.

Islagringo said...

I've long wanted to do a post about Walmart but I hate being in there so badly I can't stand to take the time to photograph anything. Going along with Rivergirl, our cart mysteriously moves around too. Once our whole cart, overflowing to the brim, totally disappeared and we had to start over. One of us always guards it now.

Calypso said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Calypso said...

Camarón around here is 110 to 180 a kilo for medium to large shrimp.Way less than $10.00 US typically.


Kathy said...

Walmart and Mega here are the tourist traps. DO you have Bodega Aurrera up there? They have much better prices, I've never seen a gringo or tourist there (it is in the Ejido over here) but their produce sucks eggs. I refuse to go to Walmart but use Soriana (espcially for puntos) and Mega on Wed (for cheap produce) and Bodega for dry goods.

dichuy said...

Ham, ham, and, ham! I swear it is all one kind and they just put it in different packaging. In the early/mid 90s I hated going to the Chedraui at Tulum and Coba. The lighting in there was terrible and the fruit nasty. We love to shop at Sorianna now because of the fresh churros in the bakery. We've been know to wait for a fresh batch.

zama07 said...

Great blog. You are one funny lady!

MrsBug said...

We stopped in at Walmart while we were there to get hubby a snorkel mask and snorke.. That place is INSANE!! Busy like crazy.

I hates me some Walmart, but I have to say that the line was long but moved fast on the day we were there. Actually, I don't think I've ever gotten out of a Walmart as fast as we did that day. The Walmarts here in Michigan always seem to have 2 out of 14 lanes open. :\

CancunCanuck said...

On Mexican Time- I don't think I've ever been to Walmart in the middle of the night, that might be a fun adventure! I'll admit, sometimes I reach out to the poor lost tourists staring at the Spanish labels, I do like to help. And nooooo, I don't think I was ever in Walmart in Canada!

stalkermom- It still scares me, lol! (Welcome!)

Kelly- I don't get freaked out by many sea creatures, I can snorkel and enjoy sharks and rays and eels, no probs. But octopus freak me out alive or dead (I wonder what movie I watched as a child that created that particular psychoses?) I think it's funny that Wally World in the states carries Mexican products, it's the one place where I can occasionally find an American gem like Chef Boyardee. :)

K.W.- Walmart is the easiest supermarket for tourists to get to for sure being right on the main bus line, and it does offer a lot of familiar items. I love the new Mega on Lopez Portillo, but it's not easily accessible and I can guarantee you won't find English speaking staff.

Theresa- Bad a/c, rotten food and humidity, yum. They stopped you from taking pictures?? That's crazy! Maybe my uniform was too intimidating for them to try to stop me, lol, it is a little bit "police officery". :)

Ale- I wish I knew where that face came from, it really is still freaking me out! It's not on the wall, it must be a reflection (there's glass behind the onions), but I swear there was no one there, and I don't recall any posters or anything that could have made the reflection. Creepy! And oh man, I think I would kill for a Target here!

Kathleen- That was super expensive shrimp, I don't know where they came from to be such a high price. I don't often buy shrimp, but when I do it's anywhere from 99 pesos to 150 pesos per kilo, far more reasonable. And um, er, yeah, don't know if I could do the pulpo, it's a mental thing, lol.

Coby- You're welcome! I realize I've completely forgotten what a grocery store up north is like, I am losing my "Canadinity". (Yes, I just made up that word). :)

Rivergirl- I don't eat the eggs (blech), so can't tell if they are fresh or not. Milk we buy in the big boxes of 12 boxes and the prices are pretty similar everywhere. I love Costco, but I always seem to spend way more than I can afford! And I have never, ever had my cart moved or swiped, that stinks! I guess having a kid in the cart helps. :)

My Way- OH dear god yes, Chedraui stinks! We used to live across from Plaza las Americas and the Chedraui there was our store. That was before their renovation, it was disgusting in there!

IslaGringo- I'd love to read your post on Walmart, your sense of humour is different than mine, I know you would make me laugh. I really can't believe that you lost a whole cart, that's insane! As I said to Rivergirl, it's never happened to me, but I really think that's the "Max Alarm" system working for me. How strange!

Calypso- That's a much more reasonable price for shrimp and we do find those prices. As I said to Kathleen, I have no idea why those particular shrimp were so expensive, though I'm guessing they may have been imported rather than our own Caribbean stock.

Kathy- I've heard there are Aurreras around, but not anywhere near me. Soriana and Mega are both just blocks away from home (heck, I can see the new Mega sign right now) so they are definitely first choice. Walmart is my "lazy" choice, it's on the way home from work and school. I will avoid it if possible though! Though when Max was a baby, it was the only store that carried certain baby products so we spent a lot more time there. Love my Soriana puntos!!

Dichuy- I never thought that I would become a connoisseur of ham, but alas, I have become a little bit picky about it. The ladies at Soriana are always trying to get me to try the product they are pushing that day, and I will always sample it but I then go back to my old fave (which is not ham actually, but pechuga de pavo de San Rafael, clasica). I refuse to go into that Chedraui, I find it very claustrophobic in there! Oh man, you had to mention churros?? Now I've got to get to the bakery, lol!

zama07- Thanks so much and welcome, glad to have you aboard! I think if I could choose one characteristic to have for the rest of my life, "funny" would be in the top three (with "nice" and "positive") so I appreciate your comment.

MrsBug- In high season in Cancun, it really is a ZOO. Pay days are a bad time to visit there too (15th and 30th of the month, avoid, avoid!). Glad you got through quickly, we never have that luck!

Sara said...

Walmart does have a certain oder that I think is international. Maybe it's in the cleaning chemicals they use. That and the obnoxious lighting. can lighting add to smell? I think it can. Or at least, it my head it does because I'm sensitive to that.

I love the goat by the way. At first I thought it was a gazelle. Then I thought Waaaait... how did that gazelle get to Mexico?

malibuskier said...

we're going to be in Playa del Carmen next week. Does WalMart accept credit cards? I don't want to bring much cash if I don't have to. Thanks.

1st Mate said...

Once I was in the Walmart at Puerto Vallarta, which is directly across the highway from the cruise ship dock, and there were people coming off the cruise ship to come buy their beach clothes and souvenirs at Walmart! Good grief!

Heather said...

Thats crazy! NO way... seafood in wal mart? I dont blame him for not wanting to go in for it being stinky. Again thanks for sharing though, always fun to see.

AFM- I was on a camping trip in Moab for a week, hence all the catch up comments. You should check out the pixs on my blog, who knew Utah was so beautiful, lol!


Shéhérazade said...

Hello guys, it's my first time posting, nice to e-meet you!

Although I didn't shop at Walmart in Chicago because I hated it, I hate to say that it's been a huge convenience having it down here, plus it's always near for us who don't own a car (they really know how to monopolize!) I just wish they had Target instead. Whatever you do, do NOT shop at Chedraui, it stinks and the food has creatures inside that you don't want to pay for to take home. Aurrera belongs to Walmart so it's the same thing. Mega Comercial is my other choice but a lot of times the prices are higher than they say they are so you have to watch out for that at the check out line. I don't live near a Soriana so I can't compare that one. I still try to buy all my fruits, vegetables and delicious mexican cheeses and bacon at the local mercado on sm. 23, they have the best deli in town and it's worth waiting for in the usual long line.

CancunCanuck said...

Sara- One would think that Walmart would want to pipe in oh, I don't know, the smell of baking cookies or barbecue to get people buying more. Ech, what do I know? Hmm, haven't seen gazelle tequila, lol!

malibuskier- Hi and welcome! Yes, Walmart accepts credit cards, debit cards and cash. Notify your bank and card companies that you will be using your card outside of your country, with your dates of travel. Have a great trip! (Don't bring lots of cash, there are bank machines everywhere, much safer to take out a little at a time than carry wads of cash).

1st Mate- Oy, crazy tourists! Though to be honest when people ask where to buy trinkets and souvenirs, I do recommend Walmart, they have a whole section of gew gaws and doo dads and t-shirts and they're much cheaper than the markets sometimes.

Heather- I can't remember Walmart up north, doh, they don't have seafood? Will have to do the same as you, catch up on your blog all at once! Thanks for all the comments, glad you enjoyed Utah.

Gia- Nice to "e-meet" you too, welcome! Yeah, Chedraui is a never place for us too. We're kind of in the middle of a supermarket triangle, equidistant from Soriana, Mega and Walmart pretty close too. I like mercado 23, it's just a zoo of a place to bring a small child, makes me nervous, he's the kid who runs around and talks to everyone. Much safer with him tied up in a cart. Er, ok, I don't actually tie him up, but I wish I could. :)

Laura said...

I think all Walmarts stink, you are such a mean mom to make Max go there.
Ours in Iowa only has frozen seafood, and no octopus

Anonymous said...

Hey CancunCanuk,

A Michigan tourista here wondering if you know whether any of the grocery stores in Cancun or Playa have organic milk? Boxed or fresh doesn't matter. My daughter is very sensitive to BGH. Thanks much for any info and for making me laugh at the Walmart blog. I'm glad it isn't just me that loses my appetite by the time I'm done shopping there! I'll definitely be trying the new Mega you mention.

CancunCanuck said...

Laura- I know, I know, so mean, lol! What is a Walmart without octopus? ;-)

Deborah- Hmm, I've never actually looked for organic milk, but I am pretty sure they've got it at Costco in bottles. Mega may have it as well, they've got a fabulous selection of "stuff".

Anonymous said...

Thanks much CC for the milk info. That's our biggest hassle travelling internationally--where to get the darn milk. You wouldn't believe the physical changes that the BGH triggers in her in just a couple weeks of drinking it and it takes months for the changes to fade away.

Elaine said...

Thanks for the post. The Walmart in Cancun smells a lot better than the one in Turnersville, NJ. Honestly, that one smells so bad that it took me 3 years to go into the newer Walmart in Deptford, NJ. I've been in Chedraui and one of the CMS. I'm heading to google right know to get directions to Soriana. I'll give that one a try when I return to Cancun in September.

Unknown said...

Purchases are separated into goods and services. Then there are goods that cost more because of the additional service going towards the final product.
Let's take a look at four grocery delivery items that would fall into this category.

grocery convenience

Unknown said...


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