Because it is their national headquarters, you would think that in Bentonville, Arkansas there would be a Walmart on every corner. NOT! I am in need of a couple of items: a rubber mallet (for hammering tent stakes) and a long clicker type lighter (to light a JetBoil, matches scare me). I just finished exploring Pea Ridge National Military Park near Bentonville, so I think “Walmart will have both items, and maybe I can get gas for my car as well.”
There is not enough signal on my cell phone to find the nearest Walmart, so I am forced to use the navigation system in my Toyota Camry. Siri, the advisor voice in the nav, is still very upset with me from the Chattanooga, Tennessee incident. She tried to exact her revenge by directing me an extra 60 miles on the trip from Dallas, Texas to Bentonville, Arkansas. But, I outsmarted her by looking on Google Maps before leaving home; so I knew the best, quickest, most direct route. I asked her (using my best manners) for a better route and she refused to give me the BEST route. So I tricked her by telling her I changed my mind and want to go to McAlester, Oklahoma. When I arrive in McAlester, I ask her for directions to Bentonville. Who’s your Momma now, Siri?!
Well….Siri holds a grudge. In Bentonville, I ask her for the location of the nearest Walmart and she indicates a store about six miles away. I say, “Perfect! Let’s go there!” When we (Siri and me) arrive, it is not the Walmart Supercenter of my dreams, but a Walmart Neighborhood Market. Grocery stores do not carry rubber mallets. I return to the car and ask Siri to please direct me to a different Walmart. She says “No problem, there is another store 1.5 miles from this one.” I reply “Great! Let’s go!” We arrive and this Walmart is not even a Walmart. It is an empty building with an empty parking lot that used to be a Walmart. Again I ask Siri. She indicates that a Walmart is just another mile down the road. This Walmart turns out to be a business building for Walmart. Siri and I are at war just like the Union and the Confederates and Pea Ridge. And I am NOT going to let Siri win. I just can’t.
Surely I am smarter than a navigation voice! Determined to win this battle, I change my strategy. I tell Siri I would like to go to a Walmart PHARMACY. She directs me back to the Walmart Neighborhood Market (that doesn’t carry rubber mallets). I know that the gas stations at Walmart Supercenters are Murphy USA. This is what I type into Siri’s system. Murphy USA. There is a Murphy USA two miles from the Walmart Neighborhood Market. And it’s on Walton Blvd. This has to be a Walmart Supercenter! Excited, I soon arrive…..Are you kidding me?! It’s a Murphy EXPRESS!!!! With no Walmart in sight! Seriously Siri?! I’m on Sam Walton Blvd!
I drive another three blocks just to double check and still no Walmart. But wait! I see a Walmart truck just ahead! I quickly catch up to follow it to its destination. Surely it will lead me directly to the hugest, best, Walmart Supercenter in the whole world! As the truck enters the interstate, I realize the futility of my plan. I may be following this Walmart truck all the way to California. Or Maine. Or Texas. I will run out of gas before I leave Bentonville. I ask Siri to take me back to the Murphy Express. With an evil victory laugh, Siri replies “Make your first legal U-turn”.
Just like the Confederates on the first day of fighting at Pea Ridge, Siri may have won the battle; but the war is not over.