Walmart Therapy: I’d Rather Deal With Terrorists

While reading the newspaper yesterday, I came across a rather disturbing article. The Pentagon is turning to “Walmart therapy” to treat soldiers affected with PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). PTSD is an anxiety disorder that occurs in people who experience traumatic events that involve the threat of injury or death. Like natural disasters, accidents, and war. According to the medical experts, symptoms fall into three main categories.

1. “Reliving” the event, which disturbs day-to-day activity

  • Flashback episodes, where the event seems to be happening again and again
  • Repeated upsetting memories of the event
  • Repeated nightmares of the event
  • Strong, uncomfortable reactions to situations that remind you of the event

2. Avoidance

  • Emotional “numbing,” or feeling as though you don’t care about anything
  • Feeling detached
  • Being unable to remember important aspects of the trauma
  • Having a lack of interest in normal activities
  • Showing less of your moods
  • Avoiding places, people, or thoughts that remind you of the event
  • Feeling like you have no future

3. Arousal

  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Startling easily
  • Having an exaggerated response to things that startle you
  • Feeling more aware (hypervigilance)
  • Feeling irritable or having outbursts of anger
  • Having trouble falling or staying asleep

In an effort to help veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, the military is pursuing the most natural and logical course of action: prescribing a shopping trip to Walmart! Their reasoning is that big-box retailers are often busy and noisy, and people may be hidden behind things. In other words, the situation is similar to what these folks would encounter in a combat situation.

Personally, I’d rather take my chances against Al-Qaeda.

I am not a fan of Walmart. In fact, I flat-out refuse to shop there. Call it a one-man boycott, a crusade against a corporation whose business practices leave much to be desired. They monopolize the marketplace, lowering their prices initially in order to drive local retailers out of business; once the competition is gone, prices creep up. They buy enough of a product to become the major source of income for that supplier, and then use their clout to force the supplier to lower their prices, leading to a push for overseas labor in order to remain competitive. This has happened to companies like Heinz, Vlasic and Levi’s. They mistreat their employees, in particular discriminating against women, and have penalized those who have attempted to unionize. At least they’re making a valiant effort to go green – I’ll give them credit there. But it’s still not enough to get me in the front door.

Plus, People Of Walmart dot com. ‘Nuff said.

And the award for Mother Of The Year goes to... (Courtesy of

Which is not to say I have an issue with anybody else shopping at Walmart. My parents go there. Tara does, too. And a lot of my friends. Much like politics and religion, those are individual choices and I’m all about having the freedom to decide for yourself who to patronize. My mom has, on occasion, served me dinner, only to announce midway through the meal in a conspiratorial whisper, “Sorry, Mark. These rolls are from Walmart.” My reply is usually something along the lines of, “They’re delicious!” And then she’ll mention how cheap they were. I get that and I respect that, and I ask her to pass me another one, please. Which I spread with butter that also came from Walmart. I am not one of those self-righteous do-gooders who will pester people to join the cause or like this or dislike that. I am content in knowing that I didn’t contribute any money toward them, so the overseas yeast manufacturer earning thirty cents an hour can’t blame me for his poor working conditions, at least. I am an idealist, but also a realist. People are going to shop there because the prices are low, and in this sputtering economy, I really can’t blame them.

Plus, it would be rude to turn down a roll.

So, the idea of this PTSD Walmart therapy is pretty unnerving. If I suddenly found myself smack dab in Aisle 6, I think I’d be even jumpier than usual.

And quite possibly end up with the very first documented case of WSD – Walmart Stress Disorder.


Published by Mark Petruska

I'm a professional writer and editor living my best life in south central Wisconsin.

26 thoughts on “Walmart Therapy: I’d Rather Deal With Terrorists

  1. You changed your theme – this is very clean looking, I like it!

    I am also not a fan of Walmart for many of the very same reasons you are not a fan. I have found other outlets for my buying dollars & I am slowly weaning my husband away from Walmart too. Besides who would want to run into one of the “People of Walmart?” And what’s worse, I’m afraid they might take a picture of me someday & post in on their site 🙂


    1. LOL! That’s my big fear, too. That I’ll walk in there someday and become the next online internet sensation. Plus, all my friends would be going, “Hey – what happened to your one-man crusade?!” and I’d be branded a hypocritical traitor.

      Glad you like the new theme!


    1. Is it, Carl? See, I wouldn’t know…because I don’t go to Walmart. I had a tough time choosing the picture, too. Let’s just say there were a plethora of ass cracks, brightly colored pajamas, and crazy tattoos to choose from.


  2. I’m with you, brother. It’s hard to figure out what’s more wrong with America, Walmart or inadequate treatment for our servicemen and servicewomen…

    Btw, I’m finally reading your book! I likey!! Now, please do something about my day so I can get to bed earlier and have more reading time. Kthxbai.


    1. Thanks for the feedback, Alexis! I’m glad you’re enjoying it so far. Don’t worry, there are no scenes that take place in Walmart (although, now that I think about it, that would have been a fitting target for the villain).


  3. I know that any post with the name “Walmart” in the title is bound to be a good one, and this one doesn’t disappoint.

    My only question is–what part of the paper were you reading–the comics? If this is true, it’s the funniest thing I’ve heard in a long while.

    Hysterical, Mark!



    1. Hilarious comments, Kathy! This story was in section A, of all places. I’m glad I found it, though – it made me realize that, much to my surprise (and chagrin), I had never written an anti-Walmart post before. Talk about long overdue!


    1. And grandma’s probably wearing a tight t-shirt that reveals too much belly fat and says “I just farted” on the back. That is, if the photos I found over at are any indication!


  4. In my defense, and I know it was mentioned in the last post, its one of the few big box stores I can stock up at when I’m on the road. THANKFULLY, I haven’t been traveling as much and I haven’t needed to stock up. Well, at least on stuff that I can get elsewhere. Looking forward to living in a bustling metropolis that offers more than just Walmart or Kmart. 😉


  5. Mark, hilariously brilliant post!

    Honestly, you’ve managed to balance humor with making an outright excellent essay!

    I haven’t shopped in a Walmart since, um…let me see, the early 90’s? Because like you, I’m NOT a fan, and for all the reasons you mentioned. Being in retail myself, I see what stores like Walmart have done to drive local retailers out of business; once the competition is gone, prices creep up.


    Plus, I simply don’t like the chaotic energy in that store. It’s like a three ring circus!

    “WSD – Walmart Stress Disorder.”


    Bravo for speaking your mind, buddy!

    *two thumbs up*

    P.S. please delete my previous comment because I cut and pasted the WRONG comment to your post – HA!


  6. I can’t even fathom this is real. Somewhere, someone is totally making money off this scheme. What I want to know is whether the public is made aware that recently diagnosed PTSD persons are walking through the store they’re shopping in like a damn video game. What happens when somebody does jump out from behind a package of dog chow or they’re barricaded from passing by the line of teens waiting to get Twilight movies at midnight? How will they survive?! I meant the soldiers, not the teens…


    1. I imagine the teens will battle to the death in a Team Edward v. Team Jacob battle royale, Hunger Games-style.

      Glad you can see the ridiculousness in this whole scheme just as clearly as I can.


  7. Wow – I’m with you – I can’t imagine shopping at Walmart could help someone – the rare occasions I go into one, I can’t wait to get out. I don’t even like to drive by it because there are so many people and they are basically slow, erratically-moving traffic hazards.
    I did find it a good place to shop, however, when I was using donated money to buy clothing for kids in an orphanage.


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