I just unsubscribed to a writers’ blog. The trigger was a long post that went two long paragraphs talking about People of Walmart. It segwayed from how someone should keep people from embarrassing themselves in public to editing novels. How a good editor would keep a novel from being a literary People of Walmart.
Here’s my take on People of Walmart: it’s mean and an invasion of privacy. Yeah, there are some crazy outfits showing up at that store, but we’ve all had fashion or good taste lapses. Some people dress that way because they don’t have a lot of clothing, or they can’t afford alternatives. Some are truly depressed and have given up on taking care of themselves. Some probably do think they look great, despite internet trolls.
Back when I was an extremely depressed teenager, this same kind of shaming happened to me. I had zilch fashion sense and didn’t the time, interest, or money to do better. A couple of college girls stood in front of me at a large discount store and ridiculed my appearance. Just the thing to do to a girl who had zero self-esteem. I just wanted to melt into the dingy concrete store floor. GroomingIt was a vicious cycle for me. When I did make an effort, I was ridiculed for using too much makeup. That humiliating evening was just supposed to be a quick trip to the store with my mother, which turned into a major shopping trip while I attempted unsuccessfully to make myself invisible.
So I hate People of Walmart, the snarking content, comments by readers, the stolen cell phone pics of strangers. We don’t know the stories of these people being ridiculed, so what gives us the right to make fun? Aren’t we grown up enough to be nice and look the other away from this kind of thing?