I’m not a fan of “People of Walmart.” I don’t appreciate the viciousness it engenders, and I don’t see the humor behind it. I am as guilty as anyone else over the occasional amused and bemused Hmffph at some of the images that float out of that particular website, but I seriously dislike the venomous culture it supports.
Face it, I am outside the borders of normal for my age group; perhaps on some level I take it personally. Or maybe I just don’t like looking at someone and snapping to judgment. Or maybe I just don’t like being mean.
If you mock the people who are photographed without consent and slapped up on some website for the world to make fun of…yeah, that’s mean. And that’s why PoW exists: to make fun of people caught unaware, to mock them for not being “beautiful” or because they have their own idea of style and wear what to them is comfortable.
So I’m sitting here in Starbucks, probably putting off my own PoW vibe, and there was a 20-something at the table next to me, making fun of people coming and going, picking on the clothes they wear, the hair styles they’ve chosen, their height to weight ratio: anything and everything seems to be fair game.
I listened to her for a good 15 minutes, trying to ignore, but she’s been a particular kind of loud: stage whispers intended to be heard. None of the people she mocked deserved it. They’re just people going about their personal business on a warm Sunday afternoon, stopping at Starbucks for coffee or tea or whatever else floats their boat.
One woman, close to my age and perhaps a few pounds heavier than I waked past with a cup of whatever and a cookie; 20-something snorted and pseudo-muttered an insult that I’m sure she thought was humorous. Someone else walked past in shorts a little too big and a t-shirt a little too small, and 20-something turned to me, leaned over, and said with a twisted, mock-conspiratorial laugh, “We need a People of Starbucks thing, right?”
I could have pretended to not hear.
I should have pretended to not hear.
Instead, I barely glanced her way and replied in a very-much-not-a-stage-whisper, “Grow up.”
She was offended.
She left in a huff of pretentious hurt feelings.
I don’t know if anyone who was the target of her immature slams heard her; no one left here seeming as if they were offended, but I heard her, and I was offended on their behalf.
The whole idea behind People of Walmart is immature and offensive, and I neither understand nor appreciate how popular it is, and how people who otherwise seem perfectly normal and nice find it funny and acceptable.
Look, if you walk past me in a knee length purple dress with pink stripes, a blue hat, yellow Converse high tops, and have a full beard, I’m going to notice. But I will not mock you for it. If you’re of considerable weight and are seated near me in a restaurant and have ordered a huge platter of food, it’s none of my business. If you’re 75 years old and sport earlobes with half-dollar sized gauges and have tattoos all over your neck and half your face, so what?
I don’t know your story; I have no right to judgment beyond curiosity better left unvoiced.
All those who are plastered on PoW…those are people and they freaking have feelings.
Do I regret hurting 20-something’s feelings?
Do I care?
She will survive, and maybe consider those hurt feelings the next time she wants to rag on someone for being different.