Yesterday’s angry self-righteous rant at Walmart

You hear about these rants on the news. Angry airline passenger screams and carries on about wearing a mask. “Karen” loses it in supermarket. Man Lights Himself on Fire After New Year’s Rant Against Vaccine Mandates, according to Newsweek magazine.

How many of you have actually personally witnessed one of these crazy rants? Until yesterday, I was among the innocent who couldn’t quite believe that this can actually happen in polite society while checking out in Walmart. Call me naïve (it might have to do with not owning a TV) but it’s a little scary to come face-to-face with an angry self-rightous zealot preaching his irate truth while we shopped for Ziplock bags, smoked salmon and purple cabbage.

Twas the Monday after New Year’s weekend. We had traveled 45 miles north to Houghton to purchase sauerkraut, aluminum foil and bananas. Like a hundred other shoppers in Walmart we were minding our own business, perusing the Duracell alkaline batteries before heading to self-checkout when a long bearded customer began to shout, stopping many of us in our startled tracks.

“I WILL WAIT FOR FOUR HOURS IF NEED BE IN THIS LINE!” he bellowed. He waved his arms toward the self-service checkout line. “I WILL NOT GO THROUGH SELF-CHECKOUT!”

He continued to rant loudly about $12.50/hour Walmart employees, but I couldn’t follow his reasoning.


“YEP, JUST KEEP WEARING YOUR MASKS!” he fumed at the top of his lungs, spewing germs everywhere.

A nearby Walmart employee shrank down a little bit.

“Have you seen this kind of behavior before?” I asked.

“Welcome to our world,” she sighed sadly. “I just want to get out of here…”


An agitated mask-wearing woman next to us in auto-checkout shouted furiously back at him, “WILL YOU SHUT UP?”

My heart pounded. My breath grew shallow. Two things happened almost concurrently. My mind flew to worst-case scenarios. The world is going to hell in a handbasket. The crazies are going to take over the world. There will be shooting and violence before this is over.

Fear threatened to overcome. I don’t want to live in a world like this. I am so scared. I hate out-of-control people. I hate him. I hate anyone like him.

Simultaneously something very calm and peaceful filled my heart. It became crystal clear in that instant that responding in anger or fear was not the answer. Those energies would just accelerate the angry vibe. What might tip the scales toward resolution, peace, healing? I had no intention of approaching the angry guy–but spiritual intervention might ease the situation.

I silently blessed our angry shouter. Please fill his heart with love instead of annoyance. Help him connect to his goodness, not his fear. Bless you, oh Walmart aggrieved. May your spirit heal with light and love. (And later I remembered to bless my own inner fear, hatred and upset. Bless you. May you heal. May you remember the love, Kathy.)

The shouting ceased. A Walmart employee accompanied him toward the door.

We continued to run our items through the self checkout. Avocado, bouillon, beer, mustard.

Our fellow shoppers and Walmart employees had plenty to say.

We heard no one supporting the ranter’s message.

“Well, it takes all kinds to make the world go round!” announced a fellow in the Walmart return line.

“You think he was bad?” we heard a woman ask her companions. “I get worse than that at home from my husband!

“Soon to be ex-husband,” she added darkly.

A very strange day indeed. Bless us all when events like these make us wonder where kindness and empathy has gone in our world. May the spark of healing shine in even the darkest and most angry rants. (And we continued into our day to meet with unexpected love and caring as every new door opened, reminding us that affection and goodwill are really alive and well in so many hearts. We can’t let the crazies get us down, dampen our spirits, make us forget the love.)

Have any of you readers personally witnessed anything like this outside of the news?

About Kathy

I live in the middle of the woods in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Next to Lake Superior's cold shores. I love to blog.
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53 Responses to Yesterday’s angry self-righteous rant at Walmart

  1. Anna says:

    I have not personally experienced a crazy rant, thank goodness. I’m sure if I did my first reaction would be similar to yours. Judgement and fear. I hope I would have the grace to send love, as you did. I asked my husband why it seemed men get more worked up about vaccine mandates than women. He said, “Simple. men are more scared of needles.” True or not, that made me laugh.

    • Kathy says:

      Anna, I am smiling about your husband’s comment–who knows, it may be true on some level. You know, it was kind of amazing that it was remembered to send love to the perpetrator. Now I want to remember to do this more often. Thank you. ❤

  2. Susan D. Durham says:

    Admire the presence of mind and spirit you called upon to communicate spiritually to and with this man. How beautiful. It’s so hard to “feel” beneath the anger — the shouting. I have an aversion to loud noises, including loud humans, and usually react with fear and flight or fight. When I worked with disturbed adolescents, I was trained to gradually learn to hear the message and the need beneath the shouting, and the rage. It took me a long time to get past simply wanting to escape.
    But, there is usually pain, sadness, or hurt beneath. And the quiet communication, spiritually, can certainly work to bring things to a calm .. and introduce a verbal exchange, at some point. Don’t know if I have the energy anymore for such encounters. But, very rewarding.

    Yes, I have witnessed these outbursts in stores and on the streets, and with the adolescents mentioned. I lived in San Francisco, and every color of human behavior was a possible everyday occurence. I commend you, my friend, for your beautiful mind and spirit. We need more of “you” out there.

    • Kathy says:

      Susan, you are so very right. It can be hard to get past our initial fearful or nervous or angry reactions to others in this (and many other) situations. How very interesting that you were actually trained to get beneath the outward behavior to the driver underneath. Thank you for sharing that. Now how can a person remember to do this in a multitude of situations? It felt like the Universe was showing that this can be a valid interconnected spiritual response, but wow, you are right, it can seem to take such hard work to drop down inside. Maybe if we just keep on practicing it will become more natural? xoxo

  3. bearbear45 says:

    At the beginning I experienced chaos at my workplace. We had been working the “emergency session” with a very small staff, lots of split shifts and long hours. I wore my mask from the start. An angry spirit got up in my face and spewed out that it didn’t matter what we did, mask or not. That we were all gonna get it. He was angry I was wearing a mask. I stood in silence. Gathered my items and left the area. I had two witnesses also in the room. I had being singled out for asking fellow employees to be masked indoors. Before we knew how contagious the virus was. Harassment was high. And I was the only female on duty. As the days grew longer, and employees started to choose sides, I made a decision a few months later for an early retirement. My husband had retired in May 2020. We’ve done everything we can to be safe, and protect our loved ones. It’s just a shot. We all had to have vaccines for schooling. So, I don’t understand. It shouldn’t have been politicized from the start. I left a career early I worked really hard in. But ultimately I’m glad I did. I’ve gotten to experience my first grandbaby, and we are building an apple farm. I work on my roses, write, and try to be as positive as I can. So much has changed. But it is a New Year. A cleansing time. And for myself and my family, we’ve chosen to do things differently. We order online, and fortunately are able to have our groceries delivered. We are thankful for all essential workers, and pray soon that the pandemic will gradually lesson, as more and more hopefully get their boosters, and/or first vaccines.

    • Kathy says:

      Bearbear, it is so nice to hear from you. I am so sorry you had to face this anger and chaos at work. How very sad to be harassed. Your decision for an early retirement sounds sane and nourishing. The life you’re describing now feels very rich and beautiful, right down to your dream for an apple orchard. Wishing, like you, that this pandemic soon ends. Blessings to you. ❤

  4. I am still laughing and could have fallen out of my recliner if you had kept the story going. I hardly go anywhere so my experience with crazed men and loony tunes women is nil- so far. And I hope it remains that way. You hit a new high with this post. It is hilarious. When you prayed and I suppose blessed the idiot man I thought poor, poor Karthy. But then your prayer worked or else he just ran out of gas. But, I loved the entire post. I love funny! On a final note- I am not making light of you praying for the man. I would have done something similar, but I would not have been as gracious as you regarding his behavior.

    • Kathy says:

      Well YOU made me laugh back at your comment, Yvonne. I even had to read it to Barry and he thought it was funny, too. And endearing–thank you for your support. It kind of felt like we were caught in the middle of some weird comedic sitcom. (Even though part of me didn’t think it was funny at all.) It is so weird and strange to think that spiritual blessings actually can help, but honest-to-goodness I’ve seen it done before. Bless you!

  5. Dale says:

    I don’t know when it became a “thing” to let loose one’s frustrations to the detriment of everyone around you. I would be afraid of looking like a total idiot. I have had to deal with morons like this, working in a restaurant. Once a guy picked up one of those huge trays that hold four plates and slammed it onto the counter. We heard it from the terrace outside! All you can do is back away and not feed these people. It was rather karmic that he hurt his thumb when he did it. His son told me, the following year that his father came back to the table and told his family that he had just made an ass of himself. Did he apologize? No. Not to the right people, anyway.
    Kudos to you for having such grace under fire.

    • Kathy says:

      It IS weird, Dale, how some people can “let it all go” in public while others of us try to behave for the common good. (And, okay, so we don’t look like a total idiot.) So sorry you had to experience things like this when you worked in a restaurant. Not fun! As for having grace under fire, it kinda felt like a gift from the Universe. Now to remember this in any other challenging situations…

      • Dale says:

        I just don’t get it. I think karma took care of him right quick 😉
        Yeah, I must do the same… I usually just stand back and let them blow their hot air but sometimes, it is tempting to just let ‘er rip!

  6. Val Boyko says:

    Being so close to this edge, and sharing what arises in you is scary yet fascinating. There is so much anguish, stirred up old fears and resentments, and yet others who also see a reality that we see. Strange times indeed!

    • Kathy says:

      Strange times indeed, Val! I am trying to share more of these vulnerable old fears and judgments these days–trying to show that we’re all in this together. But also there are ways to see a deeper truth, no move the energy into healing realms. Not only trying to show it to others, but also reminding myself when one of these stuck areas reveal themselves. Thank you so much.

  7. dawnkinster says:

    I have never wittnessed anything like this, but I hardly go anywhere anymore. I think there is a huge mental health issue in our country that is now showing itself. Not that it wasn’t very visible when we closed all the mental health hospitals decades ago. More and more I think maybe I don’t want to go anywhere after all.

    • Kathy says:

      Dawn, you probably hit the nail on the head. There is a huge mental health crisis in our country–and maybe in much of the world. People aren’t getting the help they need in our society and it’s disturbing. I don’t know exactly what the answer might be.

  8. leelah saachi says:

    I am with you 100% here – blessing is what helps, always. I do on automatic now – any anxious-looking being gets a blessing – knowing inside that what I bless outside, i bless inside in me too. This has done wonders for my instant fear of being killed by angry men who will not control themselves –
    I also do the blessing with any driver: busdrivers, cabdrivers. I have seen strange and wonderful changes in the drivers behaviour. I remember two tipsy young guys enter a bus ( I was sitting next to the driver) and the driver let them have it! I blessed and blessed, and suddenly it was as if something switched him over in to a fatherly kindness. The two guys were flabbergasted. The strangest this happened – the busdriver changed into a fatherlike person, and repeated several times that he would have lunch with the guy! Surreal it was – and I did not hear them making an appointment before the two guys got off – but there was a change from cussing and judgment to love – just 2 meters to my left.
    Just to remind myself that blessings are FELT and sensed – they DO something to the frequency of the energy.
    Bless you for all you are in my life, dear Kathy! ♥

    • Kathy says:

      I love it that you understand the power of blessing, Leelah, and that you live it! How wonderful that it’s on automatic pilot for you and you do it so easily. I agree–what we bless outside blesses us too. Love, love, love your story about the bus driver and the tipsy guys. Amazing how this works! Bless YOU, too, my dear friend!

  9. Robin says:

    Bless you, Kathy, ♥

    I have not witnessed anything like that recently. I worked for Wal-Mart for six or seven years and getting yelled at or witnessing angry outbursts was almost a daily occurrence. (I often thought that there was some bad juju in Wal-Mart stores. Several people I know have said they almost always feel angry when they’re in a Wal-Mart. Weird, eh?) The first time a customer lit into me with rage and anger, I remembered something my mother taught me. She was a waitress early in her career and she said that whenever someone yelled at her, she would react softly, speak in an almost-whisper so that they would have to be quiet to hear her (works with small children, too). Once, when a woman was raging at me, I began to cry (it was the kind of day when I couldn’t hold back the tears). The next thing I knew, the angry woman was crying and telling me her story (her husband was very sick, she was afraid, she didn’t have much money). We cried together. She asked me to come out from behind the counter (I was working in the pharmacy). I did. We hugged. After that encounter, I would remind myself that the angry, raging person was likely suffering in some way. Fearful or broke or grieving or any of the thousands of ways humans suffer.

    • Kathy says:

      Robin, thank you for sharing your story. It’s hard to believe that you and other Walmart employees have to put up with such rage on a daily basis. (And that this was happening years ago, too, not just in today’s charged climate.) Thank you for sharing that technique of talking very softly. It seems like it would calm down the situation. And that story of the raging woman–and getting to common tears and connection–is really beautiful. I want to keep remembering what you shared here–that the angry, raging person is likely suffering in some way. I thought this about the man the other day. Bless you, my friend.

    • Her House says:

      I have to comment on the Walmart “bad ju-ju.” I think you may be onto something. While I’ve never had an outburst like described here occur in my presence (Thank God!) I abhor being in the Walmart, I shop there only if I absolutely must, the air is negative and I can’t explain it. I’m remembering the Walmart Trampling on the news about five years back that added to the halt of Black Friday door busters.
      I will make the Sign of Cross over myself before I must walk into one now but I admit, that’s not often that I will go.

  10. Ally Bean says:

    I’ve not witnessed in person this kind of unruly behavior in regard to Covid or Trump. I tend to agree with you that “The crazies are going to take over the world” if we don’t do something to stop them. I’ll admit that I’m losing patience every day with people in general, but don’t think I’ll start ranting and raving at them. I’m more of a “kill ’em with kindness” person, trusting that’ll show ’em. I’m probably being optimistic but there you go.

    • Kathy says:

      Ally Bean, optimism and kindness does seem to go a very long way, but it’s so hard when seeing this kind of rage and behavior in public. I got the sense that this fellow was actually enjoying thinking he was John the Baptist and “telling the word” to the people. That he was loving being a preacher. One of my relatives just said he sees this behavior a lot in the city and on the campuses where loud free speech is more the norm. Hmmm…

  11. Sadly, yes I have, at a peaceful park last August. At least it had been peaceful until his loud tirade began. Except for a few sympathetic listeners everyone else in the vicinity made a beeline for the opposite end of the park. It was very unsettling. Bless you for being able to silently bless your angry shouter. Maybe next time I will have the presence of mind to try that approach.

    • Kathy says:

      Barbara, so you’ve experienced this unexpectedly, too. Very jolting… I’m not sure I had the presence of mind to bless this fellow. It just came up from within. But now I want to remember to do this in other situations where people are upset. By the way, has your snow started?

  12. Stacy says:

    I’m sorry you had to witness that, Kathy. My reaction probably would have been to leave instead of to say a prayer for him. I fear escalation – and mass shootings – in today’s world. Sad. XOXO

    • Kathy says:

      I know what you mean, Stacy. It feels like it’s not a very loving world at times these days. Mass shootings are scary and break my heart, too. And yet there’s so much beauty, too, shining in the eyes of our loved ones. What a crazy ride this life is…

  13. Debbie says:

    I’ve never experienced anything like this, and I hope I never do. Ranting anger in public frightens me. There’s no telling what somebody like that might do. Yes, I believe there are a lot of people with mental issues — as well as a great deal of pure evil — in our world today. Good for you, Kathy — keeping your inner peace amid the confusion and not getting sucked up into the madness!

    • Kathy says:

      Debbie, I hope you never have to experience anything like this. We don’t know what people will do, and that’s what is so scary. I didn’t entirely keep my peace while it happened. Part of me was starting to get all scared, but I watched this other energy come forward–almost without me realizing it–and It was so peaceful and loving.

  14. My husband was a ranter so, unfortunately, I have a long history of experience with that behavior. It became almost common-place. I remember one time setting him off by saying, “i warned you not to do that…” which was taking the car when it had a low tire which then went flat when he was out on the road with it. To which he yelled “Shut up! I’m warning you! Or it will be a bloodbath around here!…” to which I calmly responded, “Oh, quit being so melodramatic!” Much later…older and wiser, and away from that situation…I wondered how many wives murdered by their husbands thought their husbands were simply being overly dramatic. My boss at the hardware was a ranter, too. I don’t think he ever realized how much post-traumatic stress he put me through, every time he raised his voice. I’m glad you were safe, and I’m so impressed at your kind heart!

    • Kathy says:

      Cindy, it breaks my heart to think you had to go through with this. But thank goodness you were able to get out of that relationship. I am reading a book right now “The Great Alone” by Kristin Hannah and it’s scaring the heck out of me because of a PTSD ranting raging husband/father living in the backwoods of Alaska. It’s hard to even finish it because I’m afraid what the man will do. (You probably would not want to read it.) It’s weird that I started reading this book at the same time as the rant happened in Walmart. Hmmm, hadn’t realized that before.

  15. Tilly travel says:

    Not quite like that Kathy, but we do have a ranter in our little town, people that know him just let him get on with it. There is one person who stands and chats to him agreeing with everything he says until he runs of of steam and wanders off. Now that is something to watch. 🙂

    • Kathy says:

      That is very interesting, Tilly, almost like this ranter is accepted in your little town–just being who he is. I also heard of a spiritual teacher who did the same thing. Just let a ranting guy go on and on while listening intently and then the guy finally quit talking and actually hugged and thanked her!

      • Tilly travel says:

        I suppose some people just have to get things out and if the only way they know how is to have a rant, We need to accept that, just as long as they are not hurting themselves or others.

  16. debyemm says:

    I have NOT witnessed that and I will admit – I do seek NOT to use self-checkout on principle. WalMart saves money but doesn’t actually pay us a discount if we do our own checking out. I will use self-checkout at the more local, smaller WalMart because they have now reduced cashier check-outs down to one and I only go there for an item or two when necessity strikes. I am quiet in my fruitless attempt to protest and hold back automation but I do choose cashiers that are wearing their masks properly and will change lines if I see they are not. I also have a VERY FULL cart because I am shopping for a family of 4 once a week.

    What really makes me nervous down here in Missouri is when I have to stand next to a man while shopping in an aisle who is wearing a handgun openly displayed on his hip. I do NOT want to be anywhere near him if he feels he must use it in a crowded supermarket.

    I do agree with you that “responding in anger or fear is not the answer.” And yes, silent blessings can (and I believe if not immediately will eventually) make a difference in this world.

    • Kathy says:

      Deb, standing next to a man wearing an open handgun would be very frightening to me as well. I remember visiting Nicaragua and Italy and seeing police standing everywhere with guns and feeling very unsettled. Your conviction not to use the self-serve at Walmart is admirable. I know you would hold your beliefs in a very quiet, kind and calm way. Bless you!

  17. Her House says:

    I had a similarly toxic situation occur….
    I was in line at Aldi awaiting check out. There were stickers on the floor indicating how far each of us should stand from each other. I was standing on my circle but the petite, elderly woman in front of me, gloved and double masked put up her hand in a halt position and angrily touted, “Back up! BACK UP!” I tried to sympathize with her fear instead of take offense and noticed that my cart absorbed almost the entire distance between us and could account for her feeling closer to me than in actuality, making her feel uncomfortable. I had to ask the person behind me if I could intrude further on their space and back up past my floor sign; they agreed, laughing slightly over the poor elderly woman’s irrationality, as all had heard her and turned their attention, rolling eyes and sighing. One by one all behind me began to back up leaving almost 10 feet to herself. I think this poor woman’s reaction, was fear based and people do strange things in response to it, as well as in response to stress, like maybe throw Walmart man was sick and tired of being imposed up. We have been under an incredible amount stress, mankind has, and I think any of us who can do our part to smile (if one can still be uncovered in public at this point) to do our part to bless, and maintain a cheerful and loving spirit to extinguish the fear and anxiety that is so rampant. Well done to all in similar positions and keep up the good work.

    • Kathy says:

      I am sorry you had this happen to you. Fear does do strange things to people–and it seems people fear different things. The woman may have been petrified because she has a compromised person at home. Or maybe she was just scared for herself. The Walmart man probably did feel he’s been imposed on. Maybe he didn’t even believe in the severity of the virus, like many others. Maybe he is mentally ill. There are a lot of maybes and everyone has their own story to tell. I love that you are pointing toward kindness and smiling and blessing to ease the pressure that many people are feeling. Thank you for sharing your story.

  18. Val Boyko says:

    Thanks for sharing, Kathy. It must be disturbing to witness this! The only time I’ve witnessed someone in a rant is at the airport when a flight was cancelled. I recall sending him “calm down my friend, you aren’t helping yourself or anyone”thoughts. I admire how you saw past the fear and judgment. It’s reassuring that others were there and could relate to each other. I hope I will be ready when I am around someone who feels hurt and angry with the world🙏

    • Kathy says:

      Thanks, Val. How wonderful that you were able to send that airport man calming energy. Next time perhaps we will both remember to send this kind peace to others who may be feeling fearful and upset. Blessings to you ❤

  19. sbwheeler says:

    The worst righteousness is perhaps the quiet righteousness that won’t listen, won’t hear the pain of another and just sees the “interruption” to its own, comfortable sleep. The more we allow this quiet righteousness in our hearts, the louder the injured need to shout in order to get any attention. It’s no wonder we’re seeing the rise of a “woke” culture amongst activists of all kinds. It’s no wonder we’re seeing polarisation in social media. The world is drowning in quiet righteousness and perhaps it is time to wake up and listen; to try to empathise; to question whether we even know what is “right”, or only what is “comfortable”.

    • Kathy says:

      That is a sad righteousness indeed. And it is hard to keep our hearts and minds open to the viewpoints of others at times. I have a beloved relative who thinks totally differently than I do. It has taken hours of conversation and quiet walks before we have each felt truly heard. It did not change the way we think one iota, but our hearts are open toward each other despite our differences. Sometimes it’s hard to dedicate that many hours and that much commitment to reach that point with people passing by…it could be a full time commitment. Thank you for sharing your thoughts about this.

  20. Luckily I haven’t, but I know I wouldn’t enjoy such a confrontation.

    • Kathy says:

      I am glad you haven’t, Andrea. It was not fun (although it did seem almost comedic to hear all the responses and reactions of people afterward.)

  21. chiana72 says:

    I have had that reaction from people who are wearing masks against those of us who are not wearing the mask. Fear does strange things to people.

  22. I’m so sorry you had to witness this. I didn’t know how much it sinks our spirits, either, until it happened to me, standing in line for our Chinese takeout order the night before Christmas Eve. Busier than I’ve ever seen it. About 20 of us in line to pick up our already-called-in order. Everyone wearing a mask except man in front of me. Another (LARGE) man came past the line and stopped at maskless man. Then the obscenities began, mostly on the side of the LARGE masked man. Mean, ugly (“I hope you have a horrible death) and so angry and full of hate. Tears came to my eyes and rolled on my cheeks (under my mask). I think I groaned out loud, because suddenly the LARGE man left and the maskless man turned to me and said “sorry about that. I don’t know why I left my mask at home.” Yet, he kept control and didn’t fuel the LARGE man’s fire. So, it comes from all sides, and it’s sadder than sad. I lost my appetite. Please, world, be kind(er).

    • Kathy says:

      Gosh, Pam, to have this happen in the middle of the Christmas holy-days. It’s hard to believe that someone could be that angry to wish a horrible death upon another person. Now tears are prickling in my eyes. So glad that man could keep his control and didn’t make things worse. It does come from all sides–the masked, the maskless, the vaccinated and the anti-vaccinated. From Republicans and Democrats, liberals and conservatives. I echo your prayer. Please, world, be kind(er).

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