If you want a soul-crushing experience, go to Wal-Mart.
As much as some may hate the Corporation itself, (much like The Arches) I find it's the people who shop there that depress me the most.
(I know that I'm including myself in the above group, but I like to think I'm a bit apart from them - I know I'm slumming, they haven't realized it yet.)
I understand why people shop at Wal-Mart - the prices. What I don't understand is why people act the way they do at Wal-Mart.
Today I witnessed people having no regard for the other customers in the store - blocking aisles, cutting lines, and just being generally ignorant to everyone around them. I saw more garbage from the McDonald's in the store spread around and lying in displays than I imagine I would have seen at the McD's, had I even gone in there. Watching people paw through merchandise like they were digging for gold - throwing it left and right - made the display-builder in me shudder.
I'm not sure what it is about Wal-Mart that brings out the worst in people - maybe they feel bad about shopping there, and take it out on the other people around them. Maybe they feel so insignificant in their own lives that they act rude and disrespectful to the only people they feel are beneath them - Wal-Mart employees. (We saw that a lot at The Arches - gas jockeys would talk shit to you because you're working the grill instead of their really cool job.)
If going to one place makes you become this ugly human being, why go there? To save 3 dollars?
As happy as I was with the purchases I made today, I left Wal-Mart feeling a little let down - not with Wal-Mart, but with the Human Race.
Shopping shouldn't make you sad.