I don’t go into Wal-Mart unless it’s absolutely necessary. I am one of those women who will shamelessly sing the praises of Target and whine with relentless fervor over having to put a toe in Wal-Mart.

Over the weekend, however, need presented itself and I found myself along with my sister and nieces, wandering the dim-lit isles of Wal-Mart.

We were about to celebrate my Dad’s 65th birthday and Kristin wanted a wax burner to add fragrance to the house because our youngest sister and let her borrow her Scentsy lamp a few weekends prior.  The Scentsy lamps are pretty awesome, but considering you have to order them and Kristin needed it right that moment, we went with Better Homes & Gardens cheaper alternative.

If you are unfamiliar, there are many “lamp” styles to choose from, they have a bulb inside that heats a dish on top where a cube of a wax is melted and then fills a room (or several depending on the size of your lamp) with delicious scents such as “Holiday Cheer And Twigs and Berries” or “Minty Snow On An Endless Christmas Evening By The Fire”.

Kristin had picked up, really, one of the first lamps she saw and was pretty much satisfied with it. They had a seasonal aisle right at the beginning of the houseware department and there were several Christmas themed lamps in that area, and because Kristin loves all things Christmas she choose the least ugly of those lamps.  I thought it might be wise and she agreed, to check the isle where these lamps lived to make sure she was happy with her selection, after all, she will most likely keep it out all year round, so it might be nice to have one of a more holiday neutral style.

When we got to the candle isle where the lamps live there was a woman who had planted herself and her completely empty basket in front of the wax burning lamp shelves and was speaking in an obnoxiously loud voice on the phone to a person unknown about how she just didn’t really want to spend the $15 on this lamp, but it went with her other decorations. Kristin and I stood patiently while she hemmed and hawed and continued to scream into her cell phone for what felt like an eternity in Wal-Mart time when she finally moved just long enough for us to look over the other lamp styles.

However, while we were waiting and due in no small part to her very loud deliberation over the style she had chosen, I had not only learned that it was the only one of its kind left, but that I quite liked it more than all of the others. Kristin had also made this observation and we stood in silent understanding now, waiting for the woman to put the damned lamp back so we could get a closer look, but she wasn’t budging. I got the distinct feeling she knew we understood that she was on the fence and that if she wavered we would have that lamp and the choice to take it or leave it would no longer be hers.

I am admittedly and shamelessly competitive, but usually not crazy, so I blame Wal-Mart for what happened next.

Kristin gave up and went on with her shopping, but I stood my ground, I felt compelled to wait this woman out and get that lamp and I didn’t even care if it was actually cute anymore, so long as I won the waiting game.  I’m not going to lie, she was a good competitor.

She stretched her phone conversation out as long as she could and when it ended she pretended to read the back of the box waiting for me to walk away. Knowing her game, I stood at the end of the aisle and pretended to be interested in the candles that were on sale.  You see at this point she could only have one reason for still standing there. She didn’t want to buy the lamp right now, but she didn’t want to lose the chance to have that particular lamp, so her next step would be to hide it, but she couldn’t run the risk of having me see her hiding spot.

She was good, but I’m better. When the hiding moment came she was pretty smooth, I have to admit. I almost missed it. She picked up another lamp, the same one Kristin had, actually, and pretended to be interested in it, like she might suddenly change her mind all together. Then, fast as lightning, she pushed the desired lamp all the way back on the lower shelf and put all of the lamp she was holding in front of it.

I could tell she was confident that I had not seen her quick switch and she walked away smiling as though she had just won.  As soon as she’d left the department I went to check and Kristin showed back up. It was exhilarating, which is sad, but there the lamp was, just waiting for me.

Unfortunately, all of that hard work went to waste when Kristin didn’t even end up wanting the hidden lamp and decided that we needed to get out of Wal-Mart because it was making her crazy and making me mean.

Guess it’s good that I don’t shop there often.