Walmart Norma assists with technology, photos |

Walmart Norma assists with technology, photos

I’m hunkered down on a stool at Walmart. This is my initiation into the world of electronic photo manipulation. By installing a tiny device from my digital camera, into a computer, I’ll be able to have pictures I can actually hold in my hand. My first camera was a Brownie, and I still have an unfriendly relationship with paperless pictures.

Carefully, I manipulate the little door at the base of my camera, and gingerly remove a tiny device. Flushed with success, I attempt to slip it into the notch at the base of the computer. It doesn’t fit. Drat! Cautiously, I sandwich myself in-between two patrons, who are speaking with an associate. Politely I ask, “When you have a moment?” and sit back down on the stool. Seconds later, Norma sits down beside me.

Norma is obviously a professional, and carries herself with dignity, but for a moment, I wonder at the tiny witch’s hat that sits atop her head. I surmise that Halloween is the culprit.

“I tried to insert this into the computer, but it didn’t fit.”

“That’s because it’s the battery,” she says, with nary a trace of scorn. “Here let me have your camera for a moment.”

With the ease of Toscanini, she taps, probes, and scrolls, through a program, then turns it over to me. In a frenzy, I select 51 pictures. “Give me 15 minutes, and I’ll have prints for you,” Norma says and vanishes.

Jubilant at my (our) success, I stroll the aisles. Norma returns with my 51 prints. Impulsively, I ask, “Do you have a cellphone?” I’ve lived without a cellphone since they first came out, but the shame of it is starting to bother me. My kids have cellphones, their kids have cellphones, and I’m starting to feel shunned. “Norma, I’d like to get a simple cellphone. It doesn’t have to take pictures, tell time, or bark like a dog, I just want to be able to call Orllyene when I’m out gadding about.” Sensing my vulnerability, Norma says, she has just such a phone. We walk over to a rack full of phones. The prong that holds the phone I’m looking for is empty. “Give me a moment. I’ll look in the back,” and once again Norma disappears.

This is a big day. I’ve learned how to get hard copy pictures, and am now on the verge of breaking the cellphone barrier.

Norma returns, clutching a phone to her bosom. “This is it,” she announces. With a hoop and holler, I whip out my Visa card and say, “I’ll take it.”

An unsettling thought crosses my mind. “Norma, how do I get a telephone number?” “Here, let me activate it for you,” and with a flurry of voice commands, and finger punches, I get a telephone number, with tons of cellphone minutes.

All Good Samaritans aren’t necessarily in church. Mine works at Walmart in the electronics department. Her name is Norma.

Ron Walker can be emailed at