Laurel, Md. - Someone special has been shopping at the Wal-Mart at 3549 Russett Green in Laurel. This past Thursday, none other than Jesus Christ, the Son of God, was again seen pushing His cart through the store's broad aisles. This has become a regular sight for shoppers in this big "small" town and they now barely give His presence a second thought.
A quick glance into the Lord's cart reveal many of the same items found in any shopper's cart: mini cans of Pringles, Pantene conditioner, two boxes of Meow Mix cat food and a green windbreaker.
Wearing His trademark robe and sandals, Jesus seemed happy to take a break to discuss His shopping habits. "Well this isn't my big shop," He said, "just needed to pick up a few odds-and-ends before the weekend - and a few impulse items too I guess," glancing sheepishly at a giant novelty back scratcher.
Continuing to talk as He walked down the aisle, Jesus explained that He began shopping at Wal-Mart a few years ago. "The prices just can't be beat," He continued, adding that the high costs of shopping for His global flock could be a challenge. "Thankfully," He added, "I'm able to save even more thanks to My tax-exempt status."
Store employees and His fellow shoppers have grown used to having the Son of God walking among them. "The first time He came in," said assistant manager Chris Conti, "it was pandemonium. People were filled with wonder - and with fear also, thinking that this might have been the end of the world. But after a while, everyone came to realize that He's just a regular guy and now people more or less leave Him alone."
Gloria Mumphry, a regular shopper at the Laurel store, described the first time she met God at Wal-Mart. "I was in cookware, looking for a stock pot, when I became aware of a wonderful light filling the aisle," she said. "I turned to see what it was and there was Jesus, I was pretty amazed. Then He said ‘My child, can you tell Me where the George Forman Grills are located?' I could barely talk but I took Him over to them, He thanked me and went on His way."
Dr. Julia Merriment, professor of comparative religion at Johns Hopkins University, was initially skeptical upon hearing this news. "I can't tell you how many times I hear stories like this one," said Merriment, "'Jesus this' and ‘Mary that' and ‘look at my toast' and ‘what about that cloud' - it really gets old after a while. Boy was I surprised this time though. I went over to that Wal-Mart to pick up some Halloween candy back in October - and to talk to shoppers and employees about the rumor that Jesus shopped there - when He suddenly turned down my aisle. ‘Hi Julia,' He said, ‘keep up the good work.' It was pretty amazing."
Interestingly, Jesus is not the first deity seen shopping at this Wal-Mart store. Hanuman, the Hindu Monkey God and hero of the Ramayana is also a frequent shopper. "Oh Hanuman is a real gas," said Conti, barely able to surpress a laugh, "always lots of fun whenever He's on the scene."