Author Pat Long is the current owner of a pretzel shop inside of a Walmart store. I’m sure many of you have at least heard of “People of Walmart”. Judging by the stories Long puts into her book, I can tell that many of her customers are there because they shop at the Supercenter. “AS THE PRETZEL ROLLS” gives us a look into Long’s experiences inside her shop.
My personal favorite story from the book is about a time that Long was headed to the bathroom inside of Walmart, when an older woman ran right into the stall that she was already standing in. The woman told her that she wouldn’t have been able to get into another stall fast enough because she had to go that badly. She even yanked her pants down to use the toilet before Long was even out of the stall. Apparently, earlier that day, the woman wasn’t lucky enough to make it to the toilet and was at Walmart to buy carpet cleaner.
I also love the titles that Pat Long gave to her stories. They are all relevant to the story, and many of them touch on popular culture in some form. Personal favorites include “Don’t Believe Me? Just Watch!”, “Help Not Wanted, but Thanks Anyway”, and “Stop! Hammer Time!”.
I was able to ask Long a few questions about her store and her past to find out a little bit more.
Q: Most of your stories are comical or heartwarming, but did you have any experiences that were frightening or caused alarm?
A: I’ve had a few experiences that have thrown me for a loop, but I wanted to share things that made me laugh or shake my head (or both). There are so many negative stories out there. I just wanted to lighten things up for a change.
Q: I see you started at the pretzel shop in 2011, were you in the business before that?
A: I spent most of my adult life in non profit before venturing into being a business owner. I didn’t even know how to use a cash register before walking into this store!
Q: Did someone give you the idea to put together this book of anecdotes or did you originally just do it for fun?
A: Before this little book thing happened, I really just posted some of the strange/funny things that would happen to me on Facebook just to entertain my friends. After a while, some of my friends started to encourage me to put all of these stories into a book. I was resistant for a really long time because I really didn’t think they were book worthy. But, after a while, I started thinking about and finally gave into them. I posted it as a New Years resolution and my friends made me stick to it!
Q: Do you plan on writing another edition in the future or was this a 1 time deal?
A: As of right now, I’m thinking about maybe a second edition. I do have some things that I’ve written down, but I really don’t have enough to put into a book yet. After all, it took me nearly 4 years to get this one pulled together. But, who knows? I could have a bunch of crazy experiences by the next full moon! I never ever say never!
Q: Is there a story that you decided not to include in the book that you’d be willing to share?
A: I was cleaning the counters off and looked out into Wal-Mart to see a fella walking toward me with a purpose. He caught me off guard and I started to laugh out loud at him as he approached the store. He was super determined to talk to me. My shift leader was sweeping and heard me laughing only to see the fella coming into the store and she started laughing too. Man: “Can I get a cup of water? They turned the damn water off on me!” Me: (trying to stifle my laughter) “Sure! Would you like ice in it? Or, are ya just gonna use it for what’s going on there” (making a circle in the air toward his face). Man: “No ice! I can’t believe they would turn the water off in a public bathroom! Why would they do that?” Me: “I couldn’t tell you, sir. Here’s your cup of water. Have a better day.” The guy grabbed the cup, thanked me, started walking away and dunked his disposable razor in the cup and started shaving his face full of shaving cream as he walked out of the store. He stopped short of leaving and grabbed a few napkins to finish the job. My shift leader kind of just stood there, leaning on her broom and shaking her head. Shift leader: “So, THAT’S what you mean about it being “just another day in Pretzel Land”!” Me: “Yep! Thanks for being part of it!”
That story is very reminiscent of the others that can be found in this book. I like that the book isn’t just a random sequence of anecdotes. Instead, they are separated into general categories, made into chapters. She has the funny stories that you’d need to see to believe, stories about the Amish (being as the store is in Amish Country), and unexpected occurrences. But there are also the heartwarming stories, which Long saved for last. Overall, “As the Pretzel Rolls” is a super fun and quick read that will keep you laughing. I was able to fly through it in one trip to the pool, so grab your copy before you head on vacation!
Pat Long is self-published, so you can order the book online HERE!