by Abby Gayle
A difficult time for a mother.
|“Mo-om, we don't have any jam,” my daughter, Emily, shouted from the kitchen.
“Then just do peanut butter and honey sandwiches,” I called back.
I heard the fridge door slam closed, followed by the creak of the cupboard door.
“We don't have any honey,” she reported, “Or peanut butter, either.”
I sighed. We were always out of something. From peanut butter to paper napkins to thank you cards at birthdays, I was constantly running to the store.
I stood up and grabbed my purse and my shoes. As I was brushing my hair a couple times through, my whole herd of children approached me.
“Is there anything else I need to get from the store?” I asked.
“Julia got a stuffed kitty,” Amanda whined, “Why don't I get one?”
“Just yesterday you said you didn't want one, Amanda,” I answered.
“No I didn't!” Amanda denied, “I said I do want one!”
“Well, I'll be sure to get you one today,” I promised. “Anything else?”
Johnny raised his hand.
“Yes, Johnny?” I asked.
“I'd like a new set of paints,” Johnny said, then glared at Amanda, “Someone mixed all the paints, so now they're all brown.”
“What?” Amanda asked, “I didn't do anything.”
“Yes, you did!” Johnny shouted.
The argument escalated quickly to quite a few “Did not”s and “Did too”s.
“Quit arguing,” I told them, “I'll just get both of you some paints.”
“We need some candy,” Julia said. “If you get me some, I'll pay you back. Pleeeeease?”
“No, Julia, I'm not getting you candy.”
“Oh, fine,” Julia huffed.
I left the kids with my husband and expected an easy trip. After all, I was by myself and had even left my year old baby at home.
“What do you mean, you don't have any of that kind of stuffed animal anymore?” I asked.
“We don't stock it anymore. Not enough people were interested.”
“I know what you mean, sir,” I answered, “But I promised my daughter I'd get her one.”
He seemed to think a moment before he brought me to a single stuffed animal on the shelf.
“This is the same brand,” he told me, “A bit more expensive, and it talks, but I'm sure your daughter will like it.”
“But then I'd need another one,” I said.
“I'm sorry, but this is the last one.”
“Well, I suppose it looks the same. And if I take the batteries out, it might just work,” I said to myself, picking it up. Only then did I notice the price tag. “Forty bucks!” I exclaimed.
“No, ma'am,” the employee corrected, glancing at the tag, “This isn't forty. This is thirty nine ninety-nine.”
“Sorry, I didn't notice that,” I answered through clenched teeth.
In went the expensive stuffed kitty, along with the jar of peanut butter, jar of jam, container of honey, and two sets of paint that were in the bakery, of all places, and took forever to find. Who on earth would temporarily relocate the paint into the bakery?
When I finally arrived at the checkout aisles, there were only a few aisles open. After nearly thirty minutes behind a long line, I was able to load my groceries. When I got up to the cashier to pay for the items, she rolled her eyes.
“Is there a problem?” I asked.
“Well, ma'am, this is a UFO checkout aisle,” she said.
“Excuse me? I might not be an alien, but I don't think that man you just helped was one, either.”
“No, not aliens,” she chuckled, “UFO in this context means 'under five objects'. You have six.”
“Patty, right?” I asked, glancing at her name tag, “Could you just do the six? Just this once?”
“I'm sorry, I can't,” she answered.
“Then at least make it two purchases.”
“Sorry,” she said, “Now, please go to a checkout aisle that is not UFO.”
“There aren't any open!” I grumbled. She looked all around herself before leaning a bit closer to me.
“Alright, I have a deal for you. If you give this place a good review on our site, I'll let you have six in one purchase. This store really needs some better reviews, you know.”
“Okay, sounds good,” I answered.
At home, I tried to think of something nice to say about the place. After several rough drafts including the phrases “long lines”, “very few checkout aisles open”, and “ridiculous paint storage”, I simply wrote, “Some good deals available.”
“Mom, Amanda's kitty is bigger than mine,” Julia complained, holding them next to each other. I couldn't see a difference, but apparently they could. Amanda snatched hers from Julia.
“Mom, I wanted a pink kitty, not a blue one!” Amanda whined.
“Mom, these paints don't have turquoise-aqua. I need it for my painting,” Johnny said.
“Mom, we needed several things of peanut butter and jam, not just one each,” Emily informed me.
I sighed. A mother's shopping is never done.