Humiliation At Its Finest

Courtney Rubin

This article, entitled Humiliation At Its Finest comes from Courtney Rubin at partner site Embracing the Insanity.

We recently got a notice in the mail from a store explaining that they had recalled this nasty seafood spread which they had been sampling last month and which my husband had fallen in love with and purchased 2 tubs of. The letter was dated 2/4 and the expiration date of the said recalled item was 1/31. Anyone else see the problem with these dates?

Well, as he is still alive and kicking, I am guessing that listeria or swine flu or herpes or whatever the problem with the seafood spread was didn’t affect my husband. However, the fact that he had spent $16 on these infectious spreads did! So, naturally, as a stay-at-home mom with nothing else to do, it fell to me to take the store up on their offer to refund the full purchase price.

No big deal, Big Trouble (my 2-year-old) and I love the hotdogs at that store, so we could just get our refund and then have an early lunch date over the $1.50 hotdog special. Great plan. Here’s my train of thought at that point:

Wait, the store doesn’t open until 10 and I have a dentist appointment shortly after that. We better get there as soon as it opens so we can get in and out quickly. I know, we’ll go to the other store right next to that store beforehand so we can pick up a few grocery items and a frame we needed. Good Lord, I am the mother of all fantastic game plans regarding maximizing time and effort on outings! (Pat on the back to myself)

We arrive at the first store at 9:40, ready to make a mad dash and grab the 3 things we need and get out of there before any mishaps occur. I decided to grab the frame first because that was the only thing not in the grocery section and because that was the one item that might take a minute to pick out. Again, I had a plan!

I throw gently place my son in the cart and we head off in search of the cheapest perfect frame. We quickly reach the aisle and I start to frantically search for the size that we need. It is a bigger size so the selection is quite limited, which actually works in my favor because I only have 2 to choose from instead of 35. As I stop for 15 seconds to decide which of the two would work better, my son starts screaming, “let’s go, Mommy; I’m ready, Mommy; let’s go; let’s go; I’m ready, MOOOOOMMMMMY”.

Seriously, kid? We just stopped for 2 seconds! Where do you need to go? People are staring. Here; take your cup and shut your precious little pie hole while I make a decision.

He didn’t like how I tried to handle the situation. He looked at me with a nasty glare, took his cup and hurled it over one aisle into the next. OH MY LORD! Luckily, the aisle was empty so no one got bashed in the head with a flying sippy cup. However, much to my surprise (and dismay), the shelves at the store do not go all the way to the ground. I had never noticed this before, probably because I equate being on that floor to touching someone with leprosy. This meant that the cup had ample opportunity to choose a location underneath the shelf and it chose the very middle of the middle (aka, the hardest place in the world to reach, naturally).

Now, the sane person part of me (yes, there is a little bit of her left) wanted to just leave the cup and run, but the frugal mom part of me was screaming, “get under there and get that cup – they aren’t that cheap and you know your kid goes through them too quickly to let this one go.” As I am still semi-young enough to get down on my hands and knees, I decided to listen to the mom side. Big mistake. It was so gross under there and I had to almost crawl completely under the shelf to reach it, resulting in my clothes, which had just come out of the dryer that morning, being covered in the nastiness that is the floor. You don’t even want to know what I saw under there. MUST LEARN TO LISTEN TO THE SANE PERSON PART OF THE BRAIN FROM NOW ON!!!!

But, that wasn’t the worst part. As I’m on the floor in a most unflattering position like a complete idiot, I hear my screaming kid stop screaming for a minute. Then I hear him start laughing as he shouts out, “MOMMY’S BOOTY! HAHA! “MOMMY’S BOOTY!” (I guess I should be grateful that he didn’t add a “big” in there). Then from afar I hear grownup laughing. I’m talking more than one person’s giggles. I am tempted to just move into the undergrowth of the store's germs permanently to avoid having to look those people in the eye. I climb back out to the tune of more giggles and “Mommy’s booty” shouts and see that several employees have been watching this whole encounter and not even trying to pretend to look away. Nice.

I attempt to dust myself off, while trying to decide whether or not to just burn my clothes and sanitize myself in a big vat of alcohol when I get home. At that point, the frame no longer mattered so I just grabbed the first one I saw and hit the road to the grocery section. (It turned out that my embarrassment and distraction caused me to buy the wrong size, resulting in me having to return it later that day, which was so much fun, but that’s a whole other annoying story).

We grabbed the groceries, bypassed the toddler section where he grabbed my face and emphatically told me he needed diapers, and went through self checkout where I wouldn’t have to explain my appearance or my son’s use of the word booty, nor would I have to worry about him committing battery via cup.

Shoot! I still have to go to the store next door! Ugh.

I knew deep down that this wasn’t a good idea because Big Trouble was already starting to act like a madman, and that is never a good way to enter a store, but the supposedly rational part of me knew that we were already right there and we were early, plus they sent us the letter so we should be expected and the return should just take a second; the hotdogs could wait until another day.

I think you know that the return did not take just a second and I think you know my angel acted like he had been possessed by the devil from the moment he got into the cart. Unfortunately, they do not offer exorcisms, though they should because people with multiple children could really use those in bulk.

There were two other people in line with returns (really?!) so we had to wait. The cashier was 112 and clearly hadn’t been trained properly. Of course. Why should I expect anything else with the day I was already having? Did I mention that it was only 10 am at this point?

He starts screaming again about being ready to go and all that nonsense that he started earlier. People were staring. I was smiling like the Joker because I was trying to stay calm even though I wanted to choke the cashier/throw my son over the counter to have a little fun with the employees.

I tried distraction: “I see letters on the sign! What letters do you see?” He read the letters in ‘Membership Services’ and then started screaming again, clearly done with this spelling lesson of the day.

I tried bribery: “Oooh, I think I see a hotdog! Do you want a hotdog?” This got more screams and a very loud, “I SAY NO”.

I tried showing him some love: I hugged him close and whispered something along the lines of “I love you so much and I know you are frustrated that the old lady is taking so long because Mommy is too but I swear to God you need to hush right now or I will leave you with her while I head into the liquor store around the corner”. (I don’t actually drink, but it’s times like these when I totally understand the need for it and will never judge those who partake!!!)

I was getting nowhere with him and he was climbing out of the cart, trying to make a break for it as we were finally called up to the counter. I did what any resourceful mom would do and grabbed his little body with my knees while quickly handing over the letter we received and the one tub of the gross salmon or lobster spread we still had. I told her we had bought two tubs but, as the other one had expired, we no longer had it, but we should still get the money back for it, per the letter we received. She said no problem and quickly did the refund and handed me back $8 and some change.

Hang on, granny, I just told you we got two and you said no problem. Where’s the other $8? Oh, let me check with my manager on that. (Cut to Big Trouble throwing himself on the floor and bouncing up and down on his butt as he screamed fun phrases like, “HELP”, “I SAY NO”, “GET GONE”, etc.)

This went on for another 5 minutes (that’s like the equivalent of 8 days with a screaming kid) while the entire store was glaring at us for the noise infraction. I would have thought this would have motivated the cashier to move a little faster, but no, it did not. She finally handed over the extra money and I threw it in my pocket, scooped the devil up by his feet and ran out of the exit. The lady checking receipts at the door knew better than to stop me, but some other “helpful” 12-year-old employee rushed over to see if Big Trouble would like some fruit snacks. Really? Now you want to give them to him? Where were you 10 minutes ago when that bribery would have been more effective? She then proceeds to tell him that normally his kind of behavior isn’t rewarded and looks directly at me.

ARE YOU KIDDING ME? You’re the one who just rewarded him, not me. Would you like to see how I can reward you for this judgment on my parenting skills? If I wasn’t a kind person, it would be a fist to the face! (yes, this is what is running through my head as I try to remember WWJD – I’m guessing Jesus wouldn’t have punched her in the face so I probably shouldn’t either. Darn.)

She must have seen the look on my face because even WWJD couldn’t stop the mama bear stare so she backed off a little and asked if he was 3. I said, no, he just turned 2 but he’s a very big boy. ”Oh, he’s only 2? Well, that explains it. My 2-year-old nephew acts like that too.” Yeah, let’s keep our thoughts to ourselves from now on, person with no children. I hope you have the world’s most rotten 2-year-old whenever you eventually become a woman. Again, still working on my silent thoughts. It is big step for me to just think these things and not say them out loud though, because in the past, I definitely would have (and sometimes still do; I’m only human; sorry, Jesus).

Anyhow, we made it out of there in one piece, even though I was still covered in floor yuck and Big Trouble was now covered in yuck from the other store and some dusty tears from not being allowed to run amok. It was 10:15. Blerg.

Despite this whole debacle, I love my little guy, even when he is the devil reincarnated. Must remind myself of this as I go Lysol my hair!

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