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Thursday, April 17, 2008


I hate buying toilet paper, hate it. There's nothing fun about it, it's not all that cheap and it's a hassle to carry, especially when you buy enormous quantities, like I do, because I don't want to have to go back to buy more for a long, long time. One of the happiest times in my life was when I bought something like 144 rolls of paper and didn't need more for almost two years. That was great. So, yesterday, I had to buy toilet paper. It was definitely time, because we had been passing one roll from bathroom to bathroom and, really, each bathroom should have its own roll, for convenience. I try to avoid big box stores, but I try to avoid buying toilet paper even more, so I get it wherever they sell the biggest package. I had to take Baby J; it was not fun. I was feeling put out.

I love that phrase, "put out." I'm pretty sure it's exclusively Southern. It's used to describe someone who acts like they're being asked to do something entirely unreasonable. When I was younger, and whining about cleaning my room or something even smaller, like putting my own dish in the dishwasher, my mother would say,

"Oh, stop acting so put out."

Like many things my mother used to always say, that's become one of my catchphrases, because I've become my mother. Anyhow, yesterday I was feeling put out, after having to buy toilet paper in a big box store with Baby J. Still feeling put out, I went to my favorite non-hippy grocery store to buy a mix to make cupcakes for the X-Man's birthday today. The big box store didn't have lemon cake mix, which is what he wanted. I am ashamed and embarrassed about what happened next.

I wasn't concerned about going into the second store*, because every grocery store in town, including that one, has free cookies for kids and shopping carts with trucks on the front for toddlers to ride in. The truck carts are hard to push, but well worth the effort when you have a toddler who likes to be held every moment of the day. Baby J loves trucks and cookies and started talking about them as we pulled into the parking lot. I was really looking forward to peeling him off of my neck, strapping him into the truck and quieting him with a cookie. When grocery stores first started putting the cookies out, I whined about it to anyone who would listen.

"Why must we reward kids with unhealthy food just for doing something they have to do anyway? It's normal to go to the store and they have to accept it. When I was little, they had broken cookies every once in a while, but it was a special treat and a surprise, not a given. Ugh."

Which is why my behavior yesterday is so embarrassing. When will I learn that acting superior never, ever pays? Baby J was in the truck, chanting,


There were no cookies. I waited at the deli, thinking for sure they would give me one. I was going to buy one if they had no free ones. I'm not an unreasonable person. I thought everyone behind the counter was busy. Baby J got louder. And I noticed one of the employees pouring himself a Mountain Dew and poking at it with a straw. That really got my goat (another Southern expression for you). I marched over and said, "Excuse me!" rather aggressively. I asked about the cookies. I got a long, boring explanation about people taking more than one and how they just couldn't put cookies out anymore because of blah, blah, blah, blah. I said that was fine, but that I was switching grocery stores, forever.

I was going to buy the cake mix anyway when Baby J informed me that it might be best if we left the store, right that second. On my way out, I ran into L, a nice, polite lady from my church. I needed to vent, so I told her why I was leaving. L. has three (redheaded) children of her own and sympathized with my plight. She thought I should talk to a manager, but Baby J was about to lose it, so I had to go.

The very efficient L. sent a very brave grocery store employee out to my car to explain the cookie situation and ask me to continue shopping at the store, which I will. Mainly because she told me the cookies will be there in the future.

L. and the grocery store employee should start a PR firm; they saved the day. I called her on my cell phone and left a message, apologizing for my temper tantrum and thanking her for talking me down off the ledge and saving me from having to find another store. She left a message back saying that she hadn't noticed any sort of tantrum and that she had done similar. Did I mention what a kind person she is?

Namasté, y'all!

* I should have been concerned. It was five o'clock and I have three children. When will I learn? maybe next week. *sigh*


Anonymous said...

L. is the best! A. has a co-worker who lives next door to her, and the stories that we hear about what great neighbors they are make us want to pitch a tent on their street!

I hope that the grocery store continues with the free cookies, or else we may have a really serious problem!

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