Let me start out by laying a few foundational thoughts.
- My mom was never one to draw attention to herself, and she would shudder in shame if I did something in the store to do that. Mom was about “getting in, getting your stuff, and going home” with as little drama as possible.
- I shopped ALONE with not one, not two, but three children most of the first 16 years of my married life. Frequently I would have the kids in one cart and the food in another. My husband was off doing husbandy things like working and stuff.
- I did not allow my children to have tantrums or be annoying. A few times that backfired on me (I still feel guilty over the time my son, aged 4, got on a tricycle at Salvation Army and rammed into an older lady who had JUST THAT WEEK had knee surgery) but most of the time, they were well behaved.
- I did like to take time to teach my kids things. I homeschooled them all until the oldest was in 4th grade for Pete’s sake. I turned everything into an educational moment. BUT…I also kept in mind something I learned from my mother: don’t annoy others.
Today I was in the food store. I was harried and had several things to get and a long list of things to do today before I could rest my weary head upon my piece of memory foam heaven. I was scooting here and there, dodging other summer shoppers as best I could in the supermarket while I made my choices and loaded up my cart. My feet did ache a little as I had just come from work where I was on my feet for the better part of 4 hours. (Waaa, waaaa, waaaa. I know. But I have heel spurs or plantar fasciitis or something so back off.)
I encountered a family in the aisles. At first I thought “How cute.” Husband, wife, preschooler, toddler in the cart. But then they began to annoy me.
When I shop I try very hard to be aware of those around me. I like to read labels, I like to compare prices, I like to look for hidden evils like MSG or GMO franken-ingredients. But I do not make everyone else wait for me to make my decision – no, I back off as soon as I see someone is itching to buy that can of beans that is next to the one that has me in a tizzy. I step aside, say “Go ahead” or “I’m sorry!” and let them choose, while I continue to ponder.
Not this family. They spread out over the aisles, cheerfully oblivious to the world trying to get around them. At one point, the mom actually walked in front of me while I was about to choose a container of Kool-Aid (I’m not always a conscientious mom) and squatted down next to her cute little tyke, asking him to make a decision on flavors of Kool-Aid. He could choose anything he wanted!
She then proceeded to point to, and name, every. single. one. Every one. At this point I just wanted a can of lemonade and some freezer pops. But I waited, because surely, this won’t take long.
The cute little dickens made his choice! Quickly! And handed it to his mom. Yay! I thought. Now I can get my lemonade and freezer pops. But no! Mom had to say “Are you sure this is what you want?” And she then proceeded to investigate the label as if this was some sort of special Kool-Aid she had never seen before and was something besides artificial colors (chemicals) and artificial flavors (more chemicals). She pondered. I sighed. She didn’t move.
So I loudly, said “Excuse me!!!” and reached in and grabbed the freezer pops. I had forgotten that I wanted lemonade, too. The little boy, in shock, said “Mom, what is she DOING?”
I said…and I am shocked that I did this… “I am trying to shop. Your mom needs to know you are not the only ones in the store!”
Something was said about shopping with a 3 year old but honey, I did my time. I still managed not to push in front of other people and then make them wait while I pretended I was living out an episode of some PBS Kids show.
For the love of all things holy…if you want to turn your shopping trips into an Adventure with Dora and Making Cool Kool-Aid Choices, by all means, be my guest. It’s a free country. But please, remember, there are others who are shopping who want to get their items and go home. Just step aside while you have your one-on-one educational moment and let the rest of the world through.