Just Another Day At Wally World

We’ve had great success with the “divide and conquer” parenting technique. Especially helpful when the inmates outnumber the wardens.

On Sunday, I took the girls to second service at church while Fiddledaddy wrangled Jensen.  We trade off.

Because Jensen behaves in church much like he acts in the library.

And it’s much easier to find another library. But another church? Well, a good one is hard to find. And the thought of coming to collect him from his Sunday school class only to find him void of pants, is too much for me to bare bear.

So, after church, I called Fiddledaddy to see what the boys were up to. “We’re at Wal•Mart, trying out the vacuums.”

If you’ll recall, Jensen is enamored with all things vacuum shaped. And Wal•Mart and Lowes have about the best selection in town.

Excellent. That’s where we’re heading. See you there.”

I had some items to return, and an extensive grocery list. That included cake mix, icing in a can, a number 9 candle, and some tampons.

Because if you look under “homemaker” in the dictionary, you would find me. With a cocktail in my hand.

I snagged a cart in the parking lot and brought it in with us. Which is sort of penance for me because I’m always leaving carts in the parking lot after I unload all the children and the groceries.

We made our way in and were greeted by the gestapo friendly greeter who needed to scan and label, then color code and alphabetize my 4 items to be returned.

Only, she couldn’t get her little scanner thingy to work. We stood there until I had another inch of gray grow in at my roots. I mean really. I could have laid down on the floor to take a nap. People could have just stepped over me.

When all of a sudden, we heard a man yelling. Loudly. Something about, “MURDERER! CALL THE POLICE. MURDER! GET AWAY FROM ME! MURDER! MURDER! MURDER!”

And the sound was getting closer to us by the second. I saw a wild looking, very disheveled man heading for the exit. And that’s where we were standing. I grabbed my girls and started to run toward customer service.

And I kid you not, the friendly greeter said to me, “but, your returns don’t have the stickers yet!” “HELLO? I’M GETTING MY CHILDREN AWAY FROM HERE!”

And people, I didn’t curse. Which was a Sunday miracle. Because you know how I get when I’m scared.

As I’m running into customer service, I hear Barry White singing to me. It’s Fiddledaddy calling me on my cell.

Don’t come in the store!” he advises me forcefully.

Too late.”

When I was sure everything was quiet, we joined him in the vacuum aisle. Where Jensen was blissfully demonstrating the Bissell Wind Tunnel Extra Sucking feature. My girls were scared spitless.

If you’ll recall, it wasn’t that long ago that they witnessed a young man drop dead right in front of them in aisle 9.

Okay, he didn’t actually DIE. But to them, the end results were the same. It took them a sweet forever to be able to go down aisle 9 again. Which is a necessity, because it contains the cereal. And I’ve simply got to have my fiber, folks.

And there in the housewares, I had to explain one of life’s more difficult lessons. The man looked to be homeless, and quite probably insane.

Really insane. Not just the “Mommy Insane” that they are use to.

One of the reasons I didn’t want my children to grow up in Los Angeles was because of the “interesting residents” that frequent grocery stores and popular locales. I’ll never forget driving down Sunset Blvd. with Fiddledaddy (b.c.: before children) and witnessing a homeless man taking his morning constitutional right there on the sidewalk.

An image seared into my brain.  And now yours. Your welcome.

My children are too young to grasp mental illness. All we can do is lead them to pray for others, and never judge. We have no idea the path that poor man has walked.

A hard discussion, to be sure.

Way harder than trying to explain why a favorite aquarium fish is missing, and the other fish friends aren’t really all that hungry. Just sayin’.

Life’s hard lessons.

Learned at Wal•Mart.

Right after I convince the library to install that drive-thru I’ve been talking about, I’m going to get to work on Wal•Mart. I need never leave my car again.

Have a wonderful and safe weekend, everyone. I, for one, will be counting my blessings.

October 31, 2008

10 Responses to Just Another Day At Wally World

  • I had a slightly unusual childhood compared to most North Americans, as I grew up in a third world country over in West Africa. As a result, I was accustomed from a very young age to seeing those called the “fou” (“crazy”) wandering the streets, clad only in rags, hair knotted in dreadlocks that were NOT a fashion statement, muttering to themselves and gesticulating wildly. There’s even less assistance and sympathy available over there for such unfortunates than there is here. I and my siblings are proof positive that if parents handle such situations appropriately, children can grow up having compassion rather than fear for such people. My sister became a social worker, my brother is considering a career as a psychologist, and I became a teacher.

    So thank you for deciding to inform and teach your children the way you are, rather than wrapping them in cotton wool and shielding them completely from life’s sad realities. I wish there were more like you and Fiddledaddy!

  • That would be so scary! But the greeter was so funny! I laughed when I read that. They take that job seriously!

  • What made you run further into the store, rather than out the exit and to your car??

  • Our Vacuum Connoisseur is 9 now, and the passion still burns. A couple of weeks ago, for his birthday, he was the ecstatic recipient of a Swivel Sweeper (as seen on TV!).

    One of the Wal•Marts in our vicinity is kind of known for attracting…er…colorful clientele. We’ve had some interesting “teachable moments” there.

  • I’m sorry for laughing…but ‘scared spitless’ just got me! And the greeter determined to do her job…bless her heart!

    Hope you have a great weekend!

  • Precisely why I avoid the Walmarts like the plague. Went last night for the first time in at LEAST a month and a half!

  • I’m with Kate, why’d you run in??

  • Having lived most of my BC decade in San Diego, I understand the desire to shield kids from the craziness that is Southern California.

    But as your experience certainly shows, no place is “safe.” Teachable moments abound – especially at Wal-Mart.

  • You are so right about the growler, I mean greeter. And their little UPC code-thingy, what’s up with that? Do they think that’s going to cut down on their shoplifting thefts? Just another inconvenience for the honest folk, like the blood sample they take now to get a pack of Sudafed for your congested family. You have to tell us what the MURDER shout was all about! I feel like I’ve read a cliffhanger!

  • Always a fun time at wally world. Thank goodness y’all were okay. Time to introduce your girls to the wonder of chocolate.