Superpaige's Pad

The Trials of a Busy Mom

To the lady at checkstand #6 in Target on Friday:

Thank you. Your kind words really made my whole day.

I’d taken my kids school shopping, so they could have at least one new outfit that they helped pick out to wear for the first week of school. Usually I pick things out for them, either from garage sales or from the store, and just bring it home. But, hey, I thought, it’s back-to-school time! Plus, we needed to get out of the house to avoid the bickering.

I gave them all thier own baggie of fruit loops to take and spill in the car, the store, or the parking lot, and I had a package of fruit snacks and a granola bar for each of them in my purse ( we wouldn’t want to be ill-prepared.) We started at Kohls, where I had to return an electric shaver that I’ve had in the car for over a month, and would have really liked to have checked out the women’s section, especially the clearance. The kids were running amok, however, and I had to keep it to the kids section. We found a few cute things that they liked, and proceeded to the checkout. As the lady was ringing up the items, I noticed a $24 item, and i knew I hadn’t picked out anything that was that much, so I had to ask, “What was that item that rang up as $24?”. Yes, I know there were three people behind me in the line, and I know my kids were taking the shopping cart/stroller over to the stuffed animal display to handle all of the stuffed animals, but by gum, I’m not paying $24 for something that should be $12. Sure enough, it was the pair of pants that I grabbed from the clearance section without even trying them on because I didn’t want to deal with the hassle of the dressing room. They were originally $44, marked down to $18, and then it was supposed to be 33% off THAT price, to make it the clearance price of 60% off. I KNOW my clearance items, and it shouldn’t have been $24. Since she had already applied the 15% coupon for the entire purchase, she couldn’t correct the price. She said, “You can either go over to the service desk and have them refund it, or I can void the purchase and start over. I looked over at my roudy children, who were having a GREAT time laughing and putting their hands all over the mirror, and said, “Could you just ring it up again?” I’d already waited in line at the service desk once today, and didn’t really feel like dragging my kids over to that end of the store again. I got a couple of dirty looks from people behind me in line, but REALLy people, what do you want me to do? (and another line opened up just then, so the scowlers could go to another line)

So, we made it out of Kohls, and it was a little past lunchtime, but I thought we could just keep going a little bit and make it to Target for socks and things, since it’s right there. So, off to Target we go. Of course, we got one of those huge carts, but only John is sitting in the seat part, because last time he and Jenna were strapped in there together, and fighting ensued. Jenna’s in the cart part, and the two girls are hanging on the sides, or “helping” me push the cart. Even though it wasn’t the “run in–run out” that I imagined it would be, we were actually pretty quick, and managed to get socks for three of them, shoes for three of them, sparkly shirts for the three girls, a couple of t-shirts for mom, underwear and a couple more things I can’t remember. As we came up to the checkout line, the kids were laughing and teasing and generally making their mother cringe. They start tossing all the things onto the conveyor belt with wild abandon, not allowing mom to help.

And then the nice checker comes in (you were wondering if I’d get to the point, well here it comes).
“These are the happiest kids I’ve seen all day,” she says.
“What?” says I “Do you mean the most obnoxious kids you’ve seen all day?”
“No,” she says, “Most of the kids are crying by the time they get here, and these kids are happy. You must be having a good time.”
Well, that really made me think. It wasn’t really my idea of a good time, but the kids were indeed happy. There’s no rule that you have to be quiet in the store. It’s not a library or church. And the kids weren’t screaming, they were just having fun. And for being almost two hours past lunchtime and the second store we’d gone to, they were behaving extremely well. Nice checker lady even gave them all stickers for sitting down and buckling up in the cart!

So, nice checkout lady, THANK YOU. You’re kind words of encouragement really went a long way with one frazzled mom. You must really enjoy your job, and I appreciate you.


  1. Janice H. Johnson

    August 14, 2006 at 11:06 am

    I thought about this story, as I brought my three kids with me to the OB and then to the grocery store. They were all laughing and having a great time–VERY NOISEILY! However, you blog kept into perspective that they were enjoying each other and having fun. So thank you.

  2. What a great perspective! I’m going to try to view my children as “happy” instead of “driving me crazy” when they are being loud and boisterous!

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