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Thursday, June 11, 2009

Where's MY Bear?

As much as the Tongginator loves the mall, she doesn't really know how to shop... probably because her momma is such an abysmal failure at it. I hate all malls and most stores, so I rarely drag around the Tongginator, buying stuff, running errands and window-shopping. On Tuesday, that blech morning, the Tongginator and I headed to the mall because:

1. It was a rainy, thundery mess outside.
2. I own exactly four pairs of summer shoes, including a cheap pair from Target that is falling apart; a pair I wore to a picnic that, as a result of said picnic, became coated in mud and refuse to come clean; and a pair of high-heeled black sandals that hurt my bad knee. I didn't just want a new pair of shoes, I needed some. (Or so said the husband, who announced that he felt embarrassed to be seen near my shoes. Harrumph.)
3. I also wanted to buy a new book to help me survive the Tongginator's Three. Hours. Long. ballet recital dress-rehearsal that would occur later that same day.

Despite the rather Ideal Child moment we had for a brief minute, in truth the Tongginator didn't handle our visit to the mall all that well. She pretty much struggled most of the morning, despite the fact that we stayed less than two hours, with almost 45 minutes of that spent at the little tot lot play area. Why didn't she handle our mall trip all that well, you might ask? Because we don't shop all that much. And? Possibly because this shopping trip was not All About Her. (The Tongginator doesn't really like trips that aren't All About Her.)

Then again, who does?

The Tongginator acted out. She melted down. She barely made it through the 75 minute shopping spree, with all of the drama of Scarlett O'Hara in a "woe is me!" pose. When we reached the check-out line at the bookstore (where I purchased Somebody Else's Daughter by Elizabeth Brundage), the Tongginator approached full-fledged meltdown status. I just wanted to pay and get the heck out of Dodge the mall, so that we could drive home, eat lunch and recover. And that's when the salesclerk, a woman old enough to know better (in other words, older than me), really pushed my buttons.

SALESCLERK: (looking at the Tongginator's tear-streaked face) Oh, such a sad look. What's wrong, sweetheart?

The Tongginator, happy to have a sympathetic audience, simply sobbed all the harder.

TONGGU MOMMA: I don't take her shopping all that much. She's not used to running errands with me, so she's having a total meltdown.

SALESCLERK: Well, you should take her to Build-A-Bear to get her a new bear or something. That would perk her right up.

TONGGU MOMMA: (totally irritated that she said this within my child's hearing distance) Um... it's only 11:50 right now. The mall doesn't open until 10:30.

SALESCLERK: (looking at me with a "so?" expression) Yes?

TONGGU MOMMA: Which means we've been here less than two hours. She doesn't need a bear.

SALESCLERK: (looking at the Tongginator) But you'd like one, wouldn't you, sweetie?

The Tongginator nodded her head. I mean, what five-year-old wouldn't?

TONGGU MOMMA: (note to others: don't make Tonggu Momma angry) First off, we don't reward tantrums in our family. Second, two hours every once in awhile is not too much to ask of a five-year-old. Children need to learn that life is not always All About Them.

SALESCLERK: (backing off because she belatedly realized she Truly And Completely Irked Me To No End) Oh. Yeah. That's true, too.

And that's when I walked off. With my book. And my change. And the Tongginator in tow. But wouldn't you know it... that Ideal Child moment I wrote about yesterday? Happened three minutes after this argument conversation in the bookstore.

I think it was God's way of giving ME a bear.


Tonggu Grammy said...

What was she thinking??? I wonder if she owns stock in Build A Bear or maybe her sister owns the place. Management should not allow her to ask things like that with children present. I'm assuming that she doesn't have children or she wouldn't have been that dumb.

Just so you know, when a tantrum isn't involved, Tonggu Grammy will be happy to take her to Build A Bear if that horrid sales clerk isn't truly related to the owners.

happygeek said...

As someone with two children with Master's in Tantrum throwing in public (and one is working on his PhD) that salesclerk is not all that uncommon. People either stare at you lie you are the world's worst momma OR make sure your child knows that they are on their side. Which is so super duper helpful.
Glad God got you your bear.

The Gang's Momma said...

Ooooh. Build a Bear.

Don't even get me started on the tantrums I heard in there last month when parents were already in.THE.PROCESS. of getting their demanding little ones a bear. OY! Giving them a bear just makes them brats with bears.

OOOOOOPS. Did I write that out loud?!


Aunt LoLo said...

You definitely deserve a bear...and I'm proud of you! I'm not sure I would have handled that as well.

There's also a Small Chance that you Putting Her In Her Place cowed Miss T. Just a small chance, mind you. ;-)

Beach Mama said...

You should have asked the clerk if she was offering to buy Miss T a BABW? I mean, if she was so adamant that Miss T needed one. I'm usually the one that has a meltdown if I have to go to the mall...I hate shopping. Are we related?

Mahmee said...

Yikes. That sounds like a day that I would have had. Although in my role as 'moving racist target', the clerk would have added "Adopted kids need a bear even more, don't they?" At which point, the clerk would have been eating that book I was about to buy instead of putting it into a bag.
Enjoy your 'bear'...you deserve it!

Patricia/NYC said...

Wow...what in the world was that salesclerk thinking???? Obviously, she wasn't thinking! UGH!!! Stuff like that REALLY irritates me too...people should really mind their p's & q's when it comes to handling other people's children.

And yes, I think you got a Big Ol' BEAR HUG from the "BIG GUY UPSTAIRS" ;)

Dawn said...

Some people just don't know when to butt out, do they? Why didn't she just offer T some sugar and caffeine while she was at it???

You'd be surprised to know that even at our kids' ages (teens) that way too many parents are all about buying the bear (cell phone, video game, clothes, CAR) in the hopes that bribery equals discipline and self control. I work with those kids enough to know that it does NOT.

And, I don't do malls, either. I don't like the crowds, prices, or atmosphere. When forced to go to a mall, I always leave feeling like I'm coming down with an illness.

Glad you got your bear. You deserved a couple outfits for your bear, too! Ha!


autumnesf said...

Malls reek.

And WHY do people think they can not only rewards misbehaving children...but spend your money while they do it????

Our girls shouldn't be so darned cute. I think the cuteness factor triples our attention level and sympathy from strangers. Ugh.

Suzy said...

At some point in my life, I really THOUGHT I liked the mall. As a young adult I couldn't afford much at the mall. When I finished my degree and went to work AND had money, I return to discover that I no longer liked the mall. In fact I don't like it at all. But Lydia lit up brighter than the Christmas tree when we walked into the mall to see Santa. Ugh. Maybe I am just too old for the mall.

The Source said...

Ugh...what a helpful clerk. I love it when some random stranger knows more about the situation than the parent! I think you handled things very well.

Right now we're having to EXPLAIN ourselves to every nosy family member about why DD isn't getting a car for HER 16th birthday like her brother did. Well...because she's SCARY-BAD behind the wheel and life just ain't fair. Sorry. We prefer her alive and in one piece.

Johnny said...

I'm a commando (yes with underwear, get y'all's mind out of the gutter!) shopper:

1) identify item and store
2) identify location in Mall
3) enter Mall, head towards target, buy!

Of course Wifey ended up with a $60 pair of sandals because that was the cost of preventing a meltdown.


Sharie said...

OH I know the feeling! Amelia is a great go to the mall and have fun kid, but the minute I try to shop WATCH OUT!

I always tell her the plan before we leave the car. Today we will....then when she throws a fit because I want to go into a store I say, "remember today we are shopping, next time we will come to play." It works most of the time -

I would have told that clerk that SHE should buy Tongginator a bear because #1 you don't reward negative behaviors, #2 she's the idiot who suggested it. DUH - how many families right now are on tight budgets and can't afford to go to a place like Build A Bear!

jen@odbt said...

You should have let her take Tongginator to Build a Bear. Sometimes people don't know when to mind their own business. My secret to a successful errand - lollipops. Don't tell our dentist.

Half Gaelic, Half Garlic! said...

I cannot believe that sales woman didn't think before she opened her mouth.

I had a very similar situation when Nick was about 3 yrs old, except it was the lady standing in line behind me.....some people just don't think before they open their mouths.


Briana's Mom said...

Wow. That clerk was a complete nightmare. You go girl! I love how you handled the situation. I would have done the same thing!!!!

Donna said...

Oh geez.... I would have insisted that the salesclerk give me a $20 gift card to offset the cost of the stupid bear she forced me to buy for my distraught kid! What kind of idiot dangles something like that in front of a 5 year old unless it's free? Hmmm?? Geesh!

By the way, I love to shop but don't dare do it with either of my girls as it makes me question my no corporal punishment committment.


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Myrnie said...

You totally ROCK. Seriously, you handled that so well! (And...remind me NEVER to get on your bad side!)

LaLa said...

What an idiot! You handled it very well I think. I can't believe she would say such a foolish thing to a 5 yr old!!

Sarah said...

How dare that woman! Which mall was this, so I can NEVER go there.

Rachel@just another day in paradise said...

that woman was EVIL. shame on her. Isn't it funny/amazing how God works, though?!

Lauren's Nana said...

You handled the situation with much more class than most!
I am always amazed when someone feels the need to open mouth and insert foot at my expense:).

2nd Cup of Coffee said...

I wonder if the associate has children?

Jboo said...

Oh my -- whoa -- that lady was too much! I probably would have left the book -- wouldn't want to give that place some business. Good luck on your next shopping trip!


Kayce said...

OMW!! I can't believe she (the associate) suggested that! She needs some stickers to hand out and maybe put one on her mouth while she's at it! I do love though how amazing God works! You did get your bear for sure.

Janet said...

I can't believe she did that! I would just stare and her and then maybe I might hit her. What on EARTH was she thinking?

Debz said...

Some people....

I'd a given her the eyebrow threat straight away! Mind you that look on "my" face scares everyone and your probably too beautiful to scare anybody ;O)

I always cringed at the way Jac used to let her grip go on my hand when she was getting bored at the mall and I'd be still hanging on to her whilst she made it look like I was dragging her lifelessly along...I always loved the looks I got....like I was some horible parent. LOL

Oh fun times.

mommy24treasures said...

I totally hate mall shopping too. Target is about it for me. Mall shopping with 3 little Treasures makes me meltdown like the T. ;)

a little leprechaun said...

She was going to pay for the bear, right?? I mean that would only make sense, since she suggested it!! Pure craziness!

LOVE the Ideal Child Moment!! Love it!!

Patty O. said...

You SO totally rock! Seriously, I am so impressed. See, in a situation like that, I would laugh at the woman and then seethe the whole way home and possibly blog about it after explaining to my screaming kid why she wasn't getting a bear. But you? You are so awesome. I am so glad you said something to that woman, because you taught her and the Tongginator a really valuable lesson. And you are right, the cashier should know better.

Mamatini said...

Ooooh, I was seething along with you, and then rooting for you when you gave her a piece of your mind! (No, seriously, I was talking to the computer screen.)

I hate shopping too. Isa hates it too; Ina loves it. Which means in one 30-minute dash through a store, she can identify at least 679 items that she MUST HAVE NOW. This skill a) makes the hated shopping trip twice as long, and b) means I have to say "no" non-stop, which means she has to protest my "no" non-stop.

Now, when I have to take the girls with me to shop, I warn them ahead of time, like you, that this shopping trip is not about them. They WILL NOT be getting anything, so don't even bother asking me. And should they ask me for something, they will forfeit whatever treat/suprise/fun activity we had planned for later.

Sometimes I'm a real grouch.