So much is happening this time of the year; it’s the “Holidays” you would think that people would be much nicer in the sake of the “Christmas spirit” but this is the time the worst in people comes out and basically a ton of it has to do with shopping or you see it most when you’re out shopping. Or in parking lots.
Since I have a total of 11 kids, 6 of whom are still living at home and under 16; my shopping basically consists of grocery shopping. Food shopping. Although it would be fun; I’m not really set up financially to be out there extravagantly shopping for home holiday decor or “Early Christmas shopping.”
My main goal is to feed the troops at home daily and make sure they have snacks for school, and something healthy to keep their bellies full at night.
In this particular day I was out with my youngest (7) and my oldest daughter (19). It was a school day but my son cried wolf and although I knew he was perfectly fine physically I assumed that since he went as far as saying he had pink eye, stomach cramps, eye twitching every two hours and word recognition/short term memory loss…
He needed a break for the day.
I had to get a couple things so after going to Whole Foods I wanted to stop at Trader Joe’s to buy popcorn seeds (organic and cheaper) and some soy creamer.
If you are a parent and you shop at Trader Joe’s you already know who Mooshele is.
If not: she’s a stuffed cow that the employees hide in different spots around the store and if your kid finds her they can tell a cashier and get a lollipop in return. If they don’t find Mooshele they can still get a lollipop and usually the cashier will point to where she is, give a lollipop and offer my kids stickers as well.
I have been going to Trader Joe’s for years probably at least once every two weeks for the past five or six years. I’ve never had an issue with anything or a problem until this day. I actually think back now and most Trader Joe’s employees seem to love their jobs and are always friendly, smiley and helpful. Even when I brought someone with me who literally had a mental breakdown outside the store and sat right in front leaning against the window causing a huge scene for two hours; they made her tea and gave her water and tried to help;(that’s a completely different story though.)
So I’m grabbing my popcorn seeds and soy creamer, I sample some Wassail; which was yummy. Pick up some rice crackers, and ask my kid if he found Mooshele; he says no. Daughter says I see her and points up. Kid says, “haha that’s the lobster.” It’s a black and white lobster they probably put to throw kids off, clearly this kid is skilled in his Mooshele finding. We all laugh. I say I gotta get out of here it’s getting late let’s go.I pay for my groceries and my daughter grabs some stickers from the roll.
I don’t get a bag for my items; cause yes I am that person. I try to save trees or use minimal bags whenever possible.
As we’re heading towards the exit and my kid says, “mom can you just ask for a lollipop”
Shit parent fail totally forgot. I rush back over to the first register I see, it’s a middle-aged white lady with salt & pepper hair and I say, “Hi, hey can I just have a lollipop he couldn’t find Mooshele and I’m in a rush”
“Do you want to say please in front him?” she says to me while side glancing at my kid.
I’m caught off guard, “what? oh yes you want me to say please; PLEASE can I have a lollipop??”
She gives me one.
I’m literally caught completely off guard. I walk out, my daughter is like what happened? I tell her the cashier just corrected me in front of your brother. We talk for a minute about how fucked up that is then she says I should complain. I was going to let it go; but I knew I would be thinking about it all day if I didn’t do or say something;
So I do. I go back in and ask for the manager and tell her. She apologizes that I “felt offended” so I tell her, look I’m just here to shop and buy some food not to get a life’s lesson from a cashier, she says she agrees; she’s sorry. (Aka ok I’ll do nothing but thanks for your concerns.)
Ugh. I leave annoyed because I wasn’t being rude when I asked for the stupid lollipop; I was a mom in a rush. And complaining to the manager because someone asks you to say please sounds sort of rude at first thought. sot I’m actually annoyed at this point because I feel like I should have said something rude to the cashier or at least let her know that she had no right to put her impeccable manners on me and my kid.
So this is what I should have said to her and I wish I would have said;
- It’s very privileged attitude to look at me and brown skinned baby and think that you a cashier; have to school me on teaching him his manners; Thank you though!! Because this one moment that a Trader Joe’s cashier demanded his mother to say “please” WILL have a lasting effect on his life and maybe he won’t end up a criminal because someone in his life was smart enough to show him to say please. You’re a true hero. Please sign this sticker so I can attribute his lifetime achievements to you when he’s grown.
- It must feel amazing to be in a position of power over lollipops.
- Actually no if I wanted to say please I would have.
- Do your job and just PLEASE give me a fucking lollipop.
- Are you an English teacher? Are you trying to teach me something here?
- Who are you? My grandmother?
- Is the store policy on obtaining a lollipop outlined and can you show me where it specifically requires that I or my children say please before getting one.
- No lady I don’t say please because I refuse to teach my kids manners. Surprised? Obviously not.
- You don’t know me…. Nobody puts baby in the corner
- And the more serious; The truth is you have no right to put your personal values or morals on me or my family let alone by correcting me in front of my child.
- You don’t know me or my parenting style, while you are free to say what you like to your family and loved ones. When attempting to correct me you are overstepping a boundary. A boundary that I have taught my children to understand and I really don’t have time for this conversation with you. Or to educate you. I want a lollipop so I can shut my kid up.
That’s what I should have said. Anyone would suffice.
So in reflection I say this to you; Do not let people tell you how to act! You are a grown-up. Which to my understanding means that you get to pick and choose your words and do and say what you want. I’m so sick of people crossing boundaries that really are not their business. I don’t even think it is acceptable for someone else in a position of power to force my kids to say please, to use the word please as a way to control someone is a boundary violation. I would like a lollipop and I’m good enough to get one whether or not I say the magic fucking word.
Someone may disagree but my explanation is this; if you force a kid to say please it means nothing. If you remind a child, “don’t forget to say please or thank you” or “ don’t forget to use your manners!” They are the ones choosing to say it. They are the ones meaning it. They are making a choice from within to use manners which essentially is their choice.
From my experience children will usually choose to be polite and actually understand the true meaning of manners better when they aren’t forced to say stuff they don’t mean constantly just because someone else wants them too.
So eventually they will become a grown-up.
One who gets to make their own choice to ask for a lollipop while using her manners – or not.