In an effort to remain consistent with my economy theme here I go again. This morning after my lovely swim, quiet time and breakfast with the kids, I decided that we should trek out to that giant store with all the bulk products. You know the one that starts with a C and ends with an O. The place where you can buy 15,000 paper plates, condiments by the gallon and a cat scratching post all in one place.
We have our $400 per month food budget that we try to stick to but about every three months or so a trip to this monstrosity of a place becomes necessary. There are some items that I just can't get for less anywhere else. Laundry detergent, mayonnaise, torillas, cheese and eggs for example. Now, we do stop here more often that every few months but it's more for the container of mayonnaise and tortillas we ran out of and that comes out of the monthly budget. This trip is the stocking up kind. I did pretty well only spending about $141. This is pretty good considering what they have available. Really I could do very little snack making if I got carried away there. But alas that may save me some time but not money and well, healthy a lot of the snacks are not. So moving on.
I went in and I knew what we needed. Five kids in tow we ventured in and we had a plan. Now I should have realized from the beginning that the writing was on the wall for this trip. That is, when I tried to show the nice man at the door my Safe*ay card. Nice start. Finally found it and in we went.
Aisle by aisle we went. The kids knew the rules. No picking things up. Stay with me. You follow me, I don't follow you. If you see something you would like to stop for I will slow down for you to take a look. But when I leave, you leave. Simple enough and it worked pretty well.
We were quite efficient and finished our gathering of supplies for feeding our little army and we headed to check out. At this point I am thinking "Wow, that went well." You'd think I was new at this. I know as well as anyone else that a well oiled machine is not immune to trouble.
As soon I as think we are doing well and that the end is in sight, Lij now has to go potty. So off he and Bubba went. Well of course hearing that someone else has to go potty has the same effect as sitting in front of a waterfall for the girls. So off those three went. There I was left keeping an eye Mt. St. Feed our faces, aka the cart. I wasn't about to abandon my well stocked cart. Fifteen minutes later all were safely heading to the food area to have an inexpensive lunch before we head home.
Lij suddenly must have been bitten by a bug on an upper because now he was all over the place. He wanted to sit in his chair, no now stand with me, no now back to his chair. At one point while in line I turned around to find him licking the water off the soda counter from spilled ice. Nice. That's mothering at it's finest. Or so I thought. I now have drink cups in hand walking towards the soda fountain when I hear behind me "I want to go with you!" As I turn to look, he climbs on top of the table and walks across it to get to me. I am now becoming discouraged at what was once a successful shopping trip that seemed to be quickly deteriorating. Fortunately, the lady he climbed across by was amused by our family and was chuckling.
I finally get everyone seated keeping my cool. Really Lij was my only challenge as everyone else behaved beautifully and were sitting waiting for me. We ate our lunch and I was able to breath again. I decided that we should head home and get this 3 year old hoodlum for a day, down for a nap.
Just get the keys and walk, right? Keys? What keys? Where are the keys? Are you kidding me? Where are my keys? I don't remember doing anything with them when we arrived. Just then Bub reminds me that I had handed them to him when we got out the van, for a reason that escapes me, and he clipped them on the cart for me. "Why didn't you tell me that you clipped them there?" I ask. To which he responds that he had told me he put them there and I had said ok. Really? I had said ok? I don't remember that. Does that mean that I was distracted and tuned him out? Oh, that never happens with me. I am the ever present, always listening momma who never misses a word her angelic children utter. Ok, sorry to burst everyone's bubble...warning...honest confession coming....I sometimes answer my kids when I don't know what they have said. I know. I know. I should be ashamed. And I am. Really I am. But I am also not too hard on myself. It's easy to get distracted with five kiddos and thousands of items within their reach.
Back to the story. So the clipping of the keys to the cart would have been fine except that when you unload your items to be scanned they place your items in another cart for you to take out. This meant that now, some other customer behind me had my cart and we had left the checkout over 20 minutes ago. My old cart could be anywhere. Customer Service didn't have my keys, the cashier missed them and they said that all I would have to do is go check all of the cart returns in the parking lot. Oh, we're saved, all we have to do is check ALL of the cart returns in the parking lot and hope that no one had picked up this cart and was now shopping inside.
I was now in serious crisis mode. As I was leaving the store to go outside, I stopped to ask a superviser if anyone had turned the keys in to her. I was not looking forward to taking my cold groceries and five children into the 90+ muggy heat to go aisle by aisle. It was my fault that we had lost them but I was procrastinating a bit. She said that she had not seen them but again told me I could check the returns outside. But what happened next made this woman and her sidekick my new heroes. As I walked away from her out into the abyss that is the parking lot, I heard her behind me instruct the man talking to her to go with me until I had found my keys. This young man ran from cart return to cart return, in the heat, while we looked at straggling carts between cars, until he found my keys at the entrance of the store.
I was ever so grateful and so were my kids to get out of the heat and head home. It felt like we had been on safari and I wanted to kiss the ground in my driveway when we returned home. I fought the urge and instead played on my laptop and took a nap. Whatever works.
I will be writing a thank you letter to that supervisor and her cohort. That was customer service at it's best.