I Think I May Have Just Witnessed a Scam…

I have been a mother now for two and a half years. So how is it that I make a special trip to buy my daughter new shoes yet I fail to bring along a pair of socks? How does that happen? That and I cannot seem to remember to have Pickle potty before we leave. We are fifteen minutes into our twenty-minute trip to the outlet mall when I hear from the back seat, “Mommy, I’m making pooters!” Great. Poop in the mall. Some days…

We get to our destination and head straight for the potty. Somehow at two and a half they already have a sense that pottying in the mall is not at all like pottying at home. We get into the stall and well, she stalls. “I don’t want to.” The only real point I have to bargain with is the taxi cab ride outside the door that she spotted on the way in. “We can’t ride in the car unless we make potty.” At least I was able to negotiate pee pee. I figured that should at least get us through the shoe shopping. I knew the poop was on the horizon.

We get to the taxi cab car ride, she climbs in and I unload 75 cents into the machine. I hit start and nothing. Seriously? You can’t even put up a “Broken” sign or something to warn parents? I carry zero cash with me these days so the few quarters that I do have are precious! Burns me up, I tell you. We moved on and found another ride. By the sight of the blinking headlights I made the assumption that it was working. I managed to scram up another 75 cents and we were off. She drove for about a minute and a half and since we both had fulfilled our ends of the bargain it was time to shop for shoes.

We get in the store and it is a mad house. Not realizing it was a buy-one-get-one-free sale and completely forgetting that it is back-to-school time I mistakenly assumed it would not be that busy on a Sunday afternoon. We were already there so we had to make the best of it.

I did find saleslady who agreed to size Pickle’s foot. I asked her if I could purchase a pack of socks so I could use them to try on the shoes. Of course, they were completely out of her size. Really? Not a single sock in the entire store in her size? I guess I’m still having trouble remembering that it is BACK-TO-SCHOOL! We move on…

I’m searching for a cute sneaker for school. I’m over the plain white Keds so I zero in on these cute white Polo tennis shoes with pink and green trim. How adorable and at the outlet mall the price is perfect. “Cute, huh?” I ask Pickle. “No.” is her flat reply. Surely she just doesn’t realize how cute they really are. “Come see. It’s time to try these on.” I have a hunch that this shoe shopping event may not be as easy as I had anticipated. She simply responds, “No.”  I have no sock for her to wear and I have what appears to be a very non-compliant child. The saleslady must have been reading my mind, or sensing my stress because she came right over with a pair of those nude footie sock-stockings. “Thought these might help.” How nice of her, I thought but really? Pantyhose for my two-year old? Whatever will work. The footies did nothing to help with the actual trying on of the shoes because Pickle wouldn’t put them on her feet. Instead she stretched them onto her hands, her head, her knees….it made her happy.

Once I decided on the Polo shoes I had to locate her size. I grab a box but there was only one shoe in it. Weird. So I grab another one. Same thing, only one shoe. What gives? I spot my salesfriend and ask her what’s up with the shoes. She informs me that there is a very high rate of crime in the store. Shoes get stolen every day. Especially cute Polo shoes. “You would be surprised what people to do to steal. All sorts of plans.” Therefore they only put one shoe in the box. You can’t get the other shoe until you check out.

SERIOUSLY? I’m just in shock. Seriously? These shoes are 25 bucks! You seriously can’t pay for these shoes? People are out there stealing their children’s shoes? I guess I’ve never given it much thought but I must have assumed that crime would be more likely on a $200 pair of shoes. What the hell do I know. My salesfriend was nice enough to bring me the mate to the shoe I had because when she measured Pickle’s feet she saw that one foot was bigger than the other. I was most grateful. “I’m going to buy them.” I reassured her. With flesh-colored stockings on her hands Pickle tried on the cute sneakers and we, well, I loved them. Wrap them up! Those and the cute silver sparkle ones…

As I was gathering my boxes and picking up balls of white tissue paper while maintaining a close eye on my child as she tries to pull the footie over her head I hear this thump. Suddenly I hear boxes come falling down. I look to my right and there is this woman, whom one moment ago was standing up doing, what I thought, was locating a size, was now sitting on one of the lower shelves. Box after box after box came tumbling down around her. It was the weirdest thing I’d ever seen. They all opened up so shoes were loose all over her. They just kept on falling, and falling, and falling. Now this is a fully able woman. Do not think that this is someone who had just fallen off their crutches or something. There she was, on the floor surrounded by at least twenty pairs of shoes, boxes, and lids. Scattered all around her.  “That totally sucks.” was my initial thought. “Are you okay?” I ask but get no response. How is she going to get all of that back together, get them in the right boxes, right size, wait.

Holy crap. Is this what my salesfriend is talking about? Holy crap. Is this what she means by elaborate plans? Oh my freaking god. It’s like the man who slips on loose dog food in the grocery and then sues the store! That’s right! With twenty shoes spread all over who would ever notice that a few go missing! So simple. Of course! Instead of putting the shoes back in the box, a pair or two goes in the purse or shopping bag and the empty box goes back on the shelf! I’m in total disbelief. I grab my two boxes and my stocking-clad child and thankfully run right into my salesfriend. I show her what I am going to purchase and then in a weird way, nod to show her the lady in the shoe pile. I didn’t know what to do. I felt like I had to say something. She nods back to me and then heads over to help the lady that is drowning in shoes.

I’m totally creeped out just want to get out of there. I pay for our purchases and feel like I’ve just been witness to the dark side of crime. It makes me so angry because I walk out of the store paying $40 for two pairs of shoes and it is very likely that lady who fell into a thousand boxes probably also left the store with two pairs of shoes which cost her nothing except for maybe a bruise to the rear when she landed on the shelf in her dramatic fall.

Happier times ahead. We make it to Gymboree where Pickle happily exclaims, “Mommy, poo poo! Hurry!” I hoof it, and I mean hoof it down to the restrooms where we make it just in time. Whew. “I don’t want to.” After that sprint, oh yes you will. After a bit of coaxing and help from mother nature we happily complete the task. We are all smiles until the automatic flush nearly sucks Pickle into the toilet. She screams and grabs my arms for dear life. I can’t help but laugh. Nothing like a little commercial grade flush to help ease an already uncertain toddler. These are the kinds of things that do not help us get used to the idea of pooping in public. Fear, as a child, of being sucked down the toilet along with your poop at the mall has got to be the reason why so many adults are so anal retentive.

Happy Mothering,

Melanie

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