A Series of Unfortunate Sales Clerk Encounters

For six years I have been receiving unsolicited parenting advice from sales clerks and other miscellaneous strangers. The advice ranges anywhere from “You tell your mommy you need to be wearing socks” to how to keep from having more of them (kids, not socks).

On Tuesday I was out shopping with the girls. That statement alone should tell you I didn’t have my head screwed on properly, but nevertheless, I needed some things and we were supposed to be getting a big snow storm, so I wanted those things before the storm hit. My intention was to just go to Walmart and then come home. But Walmart didn’t have the kind of fabric I needed, so we had to drive across town to the fabric store.

My girls weren’t being exactly exasperating – just goofy preschoolers running errands. Ladies in fabric stores tend to have the library mentality and when the crew and I entered the store, the quiet left. Hancock’s (the fabric store) has those tiny shopping carts that have room for a baby in the front and a bolt of fabric in the back. The girls were hanging onto all sides of the cart with the baby in the front. They almost tipped it over once, so I was aware of the potential for wrecking if we weren’t careful.

About 15 minutes into the shopping trip, I was just kind of flustered in general – the store was the second (unplanned) stop, it was getting really cold outside, the baby suddenly needed a diaper change and I didn’t have any diapers with me (what was I thinking?).

So right at the climax of all this, a shopping clerk came over to advise me about the girls. She said, “You should have your kids get off the cart because that cart can tip over and they can all get hurt.”

For 6 years I have endured this advice with a fake smile and a nod. I broke my record on Tuesday. That poor woman received 6 years worth of my responses to sales clerks all across Colorado telling me what to do with my kids while out in public with them. My response wasn’t lengthy, but it was pointed. And, I’m sorry to say, it was rude. The response probably wasn’t as much as my tone in giving it certainly was.

I am so sorry I did that. It wasn’t necessary, it didn’t make me feel better.

After we left that store (which was pretty fast after that encounter) we went down to the middle of the shopping center (it was kind of an indoor/outdoor strip mall) where they had an indoor playground. The whole time we were there I knew I should have gone back into Hancock’s and apologized, but I didn’t do it because I was too embarrassed.

God, I’m sorry I sinned against you by sinning against that lady. I pray she is able to let that incident go and that I didn’t totally scare her off from talking to customers again.