Saturday, February 7, 2009

One, five, ten, crap, where was I?

Look, I am all for teaching our kiddies the value of a dollar and capitalism and commercialism and materialism and how the Target checkout line works and all, but seriously, must we do it on a busy Saturday morning with all FOUR of your children who happen to be under the age of five?

I set out today to exchange a gift that was no longer useful (you know, cause the kid I bought it for is no longer a newborn....yeah, Sheri that would be your kid....and I better give you the new gift before I have to go exchange it!). After that, I really wanted a book or magazine or something to pass the day. Since I was headed the opposite direction from the bookstore, I settled for Target for my book. By the time I made it there, I was slightly in a hurry. I thought it was good luck when there were only two people in line in front of me, despite the fact that only one lane was open at a busy time. By the time I plunked my purchases down, a line had already formed behind me. Thank goodness the family in front of me only had four little animal figurines to purchase.

The checker scans the first animal, and reaches for the second. The mother stops her.

"Oh, they will each be paying individually." She waves her hand in the direction of her four children. Her four children who are all under the age of five. Her four children who are all under the age of five, each with their own bag of coins.

As the screen flashes the total of $1.57, the oldest of the children begins counting out coins. "Five, ten, fifteen, twenty....uh...oh no I lost my place. Five, ten fifteen..."

After a few tries, he finally gets it correct. The line seemed to grow with each coin he counted. The people in line behind me begin to shift uncomfortably. This really can't go on much longer. Surely the mother will speed the next one up.

But no. Child number two, slowly counts out two nickels, then I watch as if in slow motion, as the bag of coins drops from her hands. Coins scatter. She bends to pick up the coins, while mom stands there, watching. Watching, while the line grows longer.

I begin to fume. The cashier loses patience. She turns to the other two children.

"All of your animals will be $1.57. Start counting now!"

Mom gets mad. This is not how she wants to work it. She doesn't want them to have their money ready. She wants them to each see the damn screen, and each take their sweet ass time counting out the coins. And miscounting coins. And dropping coins.

Finally the guy behind me says, "Hey lady. I'd like to teach your children a lesson in generosity. I am going to pay for those animals." And with that, he hands over his debit card, and the grateful cashier swipes it before the mother can protest.

And probably it was wrong that everyone in the line started to giggle, because this mom was just trying to teach her kids a lesson.

At a horribly busy time on a Saturday morning when only one line was open.

A little side note, I myself have done the same thing with Jill. I took her to a Starbucks at two in the afternoon, when I knew there would not likely be a line. When there was another customer, I had them go in front of us. I had called ahead to find out the exact costs of the item she would order, and had her practice counting out the amount (which was not all coins when it was OVER a dollar). I did all of this because I know that not everyone finds my kids counting out change as adorable as I do. There are ways to do things while being considerate of others.


Anonymous said...

OMG! Stories like that make me hate parents! I'll have to remind my friends to run me over with their mini-vans if I ever get that bad!!!!!!!

Sheri said...

I am all for kids learning to count money. I just don't get why it can't be taught at home until it is completely mastered before turning them loose in society with a bag of coins. It's simple to buy a toy cash register and put real money in it. Then they pick out item for them to buy from them. And while they're at it, they need to teach them how to roll coins and trade them in for big bills.

Oh, and you really didn't need to return that pony. I am sure she would have been able to ride it for some years to come. :P

Allison said...

Parents amaze me. It is as if some digress to the point of having thier own child brain again.

I am Trish Marie said...

I just don't get why we can't teach them something really useful. Like how a freakin' debit card works. Really? You think that mom walks around with a bag full of change when she goes to the damn grocery store?

"$123.75? Okay, let's see. That will be 495 quarters. One, two, three....."

Aimee' said...

OMG - I am laughing about the guy behind you handing over his debit card! I've taken my girls to the store before to spend their allowance and if it's busy I let the cashier say how much it is and then I will hand over the girls cash and then give them the change...and I would never do it in two seperate transactions with a line of people behind us! And besides - why is this mean lady just giving her children coins?! Cash that shit in!

Jennerific said...

completely agree you did it right & this other woman did it - OH SO WRONG.