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February 17, 2013

Oh, big box bookstore, how you failed my child today...

Despite my best intentions, I still end up at the big box bookstore, buying last minute gifts or hurriedly acquiring a Spanish-English dictionary on a semi-regular basis.  As I was doing the latter last week, I also took the time to buy two gift cards.

One was a long overdue gift for Kelsey, part of a Christmas gift.  Lunch and a trip to the bookstore, just the two of us.  The other gift card was for the LG.  Just a treat for his Valentine's Day treat bag. Not that he needed it, but I felt like with everything going on, a little something wouldn't hurt. 

Last night, he asked if we could please go to said bookstore today.  Given that we have so little time together right now, and Kelsey is sick (so some Sunday plans were canceled) why not?  We headed over in the early afternoon and spent a good 30 minutes trying to find something that was under $10.  Unless you want 2 (12 page) Biscuit books, this is a fairly difficult challenge.  While I had assumed he would want a book about dinosaurs, he ended up, of course, in the Lego section.

After much back and forth between Lego bricks and books and discussion of how much something costs, "Yes, those flimsy pieces of black plastic making up a Batman toy set really DO cost $30," he settled on a small Lego Star Wars set.

Happy with his purchase, he set off with it in his hand, as was his gift card.  He insisted the entire time that he would hold the gift card as it was *his* and he was buying his toy.  Great!  We finally got up to the cash register and for whatever reason, the clerk spent all of his time looking at me and ignoring the fact that Nick handed him both the toy and the gift card.

He asks me if I have a membership, I say no, but offer that I have a Kids Club card.  He then spends upwards of 15 minutes trying to locate and update my membership...approximately 14 minutes and 30 seconds more than I wanted to worry about it.  I would have been happy just updating it later, but he kept insisting.

Finally he had swiped the gift cards (I had an another one which covered the slight overage) and then held the box in the air.  He looked at Nick, the purchaser of the item and said in a slightly whiny, sing-songy voice, "What do you* say?" 

I just stared at him. Nick was the customer.  He picked out his item, handed over the payment (that had been clutched tightly in his fist for 30 minutes, so he wouldn't lose it) and now this guy was playing games with him?  Nick just looked back at him like he wanted to say something, but was too scared.  Meanwhile I was still just staring, trying to think of anything to say to this (in my opinion) clearly childless person who did not understand that one thanks the customer for their purchase.

He finally handed over the toy and said, "I guess we are still working on our manners."

Really?  Yes, I guess at age 30+, Mr. Bookseller is still very much working on his manners.  Nick bought the toy from the store, therefore, in my mind, HE should receive a thank you for his purchase.  He should not have the toy dangled above his head like a carrot to a rabbit in the hopes that he will pop out with thank you just because the clerk (incorrectly) wants to hear it.

I was so angry that we just left when the clerk had finished the whole Kids Club account check "one more time."  I'm thinking that it's now actually a moot point.  I could give two figs about discounts on future books for my child if the clerks at the store have so little interest in thanking a child for his purchase and treating him like a person (because he is).

The thing is, Nick had already thanked the person who deserved it and he did it again when we arrived home.  He got out of the car, started walking up the stairs, looked at me and said, "Thanks, Mama, for the card."

"Which card, Bud?" I asked, just in case he was referring to something else.

"You know, the *big box bookstore* gift card you gave me so I could buy my toy."

Amazing how the 4 year old gets what the 30 plus year old completely ignored....or is it?

You are so very welcome, Nick.

 

 

*(I loathe this question.  We don't tell our kids to say thank you, we show them reasons why and model that behavior and the same goes for "I'm sorry."  In our opinion, a child needs to understand the why, not just parrot a response.)

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I loathe that question too! In all it's variations. When I deal with other's kids, I just model behavior I expect from my own kids. If I don't get it back, well, it's not my fault. If I do, I make a bigger fuss about the kid... not the behavior, because that should be regarded as natural not a trick for rewards, but the kid who did it, in other ways. Nick sounds like an awesome Little Guy, and you are a great mom who made it out of big box bookstore with putting any employee in timeout. Even if they deserved it.

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