My joy for today is being rescued at Target.
A few days ago, I went to Target, quite ambitiously, after visiting a friend. I only had two kids with me, so it seemed like the trip should be a breeze. It was going well, except for the fact that I had to pick up a few very heavy and bulky items- kitty litter, diapers, a few groceries, and some outdoor chairs. The chairs were on sale and although I had thought about asking the hubs to get them on the way home from work, I wanted to accomplish everything on the list, all by myself. That was not in the cards.
I got everything on my list and then went to the outdoor section. I picked up the handy red phone, asked for help, and was quickly greeted by a Target employee with very little personality. She was about fifty years old, and neither pleasant nor unpleasant. I showed her the five chairs I wanted, she put them on a cart, and I met her at the register.
We had to practically sprint to keep up with my cart of chairs and the nonplussed Target employee. Cart overflowing with kitty litter, diapers, milk, bananas, a ten month old, and being followed by a cheerful but tired three year old, we made it to the front of the store. I paid for my items with a more friendly Target employee, although I found out later she had not applied a coupon correctly. Another employee was called to help take my chairs to my car. He was a young man that worked mostly in the parking lot, with several piercings, a hat, and was friendlier than employee number one.
We walked out towards my vehicle and non-smiling employee number one said that they would wait at the curb and that I should pull my car up to the entrance. I pointed out to her that my car was right in front of us, in the third or fourth spot from the store, but she insisted they wait at the curb.
I packed my kids and all of my groceries into my vehicle, and pulled up to the curb as instructed. I got out of the car, and thought for the first time about where all these chairs might fit in my car. I drive one of the largest SUV’s on the market, but have four car seats inside. As I opened the back lift gate, I started to think my ambition for this shopping trip was misguided.
Young hipster Target employee: “I don’t think these are going to fit.”
Tired Mother of 4: “Really?”
Hipster: “No, I don’t think so. I had this same problem the other day with these chairs.”
Loyal Target Customer: “Oh crap. Can we maybe get one or two in?”
Hipster: (Tries pointlessly to angle a chair into the back.) “Nope.”
Meanwhile, older Target employee stands by silently, looking annoyed.
Me: “Well, what should I do?”
Not Target Employee of the Year: “You’ll have to come back inside and return them.”
Annoyed: “That’s not going to happen.”
And so began an uncomfortable period of silence. They just looked at me. I just looked at them and thought about how I was already running late to pick up my second from preschool, half an hour away from this store. I also thought about the absurd idea of parking again, getting two overly tired children back out of the car, and going inside to return these chairs.
Me again: “Can you just take them back inside and I will have someone pick them up later today?”
Employee #1: “No, we cannot keep any merchandise that has been paid for in the store.”
Beyond Annoyed: “Well, I’m not going back inside.”
More uncomfortable silence.
Me again: “What if I could have someone come get them now?”
Unimpressed Woman: “How long until they would be here?”
I proceed to call my amazing, nearly perfect cousin, Jason, who works in the area. I was praying he was not having a busy day at work or was possibly having his lunch break. By an actual miracle, he was right across the street at Wal-Mart (which was looking better and better all the time). He has a very useful pick-up truck. I told him my absurd predicament, and he said he would be over as quickly as possible.
I turned back to the Target employees and explained that my hero would be here soon. They were surprisingly unimpressed with my resourcefulness or with my soon to be hero. By their silence, I sensed they were still confused as to what to do.
“So just leave the chairs on the sidewalk and I will watch them.”
Possibly least helpful employee of the year: “We can’t just leave them there.”
“Yes, you can. I paid for them, and that’s what I want to do with them. I will assume responsibility for them. I will watch them from my car and if someone tries to take them, I will yell at them in my scariest voice.”
Hipster: “I’ll be in the parking lot most of the time, I can keep an eye on them too.”
Finally, someone at this store is on my side!
Hipster: “We could just put them by your car in the parking lot.”
An actual suggestion! Will wonders ever cease?
Don’t worry, non-helpful woman is just silent. She seems annoyed that this is actually working out for me.
I get back in my car, drive to an uninhabited area of the parking lot, and the Target force of two brings my chairs over on the flats. They put them right next to my car, and I sit.
In very little time, my cousin comes to our rescue! It was quite easy to find me, as I was the one in the huge SUV, with five colorful outdoor chairs next to my car in the parking lot. All I needed to complete the scene was a grill. He drove over, got out, and I told him the whole ridiculous story. We laughed together for a while, as we do so gloriously often, he put the chairs in the back of his truck, and I stood amazed at what a joy it is to have my cousin in my life. I am certainly not even attempting to summarize how much I adore and admire Jason in this post. This is just a teaser.
I drove away, with a new story in the crazy times of a busy mom. Although I am still a loyal Target customer, I was incredibly underwhelmed by the attitude and helpfulness of one employee in particular. But in frustration and loneliness in a Target parking lot, came a chance to add yet another story in the saga of trying to do it all, well. Sometimes we just need a little help from our friends, or cousins.
Enjoy your joys for today.
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