Tuesday, November 8, 2011

The freedom of shopping without our parents...priceless! (don't forget the sales tax!!)

It's interesting how I start a blog with one thought in mind and it metamorphosis into a completely different thought process as I type it.

For instance, yesterday's blog wasn't going to be about my kids at all. It was going to be about these sweet little kiddos shopping at the Dollar Store last Friday.  I don't know how and why I transferred my thoughts into my own boys.  They must have been on my my mind.  You see, I set no boundaries when I begin my blogs.  I just type whatever comes to mind.  My ideas are truly just a ramble of utter chaos which lurks inside my frontal lobe or perhaps some place else.  Anyway, I digress.

So, yes.  I was thinking about this little family of brothers and sisters.  There were four of them ranging in ages of eight - this would be the eldest brother with his superior Tootsie Roll savings jar and knowledge of all things financial - to his ittiest baby sister who could not have been older than three waving her dollar bill proudly around the store and surprisingly not dropping it in her excitement.  

As I mulled through the aisles determining what I wanted, I watched them in their apparent fascination and shopping freedom.  A whole dollar in a dollar store.  How incredible that must have felt for them.  Everything was a mystery and a miracle.  Everything was picked up and examined, discussed and contradicted.  When would they be back again?  When would they have an opportunity to have this sort of purchasing power in the future?   They must make good decisions.  Ok, they were ready.

In front of me, at the only check-out counter available, they all lined up with their dollar bills awaiting to pay for their merchandise.

"Are these all together?"

"No, we're paying separate."  The brave eight year old brother said in barely a whisper.

Why is it that grown-ups waiting in line have to be so nasty?  The moment he said this I could hear an audible exhale of air behind me.  Get a life, people!  These could be your kids.  Patience.  Kindness.  No wonder these children were so rattled.  Thank goodness the cashier was sweet.

 Itty sister first.  A light up, plastic flower toy.  Suddenly her shyness became overwhelming.  With what seemed like an eternity of nudging from her older sister and brother, and what I thought were a couple of tears in her eyes, she reluctantly handed over her dollar bill.

"That will be a $1.09 sweetie."

Uh oh, these kiddos, like millions of kiddos before them, never considered the tax factor.  Big brother to the rescue.  He shook his Tootsie Roll savings can with the strength of a Samurai warrior and managed to find a dime.  One penny change.  The itty one looked at him like he was her personal warrior who had rescued her from a fate worse than death. 

His turn.  He surprisingly, or not - maybe that's why Itty picked it out - bought the same light up plastic flower.  This time, he had another dime at the ready.  His other younger sister did too.  The last sister bought hard candy.  I believe she thought her situation would be different.  I gave her a warning ahead of time to have a dime out and ready.  She didn't have one so I passed her ten cents while her sister was purchasing her flower.

Oh the excitement on their faces as they were leaving!  "Look at mine!", "No! Look at mine!!", as if the flowers could possibly look any different.  I was grinning from ear to ear when they walked out the door and so was the cashier.  The people behind me?  Their faces were solid stone.  How could they not find this sweet?  When did their lives become so passe that four beautiful children couldn't light up their afternoon with a grin along their battery operated fluorescent flowers?

It made me think of all the times I was dropped off at Woolworth's with my two older sisters and brother to go Christmas shopping for my parents.  I bought my mom 2 hamsters one year.  In my excitement to finally have pets in my home which my mother couldn't possibly refuse, I hadn't noticed that one was blind and partially deaf (an ear was missing) and the other looked rabid.  My older siblings where a little more conservative; nail files, polish remover, nose hair clippers, under arm deodorant, shower caps, etc., and of course, we topped off our shopping adventure with triple decker ice cream cones.

Now that I recall, I think I had the same Tootsie Roll savings can.  I wonder how many faces we lit up on our shopping afternoons - 4 little golden haired, blue eyed monsters or did we annoy our share of people too?  Oh well, whatever the case may be, I'm sure we were never prepared for taxes either.   

  

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