I took one for the team

15 Nov

My nephew lost his second tooth yesterday. He came to my house with money to burn, five perfect dollar bills lined up in his new shiny wallet. (Something about that wallet made me want to cry. It was just so simple and sweet.) Apparently he heard via television that Kmart is “the place for toys” – his direct quote.

I have never been to Kmart, that I can remember. I have some bad childhood memories of people making fun of a kid for having Kmart Blue Light Special clothes and it was so ingrained in my brain that I was never able to see it as anything other than a public relations nightmare.

As a general rule I go for quality over quantity. I mean, I shop at Target and Old Navy, so it’s not like I’m only lining my drawers with raw imported silk, but I don’t go to places like Winco or Big Lots.

Could I digress for a moment to ask about Big Lots? Does everyone have one of these? I went there one time, and I drove away feeling lucky that I hadn’t taken a shiv to the ribs. That place is no joke, and I was left with the distinct impression that it is not a real store but a money laundering operation that puts a couple beat up chairs and a pack of candy out front just to keep the feds away. Why, yes, I do watch a lot of television, why do you ask?

Anyway. My sister and I were curious about the Martha Stewart collection there, so we decided to go check it out. I mean if Martha has stuff there it’s got to be cute, right? RIGHT?

Sweet baby Jesus.

At first we were like, okay, this isn’t too bad! We were walking around the toy section and all the sudden this burly voice says, “Can I offer you a ticket for the raffle?” right in my ear. It was more like “CAN I OFFER YOU A TICKET FOR THE RAFFLE?’ or, if I can really be specific, since the lady was obviously smoking meth in parking lot before her shift, it was “CANIOFFERYOUATICKETFORTHERAFFLE?” We accepted mostly because I thought I had seen her once – AT BIG LOTS, and we didn’t want a shiv to the ribs. So she tells that us in five minutes we should go to the lighted section by automotive, and I suddenly was faint, like omgomgomg is this a Blue Light Special? Don’t look into the Blue Light!

We could hear her deep, gravely voice all over the store, telling people where to go. So sure enough, she starts yelling to go over there and I’m guiding my sister to the edge, because people are coming from all over the store, like zombies, slowly moving and surrounding us. Me and my sister (who I call Boop, so let’s just start that already) are eyeballing each other with our secret sister language. Without speaking we had decided that we were moving to the edge, probably not going to hang out, that these people might be zombies and this girl definitely did meth before her shift.

So then Mrs. Methy McGravelVoice announces that she is there to show us some jewelry and that we should hold on our tickets until the end of the show and Boop says (because I am deaf and she is used to repeating stuff) “SHE IS SELLING JEWELRY DUDE, KMART JEWELRY” so I start pushing the cart away and Methy McGravelVoice yells to us not to leave but if we are going to then we need to give our tickets to someone else so that they can be entered in the AWESOME contest. I’m sure of it, dude. This one guy was like “I WANT IT! GIVE IT TO ME! I’LL TAKE IT!” and I was like, easy there Tiger. You will get your cubic zirconium soon enough.

I digress once more to tell you this: there was a lady just pushing her way to the front of Methy McGravelVoice’s presentation, with her cart. The cart had the following items in it: body wash, deodorant and three boxes of Vagisil. Listen, we have all been there. But three boxes? And even if I did for some hellish reason in fact require three boxes of Vagisil, guess where I would NOT be? Pushing my way through the crowd at the “jewelry show”.

So we get away from that clusterfuck, and finish looking around, and Andrew picks his toy out and we go to the check out. The checkout lines are (of course) a total nightmare. I pick the one with the least amount of people, and let Andrew go first because he has his toy and his wallet and he is so excited to buy his first thing ever. He is totally bump drafting the guy in front of us, to the point that the guy had to lean over from the of the lane to pay because Andrew was already at the paying counter. (I explained to him how bump drafting in lines is BAD, and every time you do a unicorn dies. Just kidding, kind of . . . )

The checker can clearly see that Andrew is excited and she says, I will be back in just a minute, I have to get some change. So we wait. Andrew starts doing the pee pee dance, and we debate whether we should go and go back through line and Boop looks at me like if we make her go through the line system again she will be the one shiving my ribs. So we wait. FIVE MINUTES, you guys. That is a really long time for an adult. For kids that have to pee it’s like waiting for 2nd grade to start. I was so pissed went she sauntered over, and she did saunter too. I was just gritting my teeth, like really, dude? Really? But I kept my happy face on so Andrew could be happy while he made his first purchase ever, and look you guys:


I know!

So I take him pee while Boop checks out, and we get the bathrooms and I am not sure which one he should go in. I mean, he heads for the men’s room, and he is a six year-old boy with his own wallet. These bathrooms though, they are rough, and I can’t go in the men’s with him. But I decide to be cool about it and just let him go in.

I wait.
And wait.
And wait.

I can here some banging around in there. It’s been three minutes. So I look around and then lean in towards the vent in the door and hiss through, “ANDREW!” and he says something back but because I am deaf, I don’t hear him. I can still hear a banging and I just know that he is playing with a door or a cupboard or (gah!) a toilet seat. So I lean down again and hiss through, “ANDREW! WRAP. IT. UP”.

He comes out holding his hands in the air like they need washed and says, “There was a funny door in there!” As I’m hosing him down with antibacterial gel, I am thinking that this is not worth it. The price break can’t be low enough to justify me ever stepping foot in this store again.

When I got back to the car, Boop and I said to each other in the silent sister language: FUCK.

I went there so you don’t have to. I took one for the team, and I’m telling you, Martha-Smartha, it was rough.


10 Responses to “I took one for the team”

  1. MeAndBaby 11/15/2009 at 3:40 am #

    OMG I’m still laughing and I read your post a full 5 minutes (waiting-for-2nd-grade) ago. Alone in my house laughing out loud and tearing. And tearing for a good reason for a change. This was almost as funny as the bicycle built for 2 with the fart-brake story. Almost. Ok, so I am clearly incoherent but you my friend, are hysterical. Thank you for that.

    • lswan 11/15/2009 at 3:53 am #

      I can’t even tell you how happy I am that you are laughing. 🙂

  2. Liz 11/15/2009 at 3:41 pm #

    I don’t even want to tell you this, but I will because I am mean in my soul: 1. Martha broke up with Kmart. 2. In my experience, Kmart toy prices are at least 10% higher than at Target.

    • lswan 11/15/2009 at 5:36 pm #

      That’s weird, because there was a ton of Martha Christmas stuff, it was actually the only highlight of the trip aside from toothy grins from the boy. Really cute colors, I was thinking of doing a pale purple thing. Maybe she is waiting to move out until after the holidays, to make it easier on the children?


  3. Elizabeth 11/19/2009 at 4:33 pm #

    Hilarious. You have me laughing at my desk…quietly though, as I am *working* But the best part is the picture of your nephew…so precious! Thank you for keeping it real…and Martha! Really? Kmart? There is one on my way home from work and the ONLY reason I have even considered going in is for the Martha gear…looks like I’ll pass!

    • lswan 11/22/2009 at 5:04 pm #

      Isn’t he dreamy? The Martha Christmas stuff was really cute, I think if you went just to that section and made your purchase and got out you would be ok. If you hear any really deep lady voices – RUN.

  4. Kerry 11/22/2009 at 9:51 pm #

    Don’t you listen to Tom Cruise?!?! “Kmart SUCKS!” I’ll admit that I need frequent reminding of this myself, but it’s a fact. Kmart sucks.

  5. Kerry 11/22/2009 at 9:53 pm #

    I have to add that we had been hearing such wonderful things about Big Lots and how they had such nice merchandise for so little money…I couldn’t wait to find one. We were out of state on vacation and I looked them up. We drove there, excitedly, and I kid you not, both my husband and I were AFRAID TO GET OUT OF THE CAR!!! I don’t think that has ever happened to me before or since. Scary business that Big Lots!

  6. amie 11/23/2009 at 4:36 pm #

    OMG- too too funny. Btw my sweet as sugar , adopt any stray cat, dog, hobo , mother was mugged in Big Lots last Christmas.

    • lswan 03/29/2010 at 3:41 pm #

      Amie: I am just now seeing this comment, I don’t know why. But G-dammit I just snorted tea out my nose. I mean, that’s horrible, really, but that sentence just struck me as so absurd and funny. I hope your mom is ok, Big Lots is no joke!

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