Tuesday, January 27, 2009


Yesterday I had one of those moments where you wish that the floor would just open up and swallow you.

Let me set the stage.

My plan yesterday was to go to the bank, got to the grocery store and then hit the library. Ahhh, what's that saying about best laid plans? Yup. That's me.

Anyhow--I load the kids in the car (which, if you have little ones, you know is a feat unto itself.) Add to that the fact that our new garage (although 900 square feet of men's den paradise) is not ATTACHED to the house, and throw in a little 10 degree winter weather, and I might as well been bundling the kids up for a trip to the North Pole.

We get on the road and head to the center of town. Now, I am in the country, a good ten minutes into the center of town, which is indeed a gorgeous, windy road past farms, stone walls, icy brooks and huge old homes. I so appreciate that, it is EXACTLY what I wanted, but sometimes you just need to run some errands and you want to do it quickly (as in, between feedings for your baby and before nap time for your toddler who will undoubtedly turn into a screaming maniac if you are not back in time.)

I get to the bank and deposit a ginormous check (our returned deposit from the old place) and I now have the satisfaction of seeing a nice big amount of cash in the bank as noted on my deposit slip. (I mention this because it is important for later in the saga.)

Next I go to the library, but seeing as how it doesn't open until 1pm, (WHAT???) I turn turn toward the grocery store.

This is a little, neighborhood grocery called Ted's. This is the first time I have been. We finish gathering everything I need for my minestrone and apple pie, plus some Donettes for James, and get in line to check out.

Our cashier is a sweet older Italian woman. She banters with James while checking me out, and hands him back his Donettes after scanning them when he starts to cry.

Time to pay. I pull out my debit card and swipe.


A tight smile appears on the lips of the cashier. I swipe again.


Now, I just made a deposit and know that with what was in there already, I CERTAINLY have the STINKING $39 I need to pay.

"Would you like to try one more time? Or do you have another card?"

I notice (because the place is very small) that pretty much everyone in the front of the store is aware that my card was just declined.

"Yes, try it again." I say. And then I actually add "I just made a big deposit, and I know I have like $5,000 in there . . ." and then I actually start WAVING MY DEPOSIT SLIP at the cashier.


And then she says to me---"This debit card is for Washington Mutual."

"Yes," I say, near tears.

"Your deposit slip is from New Alliance, the bank down the road."


What a dummy. I mean really. Am I that stupid/rushed/running on empty/overwhelmed/scatterbrained that I would swipe the card for the account that I used in Vegas that I no longer have?????

I sense everyone in the front of the store sigh collectively.

I reach back into my wallet for the new debit card and . . .



So, you know what happens next. They load up all my groceries and schlep them over to customer service. The bagging lady actually has to peel the Donettes out of James' hand as he is SCREAMING "MY DONUTS! MY DONUTS!"

The cashier asks me if I at least have enough cash to pay for the Donettes.

I don't.

I never have any cash on me. EVER.

Now Jame's shrieking has woken Ella up and she is beginning to cry.

I assure the cashier that I live a few miles away, that I must have left the card at home, and I would be back.

And the look on her face says?


Long story even longer?

I schlep my screaming kids all the way home. James is repeating "WANT MY DONUTS WANT MY DONUTS" non-stop until I want to drive a screwdriver into my ear to make myself deaf. I run into the house while they are in the car (Please don't call Dr. Phil) and tear apart the mess looking for it. I place a frantic call to Chris who is in the middle of an on-site consult and scream into the phone "Where is my card/it's not in my wallet/you must know where it is/YOU ALWAYS KNOW WHERE EVERYTHING IS!!"

And then I find it. In my coat pocket. Where I left it when I pumped gas the weekend before.

I go back to the store, trundle the kids back in and the look on the cashier's face is priceless. They get the groceries and she pulls out the Donettes for James, who sweetly says "Thank you." and takes the first calm breath he has taken in the 25 minutes it took me to drive home, FREAK OUT and drive back.

Needless to say, we did not make it back to the cute-as-a-button library.

We got home and it literally took me all day to recover.

Which leads me to a few conclusions.

1) I obviously have a fear of being that person in the store who's card gets declined and they have to shrink out in shame,

2) I will ALWAYS have at least enough cash on hand to buy the Donettes, or the matchbox car, or the coloring book, or whatever other silly thing I bribed my kid with to get him to behave in the store


3) if I have any readers who made it to the end of this post, then I know truly who my most loyal fans are.

Thanks for letting me vent--now I can take a breath!!!


Kim said...

OMG - that sucks!!

This reminds me of your post about going into CVS to pick up your Christmas card order from Walgreens!!

Jerolyn said...

Whew...That sorta stuff takes it's toll on me too and I would of wanted to go straight home and take a nap to try to erase it from mine and everyone with in ears shots memories!
Glad James finally got the good stuff!

Gini said...

OH am I laughing. For one - it's a funny post and secondly - the humiliation lessens my friend, as you get older and this kind of thing become an ordinary day in your life. Count your blessings that this is not a daily occurence for you!!!! Not yet anyway. One thing I remember somebody said - there are half as many people watching you as you think there are. So with that - I can laugh off any stupid thing that I do now.

alice c said...

I am there with you - right to the end - sharing your pain!

Neisey said...

Aww. You poor thing. I feel for you. At least it's all over now.

Stephanie said...

I never have cash, either, and it has led to some trauma. Maybe I will take your advice and always have a little tucked somewhere? maybe. :)

So, it's after 4:00. did you head back to the library?? HAHAHAHAHAHHA. :) We live in a small town and ours closes for lunch. seriously. the post office does, too.

I hope your afternoon has been easy on you.

Liz said...

I have been shopping at Ted's since the day we moved here. I have been declined about 4 times. And even though I have been shopping there - dropping an easy $200 a week - they have NEVER let me out of the store with so much as a half eaten BANANA. It is small. They were staring at you. But they WORK there. You SHOP there. So I say F*** them. I stopped shopping there for a LOOOOONG time because of embarrassment like that. I have BEEN THERE. And I am assuming it was Giustina who checked you out (I know, I'm such a townie) - and I can PROMISE you - she is the nicest, sweetest woman EVER.
Just stay away from Sandy.
I am such a townie. I gross myself out.

Allison said...

Liz, it was TOTALLY Guistina!!!

Kim said...

hahahaha!!!! Hysterical! As I've said before, "So, when you having more kids???"

Susan said...

I saw your blog on another blog and I decided to check you out. I'm so glad I did. This story is absolutely fantastic in a "I feel your pain" kind of way. I never have cash and have left my debit card in too many places to count. Thanks for the laugh!

Allison said...

Susan--thanks for visiting!

Andy & Katie said...

When it rains it pours, right?

Glad you made it through!

Poppy Buxom said...

My kids are 11 and 13, and yet, I empathize so totally with this post that I'm

1. curled up in a fetal position 2. having FLASHBACKS and 3. wondering whether it's too early to have a cocktail.

Twice as Nice said...

You POOR THING!! If I would of been the cashier I would of bought the stinking dounuts for your child! I have forgotten my check book (back before the cash cards) at home because I had been writing out bills and left it on the counter. I had to go all the way home too. At least it didn't say declined!! I'm sure you were not the first and will not be the last. We all get busy....it's a fact :o)