Long before I had my son, I worked at a department store. In the women’s shoe dept. to be exact. My usual customers were old ladies who were always receptive of suggestions and business women who knew exactly what they wanted; purchased their shoes and left. But I also had a distinct group of women whom I called “The Harried Moms”. The Harried Moms were women who came in with their kid(s) and strollers laden with shopping bags and mocha lattes dripping down the cup holders. Harried Moms were women who knew what they wanted to shop for but has little time to make a good choice so they end up with something sensible.
Well, the other day I think I became a “Harried Mom”. I noticed this when my son and I were browsing around at our local farmers market with no intent on purchasing anything specific. It was more of a lets-get-out-of-the-house-on-such-a-beautiful-day sort of trip and my son thoroughly enjoys walking around the farmers market and seeing all the different vendors. We stopped at practically every stand, sampling something if it looked delectable (and sanitary) and my son grabbing at every fruit and vegetable he can get his hands on. We did however pick up our favorite pita chips and some huge organic peaches after my son exclaimed that he wanted some peaches. So I picked out a few peaches that didn’t have soft spots on them and as I handed the cashier my money, my son pulled on a bunch of grapes next to us and out of the corner of my eye I can see the grapes about to topple off the table. I quickly grabbed the bag of peaches with one hand and with the other nimbly pushed the grapes back onto the table. I then quickly grasped my son’s hand and we took off. And then a sudden thought came into my head – I didn’t thank the cashier! Now some of you may be thinking what’s the big deal but it’s a big deal to me because it reminded me of my shoe selling days and those moms with kids in tow desperate to try on something cute but end up rushing out the shoe department in a huff. I never got “thanked” for helping them with their purchase and being a part-time babysitter while they were trying on shoes.
And as I think back to those “harried moms” I remember them hastily parking their stroller in front of the cashier station and throwing either cash or credit cards onto the counter hoping I would hurry up with the transaction. I remember commenting to my co-workers how those moms never bothered to thank me for helping them and I even got a bit spiffed now and then when I spent a major amount of time helping them. I never thought to sympathize with their plight although I did realize the situation they were in.
So although I wasn’t totally rude when I didn’t thank the lady at the farmers market but I did recall that she was rather pleasant and had thanked me and asked us for a return visit as we were scrambling away. But I figure I’ll make up the offense by thanking as many cashiers and salespersons from now on whether they were attentive to my agitated state of mind or not. After all, who knows more about being harried than a professed harried mom like me.