Friday, October 15, 2010

First it's Balloons, Next Thing You Know They're Knocking Off a Liquor Store

I wrote this post for Chicago Moms Blog originally. It's a rerun, but it's been a really busy week and I'm so tired. I tried writing a blog post, but when I reread it, it didn't make any sense. It's not a good idea to blog when you're half-asleep. So here's a rerun, but unless you read Chicago Moms Blog, it'll probably be new to you.

I took two of my boys shopping yesterday. I'm pretty sure taking your sons shopping is considered torture by The Geneva Convention and Amnesty International. Anyway, I went to their store of choice, Sports Authority, because one can never have too many basketballs, hockey sticks, or baseball gloves. After spending a small fortune on the equipment that will one day land them a huge scholarship (hey, it's my fantasy!), I dragged them to a party store to get some decorations and tableware for their sisters' upcoming birthday parties.

As we walked in the party store, I noticed they were having a remodeling sale. Of course, I pushed my cart up and down every single aisle. I mean, things were on SALE after all! All the while my boys trudged behind me, complaining that they were bored. Looking at the glazed looks on my boys’ faces, I tore myself away from the shelves of items on clearance.

"I'm sorry, boys," I said as I set my mind to the task at hand. Decorations for the girls' parties. That's it. Let's go!

My six-year-old, Clay, saw some baskets of balloons you could buy deflated or have the store fill with helium for you.

"Can I have a balloon, Mom? Pleeeeease?"

"No, we're on a mission to get the decorations for the girls' birthday parties. We have no money for other things."

I finished my shopping, checked out, and went to three more stores. The last stop was at a shoe store so I could get Jackson his millionth pair of shoes for the year. (I don't know anyone as hard on shoes as that kid.) As I stood in line paying for the shoes, I realized that Clay was holding something in his hand.

"What do you have?"

Jackson pried Clay's fingers open and pulled out a balloon. The balloon I told him he couldn't get at the party store. A balloon he (gasp) STOLE! Oh great, my son's a thief. What to do? We were tired from running around all day. We were thirsty. We were finally done with our errands. I wanted to go home. The sensible part of me said It's JUST a balloon, for crying out loud. Tell him to never do it again and go home!

But the "Must Teach Kids Right From Wrong At All Costs" mom in me said You can't let this go. Yeah, it's just a balloon this time, but what's next? Where does it end? First it's a balloon, next it's a flat screen TV, then a Maserati. Next thing you know, he's knocking off a liquor store.

So, I drove back to the party store, made Clay return the balloon and tell the cashier that he'd stolen it and was very sorry. The cashier said something along the lines of, "That's great that you came back and told the truth! It's ok!" I wanted to slap her. It's not ok! Why couldn't she have given him a lecture on the evils of stealing and threaten to call the police and have him locked up? You know, to scare the snot out of him to make him remember the lesson.

Oh well, all's well that ends well. I just hope I never have to bake a cake with a file in it.


Vanessa (Housewives Inc) said...

It's really great that you are teaching your kids honesty and principles - if only more parents took such an approach! Thanks for sharing your story (despite the embarrassment) :-)

Robin said...

I love your posts so much I even read a rerun! :) Sorry you're so busy & tired. Is it raising 6 kids single-handedly or something else? Whatever it is, I hope you get some rest this weekend. Yea, right! *insert snort here* :)

Round Belly said...

I have found that to get a good response from a store person when my kids have stolen, that I need to find the oldest person possible, (hopefully in a management position) to have my kids apologize to. They usually know enough to scare the snot out of the kids.

Sheila said...

Too funny! My then 6-year-old daughter once stole these little tiny flower bouquets from a craft store because she thought they looked like wedding bouquets for her Barbies. I didn't find it until that night when she had to come into my room crying after I had put her in bed. She felt so guilty.

So we went and returned them (she had taken something like 30) and she apologized. It really was rather funny, but I'm just glad she felt badly about it!

Sheila from To Love, Honor and Vacuum.

Anonymous said...

i had the same experience in a candy shop once when my (then) 5 year old pocketed a box of jelly bellies. i was FURIOUS!!!! he was complimented on how brave he was for being honest! what the heck! apparently 'how to talk to little kids caught shoplifting' is not something that retail employees are trained in. but they should be!

V1nce said...

I could really use a flat screen TV. Know anyone who can help me out?

I promise to be really, really cross when the 8 year old brings it in his wagon after he helps me figure out how to work it...

Amanda said...

Oh well, hopefully he's learnt it pays to tell the truth as there is a lesser consequence. That's what I try and teach my kids anyway. I love your blog and I really relate to your posts, being a mother of three littlies myself.
* * *
I have started a funny little game on my blog. And there is absolutely no pressure (I'm not a great fan of tagging games myself, so only participate if it amuses you). I would like to tag you to play 'uncovering the truths about childhood' (no personal information of course). The purpose of this game is to go back in time and rediscover any funny or embarrassing happenings from a chosen age, then share these precious moments with our blogging friends :)

You can read more about it here . . .

Cheers, Amanda :)

Mary said...

I remember when my guys were little, taking them back to the store and making them pay for what they stole, and being mad that the clerks were so nice to them. But on the up side, those guys are now 20 and 17, and to my knowledge (and I would know, because I find out everything, and don't you dare tell them different) they've never stolen anything again, ever.

Unknown said...

Good for you for driving your son back to return the balloon. I think cashier did not make a big deal about it was because he is a little kid and they do mistakes sometimes.

Nina said...

I forgot how much I enjoyed your blog! Back on the FAVORITES list you you weren't removed intentionally, PC blew up and you were lost!

Now you are found.

What you did was important, to bad the store clerk was a moron!

Unknown said...

You definitely did the right thing. You can't have kids running around stealing things you can't use yourself. Now if they HAD stolen liquor from the store... that would have different.

Honey & Butter said...

been there! great reads Dawn!

Forty Pound Sack said...

I'm sorry someone thought it necessary to call the store clerk a moron. As a former clerk, I can tell you that some parents chew you out for telling their kids that if they ever did that again, you would have to call security and file a report. (A total scare tactic. We didn't even have security where I worked). Those parents would say things along the line of, "He apologized! Why do you have to threaten him?" and storm off in a huff. Occasionally, a parent would call ahead, tell us what happened, and ask us to be hard on thier kid. So we resurrected the old "call security" threat. The rest of the time we just told the kid "thank you for returning our stuff" and left the rest up to the mom - I just realized I never had a dad bring a kid in. Anyway: when you have the opportunity, give the clerks a head's up. They can't read your mind.

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