Today was a good Walmart day. Andy and I went to Walmart to pick up some basic supplies after we’d wrapped up school today. (Teachers and homeschool moms, any tips for teaching prepositions? Andy and I are really struggling right now.) Ian and Tim gladly agreed to do the dishes and flip laundry while we were gone. Hah, silly boys, they think I forgot their Latin today. (They’re not going to be real happy in the morning, but, I got two loads of laundry out of it. I found a copy of Yes, Virginia, There is a Santa Claus, in Latin for them to translate this month. Should be fun.) Dan was gainfully occupied with a paper he has to turn in tomorrow, so he was excused.
Andy and I usually have fun together and today was no exception. The child can talk and talk and talk and he never notices my eyes rolling into the back of my head. But, for the most part, he’s interesting and kind of funny. I split my list in two and gave Andy half. Yes, I’m a bad mom, I let my nearly 10 year old go off in Walmart. But, he is a tough kid and he did not have his own cart, so he was constantly checking in with me as he brought items back to the cart.
I sent him on his merry way and was surprised when he came back within a few minutes. Oops, I had given him the half of the list with “cheap cooking wine,” beer for Mike (the good stuff) and beer for Mom (the cheap stuff). Even I draw the line at a 9-year-old marching through Walmart hauling a six pack of Blue Moon. We traded lists and got to work.
In about 20 minutes, we were done and in line for the check out. Tuesday afternoon in the middle of Super Walmart is a pretty slow time. I have to say that the woman in front of us in the checkout line was one of those master coupon people. She had a little file box and everything. It was amazing to watch her technique. I suck at coupons, I’ve tried and I bow to those that have figured it all out. She checked out with an overfull cart of groceries for just under $40. I wanted to applaud, but thought that would make me look kind of stupid. Looking back, I wish I had applauded!
As the cashier starting scanning our groceries, we talked about the amazing coupon lady. Andy interrupted with the usual question, “How much, Mom?” All of the boys and I play this game – whoever comes closest to the total gets the first Frosty (Wendy’s is on our way home and I bribe my kids with Frosty’s). I was only buying the usual stuff and hadn’t been paying too much attention to prices. I said $115. Andy guessed $98. The cashier joined in, scanned the conveyor belt and said, “Oh no, I’m going to go with $132.” Well, our total was $133.27. Impressive, huh?
Part of what I bought was canned sliced potatoes. $.25 per can. I usually keep a handful of these for nights when time is tight. At $.25 per can, I bought 20 cans. It takes 5 cans to feed just our family for one meal. The cashier asked me what I did with them. I told her I fry them in butter with a lot of salt and pepper. The edges get all nice and crusty. She asked how many people in our family and I told her. Turns out she has three teen boys to feed as well.
There was no one in line behind me so we had a really nice conversation about how to feed starving teen boys. Basically, potatoes, rice, grits and a variation of spices. Ramen noodles and hard boiled eggs came up on the list as well. It was so nice and strange to talk to this woman. I sincerely doubt we have anything else in common beyond our boys, but that is a big bond. And, on most of my trips to Walmart, I never would have had the time or opportunity to talk to this woman.
During our conversation, Andy offered up a couple of dead-on impersonations of his older brothers. The cashier and I howled. I guess being a mom to teen-age boys is a universal bond. They are all goofy and hungry and weird.
Anyway, I feel like it’s only fair to put this side of Walmart out there. When’s the last time you hugged your cashier after you’ve paid. I know, me too. I’m not a hugger, but sometimes, it’s what works.