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Wednesday, May 03, 2006

People, They Are The Reason I Stay Home

Just when I think I have run out of things to blog about, I leave my house and come into contact with the world.

Yesterday we went to Old Navy. Like most of the rest of you I'm sure, I got the promotional coupon in the mail this week with the plastic bag. Everything you can stuff in the plastic bag for 20% off. I have used this coupon deal, well every single time it comes.

Never have I actually had to stuff the things into the bag. As a matter of fact, I have had them give the bag back to me in case I wanted to shop more before the promotion was over. And if you shop online there obviously is no physical bag to stuff.

So keeping that in mind, we wandered through the store gathering up the poorly made clothing and feeling good about our part in supporting overseas child labor. When my little children complained and their knees began to buckle I said, "You think you are tired of walking around this store... just think about poor little Manish in India shackled to the bench sewing his fingertips to the bone so that you can have a t-shirt with a smartass quip on the front. Yeah, think about that and we'll see who is tired."

Once we felt that we had sufficiently perused every aisle of the store and had left no shirt pile unturned, we went up to the cash register.

I piled all my mounds of clothing onto the counter and she began ringing them up. After the first few items she asked if I had an Old Navy charge. I told her that not only did I have an Old Navy charge, I had my promotional bag.

She looked at my pile of stuff and said, "You can only have the 20% off of the items you can fit into the bag. And there is no way you can fit all of this into the bag."

"Huh? What?"

She informed me of the new stricter promotional rules, though I am unable to tell if they are in fact real rules or she is just on a power trip. I suspect the latter.

"I could fit all of this into the bag. It just seems sort of stupid." I said.

"There is no way you can fit all of this clothing into this small bag." she said, arms crossed.

"Yes, I could."

"I seriously doubt it." Her smugness is killing me.

"Is that a challenge?"

"I'm just saying. You will only get the 20% off of the items that are in the bag." At this point there was a line forming behind me. And I felt my blood pressure rising and my face turning red. I wanted to grab the bag and tie it over her head for a few minutes. And then smack her head against the counter a few times for good measure.

"Well, I am not buying anything that I can't fit into this bag. So if you want to stand there while I take each and every item and make it fit in here, we can do that. But I hope you realize I have seven children here who would like nothing better than to sample every lip gloss and hand lotion, bounce every ball, and play fetch with the dog toys. It's not going to be pretty."

"Those are the rules."

"Well, alrighty then." I reply.

And so I began. First I asked my eldest son to remove the hangers from his six pair of huge man sized shorts. Which he did with much embarrassed sighing. Oh the mortification of having your mother even speak in public. I begin the folding and rolling of clothing. And the stuffing into the flimsy plastic bag.

At one point my oldest son told me that I shouldn't be doing it that I am breaking the spirit of the rules. They have rules for a reason, Muh-om. I told him to remember those words next time he is fighting with me over some rule he has broken and thinks is stupid. After a few more minutes of him pleading the case of Old Navy, I informed him that his clothing will be going into the bag last and I hoped there would still be room. Because God knows I wouldn't want to break those rules and stretch the plastic bag at all.

As I neared the end of the bag stuffing extravaganza, the kids, minus one, were cheering. "Go Mom! Go Mom!" And once I stuffed the final pair of flip flops into the bag I high fived all my kids, minus one, and we all cheered, well except for the one standing near the exit door pretending he was there shopping all alone.

The woman at the cash register was suitably impressed. And she tried to explain about the rules to me again and how she was just following them. But my lack of eye contact and non committal "whatever" brought that conversation to a speedy close.

And just what did I stuff into that little bag:

3 size 2T tshirts
2 size 5T tshirts
10 size boys XL tshirts
7 pair of boys size 14 shorts (6 of which were denim)
3 shirts for me
2 pair of denim capri pants for me
1 pair of yoga capri pants for me
6 pair of flip flops
1 pink baseball cap

and a partridge in a pear tree.


Blogger Jennifer said...

You are awesome! Once again, you made me laugh out loud and wish I'd been there.

No wonder you have so many fans.

8:05 AM  
Blogger Carmen said...

GO Chris! You are da bomb.

I'm totally taking you with me next time.

8:08 AM  
Anonymous Denise said...

You go girl!!!! Way to throw that smugness right back at her!!!! I wish I could have been there.

8:11 AM  
Blogger Jeana said...

Thank you, Chris. I just started off the morning determined to resign my stay-at-home-homeschooling-mom gig and look for work elsewhere. But after laughing so hard I had to hold on to my chair, I'm feeling better now. So thanks. I needed that.

8:15 AM  
Anonymous Stephanie said...

I think thats great that YOU SHOWED THEM... I too received my bag in the mail the other day and thought I could stuff this sucker FULL with some careful rolling and folding and YOU have given me the insperation to do just that... I bet you felt like wrapping the bag around the head of the sales girl though HUH?

8:17 AM  
Anonymous kim said...

I am impressed!!!

So ... then ... she had to unpack your bag to ring it all up?

Did you ask her to put it back in the bag for you, so you could carry it home??

8:17 AM  
Blogger Dana Glover said...

I am thrilled to know that I'm not the only one who will stand up to the tyranny of retail salespeople. The next time my husband is embarassed because I will not pull up and park at the McDonald's drive-thru, I'll tell him this story and tell him to thank his lucky stars that he doesn't go shopping with me!!

8:21 AM  
Blogger Katie said...

You are my idol! Way to go Chris! And I totally wouldn't have minded standing in line behind you waiting because your 7 would have entertained my 5. hehe

8:42 AM  
Blogger meredith said...

Oh my, you showed that (insert b-word, misspelled on bathroom wall).

8:49 AM  
Blogger Meg said...

That's the best story I've heard all morning - you kick some serious a$$.

8:52 AM  
Blogger Chris said...

Yes, she did have to unpack the bag to ring it all up. To the chorus of small bewildered children saying, "That's so stupid."

I wish I had thought of telling her to please repack it in the bag ;-)

8:58 AM  
Blogger Julie said...

My most favorite post yet.

I wish I could have been a fly on the wall when this happened. You totally, completely ROCK.

9:00 AM  
Anonymous lammyann said...

Go Chri-is..issya birfday
Go Chri-is...issyer birfday..
uh uh uh.
*snappin' to the z"

Great post.

9:03 AM  
Blogger Tuesday Girl said...

I love it. Way to stick it to Old Navy!

9:10 AM  
Anonymous Jess said...

I'm with you. If they say it "has to fit in the bag", you did just that. I'm very impressed with your bag packing skills! Too bad you didn't include a picture. So how much was the 20% that you saved? I'd like to know.

9:13 AM  
Blogger aka_Meritt said...


You are SO RIGHT about the promotion thing though; typically every store I've ever been to with this promotion hands out extra bags at the door and gives you the bag back just in case you want to come back and buy more before the promo ends.

I'm just so glad you managed to fit it in and show the girl Moms Rule!

9:21 AM  
Blogger Becki said...

you've inspired me ! I have my bag and I'm going tonight!

9:23 AM  
Blogger Chris said...

Oh, I can't tell you how sad I was that I didn't have my camera. Both for the picture of the bag and the untold embarassment it would have caused my 11 yr old.

My 20% was $70. So worth it.

9:26 AM  
Anonymous Mel said...

That is classic!

9:28 AM  
Blogger speckledpup said...

I so heart you.

9:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Man, she should have known better than to challenge a mom with 7 kids!!!

what a ditz!

9:54 AM  
Blogger Dot said...

Right after she rung it up, I would have asked to speak to the manager and told the manager that I want to return ALL OF IT, because the CUSTOMER SERVICE girl was extremely rude!!! Whatever happened to the customer always being right????

10:10 AM  
Blogger Chilihead2 said...

I love it! Love it, love it, love it.

10:13 AM  
Blogger Ashley said...

I wish I could have been there to not only witness this stuffing extravaganza, but the look on the girls face when you were sucessful in your actions!!!!

Good job!

10:20 AM  
Blogger Silly Old Bear said...

I know one that is getting to wear the "mom loves me least" shirt next time.

That rocks. I would have made her put everything back in the bag, too.

10:20 AM  
Blogger Lesa said...

That is the funniest thing I have heard! I would have loved to be there to see your children chanting!

LOL! That's why I want 6 kids. So they can back me up and embarrass other people!!

Love it!

10:20 AM  
Anonymous Jennifer said...

Oh my lord that was funny. That cashier was a few hangers shy of a rack if she thought to tangle with a mom of 7.


10:21 AM  
Blogger a suburban housewife said...

Good for you, Chris! But, just so ya know, Customer NO-service at Old Navy has instituted a new return policy: No receipt? No exchange OR store credit. You have to wait 2-4 weeks for a credit slip via USPostal Service. So, hope all that stuff fits your kiddos. Or that you keep the receipt. And if you DO have to go back, that you get the same cashier. Hehehe!

10:29 AM  
Anonymous irreverentmama said...

This was great! I can so picture it - especially the MORTIFIED boy. Heeheeheehee...

My kids are 20, 17, and 12. (Steps are 18, 16, 15, 13, and 10). On our fridge we have a magnet which reads:

"I was put on this planet to embarrass my teenagers in front of their friends."

Should I order one for you?

10:32 AM  
Blogger Jody said...


Rock on sista.

10:35 AM  
Blogger Al said...

You F***n ROCK!!! I wanna be just like you. ROFL!

10:40 AM  
Blogger T. said...

I bow down to the master. This post not only rocks, but serves as a teaching tool for all the moms out there who would have let that cashier walk all over us! Way to be Chris.

Too bad there are no photos though. That would have been priceless!

10:48 AM  
Blogger liz said...

Doing the Wave here. You so totally rock.

10:52 AM  
Blogger Guinness_Girl said...

Rock on with your bad self! That is fantastic!!!

10:58 AM  
Blogger Stephanie said...

Oh I think I love you!!
You are soooo funny!
that is SOOO something I would have done!
Ok, so you've got yerself a new reader!

11:02 AM  
Anonymous Jamie said...

You go girl! Hey, I think this is something people would pay you for...Strategic Shopping Service (aka How To Get As Much Damn Merchandise Stuffed Into A Small Old Navy Bag As Possible).

11:06 AM  
Blogger Carrie said...

Fabulous! You go! I love beating the system!

11:10 AM  
Blogger owlhaven said...

Great, Chris!

I read this to my kids who laughed as much as I did and are now singing Christmas carols. hehe

Mary, mom to many

11:12 AM  
Blogger KK said...! Stuff in in the bag? Didn't she know, you have 7 kids and eat these sort of challenges for breakfast? Oh, and I can completely envision the haughty little checker. They clone them and place them in every store.

11:18 AM  
Blogger Eli's Mom said...

You rock..I am a huge fan of Old Navy due to the low prices, but I have always thought their 'bag' rule was a silly one. I would LOVE to challenge a minimum wage cashier the way you did!

11:23 AM  
Blogger Stacey said...

That was too funny!! I would have totally done the same thing. I hate to be wrong!! You go girl!!

11:33 AM  
Anonymous Denise said...

Heh. I've never had them do that to me, they always just take what I hand them and are done with it. Weird.

Too bad you can't shove a kid in an Old Navy Bag and return him/her. I've wanted to try before, generally during shopping trips. I hate shopping. I hate shopping with kids, pre-teens in particular, most of all.

11:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good for you! What a great story and you know the cashier will remeber it forever.

so funny.


11:51 AM  
Blogger Shelly said...

Way to go!!!!


11:55 AM  
Anonymous Kristie said...

I read you daily; comment less-than-irregularly. But I just have to say --- YOU SO ROCK! If I had been standing in the Old Navy line behind you, I would have high-fived you as well, then given a "don't you feel stupid?" look to the cashier. :)

Thanks for the laughs!

12:05 PM  
Anonymous Fold My Laundry Please said...

Go Mom! You have just made my day! That was hilarious!

12:24 PM  
Blogger Darren said...

Awesome. Clearly that sales girl had no idea who she was messing with.

12:32 PM  
Blogger joy madison said...

dang I get up too late or my bloglines is slow:) I always come at the end of the party! You handled it extremely well. I get nervous with my 3 children when a line starts to form behind me, and the people are getting antsy.

Like I always say, "people are crazy!"

12:41 PM  
Blogger HangerMom said...

So awesome! I'm completely impressed by your confidence in yourself to get that all in the bag, cause that must have been a HUGE pile of stuff on the counter. Way to not let the giant chain store push you down!

12:58 PM  
Anonymous wendy said...

That is incredibly impressive.

I would probably have said, "You win," and left the store. Then that obnoxious employee would have had to put everything back.

1:02 PM  
Blogger Suburban Turmoil said...

Oh this was brilliant! Complete with the mortified tween... Wait'll you have three or four of them, because they do defend each other and your irritation will multiply.

Old Navy should totally put you in a commercial now!

1:17 PM  
Blogger halloweenlover said...

You are too much, Chris! I am dying laughing. And I bet you that cash register girl won't be doing that again.

Your poor son, it is sooo hard to be him. Really. Terribly hard. Send him up to Boston to do some work for me instead.

1:29 PM  
Anonymous Claudia said...

Go Chris! woohoo!

2:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Way to go Chris!!! I too, wish I could have been there and cheer you on!!AWESOME!!!

2:31 PM  
Anonymous Chi said...

When you were done you should of said if you would like to remove the stick from your hine parts, I still have room in the bag. Don't you love the way customer service people always back pedal when they are proven wrong Theres a new shirt for you I irritate sales people! We (8, 7, and I) walk behind my 19 year old in stores whining my life is so hard, or singing the blues version my life is so hard. Oh I think you should get an extra pair of gardening clogs just for having to deal with old navy sales people!

2:41 PM  
Blogger InterstellarLass said...

HA HA! That's AWESOME! I would have totally beaten her head against the counter. Way to stick it to the (wo)man!

2:44 PM  
Blogger Mom2the5rs said...

Bravo! I can't stand poor customer service. It is one of my pet peeves. Especially when the chick behind the counter on a power trip has barely begun mensturation.


3:36 PM  
Blogger A Different Kind of Soccer Mom said...

You are my hero!

$70?? Totally worth it!

3:44 PM  
Anonymous surcie said...

Chris, you mustn't leave the house again without having armed yourself or one of your kids with a cell phone that takes photos. You must show your kids how to shoot photos with said cell phone without being spotted!

3:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You rock, Chris!

4:29 PM  
Blogger Aunty Janey said...

Oh that's so totally funny! I can't believe the "rule enforcing!"

4:58 PM  
Blogger Lost A Sock said...

Oh my God that is hillarious! I too, have had to stuff the bag in the past, but never to that extent. IM-pressive, I must say.

And don't worry too much about little Manish in India...I believe he gets a 15% discount if he shops online with his measly little paycheck. (Clearance items, 15% off...he could swing SOMEthing, common!)

5:30 PM  
Anonymous Nicola said...

Great stuff. I think I would have been so annoyed I wouldda ripped the bag trying to get everything in. You are superb.

6:08 PM  
Blogger Meagan Francis said...

Oh, my God. I so wish I had been there to witness it with my own eyes. I would totally have been cheering for you if I were one of the customers!

6:33 PM  
Blogger Titanium said...

You are amazing! I need to have you come to Old Navy with me! :)

8:41 PM  
Anonymous Alissa said...

you. are. my. idol. I'm even forwarding this post to my mother (mother to 9 kids) so she can laugh her arse off.

and truly, truly wish you'd have asked her to stuff everything back in that ONE bag. Freaking loser.

8:49 PM  
Blogger Wicked Stepmom said...

Hahaha! AWESOME!

But, umm, what is this coupon-and-plastic-bag-promotional-thingy and WHY HAVEN'T I EVER SEEN IT?!

8:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You are a great writer! You should compile these posts and make a book out of them! Soo cool, wish I could have been there personally!

Go Mom! Go Mom!

9:00 PM  
Blogger Tori said...

Go Momma!
Nice work! Great blog. I of course would have shuffled off miserably and so I admire your attitude.
Now back the the house you go! See what happens when you leave?

9:05 PM  
Blogger deputyswife said...

I bow down to the queen...

9:13 PM  
Blogger Karen Rani said...

HOORAY! I was actually cheering for you through this post. Ever since I read your perfect post, I've been addicted to your stories - you're so funny and creative! you're officially added to my blogroll babe!

9:37 PM  
Blogger TBG said...

Wow Chris look at all the comments today!

Way to go on getting the 20% off! WHat did the people in line behind ya do?

10:25 PM  
Anonymous Judi said...

What were those in line behind you doing once you started stuffing?

You are good... my hero!

10:32 PM  
Blogger ~T said...

As the mother to 6 children myself, you are my new hero.
I am totally impressed!!!!


11:27 PM  
Blogger ~T said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

11:27 PM  
Blogger Kim said...

Ok Chris you are officially my hero. Granted I would have felt the same way you did but I likely would have left the entire pile of stuff on her register and walked out pissed off and without any clothes for my kids.

12:48 AM  
Blogger Paula said...

Where's my bag? I didn't get one and I have an Old Navy charge card. But if it comes, I'll remember your hilarious tactics. I wouldn't have thought to roll the clothes!

8:12 AM  
Blogger Tess said...

Just goes to show. "don't mess with the momma!"

8:41 AM  
Blogger Muum said...

and they wonder why we looove to shop! I am still chuckling, thanks for sharing

9:10 AM  
Blogger The Green Family said...

You are SO my hero woman! I love that!

12:08 PM  
Blogger CaliforniaGrammy said...

Can you hear it, Chris? The WHOLE WORLD is cheering for you!

1:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Okay, this is the first time I have read your post, someone sent me here. YOu ROCK!! Oh my gosh!! Sooo well written, I couldn't help but to laugh out loud!!

3:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

GOOOOOO MOM! God, I love reading your posts! I am so going to remember this next time there's a slow-down in front of me...just in case cheering is order. And I will cheer!

10:28 PM  
Anonymous Kel said...

You are spectacularly awesome!!

And are my Official Hero of the Week.

11:09 AM  
Anonymous bonnie said...


11:46 AM  
Anonymous lildb said...

dude, can I marry you and bear your children? no? you're -- already married? and as for having any more kids, you can manage that on your own if you feel it, without my assistance?

(hangs head sadly.)

WOW. my hero. I hate, nay, *despise* the smug factor, particulary at shops like Old Navy, where the assistant manager's pay is relative to her shoe size, not her ego. GAWD. Oh. yes. I really, really love you. almost as much as I love Stephen Colbert. (sigh...)

2:00 PM  
Blogger Julie said...

A woman after my own heart! LOVED this story.

10:40 PM  
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