{Continued from "My series, part

"It's just water," I rationalized.  "And it was only
half a bottle…."

Clearly, the icy shock that now drenched my nether regions had affected all
sense of sound reason and good taste.

Leaving home with just enough time to get my son and his friend back to
school on time was my first mistake; the second was thinking it was a good
decision to traipse around with my britches soaking wet, that if it didn't
bother me, no one would notice.

(Sometimes I can be the Queen of Self Delusion. It’s the grown-up equivalent of a child
closing his eyes and sing-songing, “I caaan’t see you!”.)

We arrived at the school minutes before the bell rang, and my daughter was
at our pre-arranged meeting spot, my credit card in hand.

“Sorry, Mom…I forgot to give it back yesterday. Oh, and I forgot to give your change back,
too—want it?”  She knew I was in a hurry and wouldn’t wait for her to scavenge through her purse to find it, so score one for her impeccable sense of timing. Typically, she doesn’t even carry her purse at school, she squirrels it away in my car, knowing it’s there when she needs something. Score a second point for Murphy—the day I need something out of her purse, is the day she decides to take it with her!

Heading back to Wal Mart, I convinced myself my pants were almost dry; the
truth I denied was my wet jeans now simply equaled my body temperature, and I
couldn’t feel the differential…until I got out of my car to walk indoors.

Walking briskly and deliberately to the door, thoughts swirled—half a bottle is a LOT of water, pants don’t dry when you’re sitting in a
puddle, so this is what chafing feels like, I bet it looks like I wet my
pants but if anyone sees my Dreaded Wet Butt, shame on them for looking!—all
very reasonable and cogent thought when you’re well out of the Pampers stage of
life and not yet at the Depends phase.

I was a Woman on a Mission,
however, and a little humiliation wasn’t going to stop me. With head held high, I continued my Emperor’s
New Clothes charade, and marched to customer service.

Armed with a debit card that needed to be credited and a credit card that
needed to be debited, I presented my receipt while bloviating my dilemma to the
Customer Service Associate.

Her response, Amanda’s response, left my jaw dragging the floor and restored my faith in humanity:

said—cheerfully—“Sure! We can do that!”.  That wasn't the response I anticipated.

This was no simple task; my receipt had 67 items sold on it. If I had a buggy of groceries with me, she
could have simply scanned their return, then re-scanned their purchase on the
other card. Instead, item by item, she
had to key in the UPC code, then answer two questions for it. For 67 items.

Let’s do the math:

67 items x 12 UPC digits + 2 questions = 938 numbers keyed in

That was for the return; for the re-purchase, it was a bit quicker–

67 items x 12 UPC digits + 1 question (I think) = 871 numbers keyed in

Total:  1809 numbers keyed in.

Remarkably, she only made one mistake, and it took her just seconds to
locate and correct.  I asked her if I
could nominate her for Employee of the Year and she just shrugged, smiled and
said they don’t do that. The whole process had taken just short of AN HOUR and
she was kind throughout the entire transaction.

Can you imagine the line that grew behind me during transaction? Can you imagine how much they HATED ME? Thank goodness 20 minutes in, another cashier
began processing returns, and she CLEARLY indicated to Amanda how glad she was not to have gotten me (mutual
feeling). I think nine others were helped
in the time it took to complete my return.

Of course, if you stand in the Wal Mart customer service area long enough,
you’re going to see some pretty entertaining things; only because this story is
SO LONG already will I spare you the details of The Redneck Woman, a
badly-concealed bruise on her cheek, her VERY LOUD AND PROFANE threats for her
“companion” to get the ef away from her, her crossing my personal space bubble
(close enough for me to get second-hand cancer from her nicotine-clouded
THAT MUCH STUFF?” and I was scared she might pull out a can of whoop-A$$ if I
told her the truth, cause let me tell you this, I’m pretty sure I saw the
outline of a comb switchblade in her back pocket.


By the time all was said and done, I had given up on my agenda and resigned
myself to hamster-spinning for the rest of the day.

But at least by then, my pants were dry.

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