This past weekend my daughter and I were in Minneapolis for a wedding. As with all trips to Minneapolis, which include my daughter that is, a trip to the Mall of American is required. I would rather visit many other places than Mall of America, such as my dentist, my gynecologist, or an auditor’s office at the Internal Revenue Service. Nevertheless, there I was, perhaps in pursuit of the unreachable “Mother of the Year Award”, following my daughter around what can best be described as hell on earth.
My daughter insisted on visiting the store, Hollister. Having never been inside a Hollister, and vowing never to go back, I was unprepared for the humiliation that followed me.
The minute I walked into the store, I knew disaster would follow. For one thing, the store had absolutely no lighting. Secondly, the volume on the sound system was playing at decibel levels I did not realize existed. I was holding on to my daughter not in fear of losing her, but for fear of bumping into something and hurting myself. With the noise level and lack of lighting in the store, I figured no one would hear me scream as I fell, nor would they see me lying on the floor. I continued holding on to my daughter when I noticed that she was giving me “the look”. “The look” was my cue to disappear.
Now, as a former Parole Officer, I have toured maximum-security prisons without nearly the level of fear I possessed by being left alone in this store. God must have been on my side though because I wandered into in the boys, oops, “Dudes” section of the store. I was safe. Or so I thought.
I decided I would kill time (I knew I wanted to kill something, and time seemed like the only “legal” option) by shopping for my son. I was thrilled to find a pair of jeans and shirt. I now wanted to head back to the girls, oops, “Betty’s” section in an attempt to locate my daughter.
I thought I left the “Dudes” section exactly the way I entered it from the “Betty’s” section but I was wrong. Disoriented, perhaps from the lack of sufficient lighting and constant pounding in my ears, I unintentionally excited the “store proper”. This would not have been a problem. However, I had, in my arms, two pieces of clothing that I had not yet paid for. Oops.
The shoplifting sirens went off at about the same time as my cell phone. Still unaware that I was the shoplifter in question, I answered my phone. I chatted on the phone for several minutes before realizing the covey of store clerks circling me. I politely told them that I did not need any help and continued with my conversation. To make a long story short, I was humiliated and not arrested by my shopping faux-pas.
After the clerks stopped laughing, I went to the counter to pay for my clothing items. My daughter was convinced she would NEVER be allowed back in the store because of her mother…hey I guess you really can find some good in everything.