The other day I achieved a status I never even knew existed: Elite Dominick’s Customer.
Some people make a list and go grocery shopping once a week. Me…not so much. I wander in that same revolving door at every day. No time for Target, but we’re down to two pull-ups. Nothing for the kids to eat for breakfast. No milk, which really only matters for coffee purposes (the kids can eat cheese or something, right?). No soap. No “lunch stuff.” There’s always something that can’t wait another day or sometimes even another hour. At this point, they should put a reserved sign on my parking spot and a “hazard” sign at the door when I fly through there at lightning speed. The pathetic part is that I don’t even buy the food we eat for dinner. My husband is the chef in our house. And he likes to buy our dinner stuff at .
So last week I dropped off my five-year-old son and two-and-a-half year-old daughter at preschool before heading off to work. The teacher reminded me that there’s a Halloween party for each of them in the next few days. No problem. Got it. I need to bring treats. I rushed back to Dominick’s. Grabbed two packages of Oreos. Done. I was feeling so on top of things.
Just to be sure I didn’t miss my daughter’s party (which would be entirely characteristic of me), I called the school to verify the date and more importantly, the time. The lovely director reminded me that my son would have two birthday parties. He’s in an enrichment program, which is just a feel-good-mommy way of saying, “extended day.” “Oh, of course I knew that (LIE),” I tell the director, “I have his treats right here (Bigger LIE).” I hung up the phone and got right back in the car…Dominick’s bound.
On Thursday, I surprised even myself and got to my daughter Sami’s Halloween parade early. As I was standing there, some of the moms started talking about where they got their toys for the gift bags. Gift bags? Yes. As we left the classroom, the teacher handed each mom a shopping bag. I opened the bag and immediately felt inadequate as a mother. These women actually created incredibly creative goody bags that clearly took time. The kind of time I wouldn’t even find even if I were truly organized. “Oh, yeah,” said a fellow mom. “You have to make goody bags now. It’s not just a piece of candy anymore.” I just couldn’t wrap my head around this.
But I quickly snapped out of it when I realized that my package of Oreos was not going to hold up at all in my son’s class of five-year–olds. Back to Dominick’s, and with minimal time. I quickly pieced together a goody bag for SIXTEEN children using whatever I could find hanging in the aisles of the grocery store. There was just no time to go anywhere else. And like always, I had a reputation of being a totally together mom to hold up.
Goody bags, check. Mother of the Year, check. I was once again, on top of my game.
The next day I dropped off the kids and the teacher said, “Since it’s Max’s birthday this weekend, are you okay doing his school birthday party next week so it doesn’t conflict with the Halloween parties?” I just smiled, sighed in disappointment and said, “Ugh, yeah. I guess I’ll just freeze the cupcakes I made.” I was really getting good at these lies. But she called my bluff. “Mrs. Lerner, you know it has to be store-bought.” I nodded and got back in the car, once again, Dominick’s-bound.
This time, I was going to be prepared. I grabbed three boxes of chocolate-covered donuts (nut-free of course) on my way to work. I knew they would stay good until Tuesday (the box said so) and I was now patting myself for getting prepared early for my son’s birthday. After all, it was Thursday. A mom who procrastinates would have picked something up on the way to school. And of course I’ve never done that (LIE).
Monday’s Halloween party for my five-year-old came and went without incident. I proudly accepted the suitcase full of goody bags as I walked out the door, knowing full well that I had done my part as Mother of the Year. But as I was leaving, the teacher reminded me that the next day we’d be celebrating Max’s birthday in both of his classes. (Maybe I just need to stop talking to his teachers?) Translation: You need a snack for TWO classes.
Back to Dominick’s!
As I checked out at Dominick’s, this very serious looking man stood next to me and and said, “Ma’am, I need a moment with you before you leave.” I was terrified. “Look, I paid for everything,” I said. “I don’t steal, I swear.” He finally cracked a smile and said, “No, no. I just wanted to come introduce myself to you. I’m the store manager. And you, Mrs. Lerner, are one of our elite customers. Here’s my card.” He then rattled off a list of benefits my shameful status allows me. I stood there in shock and said, “Why?” He got very serious again and muffled under his breath close to me, “Ma’am, you spend UGH-LOT of money here.” I took a deep breath and vowed never to walk in that store again. At least not until the next morning.