Now that N is approx twice my size I am reluctant to take him shopping with me, by myself. I have had shopping failures in the past that make me afraid to take him with me to the supermarket. I have chased him in the store, lost him in the store, unwilling to budge in the store. I have had him hide in a rack of items and refuse to come out, I have experienced a temper tantrum in the store that made a spectacle out of us and fortunately did not result in injury to anyone. All too old for that. These incidents were unpleasant but were relatively easy to manage when I had the physical edge, the advantage of being able to drag him out kicking and screaming. But now – yikes?
I want him to be able to go into the store and not be overwhelmed. That means I have to try and expose him to grocery shopping regularly. If I never take him, he will have more difficulties in the future. So in order to do that, and avoid problems, I take the following precautions:
- I take N only when I know the store is not overly busy.
- I bring him when my shopping list is short and I can be in and out in less than 15 minutes.
- I go to the cash when the line-ups are brief and we can get through quickly
- I bring him only when he is in a good mood, behaving well, and not hitting. Shopping is a reward for good behaviour.
I recently had a close call where N came almost did a repeat of past shopping failures. It was a weekday in the early afternoon and I had 6 items on my list. We swiftly collected them and while there were only a few checkout lanes open. I found one where only one person was in front of us and half cashed out. So I loaded up my items. But the lady in front of me was not going about checkout quickly.
I soon realized I was in trouble. N was starting to sweat and jump up and down. Signs of distress. I don’t want to insult the clever people who price match, I am an accountant and so I have an appreciation for cost saving measures. Price matching helps families keep their food bills in budget. But this person had price matched every single item in her cart, and each transaction was taking far too long!
“Good waiting!!!” I muttered to N softly – I did not want to be in the lady’s face, at least not at first. I high fived him. low fived him – tried to keep him busy and distracted. I tried to interest him in pictures of Prince William and Kate and their babies on the tabloids behind the conveyor. I allowed him to extract and drink a can of Coke from the pop fridge on the other side (put empty can on conveyor – did not steal).
We waited at least 15 minutes for the lady to save – what $5.00? Good for her, but really not just an inconvenience for us. In fact it could have resulted in somebody getting hurt.
I kept my cool and fortunately so did N. However inside me I had fantasies of vaporizing the lady in front of me. I cannot expect her to understand my situation waiting with a DD and autistic kid. Should I expect the store to understand? I don’t know. I think that a check out lane should be designated as a price matching lane for those guys who are expecting to take a long time in the store. Kind of like a reverse express lane. Just my opinion – I would line up somewhere else if I knew in advance. What do you think?