Wednesday, August 15, 2007

A Tale of Two Stores

I have two tales of shopping to relate here. Though they occurred within an hour of each other, they couldn't have been more different. I suppose it comes as no surprise that the better experience came first.

I to the K to the E to the A! IKEA knows how to do it. The first thing we did was go to the family bathroom where they were restocking the free diapers. Really, you can't beat that. I almost wished I had a need for them. And then Sam announced that he wanted to go to the babysitting area instead of coming through the store with me. We'd tried this once before, a couple of years ago, and he refused to go in. So naturally we never tried it again. But this time Sam and Jack went.

Quinn and I did all our shopping in about 10 minutes.

Now, I have to confess that the whole reason I went to IKEA today was for a stuffed crocodile. We have assigned a mascot to each of our children, decided on before birth. Sam is the frog, Jack is the turtle, and Quinn is the crocodile. They each wore an outfit with their mascot on it home from the hospital and we occasionally get excited when we find a T-shirt or art or something with the appropriate animal.

Anywho, IKEA had a frog beanbag around the time Sam was born and they have a turtle inflatable thingy that we bought a few months ago for Jack. Well, when the IKEA catalog came in the mail the other day, I was pleased to see that they were reading our minds by offering a giant crocodile for a mere $9.99:

Oh course Quinn wanted nothing to do with this, instead preferring to play with the plush soccer ball they had roughly thirty thousand of. And since it cost only FOUR DOLLARS, I bought him one. (I'm powerless against IKEA. At least I didn't come home with any new furniture.)

And guess what else I found for FOUR DOLLARS? Yes, the store that used to sell stuffed animal rats now sells stuffed animal bats:

Please notice his deadly, deadly claws.

Alex's first comment upon seeing this was to ask if he had feasted on anyone yet. Sadly, no.

Once I collected Sam and him from Smalland, or whatever the hell they call it, Jack fell in love with the bat, seeing as how his favorite book is Bats at the Beach and all. He made him fly through the store. And then I got them mini ice cream cones. Perfect, no?

The only disappointment is that I couldn't leave Sam and Jack in IKEA jail for longer. See, Quinn and I were going to go play in the blueberry basket ballpit all by ourselves (those of you who visit the College Park, Maryland, IKEA know what I'm talking about), only to find that it had been removed. There was a dining room set up where the giant basket used to be. Thank God Sam wasn't with us because he would have thrown a total hissy. Quinn could not have cared less.

Seeing as how this store went so well, I should probably decide to stay ahead of the game and go home, right? Nope, not if you're dumbass Stimey.

Boo to the B to the N! I had another book I had to return to Barnes & Noble. Please don't ask why I had to go two different times in the same week to return books, but all I have to say is, yay to Barnes and Noble for letting you return Internet purchases in the store.

Since I was there and I have all this great Barnes & Noble credit now, I decided to go the children's section and get a couple of books, including the aforementioned Bats at the Beach, which had previously just come from the library. Here's where it all started to fall apart. All three kids headed to different parts of the children's area: Quinn went to the train table where he yelled, "NOOOOOO!" at the top of his lungs whenever another child got within two feet of him. Sam went to to the pricey book section and immediately fell in love with a $25 book about Tinkerbell. (Didn't buy that one.) Jack sort of bounced hither and thither.

I found a book for Quinn about starting school and a couple bargain books about space, all the while trying to find this goddamn bat book, which was not where it was supposed to be. But you never know where a book is going to be at Barnes and Noble. Once when I was looking for Richard Scarry books there, they told me they weren't shelved under his name, but rather by topic. So I was about 50 percent convinced that I would eventually find this book in the "Bats and Other Nocturnal Creatures" section, wherever the hell that is. Eventually I found it in the "Notice Me! Notice Me!" part in the middle front of the section. (Not all of our snafus are my kids' fault.)

So I finally had all my books, and my kids were all sort of together, and then we had to go to the bathroom again. And it was there that Quinn shimmied under the stall door to roam around the room. I caught him trying to hide in another stall.

Now at Barnes and Noble, the check-out line is the worst for us. (Which is why most of my books come from the Internet.) They put all their gift cards and tiny little gift books there. Anything shiny and with little beads on it ends up right where you have to stand in line. So there I am, trying to return a book, buy some others, keep all the gift books on the tables, ignore the STANK that is emanating from Quinn's pants, manage to pay for Bats on the Beach without making Jack let go of it, and wrestle an angry Quinn off the floor.

All of this to a chorus of "You've-sure-got-your-hands-full"s. Which, although it is the sentence I hear the most out of strangers' mouths, it is probably the one I like the least. By the time I got to the car to change that fragrant diaper, my shoulder was all out of whack and aching from the way I'd been forced to hold Quinn (and his stuffed soccer ball). Imperfect, yes?

Nonetheless, you can't beat a day where 2/3 of your kids get to play instead of shop, you find your child's favorite book, you get to complete your weird child-mascot trio, AND you get to take home a kick-ass bat.


  1. ROFL at the image of the bookstore. Wow, you are brave!
    Thanks for stopping by my blog...the love and hugs are always good! :-)

  2. Man, I want to go to IKEA! The trip to Barnes and Nobles sounds like most of our weekends! You have a cute blog.

  3. I just wanted to say that my sigOth is also watching Hot Fuzz. When he brought it home (unmarked generic package from the local vid store) I asked if it was porn. Sounds like porn. Doesn't it?

  4. Thanks for coming by everyone. And, yes, IKEA totally rocks.

    And also yes, now that you mention it, Hot Fuzz does sound a lot like porn. Although I don't think I would have come up with that by myself. You dirty mind, you.

  5. I have never in my life heard of anyone giving their kids mascots, much less determining said mascots before birth! Takes a special kind of thought process to come up with that kind of thing! :)

    On another note - that bat is sitting on a chair that looks just like the one I put together from Ikea - got the table and 4 chairs all for 150.00 bucks. Sometimes you really can't beat that place!

  6. I've also never heard of anyone else who was so nerdy as to give their children mascots. When I tell people, I usually get polite nods and "uh huhs" and then the subject is dropped. Alex and I are total and complete nerds.


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