Whenever we are in the valley, we stick as many errands as we can into the little time that we have there. There have been a few gift cards floating around our house, and it was high time to use them. So, visiting such places like Starbucks and Boarders was a must on the to-do list this trip.
I love going to Boarders, but it seems as though I happen to go with children every time, and I don’t get to experience the grown-up book areas. Heck, I don’t even think if I know what they are like! Our spring break visit to the store was no exception. Our oldest had a gift card that really needed to get used. I don’t know if it was good or bad that the children’s book area was next to the pre-teen area. We managed to walk through the children’s area as we aimed for the pre-teen, and that was it. Marley found a big old box with a $70 train set inside. Living out in the middle of nowhere has not helped when it comes to learning the rules about in-store conduct. It was very hard convincing him that no, he cannot rip into the expensive train set’s box, even though he is obsessive about train sets.
Finally, after listening to my constant, “no-no-no’s”, he relented. I could just see his wheels turning though. He found another train. It was almost as if he was thinking, “I know she won’t let me have the train track, so lets try something else, she might finally break”. This train was much like what he has at home. It is made of wood, and is pretty much comprised of wooden blocks that when piled up on the base of the cars, makes the shape of a train. Exhausted already from the last battle, I let him play with the packaged train as I hustled back and forth between the pre-teen and children’s areas, supervising one kid and helping the other kiddo with choosing the absolute perfect book, ever. Ugh, that’s another story.
So, it was almost time to leave. I got the oldest to get kind of close to making a decision about what she wanted. I told Marley to put his train away, pleeease. “No, buy!” Was his answer. Trying to convince him that he had a train almost just like it at home, granted it wasn’t as pretty and shiny as the new one due to all the play time it had endured, I gently guided him to the shelf where the train was displayed. Just as I thought that I had won, the kid took off like a bat from hell, the train tightly cradled in his arms. He was headed towards the front yelling, “buy, buy!”.
Not wanting to cause more commotion in a quiet book store, I followed him, walking quickly, not saying a thing. I figured that when he got to the check-out counter, I could talk to him and convince him, if not force him to leave that train behind. It wasn’t going to do any good running behind him yelling, “stop!” since I knew with his one-track mind that he wasn’t even going to hear me at that point. As I made my mad walking rush towards the front of the store, trying to look as calm as I could, I realized that I left the older kid in the back of the store, oblivious to what was going on. I then imagined what she would have thought when she discovered that all of a sudden we were gone.
I knew Marley was fast, but this was ridiculous. Despite my fast clip, I was just not keeping up. Then I realized as we got close to the cash registers, that Marley had no intention of stopping. He was headed right for the doors! I was then forced to pick up the speed and kick it into a full blown sprint… through the quiet bookstore! I can only imagine what we looked like in slow motion. Me close behind, my face in total fear as I discovered that he was just crossing the shoplifting detector realm. I reached out as far as I could and just barely got a hold of the back of the collar of his shirt. It was too late, we passed through the detectors, and just as he reached the doors, and pushed one open just a hair, he was jerked back by my desperate maneuver. We stood there for a split second, waiting for the store’s alarms to go off since we were clear past the detectors.
The bookstore was no longer quiet. Although thankful that the store’s alarm didn’t go off, I wasn’t real crazy about the other alarm going off. It was much louder than the store’s alarm. It was Marley’s screams as I carried him clear through from the front doors to the back of the store where the children’s section was, the train’s home.
There was no mistaking where we were now, and the oldest had no trouble finding us. I sent her to the cash register as I, embarrassed as heck, took the brass, junior shoplifter outside, train-less and screaming, so that the bookstore could be quiet yet again.