Potty Pity Party

Back-to-school shopping is obnoxious enough without a catastrophic kid meltdown. Last night, I found myself in the middle of a Level I meltdown, caused by a demonstration of Level I idiocy.

Let me back up.

My middle kiddo, Clara, and I headed to a small discount store (the kind where most stuff costs $1 or less) to see how many items we could knock off the long class supply lists for her and her big brother. I was diligently filling the cart and checking things off the list, while she decided how to spend the $5 she had brought with her. For some reason, a pink binder with a peace sign on the front got her wild with excitement. She couldn’t wait to pay for the thing and bring it home.

But suddenly, she started dancing. She had to go. Right now. “I’m afraid I can’t wait!” she squirmed, as we hunted for a restroom sign. Finally, I went up front and asked the sales clerk where the restroom was. She looked confused at first, and told us that “she wouldn’t send a kid back there.” I indicated that this was an emergency. She said she’d have to check with her manager. It started to feel like I was being “punked.” Could a business that serves the public seriously have a policy against letting a child use their restroom in an emergency? Where am I?

The manager came out and I quickly and urgently explained that my kid really needed a bathroom. “It’s locked, and my boss says we aren’t supposed to let the public use it,” she told me. “But – this is a kid, who really has to go – what are we supposed to do?’ I pressed. She told me it was out of her hands. I was stunned. And furious. “Well, tell your boss you just lost our business,” I told her. “There is a cart full of school supplies we won’t be able to buy, because we have to leave to find her a bathroom. And we won’t be coming back.” I spun on my heel to make a fast getaway.

Clara stopped right outside the door, and began to lose her mind. She wanted that peace sign binder.

It was so unfair. Clara’s meltdown was long and complete. And the whole thing was kind of my fault for losing my temper. But mostly the manager’s fault for being ridiculous.


I am still second-guessing how I handled the whole mess. But an angry mama bear is quite a force when she feels she must battle for her baby.

I offered to buy a better binder somewhere else, using my own money, not hers.

I think I’ll do our back-to-school shopping alone next time. And make sure to use the bathroom before leaving home.


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