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Wednesday, October 06, 2004
I just hope they're this strict about buying alcohol...
One of the great privileges in my life is getting to be Uncle Michael. Barry of the Inn of the Last Home gave me that honor a little over eight years ago when BrainyBoy was born (I still remember him calling me when I was home visiting family over summer break from UT to let me know he and L were expecting) and then a couple of years later, GiggleGirl came along. Now, for some odd reason, I've always had trouble remembering the exact date when GG was born. I know that it was in late September and it is generally after the Florida game (I remember that she was born on homecoming weekend the year she arrived). I can remember exactly when BB's b'day is, but it's kind of helpful that it's near Valentine's Day, so it's easier for my old brain to hold onto that information.

Now, I'll admit I've been the Uncle Michael I would like to be the past year. I missed GG's b'day last year and BB's b'day this year in terms of sending a card, a present or, at least, some acknowledgement of the event. So, I decided that this year, I'm going to do my best to make sure I don't forget either birthday. Which, of course, meant that GG's b'day snuck up on me and I missed it yet again. Never fear, I think. I can get her a cool present, send it to her and she'll have a late birthday gift from Uncle Michael. She doesn't have to know Uncle Michael has a memory like a sieve...

That, of course, left with a dilemma--what in the world do I get GG for her b'day?

Now, BB is a bit easier to buy for. OK, I'll admit it. He's a lot easier to buy for. Why? Because all I really have to do is head to the toy department, wander around until I find something I'd like to play with and odds are, he will probably like it. I've had tons of fun picking out his birthday and Christmas presents over the years, namely because I love going and looking at the Legos. Also, an evil part of me also giggles knowing that some of the things I buy him are going to help drive Barry slowly crazy (such as the 3-D puzzle of R2-D2 a couple of years ago).

But, GG...she's not quite as easy to buy for. I think part of it is that I'm not a person who just goes to the store and picks out some random present and says--yeah, that'll do. I want to find something that I hope that person will like and really enjoy. Having been a small boy, it's easy for me to do that with BB. With GG, I've never been a five-year old girl, so the task is compounded.

Thank goodness we have Wal-Mart. My motto is: If they ain't got it at Wal-Mart, you just don't need it.

So, I headed out to the local Wal-Mart, determined to find a great gift for GG. And after a lot of looking, I did. Barry described a present she picked out for herself at the mall in her blog and so I used that as a starting point. After much looking, I finally decided one two potential presents--Barbie UNO (I love UNO!) and a My Little Pony figurine. I eventually decided to go with the My Little Pony figurine because I figured it might be more appreciated and, OK here's the big seller, it was all orange. (If you need to know why, you've obviously forgotten where you are). Also, it's the only one in the store. This fact will be important later. So, I put this into my cart and after I picked out some other purchases, I headed to the registers.

I decided to do self check-out. So, I ring up my other items and last, but not least is the My Little Pony. I run it over the scanner and it tells me to wait. I does nothing. I scan again. I'll need assistance with this item, the computer says. I look at this innocent toy in my hands. Apparently there must be alarms going off as a single white male is buying a girl's toy pony doll...surely if I'd been buying a copy of South Park: Bigger Longer and Uncut or alcoholic beverages, that'd be OK. But a My Little Pony doll?!? There must be something wrong with me.

So, the cashier comes over, finally, and tries to scan the offending item. No dice. She tries entering the SKU into the computer. Nothing. She asks if I remember how much it cost. I tell her and she takes my items and makes me go up front with her. She goes on the intercom and asks toys to call her. Nothing. Ten minutes go by. I ask if she could call again. She does. No answer. I am getting frustrated. Could I pay for my items that did ring up, have the Pony in question and go back and find another one to try and scan? Nope, she replies. Why not, I ask. This one isn't in the computer, she says. Why can't you sell it to me for the same price as all the other My Little Pony figurines back there? I ask. She doesn't know, but she can't. I ask for a manager but am told the same thing....I tell them both, look, you're disappointing a five-year old girl on her birthday, this is the only one I saw and I really would like to get it for her. Could they help me out?


I leave, bewildered, upset and pissed off at Wal-Mart. See if I ever shop there again, I think.

Until yesterday. I went back to Wal-Mart, the same one in fact. I needed some supplies and figure--well, let's go by the toys and see what's up that we can get GG. I see the same Pony sitting there. I grab it and then take another for good measure. I head up to the front and go to a checkout. Now wouldn't you know it, the girl from Friday is working this register. I have to explain to her several times that I only want one Pony but after what happened Friday, I brought two just in case.

Guess what? Yeah, orange Pony doesn't scan. I begin to wonder if Spurrier, since he isn't coaching now, is the inventory entry guy for Wal-Mart.

Well, I point out I've got another Pony and couldn't we scan that one, sell me the orange one and I can go on with my life. Everyone's happy--Wal-Mart gets money, I get my item and GG gets her now incredibly delayed birthday present. Nope, we can't do that. I tell the girl that I am not leaving without the Pony so she'd better find a way to sell it to me. Finally, she manually rings it up and sells it to me and I leave.

Seriously, I had no idea buying a toy would be that difficult....

I just hope GG likes it. And, please, Barry, don't tell me she already has one...even if she already does...

UPDATE: Cathy over at Domestic Pyschology made an assumption--and it's a valid one based on reading this post-- which I am here to correct. She assumed that Barry and I are related. But we're not. We've been best friends since we met at UT and sat around his office at the Wesley Foundation disucssing Star Trek and other aspects of life since the fall of 1991. And even though we're not brothers in terms of being related to each other by parental units, Barry is the big brother I never had and a brother to me in every way that really matters.

posted by Michael Hickerson at 10/06/2004 02:50:00 PM | |
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