We all know that grocery shopping with your kids is a wee stressful, right? But what about shopping at good ol’ Market Basket…with your kids…9 months pregnant…on a weekend…a few days before a holiday? If you are a Market Basket patron then you know what I’m talking about and you likely just started sweating (sorry). Well this was my exact scenario this past Thanksgiving. Shopping with my 2 kids and another one on the way, carrying a list a mile long, squeezing by (i.e. belly bumping) fellow patrons, while opening groceries along the way to keep the kids happy. We were doing pretty good until about aisle 10 – and that’s when things started getting dicey with the onset of bickering, fussing and mama sweating that would naturally accompany a scenario such as this. We suffered through the crazy long check-out lines, paid more money than I had planned and high-tailed it out of there, to the tunes of the kids’ fussing that they didn’t earn their twenty-five cent vending toy reward. Ugh – I’m exhausted just remembering this!
Well it got worse. After loading the fussing kids into the car and unloading the groceries (while feeling the anxious eyes of the driver behind me waiting for my parking spot), I looked down and realized I forgot to pay for the pack of toilet paper at the bottom of my cart. My enormous belly was obviously to blame, blocking my view of the item, therefore resulting in me forgetting to put it through the check-out.
A moment like this called for a deep breath and little prayer. What to do? What to do? Should I just leave it on the cart since I hadn’t paid for it, and let it get re-shelved when they return the carts to the store? No – we sort of needed this sanitary essential at home. Do I just take it home and promise to pay for it the next time I shop there? No – that would be stealing. Oh how I was so very tempted to do this…so very tempted.
I unloaded the fussing kids and told them we had to go back into the store to pay for an item I forgot. They instantly replied that we should just forget it, take it, that no one would know. And that’s when one of those precious parenting moments was before me. When I could forget all about the crazy shopping experience – forgive all the crying and fussing - and share one of God’s most basic commandments, “Thou shall not steal” (Exodus 20:15). Telling them quite simply that if we took it, that would be stealing. That even if the store didn’t know or ever find out, that God would. That being honest and telling the truth is essential.
They didn’t hear me right away. They didn’t want to go back into the store. That anxious driver was definitely a wee annoyed that I wasn’t exiting my spot just yet. But in that moment I knew we were doing right and simply prayed that my kids would remember this moment. I know I will.