Ah, Valentine’s Day. A time when men spend ridiculous amounts of money on candy and flowers and women kill themselves making sure that their child has the most Pinterest-worthy creation of the bunch. I prefer to show up at Target on Valentine’s eve with cranky kids and a very specific character wish list and hope for the best. This year was no different.
I should have known I was in trouble the second I got there. Handsome #3 had just gotten out of school and he was entirely too exhausted to walk. I had a list a mile long, so sitting in the back of the cart was out. The only option was grabbing the two seater wagon, you know, the one that resembles an 18-wheeler, and forging through. I didn’t have my purse, just my clutch wallet and I didn’t want to throw it into the cart because it was so far away from me and I wouldn’t be able to stop the would-be muggers from snatching it, so I laid it on the handles closest to me and began my shopping.
I handed both of my friends a granola bar when we walked in hoping that if I plied them with food, we could avoid the toy department. It didn’t work. We walked every aisle compiling birthday and Christmas lists for the next ten years. I grabbed diapers and wipes, checked out the clothing department and finally made it over to the valentines, the sole purpose of this expedition.
I walked into what appeared to be a battlefront. There were cards and candies and flowers scattered throughout the aisles. The savages has been there and they didn’t leave much behind for us last-minute moms. Thankfully, Handsome #3 isn’t picky and we were able to make a quick selection. I checked my list and saw a few more food items, so we took a leisurely stroll through the grocery department.
I had just marked the last item off of my list when I looked down and realized that my wallet was gone. My first thought was, “Holy $h!+, the Grillin’ Fool is going to kill me!!!” This wallet was a nice wallet, an anniversary gift,t and I knew that he would be really mad that it was gone. My mother has taught me that in a situation like this you need to forget any advice about taking a deep breath and staying calm, rather begin the five alarm panicking immediately.
I maniacally rummaged through the cart, hoping that I had just dropped it. No dice. I got sick to my stomach. There were 500 store employees stocking grocery items,so I asked every one of them in my most hysterical voice, “Have you seen a wallet?!?!?!?!” They looked at my like I was crazy, most saying no and going back to work.I ran to the front of the store driving the cart as big as a bus, and yelled to the customer service manager, “Has anyone turned in a wallet?” She seemed confused. A man told me to calm down and said, “Don’t worry, We’ll find your daughter.” My panic was clearly misunderstood.
After customer service failed me, I retraced my steps. I rushed through the store dodging customers and making quick turns. It was just like Supermarket Sweep but without the cheers and giant hams. I made it to the toy department and got down on the floor, crawling and peeking under all of the shelves. I felt a tap on my shoulder and a, “Ma’am, can I help you?” Finally, someone was taking this seriously.
“I can’t find my wallet. It was on the top of the basket. It’s gone. I think someone stole it. I would have heard it hit the ground. Jesus, my husband is going to kill me!”
He got on his walkie-talkie and started some official business.
“Can I get someone from LP? We’ve got a E345 in Toys. I repeat, E345 in toys. Ma’am, were going to do everything we can to help you, but you have to remain calm.”
I’m not sure why he thought I wasn’t calm . Perhaps it was the heavy breathing, or the tears, or the fact that I was laying on the floor. He acted like he’d never seen this before.
“OK, I’m going to check in diapers, you head back toward the valentines,” he directed.
After assessing the situation, he knew that it was in his best interest to stay as far away from me as he possibly could. I charged back through the toy department, headed to seasonal. Piece by piece I tore apart the entire grocery section, in hopes that I had accidentally placed the wallet on a shelf as I shopped. My heart was racing. I felt like I was going to throw up. I called my husband and told him that someone had stolen my wallet and that I was going to have to call the police. We’d review the security footage and hopefully the whole story would land on the news and I’d get the wallet back. All he could say was, “calm down.”
Unsatisfied with him, I called my mother crying. I ranted and raved like a lunatic. She said, “Calm down. Say a prayer, you’ll find it.” Who the hell was I talking to? This is the same woman ready to call 911 when she can’t find the glasses that are sitting on top of her head, and she wants me to call down?!?!?!
I could feel my stomach turning as I searched every aisle and crawled along the dust-covered floors. After 45 minutes and several sweeps of the store, I gave up. My wallet was gone and I wasn’t going to get it back. My credit cards would have to be cancelled, I was out cash, I’d have to get a new library card. This sucked. I cried as I accepted defeat and headed to the front of the store. I had no money to buy the filled-to-the-brim cart, so I thought it best to leave it at the front and hang my head as I walked out the door.
I got ready to unload the kids when I saw a tiny beige strap peaking from the side of Darling’s jacket. This time, it was cold sweats. This couldn’t possibly be happening. I moved her forward and there it was, right under her sweet little buns. It laughed at me, you big stupid idiot, if you’d just remained calm and opened your damn eyes, you would have spotted me an hour ago.
I started the walk of shame, apologizing to everyone in the store, customers and employees alike. I wanted to ditch the cart and run, but they would all know it was mine. I had to face my demons. I walked to the checkout and was greeted by a sweet young man.
“How are you today, ma’am?
“Much better now. I lost my wallet, but thankfully it was just in the cart.”
“Oh, you’re the crazy lady they’ve all been talking about on the walkie this morning?”
I’m never going back…….