Welcome to my world of forgetfulness and frustration. Among my many recovery programs (the enabling, procrastination, controlling, grammar hacking, …) forgetfulness stays at the top of the heap. Plaguing me almost daily, often multiple times a day, my propensity to forget things visits me often.

Okay, friends that know me, you can quit nodding now.

Today’s forgetting scored a hat trick… at least the forgetting I know about. It started by rudely interrupting my enjoyable afternoon ice tea with friend Emily. We had just gotten started in a fun conversation when my phone rang. As soon as I saw the number, my stomach sank. The tutoring place wondering where my kid was. Nice David had driven in to help one of my gang with some math. This isn’t the first time I’ve balked. “Am I your flakiest customer?” I asked the owner and David. They looked at each other and profusely “No”d, but I could see the “yes”s hiding just below the surface of their shrugs. I hope they’re aren’t talking with the orthodontist!

FHA’s swimming lesson came next. Every Wednesday at six, we head over to Emler Swim School for some time with Mr. Austin. Of course, my little I-dont-want-to-put-my-face-in-the-water didn’t remind me, so what do you expect? Okay, so he’s four and probably didn’t know today was Wednesday or that he has a swimming lesson, but that’s beside the point.

The piece de resistance came when I took my older ones to our new In & Out for an afternoon snack after working at YBC today. We opted to go inside rather than wait in the 45 minute (!) drive through line. While waiting I saw the cool new t-shirt they’ve made for Texas, reminding me that I wanted to send them to Slow Walker’s camp counselors and a friend. When we made our way to the cashier, I ordered the kids meals plus four t-shirts, paid with my credit card, had to sign because my total was over $30, then waited for them to fix our take-out order. It was hot outside, we were all tired and just wanted to go home.

When we gathered the goods, I forgot to get my shirts from the guy. Much later, after dinner, something reminded me about my shirts. That sick stomach feeling barreled back. I so didn’t want to brave that parking nightmare and line again. But, rather than put off tomorrow what I can do today (I’m working on my issues), I headed back to get my shirts.

A super friendly girl asked for my order when I got to her register.

“Oh, I’m not ordering. I was in earlier and bought 4 large t-shirts. But the guy who helped me forgot to get them and I forgot to ask.”

“Hmmm… Boy, let me go back and check.” Which she did. With no avail. “Well, they aren’t in the back. Can I see your receipt?”

Oh… the receipt …”I threw it away while we were fixing our drinks.” I search my memory. “But we were number 45. And I came in around 2:30. The guy was at the register next to yours.” See, I can remember some things.

“Do you remember his name?”

“No, but I had to sign my card receipt. I’m sure you’ve got it in his drawer.”

“Let me go back and see what I can find.” she cheerily offered. She could be working at Disneyworld for sure.

She comes back with her manager. He takes over.

“Mam, we don’t have the shirts you’re talking about. And I’m not trying to call you a liar, but well… we just can’t be sure. Now I’m not calling you a liar, but I can’t give you the shirts. Especially since you don’t have your receipt.”

“Huh?” I reply. “But you’ve got my signed copy in your stack, I’m sure.”

“Oh, yes we do. But we just can’t be sure that you aren’t coming in to get more shirts. People do that. Now I’m not calling you a liar, but if I can just get your phone number. We’ll do inventory tonight and I’ll call you in the morning if the number shirts don’t match the sales. Which I’m sure they won’t, because I’m not calling you a liar. You can come back tomorrow and pick up the shirts. We’ll give you some free food vouchers for your inconvenience.”

I stood there with no response. Was he really sending me home without my shirts? I wrote down my number and left.

Driving away, my frustration level grew as I started to think about the ordeal. It was so ridiculous. So what if I didn’t have my receipt. They did. And was he really going to make me brave the heat and lines to pick up those shirts again. Those things probably cost them $2 at the most. So for $8 he was actually implying that I was in fact a liar and making me go through hoops for something his employee forgot. Granted I forgot, too… but by now I’m mad. I turn to Sister, and start to spew.

“Okay.. I’m really frustrated by what just happened. Listen, if you ever have a store or restaurant, you remember that the customer is ALWAYS right. Don’t ever send them away over something as petty as a few dollars. … I’ve got to go back and give them a piece of my mind. I don’t even want those t-shirts anymore. And I sure don’t want their burger vouchers.!” Ahhh… I often marvel at my maturity. I’m surprised I didn’t squeeze out some offended drama tears.

I drove back, braved the parking lot and made my way to the front of the line … again. Sweet Erin stood smiling at me.

“I’m so glad you came back,” she said. “I couldn’t believe he didn’t give you those shirts. I told him you most certainly paid for them – but he had to stick to store policy. People really do try to cheat us all the time. But I know that isn’t what happened to you.”

“It isn’t … He kept saying he wasn’t calling me a liar, but -”

“Oh – I know you’re telling the truth. I’m so sorry. I know this has been a terrible inconvenience for you. Hold on one second.” She left and talked to a different man in the swirling sea of In & Out employees slicing, dicing and grilling their delicious burgers. Next thing I know she’s coming at me with four shirts.

“You didn’t have to do that.” I said. I meant it, too. I had just come to give a piece of my mind to that guy who wasn’t calling me a liar. I really didn’t care about their shirts anymore. It had become the principal of the matter. Sweet Erin saved me.

“These are your shirts.” she said as she came around the counter to give me a big hug. “Again, I’m so sorry. It’s a silly company policy.”

Wow. Completely disarmed. I thanked my new friend. Such a silly ordeal, but Scripture in action once again. Proverbs 15:1 “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.”

So here’s a shout-out to Erin and her wonderful winsome way. And to her mama that raised a fine young lady, with clearly a strong work-ethic and fine manners.

When we got back home, I was greeted by this.

There’s nothing like a clean kitchen to soothe the soul.

Thanks for walking the absent-minded road with me.


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