I’ve wondered this time and again. Sometimes I also wonder if I have some special chemical my body emits that causes these alarms to go off. Perhaps it is something in the wallets or purses I buy? Whatever the cause, they go off repeatedly as I walk through. Never. Fail. (Just ask my mortified 13 year old daughter.)
I gave her one hour this afternoon to pull me away from my studies to get everything she needed for her upcoming debut in the middle school play. Ready … set … GO!
Off we raced to Justice (God forbid-she made her younger sister hold the clearly labeled bag) to purchase two tank tops for backstage. No buzzer. A quick sigh of relief. Next stop, H&M-perhaps I’d take a quick peek to see if they had a cute dress for my interview. As we walked through the door, nearly tripping over a Kindergarten teacher from my district (as frazzled as I felt), the red lights began flashing and the buzzing began. I immediately held open my purse for any passerby to view that I had not shoplifted. “Ma’am,” (oh how I hate that name) “Don’t worry, I can tell you are innocent.” Further embarrassment for 13 year old. She became as red as the flashing lights and quickly found her way to the Junior’s section. After about 20 minutes, it was time to depart. “Will it go off?” my innocent 11 year old girl asked. Only time would tell. Hold my breath. Step closer. Beep! Beep! Beep! Somehow the red lights seemed brighter this time. Perhaps it was my eldest’s glow reflecting off of the sensors. Either way-no such luck. This time, I didn’t turn back … full steam ahead to spare her even more humiliation. BIG MISTAKE. “Ma’am,” called out an unfamiliar female voice. Mid-way, I turned around to see another sales associate calling for me to turn around. Pause. Purse open … quick check. “Ok, you’re all set. So sorry.” I think this may have been my daughter’s last shopping trip with her mortifyingly embarrassing mother.
No such luck! We had to get make-up. “Let’s just head to Walgreens, mom. It’s cheaper there and we’ll be much faster.” Hmm? Did she really feel this way or had she remembered the time we made it out, free of added attention? Either way, fast and cheap sounded perfect for this tired, stressed-out mom.
As we walked in, three breaths held … fingers crossed (mind you, inside sweatshirt pocket for the 13 year old), toes crossed for her too, I’m sure. No alarm! About 45 minutes (yes, well over my time limit) later, we began our departure. This is it … the moment we had all been waiting for. Would it happen or not? Part of me wanted to run through the sensors, thinking that if I moved faster it wouldn’t detect this odd chemical within my body (or my wallet or purse?). Instead, my body slowed down and resisted the urge to race out. NO. SUCH. LUCK. “Buzz! Buzz! Buzz!” This time, as I searched for my daughter’s reaction, she was nowhere to be seen. As I looked back at Walgreen’s Beauty Consultant, she gave me a friendly wave and said, “Honey, we know you’re not stealing.” Walking into the parking lot, I found my daughter standing by the car, smiling. Smart girl-she knew to steer clear of her mom whom she’d rather not admit she knew.