As I walked in the door, I discovered that they had their Astrobright paper stock on clearance for $10 a ream. Knowing that Gretchen likes brightly colored paper, I bought a ream of each of the available six colors. I then bought the keypad and decided to spring for a wireless mouse as well, just to improve the whole editing experience.
After that, we swung through the McDonald's to get something to drink. Katie agitated for food, having eaten almost none of her lunch. There are no cheap McNuggets on the menu, but there was a $1 McChicken sandwich, which served plain makes a pretty good substitute. Or at least Katie thought so. We then proceeded to the big park where Katie had a good time running around, sliding down the slides, discovering sidewalk chalk (Uh oh!), and playing with the other kids.
Then we went to Sam's Club where I was going to buy Gretchen her birthday present -- a 27 inch tall, light-up, voice-activated, animatronic gargoyle. This fell into the category of presents that you ask about before buying, because you know it won't be there by October and you know you can't hide it for two months. I took Katie along for the ride while Gretchen and Julie waited in the car.
And waited. And waited.
As I walked in the door, I saw the display of patio furniture. They had a couple of swivel rocker chairs and a small table that had been marked down from over $300 to under $100. Gretchen is very fond of sitting on the patio and we'd discovered a few weeks ago that having more than the two chairs that we had was pretty handy when you have company. The display said "Pull tag and present to cashier", so I grabbed a tag and proceeded.
I picked up the gargoyle, formula for Julie, some meat for dinner, three bags of good Halloween candy (which Gretchen had agreed that I should get) and headed for the check out. Katie was quite interested in the whole candy concept and quite put out that she wasn't getting any right then.
I handed the slip to the cashier. He asked, "Is someone getting this for you?" I replied, "It says 'Give to cashier'." So he called someone to go get the patio furniture and rang us up.
And we waited. I told Gretchen to pull the van up, as I'd be out in a minute.
And we waited some more. Did I mention that Katie really wanted some candy that she wasn't about to get?
And we waited some more. I asked the cashier if I could go load the rest of this into the car while they got the item. He said they'd be back with one shortly.
In the meantime, I noticed that there was one of these boxes sitting on its side near another display of patio furniture looking like it had been rolled down a hill. Maybe not the one that I wanted. Further down, though, sat a pristine looking box on a flatbed with a note taped to it saying "Paid", the customer's name, and "Pickup 8/21."
I looked at my watch. August 24th. Hmm.
And we waited. A woman with a walkie talkie came up and told me that they were trying to find them. They had thirteen of the sets, so they had to be there somewhere. And she walked away for a minute.
And we waited. I picked up Katie's sandals off the floor and drove the cart in a circle to try to keep her entertained.
And we waited. When the woman with the walkie talkie came back, I pointed out that there was a fine box sitting on the flatbed over there with a note taped to it -- could we perhaps take that one while they found another, especially since it was supposed to have been picked up three days ago?
"Oh. If it was supposed to be picked up that long ago, we won't hold it even if it's paid for. We'd refund their money." She removed the note. "Take it."
So I did. We loaded it into the van.
"What the heck is that?" Gretchen asked.
"Patio furniture. It goes with the gargoyle."
We went home, gave Katie one piece of Halloween candy, inspected the gargoyle (of which Gretchen happily approves!), assembled the furniture, put Katie down for a nap, and went to sit with Julie on our now somewhat better furnished patio.
All in all, a successful exercise.