Adventures in Gerontology

My latest adventure in taking my octogenarian parents out included a trip to Sam’s Club, among several other stops.


After trip to the doctor for Mom, we stopped back at their house to pick up my father and go to lunch. We dined on fine cuisine at Steak ‘n Shake, where they inevitably under tipped the server. (My mother can’t wrap her head around the concept of tipping for service. She thinks that if you eat in a cheap place, you also cheap out on the tip.) As usual, I left the rest of the tip on the table when they went to pay the tab.


Once in the car, the argument about who had the Sam’s Club card ensued. Dad insisted that Mom had taken it from him a few weeks before, and Mom was adamant that he had it. I assured them that I had a card of my own, so if theirs was lost, we could still get in. They argued this point all the way to Sam’s, which was really just a trip across the parking lot. Just as we were pulling into our parking spot, Mom found the card in her wallet. My father exulted in, “I told you so!” as we made our way to the door. Once at the door, the greeter asked to see the card. Mom had already put it away and wanted to know why I hadn’t gotten mine out to show her, instead.


I exchanged a goofy grin with the greeter who could see what was going on, as I quickly pulled my card out and made my way into the inner sanctum of the store. Mom was still in the lobby, looking for their card again. Being more than just a little hard of hearing, I had difficulty getting her attention to get her to realize we had been granted permission to enter. She eventually found her card and came forward, while the greeter and I exchanged more smiles and knowing looks.


We made our way through the aisles and down to the bakery department. Mom wanted cheesecake, but it was too big. Mom wanted baklava, but there were too many in the package. Mom wanted Danish, but they only came in packages of twenty-four. She was getting angry and was loudly complaining about everything being in such large sizes. I had to remind her that we were at Sam’s, and everything at Sam’s came in that size before she stopped being so vocal about her disappointment.


We hit the meat department, and I took the cart and stood off to the side while I waited for her to peruse and reject everything in sight. She picked up a large, poorly wrapped pork roast and called me over to see if I thought it was two roasts together. She turned the package this way and that, while bloody juices dripped all over the floor. She thrust it into my hands to get my opinion before I could point out the poorly wrapped quality and the mess she was making. Luckily, I had a paper towel in my pocket to wipe our hands on.


We proceeded down various other aisles, where she seemed to forget that other people were also shopping. Thankfully, most of them caught the gist of my dilemma and no one ran her over with their cart, nor did they get nasty with her when she walked in front of them and stopped dead in her tracks to compare prices on olive oil. I mouthed silent apologies to many shoppers when she nearly caused a collision, and they were all gracious in their awareness of an elderly lady being taken shopping by her middle-aged daughter.


The check-out line couldn’t come too soon.


I put all of their purchases on the conveyor belt and the cashier rang them up. This is when my mother decided it was time to argue a coupon with this poor gal. It seems that she had gotten a “$10 off all new memberships” coupon in the mail that morning. She thought she should be able to get $10 off because she was renewing her membership. I took this opportunity to go sit at one of the picnic tables behind the registers, once again mouthing silent apologies to a clerk who had a hidden smile, just for me. She had to call the manager to the register to explain to my mother, who continued to argue. The line was growing longer behind her. The manager finally told her that she could claim the coupon, but would have to fill out an application at the front of the store. My mother thought that was ridiculous and too much of a waste of time, so she gave up the idea of the coupon.


Thankfully, we were able to get out of the store at this time. She just wanted to make one more stop at the grocery store on the way home, for a couple of small things she couldn’t get at Sam’s. Dad and I decided to wait in the car for her on this trip. Forty-five minutes later, she emerged with two small bags. She was furious and complaining about some “old lady” in front of her at the express register who wanted the clerk to just take the money out of her bank account, without a debit card, check or credit card to present. The store manager had to get involved and the situation deteriorated.


“Vhat iss vrong viss some people? Dat dumb old vooman! She made effrybuddy vait!”


I think the concept of Karma was lost on Mom.

2 responses to “Adventures in Gerontology

  1. You were prepared for every situation but the last!

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