My Dillon son recently moved to the Denver area for work. Last week was his 20th birthday and I was able to spend several days with him. On his birthday, after dinner, we went to a major department store so I could purchase him a big birthday gift; a television along with a few other smaller things.
It was last call in the store, just about closing time, when we checked out. Everything ran through, I swiped my credit card and uhoh, declined. You know the look you get when this happens; you know the nervousness you feel? The clerk politely says, “Oh, it’s okay, here, let’s swipe it again.” CARD DECLINED. Several team members are approaching, another register has to be opened to check out the customers lined up behind us, all of whom are giving me the ‘card declined more than once stare.’
“Let me give this one a go,” I said as I brought out my only other credit card. CARD DECLINED.
By now Dillon is really ready to just be done, to leave without his birthday gifts, but not me. “Let me call the credit card company.” I said.
The manager, whose appearance wasn’t nearly as polite as the checkout clerk says, “Do you think it’ll help? We close in less than five minutes.”
“Mom, it’s alright, we can do this later.”
“No, son, we’re getting your TV.”
The clock is ticking. I’m giving secret passwords to the credit card company. All eyes are on us. Dillon just wants to go home. The not so polite in appearance manager has her keys out ready to lock up. “They had me on fraud alert, it’ll go through now.” Eureka! Dillon has his birthday gift and all the team members are glad to see us leave.
This was Wednesday; on Saturday Dillon wants to pick up a few items at the same department store. I could detect a bit of apprehensiveness in him as we entered the store. But I vowed to myself I wouldn’t make any kind of a scene; nothing to draw any more attention to us.
Throughout our shopping experience I was well behaved. We checked out without any hang ups; I didn’t need to pull my credit card out, I didn’t even say a word, that is until we passed the next checkout lane where there was a wee bit of mayhem going on. The clerk says, to anyone who’d listen, in a freaked out kind of way, “Someone needs to get this praying mantis out of here!” Customers avoided the area around the beautiful mantis. Other team members would only peek over to take a look at it. Dillon couldn’t push his cart of purchased goods out fast enough.
Having read my previous blog post about the praying mantis outside my kitchen door, Dill knew what was coming next, “Oh, it’s alright, she’s beautiful, don’t kill her, my son will get it for you.”
With a deep sigh and an ‘oh my hell’ look, Dillon went to gather the mantis. I couldn’t help myself as I continued to explain, “Mantis means prophet in Greek. They are a blessing, really, you are blessed this little creature was in your check out lane…”
I was still rambling on about the wonders of praying mantis when Dillon returned from taking her outside. He gave me the 'oh my hell' look again along with the 'it's time to go now' look tacked on. “But I had to explain it to them, Dill, they had to know what a blessing a mantis is so they won’t kill her next time…”
“Mom, you are banned from this store forever.”
“I’m sorry, but I just had to; hopefully someone in there now understands the wondrous world of praying mantis,” I replied as we wheeled across the parking lot.
“It was kind of strange how its feet felt on my hands. It made its way between my fingers as I cupped it, crawling onto my wrist and then it gave me the most curious look,” Dillon said. “Mom, really, you had to go on about it being a blessing and a prophet and…”