I'm The Happy Wino.
... oh, and I suppose you can call me that, as well. ;)
It's generally not a bad gig; I rarely have cause to complain, but sometimes... oh lawd. We'll get to the Crustomers some other time, this is a story of Hellspawn Gone Wild (with a TWIST!).
Mom was any of a number of carbon copies par for this area: a chunk of change in the bank, but not enough good sense to know that class comes through your actions, not your wallet.
I'm sure the conversation she was having on her phone was fascinating. So fascinating that she'd let her Hellspawn run free through a shop stocked to the nines for the holidays with glass bottles and shiny trinkets on high shelves, a mere clamber up a display of stacked cases of wine away.
The kids weren't awful... they were bored. Mom had been ignoring them all day in favor of holiday sales and that scintillating conversation on the other end of her iPhone. They seemed respectful enough when I was around... but when I stepped away...
They finished the treats she had doled out as soon as they entered the store, now full of sugar and mischief, with a sticky candy shell.
"Mom, can we have this? Mom? Mom? MAWM. MAAWHM."
Ignored, invisible, they tried a tactic I, as an older sibling, am well familiar with.
"Mom? Can we touch stuff here? Don't say anything if we can."
And proceeded to place their sticky little paws all over my pristine glass display cases. Nothing malicious, but the OCD beast in me rose up, blowing smoke from the nostrils. I just got the shop looking all purty for the holidays, dammit!
"You can touch any of the display cases you want, guys! ... provided that you're willing to clean up the mess you made, after."
They looked shocked. The help!? Requesting they tidy up!??!
The ringleader hesitantly approached, taking the bottle and the paper towels, and she said something unexpected:
And then they proceeded to clean the fingerprints off of the display case. I was shocked. They even seemed to be having fun.
As mom was making her purchases, the kids clustered around her. "Mom! Mom! Come look what we did!"
She rolled her eyes at me, exasperated, and finally put her conversation on hold. "Just ring me up for it, I'll pay for it, sorry." She heaved a huge sigh, implying that the act of bearing Hellspawn was just too much for her busy life. "You know... KIDS."
And I took great delight in telling her, "Actually, your kids wanted to show you what a great job they did, cleaning the sticky fingerprints off of the glass. They didn't make a mess, in fact, they were better than most of my customers."
And we chortled together, companionably, while I fumed in my head:
Not like you'd know it, if you can't take ten minutes to parent your own children, you worthless cow.