Saturday, August 15, 2009

Sliding doors and slippery swear words

Now I know where toddlers pick up swear words. At the mall where frazzled consumers loose their rag after hours of pressing up against crowds of sweaty teenagers and screaming kids and getting viciously attacked by defective elevator doors.

I was optimistic when we arrived at the mall. I confidently pushed Matthew and Oliver through the doors thinking that where there was buying to be done, there was also satisfaction and fun to be had.

Everything was going nicely. We shared a plate of sushi - me and Matthew. And a hot dog. What? According to my two year-old sushi and hot dog go together just fine thank you.

We went into the Gap and I walked up and down the isles of knickers looking for something pretty and lacy to replace the big post-baby knickers-that-hide-all of late (because new, smaller sized knickers are now needed, whoo!).

Side note: Have you ever tried shopping for underwear with your kids? It's kind of farcical. There I was, holding up a fuschia thong wondering if I could get away with it while the boys lobbed random toys across the shop floor, grabbed at the surrounding lingerie and blurted incomprehensible things at the staff.

Anyway, I had intended for the knickers to be my only purchase but there was a sale in the kids' section and somehow an armful of onesies and sweaters ended up on the til along with the knickers.

A nice male employee entertained Matthew with free stickers and questions like, how is your day going buddy? And what are you shopping for today? Matthew gawked at him. People always think Matthew is older than he is because he's so big. He looks three. The guy serving me asked "How are your kids today?" "Ummm..!" I laughed awkwardly.

Then it was time to get out of the mall.

As we pushed through the crowds, it was clear that every living Calgarian from the SW quadrant of the city had decided to go to the mall this afternoon. There were slouchy teenagers in packs, elderly couples cooing at babies, and other moms, wild-haired and flustered, trying not to loose it.

At the elevator I waited behind two other moms with strollers and a guy in a wheelchair. We missed the first and waited for the second, less crowded one. As the doors opened, a herd of strollers came pouring out and as the last one left, the doors started to close. I made a pathetic squeaky sound because I was going to miss this one too. Frig it.

A girl came to my rescue and put her arm in the door to prop it open. But the elevator door continued to close on her. So the girl wedged her body between the sliding doors.

Still the stubborn doors continued to close. Obviously the doors were really evil demented aliens pretending to be elevator doors, bent on murdering us.

For a second both me and the girl wedged in the elevator door became acquainted a similar look of terror as the doors inched a bit further together.

"FUCK!" She yelled. "I'm getting fucking crushed in these doors! Help!"

"OH MY GOD!!" I yelled back, trying to heave the doors apart.

We struggled with the doors for a few seconds and a few other people came to help and finally, the doors of doom moved apart.

I thanked the girl and apologized to her and got quickly into the stupid elevator, fuming at the bloody doors. I thought about going back into the mall to find the customer service booth, but I wanted to go home more.

Back at home I dialed customer service.

Dorothy: "Good afternoon, welcome to mall customer service, my name is Dorothy, I'm pleased to speak with you today, blah blah blah blah bloo bloo blah, how can I help you?"

Me: "Good afternoon. I'm calling to let you know there's a problem with one of your elevators. The one at the back near the parking lot?"

Dorothy: "Oh, okay..."

Me: "Yes, it nearly murdered someone this afternoon. I was just there with my kids. We were trying to get in the elevator. The doors were closing and a girl tried to hold them open for me. And instead of opening, it kept closing on her."

Dorothy: "Oh! Mmm-hmm?"

Me: "Yes. The doors kept closing on her. You know, like, she was nearly crushed to death? Because they're like, big steel doors?"

Dorothy: "Oh! Um...?"

Me: "I think it's missing some kind of sensor - you know, the one most NORMAL elevators have, that sense if a human person or some other object is wedged in there, and then it figures out that it should not then keep closing and squishing the life out of the person? You know?"

Dorothy: "Em? Mmm!"

Me: "Well, could you look into it? I mean, I like your mall but I don't really fancy having all the bones in my body smashed to smitherines by an elevator when all I really came in for was a pair of knickers and a teddy bear for my son."

Dorothy: "Oh. Yes. Absolutely. I will go and em... tell the em... tell them to look into it."

I wondered, as I hung up the phone, if I could ask Dorothy whether I could also be compensated for the fact that the F word was yelled in my two year-old's ear because of the faulty elevator doors causing someone to fear for their life and scream the F word at the top of their lungs.
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Cake or Death said...

I almost spit food out of my mouth while reading this. Sounds like just about every trip to the mall with my 3y/o and 9 m/o. Thank you!

..... Carmen said...

I chuckled out loud at the doors closing, the swears being uttered and then the "Oh God!" :)

I'm impressed Matthew didn't repeat the F word. Grace would have been all over that - lol ;)

I think the annoying part is I doubt ANYTHING will be done about those doors. Yeah for small knickers :)

Metropolitan Mum said...

Oh-oh. You've got to let us know when he starts to repeat the newly acquired vocabulary.
We live on the 'pub path', where drunk people stumble home after a night out. I am constantly covering my little one's ears as the hordes of 'fucking this' and 'fucking that' yelling lads pass by. It's sad, really.

Chic Mama said...

I'm sorry but I couldn't help chuckling away to myself over your post. Can you Just imagine what an outcry there WOULD have been if she HAD been crushed to death!!
I hope your boys haven't been too traumatised by the incident.

Captain Dumbass said...

You deserved a gift card at least.

Anonymous said...

It's back to school shopping time and thus the packed mall. Everyone and their kid is out there looking for school supplies and clothes. Avoid the mall until Sept 2nd!

Kate Coveny Hood said...

Apparently, customer service really is strictly devoted to gift wrap services. I seriously doubt that the elevator issue will be put on the top of the urgent issues to address list...

Theta Mom said...

I think someone has to die in the elevator for them to even think about fixing it. LOL

At least you weren't the one to drop the F bomb. Taking the kids to the mall is always eventful for me as well!

Mammatalk said...

Precisely why my shopping habits have been neutered.

Glad you weren't crushed to death!

Loukia said...

OMG, that sounds really scary! I hate when that happens... and no kidding, I'd be swearing, too! And I've said every word you can imagine in far less terrifying situations in front of my kids before, too, so don't worry.

Tatiana said...

Most kids will learn the bad words regardless - and usually from parents, friends and relatives, no less. I mean Britney's kids are no exemption... :)

Hope they fix that elevator.

Mwa said...

I went shopping with my children today, and I'm not kidding you if I say that in at least three shops the music playing was "Fuck you" by Lily Allen. The Belgians don't care quite so much about all this swearing. My sister listens to a different radio channel, and they have downright obscene stuff on And it's a normal national one. One of the songs is in Dutch, but the words are basically "I came so hard she said ouch." My husband nearly has a fit every time. (He's Scottish and he DOES care.)