Banned for life

It is quite the moment when you see the heavy hand of justice come down, and a child is informed by his mother that he is, from this point forward, forever banned from Lowe’s.

It is even more amazing when his two siblings are given the same sentence seconds later.

I witnessed this event recently at the self-checkout aisle. (Side note: The self-checkout aisle, when used properly is one of mankind’s greatest inventions, up there with roller coasters and backgammon. When used improperly, it is a plague upon humanity. I still think we should strongly consider a system in which one must pass a test and get a license to use self-checkout.)

But I digress. All four of the registers were occupied, and there were a few of waiting in line for an opening. (OK, another side note: one slight inefficiency in self-checkout lines is when there is line backing up. There is really no place to line up, so everyone just kinda mingles in an amorphous blob. And periodically, when a register opens, a new person who has just entered the area beelines straight for the opening, forcing the blob to mobilize and start shouting, “HEY! HEY! HEY!”)

Anywho, at one of the registers was a family of five. Dad was checking their handful of items, while Mom was overseeing the kids quickly unravel at breakneck speed.

The three kids – the oldest was maybe six – were behaving like … oh, what’s the word … Oh, yeah – kids. They were acting how kids act at any given point, and anyone looking at this family and thinking negatively upon them needs to really recalibrate their expectations about how little humans who have no compunction about eating quarters behave. Unfortunately for this mom, it was the perfect storm of all three of her little bottle rockets firing at once.

First one made a run for the candy at the checkout. Mom darted toward him and removed the eight packs of Skittles from his hand, which did NOT sit well with him. So he went for the Snickers. Then he went flat to the floor, doing that thing small children do where they suddenly weigh 900 pounds and are immovable anchors. That’s when Mom laid down the law. “YOU. ARE. NEVER. ALLOWED. AT. LOWE’S. AGAIN!”

Clearly, his siblings saw this as their time to shine and began their own shenanigans in different directions.

I would also like it duly noted that during this episode, the dad stared at the register, scanning his items, one by one, but VERY slowly.

Once the mom had banned the other two children for life as well, she began the whirlwind ninja mom trick of somehow gathering up multiple children at once and placing them at various parts of the shopping cart.

As I said earlier, no one should pass judgment on this family. I sure wasn’t. Because I’ve been there. I’ve climbed to the top of a McDonald’s playground because my child refused to come down. I’ve removed a wailing child from a grocery store because we couldn’t get “all of the potato chips.” And I’ve issued lifetime bans right there on the spot, knowing full well it wouldn’t be upheld.

Hopefully the next outing for this family was a little less eventful. I completely understand that going out in public with small kids can sometimes be an adventure. And I think we should all be sympathetic toward the parent who is dealing with a rambunctious child in public, and even a little bit for the child. After all, that may very well be the last time that child is ever allowed to go to that store.

Mike Gibbons was born and raised in Aiken, S.C. A graduate of the University of Alabama, he now lives in Mt. Pleasant. You can e-mail him at or follow him on Twitter @StandardMike.


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