What would you do? Drama in the Produce Aisle

After some recent drama in the produce aisle that left my kids open mouthed and shocked, I find myself looking for a little advice.

I’m asking…

What would you do?

Or rather… what would you have done?

It started innocently enough.

I was dragging my kids through the grocery store in a vain effort to stick with the whole “cook every meal, stay on budget, eat clean, loose weight” theme of the summer.

caprese salad

As I was leaning over a cute little boy to find some unbruised avocados, I couldn’t help but notice the gorgeous, $6.99 a pound heirloom tomatoes.

You know the ones.   They come in all those weird shapes and colors and don’t look anything LIKE normal grocery store tomatoes.  The only time I’ve ever bought them was the time I took photos of them.

(hmm, technically that made them a business expense, right?)

I LOVED those tomatoes.  They were beautiful.  They made my heart sing.  But I just can’t justify spending that much unless it’s a special occasion.

I’m a little obsessed about the tomatoes, ok.

I might intentionally have been lingering near them, pretending to fondle the avocados, just so I could be near the tomatoes.

That’s when I realized what that cute little boy was doing.

He had gotten some of those green twist ties things that you use to close up the produce bags and turned them into cute little green soldiers.


But then…. this is horrible… I’m cringing at the thought… his soldiers were attacking MY TOMATOES.

OK, I know… they weren’t technically my tomatoes.  But they could have been.  They were the same price per pound as steak… and I was seriously tempted to skip steak night this week.

His little soldiers were attacking MY PRECIOUS TOMATOES… poking HOLES in MY tomatoes.

One of those beautiful tomatoes looked more like a green porcupine.


That’s when it happened.

Drama on the Produce Aisle.

Without thinking, I leaned down and said softly

“oh honey no… you don’t want to stick things in the tomatoes.”

(i should get a medal for that.  if it had been my child, they’d be eating green porcupines while they stood up.)

The little boy stopped and just stared at me like I was green.

That’s when I realized a woman was yelling at me from over near the bananas.  (the next aisle over).

She proceeded to have a screaming fit at the top of her lungs because I had told her THREE YEAR OLD the word “no.”  Her stance was that I should have talked to her instead of him and that I did not have the right to tell her child no.

Umm… She was over by the bananas.  I was in tomato world.  They aren’t even close to each other.

I tried to apologize and explain.  She would have none of it.

I just stood there while she yelled at me.  I honestly didn’t know what to say.  After about a minute, I walked off while she was still yelling.  The last time I saw them, her son had returned to attacking the tomatoes.

did i deserve it

My kids asked if they could go back and beat her up for me.

I’m baffled.

I have to ask.

What would you have done???

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Susan Baker
I have a passion for encouraging weary worn out mothers to find joy in everyday motherhood and peace in unlikely places. I have two elementary school boys, one nerdy husband, and two cats. I have a strange fascination for bad puns, the color pink, socks, and books. I worry about running out of toilet paper, wine, and chocolate.. I serve an amazing God. I live an ordinary life filled with wonder.
Susan Baker
Susan Baker

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  1. Since he continued to poke holes in the tomatoes, I would have spoken to the produce manager.
    Lorri recently posted..Creating My PlannerMy Profile

    • I wish I had. I was too flustered.

      Ultimately, when stores can’t sell ruined produce, they pass the cost on to their customers. From that perspective, I have some right to expect people not to let their kids turn tomatoes into porcupines.

      If my kids had done that, we would have bought the tomatoes. I have no idea if she did that or not.
      Susan Baker recently posted..What would you do? Drama in the Produce AisleMy Profile

  2. I would have done exactly the same as you… except knowing myself I would have been more pathetically apologetic. {that disgusts me just thinking that I’m really that way… but it’s true} This woman had no right to yell at you like that. How were you to know who he belonged to? She obviously wasn’t paying attention to him. He was destroying property. I would have bought them too. I think the best thing to do would have been to tell the manager. Let the store deal with it. Good job keeping your cool.
    Kari recently posted..Rest for the WearyMy Profile

  3. Melinda Stanton says:

    It does sometimes take a village, especially when the parent ignores their responsibility. All his future teachers thank you!

  4. I would have done exactly what you did (as would anyone I know). That lady was letting her son damage the store’s goods. That’s terrible. Things happen and a mom doesn’t always see every single thing her kid is doing, but I swear, if someone had said something like that to my kid,I would thank them because they were doing my damn job.

    Good grief. You did nothing wrong. I bet she was embarrassed because she dropped the ball and reacted like that because of it. –Lisa

  5. I agree with Lorri. You did the right thing: the boy’s mom was over-reacting (hopefully out of guilt — it’s scary to think that’s her SOP!). Seriously, if you don’t want strangers talking to your kids, then don’t let them go off by themselves in public. Once she continued to allow the child to destroy someone else’s property, I think it is a civic duty to at least advise the owners or guardians of the property. From there, the owner can make the call.

  6. People are crazy, eh? I would have done exactly what you did and then probably followed up with store personnel. I’d be worried that the attack hole in the tomatoes would go unnoticed and some sort of bacteria could get in there. Heirloom tomatoes are exquisite and need to be protected!
    Mo recently posted..Girls’ Night InMy Profile

  7. Thanks for being so supportive ladies. I wish I’d thought to let the produce manager know.

    But I still keep thinking about how many times I told my kids not to talk to strangers at that age and how I would have felt to look up and realize some strange woman was talking to MY BABY. I can understand her being upset. I would have been upset (and mortified and guilt ridden) if I had been in her shoes. I might not have yelled, but I’m not sure I would have been exactly graceful if I’d been in her position.
    Susan Baker recently posted..Cleaning out the pantryMy Profile

  8. OMG…some people should not be parents… if someone told my son know I would be horrified of what he was doing. I think I would have responded with today tomatoes, tomorrow cats then onto people…I just have no tolerance for terrible parents…what is she teaching her kid? what brave and heroic boys you have.
    karen recently posted..NEVER ENDING LIST & GIVEAWAYMy Profile

    • I was super tempted to tell my boys YES! I think they could’ve taken her down. LOL!

      I’ve been overwhelmed by the supportive comments to this post. I’m so glad to know I wasn’t alone and that other women would have responded the same way. I still haven’t been back to that store. sigh.

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