Red Delicious

So I’m in the Whole Foods today and I am standing there trying to remember my list when I see a pretty mom take a Red Delicious apple off the display, shine it up real good on her pants, and hand it to her daughter who’s riding in the cart. The kid’s about six and she bites eagerly into the apple.

I wasn’t staring, I was thinking about my list but with a tiny part of my brain I was thinking, “Huh. They sell apples by the pound. I wonder how she’s gonna ring that out with the cashier.” I probably had a bit of a furrowed brow. Catching my eye, the mom suddenly brays, “DO YOU LOVE THAT PRETTY PINK APPLE? IS IT DELICIOUS? IS IT YUMMY!?”

She’s loud and hyper enough so that what had been an in-the-back-of-my-mind awareness moves right to the front.  I stand paralyzed for a moment amongst the potatoes.

And then I’m like, “Oh, yea, I get it. She probably had no intention of paying for that apple.” It’s the same thing my beagle does when he knows he’s in trouble. He ratchets up the adorable to distract from the naughty.

I limp away, rolling my cart. I’m not going to report her to the grocery cops or nuthin’, but I also don’t want to feel obligated to respond with the obligatory Co-Conspirator Smiley Face. Give your kid an apple, by all means. I’m not judging. Kids don’t have to be cute to deserve to be fed, they just have to be hungry. Relax, mom. Way to stick it to the MAN.


4 Replies to “Red Delicious”

  1. At my local organic market, every kid gets a free piece of fruit (or a veggie, like a carrot stick). You just go in and pick one. You don’t even have to buy anything else. But the Whole Foods near me don’t do that. One thing I’ve done in places where Kidlet wants an apple is I’ll put another apple of similar size in the cart and when we get to the register, have them ring that one up, and then give it back to them to keep. Stealing food (especially when you shop at Whole Foods) is no bueno!

  2. This reminded me of what a woman in my congregation told me – (I live in the Midwest) – that when she was little her parents would send her out in the country to pick corn for dinner. They told her that the first 5 rows of a field were for anyone who wanted them. She was all grown up and had kids of her own before, she said, it dawned on her that she’d been stealing. Which I guess it true. (But couldn’t it also be thought of as “gleaning”? That would be a stretch for the apple at Whole Foods, though.)
    Parents. Who does the screening for that job, anyway?

  3. This kind of thing always annoys me. I’m a mom to a small child (age 4), and I just make him wait until I purchase something to actually consume it. However, the two places I normally shop, the grocery store and Target, have a free kids’ cookie, so if he were really starving, he could eat that with impunity. Of course, I would avoid at all costs taking a starving small child to a grocery store, but that’s just me. At some point, one has to be cognizant of exactly what they are teaching their child by example. It’s okay to take if nobody sees you do it? That it’s okay to steal if your “need” is great enough? Rules don’t apply to some people? Rules don’t apply to me? It’s an unsavory thought.

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