Photo courtesy of Jim, who apparently needs no other name.
I've mentioned before that J and I have been following the Dave Ramsey system for handling our money. Mr. Ramsey has a wonderful way of describing those sorts of "life happens/is there a bigger moron than me?" moments that end up costing you money. He calls it The Stupid Tax.
Considering the fact that we are generally intelligent people, J and I seem to pay an inordinate amount of stupid tax.
For example, on Friday LO and I headed out to Target for a full-on grocery/supplies/what the heck have we been eating the past two days? shopping trip. This was an errand I had hoped to do without LO, considering the fact that I had three separate lists and felt the need to bring a sherpa and enough water for the journey. Unfortunately, the timing did not work out for me to fly solo, so that meant LO was going to have to behave on this epic trip.
And behave he did. Though we made our way through pretty much every portion of the store (we needed a great number of home staples, like cat litter, tp, baby wipes, laundry detergent, a grand piano, etc, ad infinitum, in addition to the usual food), LO did not have a meltdown until we got to the applesauce/Wheat Thins portion of the shopping trip. It should be noted that applesauce and Wheat Thins make up most of the child's diet, to the point where I believe he must have applesauce running through his veins.
So when I told LO that he could not open either the applesauce or the crackers until after we had paid for them, he sat down heavily on his rump and had a full on tantrum. I took him, the loaded grocery cart, and the stares of passersby with me to the Starbucks conveniently located in our local Target, and got my young man a snack (because we were so low on food, I didn't even have my usual emergency baggie of Cheerios in the diaper bag. Seriously, I don't know what we were eating on Wednesday and Thursday of last week).
To make a long story short(er), it was getting on toward 5:30 by the time we had checked out. I was getting a little concerned about time as I maneuvered my overflowing cart and jumpy toddler to our car.
I should mention here that roads and parking lots make me nervous. I tend to be a fairly laid-back mama, but my one paranoia is about cars. This seems reasonable until you realize that my head is filled with images of cars veering off the road and into our living room where my child is playing just a *mite* too close to the window for this paranoiac's comfort. So you can imagine that parking lots, particularly when I'm overloaded with groceries/sundries, are not places I like to spend too much time. The weather was too warm to strap LO into the car while I loaded the groceries, so I had him stand with one hand on the car while I transferred bags as quickly as humanly possible.
Here's where the stupid comes in.
As I drove away from Target, rejoicing in a trip completed with all major participants successfully returning alive to the car at the end of it, I apparently forgot that I had placed an item on the bottom shelf of my cart.
Several hours later, I realized that the kitty litter that should have been resting comfortably in my trunk until J had a chance to carry it to the basement was not, in fact, there. After a review of the tapes, it was determined that I had never gotten it out of the cart.
J was sympathetic. He had once done the same thing with a twelve-pack of beer. (!) It was no longer in the cart when he went back to look, but he suggested that I double check with Target anyway. Seeing as a case of beer and a case of kitty litter have very different interest demographics, we thought it was possible to correct my mistake.
Full of hope, I called Target to see if some good Samaritan had returned it. No dice.
Well, I reasoned, it was a $12 stupid tax. I had saved about that much with various coupons and smart shopping techniques. Not really a big deal.
Two days later, I was changing LO's diaper and reached for a baby wipe. The container was empty. Luckily, I had just bought a new box of wipes, which ought to have been sitting right next to the changing table. Except that I had ALSO left it in the bottom of the cart.
So not only was my stupid taxed at a rate of $25, I was also elbow deep in a diaper change with no wipes to my name. (On that, nothing more really needs to be said.)
It's clear that I really need to start shopping with a spotter. And LO doesn't count.
Still looking for Guest Mensches!
Live Like a Mensch is looking for guest mensches to fill in while I'm on vacation. I still have four spots left for guest mensches to write on any topic
relating to money management, time management, or any other Live Like a
Mensch type shenanigans. The guest posts will run during the first week
of July. Please submit your piece of 250-1000 words as an attachment
to this email address, along with a short bio, by Wednesday, June 20. If you are a blogger, feel free to include a link to your blog or website.