Free-For-All Friday – Mayhem Galore

The theme for Free-For-All Friday is supposed to be mayhem and this week I have had mayhem galore. Well, to be more specific all this pandemonium occurred in one day. From here on in it will be referred to as Mayhem Monday.

So what happened on my Mayhem Monday? Well, it started out normally, playgroup, library, lunch then off the shops for our weekly grocery shop (and when I say WE I mean myself and the kids). In fact, everything went to plan until the end of shopping.

Have you ever gotten to the check-out and not had enough money to pay the bill? No? Well I have and let me tell you it is the worst feeling in the world. Since this occurred I now make a point of checking my bank account the night before I shop to guarantee there is enough money. Did I check this week? Of course, do you think I am silly? Was there plenty of money in the account? Yes! So no problems right? Well, so I would have thought.

Ever since my ‘insufficient funds’ incident my heart skips a beat as I wait for ‘processing’ to change to ‘approved’ on the EFT machine. On Mayhem Monday – with a trolley chock-a-block full of groceries, my heart went into virtual defibrillation. ‘Approved’ failed to materialize instead I received the words ‘invalid transaction’.

“Put it through again” I say. Same outcome. “Try it without the cash-out” I say. Same outcome. “I am so sorry” I apologize to the people behind me in the line.

I go to the front desk (with full trolley and two kids in tow). Lady-in-charge eventually comes over and tries again (surely it was just something wrong with the first EFT machine) ‘Invaild transaction’. Deep breath. Don’t swear in front of the kids!

“You have to call your bank” Lady-in-charge says.

Kids and I make our way behind the front desk (you know the one where all the cigarettes are) and I am listening to a bad hold music while trying to make sure my kids aren’t fishing through the draws for a packet of ciggies. At this point I need to say that Lady-in-charge was really fabulous through all this. About now was when she took the kids for a run to the lolly isle and GAVE them a lollypop each. Me? Well I’m still on hold.

Kids finish lollypops. Son does a runner, I panic. Turns out he was just looking for a garbage bin to dispose of his lollypop stick! Still on hold (been about 15 minutes now)

Decide to try the ATM instead. Hang-up and head to the ATM, kids in tow. Son does a runner again, this time because he wants to retrieve said lollypop stick from the bin as he has noticed Daughter still has hers. I have to leave my card in the ATM to chase after him. Go back to the ATM, Son in ‘footy-ball’ grip under my arm. ATM says, you guessed it “Invalid Transaction!”

Arghhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I go back to the front desk and dial again – I’m back on hold.

Kids are a bit stir-crazy by now (Daughter has been telling me she needs to go to the toilet for about half an hour). Lady-in-charge takes them to get drinks, “Juice or water” I say, they come back with milk. Daughter has strawberry, and son has banana (no suprises there it’s the only one that is yellow!).

Kids gulp down their drinks.

Someone finally answers the phone. I go through the obligatory confirmation of who I am. We get to mobile number. “Have you changed your mobile number recently?” Not unless five years ago is recently. “Can you give me the home number instead?” We got rid of the home phone two years ago, but I can tell you what the number was.

Okay, so I am finally confirmed. Hurrah, I am infact Jody Moller, fabulous. About this time Son starts having an uncontrollable coughing fit on the floor. Daughter is trying to comfort him.

I explain my conundrum. She looks at the account and says. “Did you spend $7.54 last night on such-and-such?” “Yes” I reply. “Oh, we tried to ring you, but when we couldn’t get in contact with you we deactivated your account.”

“Oh… fabulous, so can you reactivate it?” I ask. “Yeah sure, I can fix it straight away”

Then, as I give the women my ‘new’ mobile number Son coughs one last time and empties the entire contents of his stomach on the floor. I hang up without even saying goodbye.

Of course I still have to pay for the groceries. Thankfully, Lady-in-charge takes charge and starts cleaning up the vomit (which seems to just keep coming), while I pay for the shopping. I clean Son up and pick him up (gaging at the smell, I have such a weak stomach when it comes to vomit!) and put him back in the trolley and, finally, we head to the car.

As I put the kids in the car my heart finally slows to a reasonable pace. Then I realise I have forgotten to go to the chicken shop and buy the dogs meat… bad luck I will have to go back tomorrow.

The only good news is that my Daughter has a very strong bladder, she managed to make it all the way home! Hopefully I can manage to get through shopping next week without another Mayhem Monday!

Have you had the dreaded ‘Declined payment’? Have your kids vomited at inopportune times? Let me know.

Jody Moller
(The Exasperated Novelist)