Hello, friends. Before we embark together on our journey today, I just want to make two things clear:
- First, what follows was totally, completely not my fault.
- Second, honest, it wasn’t really my fault.
That established, I’ll give you the happy news: we’ve adopted two kittens from the local cat rescue, and we’re collecting them today. I KNOW! Much excitement in the Whittle household.
So yesterday, off we went to the local Pet superstore, to buy a litter tray (ugh), and a cat bed and some little toys, and food bowls, and collars and – well, it all adds up, doesn’t it?
The car well and truly stuffed, we decided to nip to Morrisons for cat food. We walked into the supermarket and Flea announced she was starving, so I said we’d buy a sandwich in the café.
So, ten minutes later, we’re munching away, when over Flea’s shoulder I spot a couple with a little boy, only a year or so younger than Flea. The kid was climbing on the table, standing on his chair and, honestly, just being annoying.
As I’m watching, the kid leans over his Dad’s shoulder and starts playing with the fire alarm on the wall. You know those ‘break glass in case of emergency’ things. The Dad notices, and chuckles fondly. As you do. *rolls eyes*
“If you ever did that, you’d know about it,” I mutter to Flea. Don’t ask me what it means. I’ve no clue. Anyway…
Ten seconds later, the kid achieves his goal, and sets off the fire alarm. Staff and security guards look worried. Eventually someone realises which alarm has gone off, and half a dozen people head in our direction.
Now, if it was me, I’d have jumped up and explained to someone that it was an accident, I’ve had asked my child to apologise. But the Mum and Dad just continued chuckling, and Didn’t Say A Word.
They continued Not Saying a Word as the alarm went from quiet mode to full on INCREDIBLY LOUD siren mode. They also Didn’t Say A Word as the entire supermarket was evacuated – including all the staff, a party of adults with learning disabilities and a number of elderly people with sticks and in wheelchairs.
And then it all went a bit pear-shaped…
Outside in the car park, Fire Alarm Family was standing a few feet away from me, the Mum and Dad both chuckling fondly, ruffling their son’s hair.
At this point, I might possibly have said to Flea in my special “loud parent” voice (we’ve all got one) – “You know what, I think that little boy should be apologising. Look at all these people who aren’t able to eat their food or do their shopping!”
“Yes,” Flea agreed, in an even louder voice. “Is it THAT little boy there in the Superman t-shirt who set off the fire alarm, Mummy?”
And then she pointed.
Well, you could have heard a pin drop.
First off, the store manager started shouting at Fire Alarm Dad, saying it wasn’t very HELPFUL to let your kids set off the fire alarm.
When the family still didn’t apologise, the pensioners started muttering. A mum with two small boys pointed out that you shouldn’t have kids if you can’t control them, you know. Word started to spread through the crowd. The muttering got louder.
Fire Alarm Mum decided now was the moment to leave, and took the little boy off to the car. The man started to follow, but was accosted by another man, who shouted at him about how you shouldn’t have kids if you don’t know how to behave.
Fire Alarm Mum pulled up and rolled down the car window. “Gett-in!” she yelled. “I haven’t got the effin’ shoppin,” replied Fire Alarm Dad.
By this time, word had spread through most of the crowd, and it was all getting a bit threatening. Especially if you find old people with sticks and those pull-along shopping baskets on wheels threatening.
You might snicker, but one elderly gent was shouting the odds, and some of the store’s café staff were standing in front of the Fire Alarm Family’s car, to stop them driving off. Someone kicked the car.
“Oooh, did you hear, that little boy set off the alarm, and they just let him do it?”
“Never, did he really?”
“It’s not right, is it?”
“Was it them?”
“Yes, that lady saw the whole thing.”
I saw the now purple-faced Dad glance in my direction. He didn’t seem like he wanted to have a nice chat about it. To say the least.
So I did what any sensible person would do under the circumstances.
I immediately glanced behind me, thereby cunningly suggesting that “that woman” was the pensioner behind me with the shopping basket on wheels. And then I grabbed Flea’s hand, and we made a run for the car.
We are going to have to find a new supermarket, I fear.