An Impossible Quest — Unexpected Success!


I may be done with shopping for Christmas, but we have some family birthday’s right after Christmas, so the shopping-under-pressure continues.

Mimi in Chicago will be 4 on the 31st (DD helped me pick out her gift a month ago — THANK YOU, DD!), Hubby will be 63 on January 8 and Jay, our grandson, will be 13 the next day (he was Hubby’s BEST 50th birthday present!).

So, I’m still in the “hunt” for presents.

Yesterday morning, I happened to catch just a glimpse on one of the morning news programs of a present they were recommending for boys/men.  They showed a flat box full of colorful “stuff”  and named off several things that could be made from the “stuff” — the only one that I remembered afterwards was, a clock.  And, I thought I heard Toys R Us mentioned.  They had piqued my interest because Jay is a pretty bright kid, and I thought he might enjoy the “engineering” aspect of building things that actually work.  Worth at least looking at for him.

So, later in the morning, with that reallllly sketchy information, I headed out to see if I could find this “box of stuff” as a potential birthday gift for Jay.

The traffic was unbelievable everywhere, but it got even worse as I approached the Mall.  All of the entrances to the Mall had policemen directing traffic, rather than the normal traffic lights.  I’m sure this must be more efficient movement of heavy traffic, but I personally prefer the impartial electric traffic signals.  No matter how “fair” the officer is who is directing traffic, I always feel more comfortable that I’m going to get my “turn” when traffic is being managed by an automatic signal — and not someone who may be distracted by, say, the young chick in the high-end Infiniti. 

Luckily (I thought), at least Toys R Us isn’t in the Mall proper — it’s in an adjacent area of stores.  In reality, I’m not sure that was a good thing — it just meant MORE parking lot driving.  Parking lots seem sooo dangerous.  So many things to watch for — walkers (many times with “darting” small children), cars cutting DIAGONALLY across rows (what are they THINKING!), cars blindly backing out of spaces and then, of course, the idiots who drive waaaay too fast down the rows where all of this darting, driving diagonally and backing out is taking place!  I think I hold my breath most of the time I am driving in a busy parking lot — so, if I’m not killed by another driver, I may die from lack of oxygen. 

Okay.  I finally find parking near Toys R Us, resume breathing and go inside. 

Chaos everywhere.  But I persevere anyway.  Armed with only my skimpy information about what I’m looking for, and blind optimism that I have absolutely no right to have, I wander through the crowds and end up in the special little electronics section.  I don’t see anything like what I had glimpsed on TV in that area and definitely no clerks standing around looking eager to answer questions — no luck there. 

I return to the store proper, and meander through toys.  In case you haven’t noticed, when you “meander” this time of year, you are in danger of being run over, whether driving or walking down a store aisle.  I do encounter a clerk who I give a general idea of what I am looking for, and she suggests the “educational” area.  Ahh, now I can walk with more purpose — I’m looking for something definite — the EDUCATIONAL area.  When I get there, meandering again kicks in.

Then, as luck (more accurately, the grace of God) would have it, I happen upon a young woman clerk who exudes knowledge and helpfulness from her every pore.  Annnnd, she’s carrying a handy-talkie in her hand!  I may have hit the jackpot and actually found a MANAGER (I consider that a stroke of luck, because Managers have usually been there longer than a month, so probably know the merchandise better than the “Christmas help.”  I’ve been the “Christmas help” at a store, so I KNOW how little you can know, and a store will still send you out to “help” the public!) I describe the thingamajiggy I’m looking for.  She goes to a desk with a computer on it.  Apparently she can look up items they have in the store with words describing it — perfect.  So, after questioning me, she puts in “box, transisters.”  “Transister” just sounded like something that would be in that box, don’t you think?  But, Rats. No match.  So then she walks with  me over to the shelves of educational toys and we start looking for the “needle in the haystack.”  As we walk along the shelves she keeps repeating back to me what she’s hearing me say that I’m looking for (actually, she impresses me with her grasp of my search, when I myself am so foggy on the facts).  Anyway, suddenly from out of nowhere, comes a voice that says, “Snap Circuit Set.”  Super Clerk and I both look sharply to our left.  Standing there is an angel, cleverly disguised as a very normal looking, actually very attractive young woman.  I immediately recognized “Snap Circuit Set” as the name of the whatchamacallit I had seen on TV!!   “Angel” says she has bought one for her son at Radio Shack!  And then she apologizes to Super Clerk for “plugging” another store.  Super Clerk, ever the professional, tells Angel that that is perfectly all right, because, by this time, she too is interested in hearing what the name is of the item I described, and she writes it down.  From the little I have learned about her, I wouldn’t be surprised if Toys R Us has Snap Circuit Sets on their shelves soon.

So, I thanked both Super Clerk and Angel for all their help, and, with new purpose, proceeded to my car to drive to Radio Shack.  That was when I realized I didn’t know exactly where there might be a Radio Shack location.  I knew there were several in town — I just didn’t know where.

Thank you God for cell phones.  When I got to the car, I called Hubby, who was slightly grumpy because I got him away from something important he was doing, and asked him to look up the Radio Shack locations and then please call to find out which one had the Snap Circuit Set (while I drove in the general direction of home “awaiting further instructions”).  He made the calls, and called me back with the location.  When I arrived, they had it waiting for me.  Mission accomplished!

I am delighted with the gift we now have for Jay.  But, when I look back at how that whole “search” went, it boggles my mind that I was able to find that product for which I had no name, and hardly any description!  And, of course, I WOULDN’T have found it if it weren’t for — Super Clerk, who cared enough to take the time to help me look for something I had so little information about — for Angel, whose nature was apparently such that when she realized she had knowledge that could help a stranger, she shared it without hesitation — for Toys R Us for having an employee like Super Clerk who represents them so well (she probably deserves a raise, guys) — for Hubby, who had to interrupt his “important work” to be my “tech support,”  and (drum roll) for Radio Shack for having such a cool kit that I KNOW Jay is going to love!!  Hooray!!

I am truly thankful that what started out as an impossible quest, miraculously turned out to be a wonderful success!


9 Responses to An Impossible Quest — Unexpected Success!

  1. What a quest! Maybe you will write a letter to ToysRUs about the great service you received?

    I loved these things you wrote:

    “blind optimism that I have absolutely no right to have”

    “Super Clerk and Angel”

    “proceeded to my car to drive to Radio Shack That was when I realized I didn’t know exactly where there might be a Radio Shack location”

    Funny stuff!

    I’m glad to hear about your good experiences at these stores because these are two stores that I avoid like the plague. The Radio Shack in my neighborhood is the national training center for Really Bad Service.

    Sounds like a great gift for your grandson!

  2. Sandra says:

    Thank you especially for this SBW. Specifics are the frosting on a “compliment cake.”

    I’m glad we’ve become blog friends. Not only do we compliment each other, but sometimes I feel we COMPLEMENT each other’s ideas too.

    Merry Christmas, new friend.

  3. Jen says:

    Oh DD is lucky. I always wanted my daughter to be born on a holiday. I think holiday bdays are awesome…….Hope you ALL have a wonderful holiday next week!

  4. ElleBee says:

    You were certainly brave to venture within 2 miles of a shopping mall this close to Christmas. And on a good day, let alone four days before Christmas, TRU gives me panic attacks. Jay has a really loving Grams.

  5. Sandra says:

    Jen — That’s an interesting take on having a holiday birthday! I would think it would be hard to always “share” your birthday with a holiday. You have a great Christmas too!

    ElleBee — I realized after I got into the middle of all that, that it MIGHT have been a mistake. But, it’s like child birth — now that it’s over and I got a great gift for Jay out of it, I’ve forgotten the “pain” of the process! I DO love my grandchildren lots — they are the greatest.

  6. I agree, I agree! Merry Christmas to you and your family.

  7. Chrissy says:

    Shopping at this time of year makes me very nervous and it doesn’t matter what the reason!! I am so glad these amazing people were able to help you!
    BTW, your comment the other day on my Sharing way to much was so touching and meant so much to me, you helped me feel somewhat “normal”. Thank YOU

  8. Mama Zen says:

    This is a wonderful post! I’m so glad that you found what you were looking for!

  9. Congratulations, sounds like a great gift, and what an adventure!

    See you on the 31st!

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