Saturday, July 25, 2009

Burger King Breakdown & Swim Class Fiasco

I am the person that says what everyone else is thinking. If you know me, you are already thinking of that time when . . . oh yes that was me. I don't like to beat around the bush and would rather have it be known than bitch and vent about it in private.

People and situations can't change without feedback. I like to provide that feedback. I try to be constructive when possible but there are occasions when the filter between my brain and my mouth breaks down and things just slip out.

Example One: Filter broke and splintered into 1000 pieces.

I was at the Burger King drive-thru a few weeks ago. In a hurry. Ordered Carson a $3.99 Happy Meal. I picked the items off the the pictures provided.

Choice #1: chicken nuggets (oh wait- he prefers the chicken fingers). I asked if I could substitute. No problem, says the girl in the speaker.

Choice #2: Apple fries look good. Let's try those instead of french fries. Great, says speaker girl.

Choice #3: A drink. Milk please. We limit juice, don't do pop or chocolate milk (I hear the "fun" moms boo-ing already).

Then speaker girls tells me to pull to the next window and pay $7.49 for a Happy Meal.


In the next three minutes, I changed my order 4 times trying to figure out how she came up with $7.49.

Change #1: Chicken fries are over two dollars more. Why couldn't speaker girl tell me that up front instead of saying, substitutions are no problem. FINE, chicken nuggets then.

$5.49 at the next window please. WHAT?!?

So speaker girl tells me that apple fries are $0.50 extra. So healthy costs extra? And yes, in a large black font, there it was, $0.50 extra. FINE, I'll fatten up my child with your darn french fries.

$4.99 is your new total. WHAT?!? What in hell happened to the $3.99 Happy Meal???

I'm pregnant. I'm hot. I'm hungry. And I'm late to my next appointment. My brain filter is coming apart at the seams.

Then speaker girls tells me milk is an extra $1.

My filter is hanging on by a single, loosely dangling thread.


She has the audacity to tell me that it says right next to the milk that it costs extra.

NO IT DOES NOT!! I even have my new glasses on for seeing far away and I'M NOT SEEING IT.

Yes mam, it's there, perhaps you should look closer.

My filter blows into a thousand tiny pieces. One of those tiny pieces lands on the sign next to an even tinier asterisk next to the picture of milk. And beneath the 4 drink choices, in itty-bitty type, it says "subject to extra charges".


And I peeled out of the drive-thru with tires squealing. I think there was smoke coming out my ears.

Looking back, it was probably a good thing that I was able to fly out of the drive-thru and immediately exit the parking lot. I wasn't stuck going through a creeping line at that point and didn't have to face speaker girl staring at me in shock from her comfortable cashier perch. I might have reached through the window and strangled her at that point.

My karma was shot for the rest of the evening.

Example #2: Filter Intact, Constructive Feedback Provided.

We pay a lot of money for Carson's swim lessons. $16 per class. But it is totally worth it! He is learning to swim, not just playing in the water.

Carson's new "independent" class has 4 kids. They equally share 30 minutes of the instructor's time. The way I see it, now we're paying $16 for 7.5 minutes of instruction.

So when one little boy cries the entire class, won't keep his goggles on, and monopolizes the entire 30 minutes because he won't do what the teacher asks (just struggles and screams NO), I get a little frustrated.

We let it go through the 2nd or 3rd class and then I decided I couldn't keep my mouth shut any longer.

I spoke with the pool manager and expressed my concerns that perhaps this little boy was not quite ready for the independent class. I was given two options.

1. Try this class again next week with the knowledge that the teacher is now aware that she has a set of less than satisfied parents on her hands and needs to figure out how to give Carson 1/4 of the 30 minutes. Being a former teacher, I was confident that once the teacher was aware of it (and I suspected she already knew before my feedback), it would no longer be a problem


2. Switch to the earlier class. Unfortunately it takes every minute from 5 pm to grab to-go dinners, meet up with Daddy, and fight 30 minutes of traffic to get to the pool by 6:30 so we really were hoping to avoid that option.

So I agreed to give it another week with crying, annoying boy.

The next week goes great! Teacher makes crying boy's parents sit on either side of the pool and help him stay focused and happy. If he starts to take up too much time, she shuttles him back to the side and gets the next kid.

Problem solved. Yay for constructive feedback!

And while you think the story would end here, sadly, it doesn't.

Just two weeks later, it's Monday night, evaluation night, when the parents are told which class their child should be registered for the next term. Kind of a proud time when you hope that the teacher sees how successful and brilliant your child is, because of course you always think they are. And you hope they get to fly up on golden wings to the next level swim class.

And then your hopes are dashed.

Carson was AWFUL. He was THAT kid.

The kid that wouldn't keep his goggles on (this from the kid who would have slept with his goggles on just two weeks ago).

The kid that cried on the side of the pool (because I intervened and told him that if he couldn't keep the goggles on, then I was taking them away, and I did).

The kid that told the teacher NO I won't jump in the pool. NO I won't kick my legs. NO I won't hold still for my back float.

The kid that was MONOPOLIZING the teacher's time and ruining class for everyone else.


Because, suddenly I was that Mom. The one who complained about someone else's kid. Only to now have that kid.

Jeremy and I were at a loss for what to do.

The teacher in me wanted him to stay in the pool because when I told he'd get a time-out during swim class if he didn't cooperate, he wanted a time-out so he could get out of the pool. So in essence, he was rewarded for his bad behavior by getting out of the pool.

But the parent in me was just so embarrassed that we pulled him out of the pool and made him watch the rest of the lesson. He cried the entire time.

$16/30 minutes. We just paid $8 for Carson to stand outside the pool watching his classmates.

And then to add insult to injury, would you believe the original crying, annoying boy had his BEST NIGHT EVER!?!

The cherry on top . . . we send Carson over after class to apologize to his teacher, our heads are hanging in shame, and she winces as she assigns his class for next term. I feel the heat creeping into my ears and our faces are lovely shade of purple.

Teacher: "Well, I WAS going to promote him to Water Safety One BUT given his behavior tonight (insert long pause) I'm just not sure.

I begged, I pleaded. I did what every parent used to do in my classes when I was a teacher. I started giving her every excuse possible for Carson's rotten behavior. I focused mainly on the fact that we'd been camping all weekend and he was severely sleep deprived. I assured her it wouldn't happen again if she would just please promote him. She relented.

Fast forward to next week, Monday morning I get to race to the phone along with every other parent and keep hitting speed-dial and re-dial to get into the 6:30 Water Safety One class.

We have about 5 sessions left in Advanced Parent Tot and I'm going armed next class with stickers, new goggles, a wrapped present, a melting milkshake . . . whatever form of bribery will work to keep my son in the pool, cooperating, and not being THAT kid again.

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