October 16, 2008

Embarrassed by Peaches

It all started quite innocently. All I wanted to do was return some tasteless browning peaches to Costco.

The problem, however, is that I live 30 minutes away from the store, so the peaches sat at my house for two weeks.

In the meantime, the kids ate more than half (eating around the brown parts, and not noticing there was no flavor), then the peaches had enough time to shrivel, blacken, and mold. And, finally, Andrew stomped on them!

When errand day finally came, off I went with peaches in hand. It wasn't until I was standing in line at the customer service desk that I started thinking about what I was doing. Here I was, standing in public holding a box coated at the bottom with a small pile of stomped-on rot. Did the return policy cover small piles of stomped-on rot? I wasn't really sure.

What would my story be? . . .I wasn't really impressed with the way my son stomped on your peaches.  I mean, you really shouldn't sell the kind of peaches that tempt four-year-olds to stomp. Or how about...You know, this really isn't the kind of mold I'd expect out of a box of peaches. I'm used to it being more colorful.

I tried to cover the box with my body and hide it from any onlookers as I considered an escape plan. I jumped when someone came up behind me. I heard a voice say, "Do you have a return?" I looked around, still shielding the box, and saw the receipt-checker lady from the front of the store. To buy time, I put on my best I'm-totally-normal face and said, "Yes, I'm returning these." She stood there expectantly and I knew I was supposed to show her the box.

Finally, when it started getting awkward, I shifted out of the way and she saw the peaches. There was a moment of silence and then I heard her say, "Oh...wow..." She looked up at me, totally deflating my pretense of normalcy, then she gave a sympathetic look to the customer service people. I was relieved when she stuck the green sticker on the box and walked away.

Before I could figure out how to discreetly get out of the store and throw my rot in the garbage where it belonged, I was the next one called to the counter. I placed my box of brown, moldy mush on the counter and pretended I didn't notice they were now more biologically similar to fungus than fruit. As the clerks stared at the spores of mold, I started mumbling stuff like, "Yeah, so these peaches weren't all that good...I thought I should return them...they just didn't meet my expectations...and ummm..."

There were two of them behind the counter. They both looked at me incredulously as one of them said, "Just so you know, we usually wouldn't take something like this back."
Feigning ignorance, I said, "Oh, really?"
The clerk, not buying my show of ignorant innocence, said, "Yes.  Really."
Then he said, "But how do you want your return? Cash or credit?"

With cheeks burning I said, "Cash," put out my hand for the money, then walked quickly away. When I passed through to the other side and walked past the perky greeter, she said, "And how are you doing today?"

I wanted to say, "I just had the most embarrassing experience of my life and I want to die.  But on the bright side, I just got paid money in exchange for a box full of rot."

But all I could muster was a weak, "I guess I'm okay".

She countered with and enthusiastic, "Is that all, just okay?"

"Yes. Just okay."


  1. Hahaha! Oh, I feel your pain. ...and the pain of the people who had to dispose of your box.

  2. Okay this is so funny because I totally know the feeling! I bought a box of peaches from Costco about 2 months ago and they were awful! We live about 10 minutes away, but that is too much for me. I kept on intending to go so I left a sample peach in the car to show them. The peach starting stinking up the car so I got rid of it. I finally made it but only with a receipt in hand and they gave me the we-don't-usually-do-this song and dance but sent me on my way with my money back. It was great.

  3. that is stinking hilarious! i love that you decided it might not be the best idea to try to return them only once you were standing in line. you are so awesome!