First published by William Aston.
It seems to me that when a parent tells their kid they’re going to the supermarket he immediately presumes the moment they get there he’ll be smacked. It appeared so the other day when I ventured into Morrisons for a few bits. A tearful little boy no more than six was being dragged down an aisle by his angry mother.
“I told you!” she chided, “you are not having sweets!”
“But why?” cried the boy, cowering at the inevitable blow.
“Because you were rude to me!” she replied.
At which the little boy began to sob, and the inevitable blow inevitably came. At which point another lady the mother knew came by and asked what was the matter.
“I wouldn’t buy him sweets,” grunted the angry mother.
“Have you been naughty for your mum?” said the woman, making it her business.
“Yes,” hissed the mum, “And then he wouldn’t stop whingeing so I smacked him.”
“Well,” said the other woman, making it her place to say so, “Naughty boys don’t get sweets and Santa won’t come you know!”
“He will not!” said the mother, “And you owe me an apology for showing me up in front of Mrs Mottershead.”
“Sorry,” mumbled the boy.
“Pardon?” said the mother and Mrs Mottershead in unison.
“I said sorry,” repeated the boy a bit louder.
“Right,” said the mother, “We’ll hear no more about it.”
“Alright mum,” said the boy, “Except we’ll probably laugh at this one day.” And the mother and Mrs Mottershead shared a secret smile.
When I left the store with my few bits I saw the mother again, and there was the precocious little boy walking beside her, smiling to himself and opening a bag of Haribo.