Well. The old one just about gave up on mashing purees for the infant, and is on the verge of catching fire, so it came to our attention that, being a Sunday, it might be a good idea to go out and search for a new one. We got our sneakers and coats, we wrapped the kid in plenty of textile layers, a cheerful hat, packed a special water mug and a tiny chocolate bar and locked up the house.
Where do Romanians go when they want to buy electrical appliances on a Sunday? To the mall, that’s right. So, we park the car far from the entrace and head towards a first store. The instant we cross the adhesive-tape threshold and step inside the shop, the child starts crying from the top of his lungs, rivers of tears running down his cheeks in the first blink of his eyes and people turn to look if some strang alarm system has just been activated or if someone is kidnapping or torturing an innocent little baby. Once all the ones concerned are assured that nothing remotely dangerous is going on and all glares averted from us, I bring the screaming little human in between rows with products and try to talk negociation on my knees (literally). I explain what we are doing there and why he needs to be patient for only 5 minutes. He couldn’t care less about my reasons and his only problem is that we should keep walking and not go into shops. Whenever we try to visit a shop that does not contain toys or cars or the like, some frightful cry-triggering fobia gets loose and we are bound to hear it run wild for as long as we stand inside the shop. We’ve tried talking or bribing to smoothe things out, we’ve tried ignoring or slapping or being mean. Nothing works. He always manages to set us running from stores, to have people stare at us and pry with questions. When somebody approaches he shuns like a nun from temptation and gets even more upset.
This time we thought we were fully prepared. We were determined to let him cry if he wasn’t willing to listen. And so we did. He cried for a few minutes. We tried to check models, prices and mixer types. Of course, at some point a floor assistant came to ask if we needed help. In my heart I was ready to answer, Yes, we need help, still, there’s nothing YOU can do, but we had to be polite as our child was louder than their music. We were glad when the child stopped his yelling and focused his red, sullen eyes on the objects around. He found the rectangular gift box cases interesting enough to pat and seize every second one on the shelf. I was constantly getting his hands off the items on display while my husband was taking in technical details and features of the various mixers available.
We decided there were a couple of mixers that almost matched our needs and desires and we directed our ‘team’ towards the next store of consequence. We stopped first for a ride on a coin-activated car and a tiny electric merry-go-round, to make sure the child is not unfairly treated. He sensed we were about to enter another enemy-place, so my son engaged his yelling scheme a second before we went through anti-theft systems. Naturally, the same reactions were provoked, but we rushed towards the shelves and left everyone baffled. Hidded between the stalls, I persuaded him to trade his tears for a bar of chocolate. We anticipated another yelling surge the moment he finished his chocolate, so we ran from one mixer to another, quickly comparing them to the ones previously seen. When the chocolate finished, I had to get down on my knees once more and wipe his hands and face clean. Apparently, while chewing and licking he envisaged a means of having fun. He started throwing himself on the floor, dragging his feet, running on all fours between people and products and regularly turning on his back for a two-second rest. When he was filthy and disheveled enough, we ran out of the shop and cleaned him up on a bench. We decided to make an unplanned stop in a book store. I was determined to buy some sort of toy for him to keep him busy.
His high-pitched horn rang once more when we went through the glass doors, but he quieted himself down when he found some wheeled chairs and a police car between the book shelves. We got the book we needed and a little blue excavator we didn’t need and targeted a new electrical items shop. We had to wait for minutes on end until he behaved as a toddler, driving his car on the ceramic flooring, mopping the floor with his pants and blouse, getting his fingers dirty and dusty. Our patience dissolved when I saw him placing his face onto the cold floor slabs to study the wheels of the excavator. That was my motherly limit.
When we finally managed to spend 5 minutes in the last store, we realised we had forgotten the prices, the models we had previously liked and we could remember no codes for any of the mixers we had eyed. The child was very busy with his car, although he tried to convince us of his reluctance to mixers. Some people told him that they were willing to take him home if he was so eager to crawl away from his parents, a lady tried to get him to get off the floor and set him smiling, while another shop assistant tried to find out why he was upset. Luckily, my son is not a little robot, he does not respond well to questions. He is also a bit asocial and prefers to spend his time crying with his head in between my knees rather than talk to strangers. We were willing to end the shopping by buying one of the models in that store, since we had no more enery to go back and choose from the other shops, and at this point it hardly mattered if the mixer was Philips or Gorenje, Brown or Myria. This is a lie. I’d never buy any Myria product. I chose one. My husband said a simple ‘Fine’ and tried to get a mixer from the shelf to get it scanned and paid for. This however, proved to be mission impossible. Not even the charming Tom Cruise himself couldn’t have succeeded. The department assitant was alreday there and she jumped to the call, happy we were about to get the hell out of the store, so he willingly searched through all the boxes she found piled up, looking for the one I’d indicated. If the picture matched, the code was altogether wrong. If the code seemed similar, the was always one digit off. After taking every single box out of its spot, we unanimously concluded that they no longer had that model in the store, although it was still on display. This was not a surprise. Neither to us as customers, nor to the store employee – it’s common in our country not to be able to buy what you want – but this time I was pretty much ready to set the whole damn caboose on fire. I took my imaginary tail between my feet and left mumbling to myself. When we were out of the store I told my husband he was free to purchase whatever he wanted from wherever he chose, the next day, when he was alone and could roam through shops untroubled by the offspring.
As a reward for the patient child – he had eventually proven patient enough, hadn’t he ?! – we paid for a ride on a remote-controlled car and let him sweep the floor all the way back to the front entrance, fretting over his dirty pants, pinched shoes and soot-coloured hands.
Thus, the reply to the title question is… I don’t know! You buy the mixer when the two-year-old is not accompanying you !!!