Humor Motherhood

On That Time In the Checkout Lane When I Was Totally Humiliated

On That Time In the Checkout Lane When I Was Totally Humiliated
Written by Elizabeth Spencer

If you are: 1)trying to decide how you feel about mom blogs; 2)a man; or 3)at all squeamish about references to certain realities of female life such as “bras,” you might want to skip this post.

If you’re still with me, here’s the story of my humiliation and what you can learn from it via the safety of your own home and the security of your intact dignity…

There are only two “good” genes I could have inherited from either my mother or my father’s side of the family: the “insta-tan” gene and the cleavage gene.

Spoiler alert: I got neither. Because my genetic code had to make PLENTY of room for the migraine gene, the Restless Legs Syndrome gene, the depression gene, the acne gene, the high blood pressure gene, the weird gene, and the high cholesterol gene.


My older daughter, on the other hand, got both good genes. 

In terms of the insta-tan area of giftedness, this means she can step outside in early-March filtered sunshine for 10 minutes and be gorgeously tan until at least November.

As for the cleavage gene: well, I am an almost-A. My daughter is a decidedly D. 

A few months ago, she needed some new bras. She’s a typical teen on a tight schedule, so we met one evening at the megastore when she was heading home from dance and I was hanging around “in town,” waiting to pick up her younger sister. (“In town” being what we country folk call commercial areas where you can get take-out pizza and toilet paper and other necessities of life.)

My eldest and I found each other in the bra section, and I helped her pick out some foundational pieces. Which, had I purchased them for myself, could have easily housed my inconsiderable assets and still left room for a couple small children.

Then I sent my cleavage-blessed daughter home to get on with her studies while I headed for the checkout lane. By myself. 

Me, in all my almost-A insignificance. Paying for two decidedly D bras. 

The error of my thinking came to me about 0.17 seconds after it was too late to yell to my departing daughter, “WAIT!!!!!!!! YOU HAVE TO GO THROUGH CHECKOUT WITH ME! I’LL PAY! YOU JUST HAVE TO BE HERE!” 

At any other time–ANY OTHER TIME IN THE HISTORY OF RETAIL–I could have come up with 27 additional items I needed in the space of five seconds. But could I think of a SINGLE THING to buy at that moment, to act as camouflage or distraction? Of. Course. Not.

I could practically hear the thought going through the the clerk’s mind as she rang up my purchases.

“Listen, honey, this isn’t the cleavage field of dreams. If you buy the bras, the breasts will not come.” 

At home, I told my daughter, “I am NEVER buying bras for you when you are not physically present again. You owe me big-time.” 

I know all blog posts are supposed to give readers “value” for their time or teach them some life-changing life lesson. But all I can really pass along right now is this: next time, dear mama, you’re having an embarrassing moment, remember this story, and you won’t feel so bad.

And really, isn’t that the point of blogging? To share our stories so someone else can read them and think, “Well, at least that’s not me!” or, “I’m so glad I’m not the only one!”?

If so, my work here is done. Now if you’ll excuse me, I think I feel a migraine coming on. 

About the author

Elizabeth Spencer

Elizabeth Spencer is mom to two teenage daughters who regularly dispense love, affection, and brutally honest fashion advice. She writes about faith, food, and family (with some occasional funny thrown in) at Guilty Chocoholic Mama and avoids working on her 100-year-old farmhouse by spending time on Facebook and Twitter.


  • Is it any consolation that the clerk ringing up your purchases was a female???? That whole process embarrasses me sometimes – even when I’m buying the right size for me – so I was doing a happy dance when I finally figured out a brand/style I liked and can get it delivered from Amazon for free. πŸ™‚

    • Brilliant, Tracey. I need to look on Amazon for some Mexican vanilla that makes every single thing I use it in taste crazy-good, so maybe I’ll find that other necessity of life, too. Talk about one-stop shopping! πŸ˜‰ Thanks so much for stopping by…you’re the best.

  • I could tell you story after story about embarassing moments with all three girls. Like the time the dressing rooms were full and we were all in a hurry so I said to them (middle school years) just hide behind the racks and no one will see you while you slip on the shirt. Well, I was the lookout so truly no one saw. They were morified I would even suggest such a thing to begin with. Little did I know who happen to come around the corner while we were having our little private dressing room – a friend from school. Thankfully it was a “she” and not a he, but still, they never let me live that one down.

    • What a great story, Michelle! Based on how my own girls never let me live anything down, I can only imagine how your girls dredge that story up with regularity. Part of the family fabric, yes? No doubt more embarrassment lies ahead for me. Maybe this is the start of a blog series? πŸ˜‰ Thanks so much for stopping by!

    • Okay, Lil, I am a HUGE Dave Barry fan, so your comment officially ranks as one of the nicest compliments I have EVER gotten! Thank you so much! And you’re right about my daughter…but don’t daughters always owe their mothers? πŸ˜‰ I could work the rest of my life and never pay mine back. Thank you so much for making the trip over here to read my tale. It was lovely (oh! no pun intended!) to meet you today on your charming site. πŸ™‚

    • Well, Sarah, that is some A+ encouragement for me today! πŸ™‚ Glad I’m not alone in the club. And now you’ll know what NOT to do when your girls get older, should you find yourself in a similar situation…;) Heehee…

    • Aw, thank you, Sarah Eliza…that means a lot to me, because YOU make me LOL all the time! And as I’m sure was evident, I’m pretty jealous of her myself. Naturally, she bemoans her blessings. The little snot. Which, of course, I mean in the most loving way possible. πŸ˜‰

    • Well, you know what they say about writing: no humiliation is wasted if you can turn it into a funny story. Okay, so no one says that…but I’m thinking it’s true. Thanks so much for stopping by to read my confession! πŸ™‚ P.S. The “field of dreams” reference was one of my personal favorite parts, too. πŸ˜‰

  • This is hilariously written!!! Every metaphor, pun, and play on words is just brilliant! And I will remember this next time I feel embarrassed like today when my four year old threw a massive fit at the checkout line and I was giving parenting advice! Lol! πŸ™‚