I guess I shouldn’t have asked.  It was my birthday treat coupon sent from Baskin & Robbins to me to print out from their web site – a free 2.5oz (Jr. Scoop) of ice cream.  I took it over and asked if they would bump it up to the 4oz scoop, since I was a good customer, loyal to B&R and had worked so hard to promote the newly opened store.

One of the two who run the store said that she could not do that.  I said I was sure she could just as a thank you for my marketing them so enthusiastically, up to even buying forty dollars worth of gift certificates right after they opened and giving them to others to get them to patronize the new store.  I didn’t remind her of it, but right after they opened, I also called the Staff person at the church responsible for Youth Ministry to relay that the other of the two who run the new B&R had indicated that at their other location they related to local churches. I told him that I had talked to the church and at that time he said he appreciated it.

She informed me that she always followed the rules, and bumping that up from 2.5 to 4 ounces would impact the inventory.  I said that I was not suggesting a change in policy, just an exception as a thanks for the support I had given.  She told me I could pay the difference (something around 50 cents if I heard her correctly) to get the larger scoop.  By the way, this conversation went on while Mary Ann was working on the two scoops I had gotten her.

I guess I was testing them to see just how custormer-friendly they were.  I was disappointed on that count.  She was absolutely within the rules and had every right to decline my request.  At the same time she certainly was free to choose to bump it up as a courtesy to a very good customer.  It seemed foolish to risk alienating a good customer to save their cost on 1.5 more ounces of ice cream.

When finally I checked out and paid, not only would she not allow the full scoop to be free, she wouldn’t do what I had understood her to say she would do, and just charge the difference in price between the two sizes of my single dip cone.

I feel pretty silly having gotten caught up in such a ridiculously tiny matter.  It is interesting to me how often very little things sometimes soak up way more  frustration than fits.  In walking through grief with people, it has happened that they have sometimes found themselves unable to cry until a sad program came on television or a pet was hurt or some little mechanical item at home stopped working, or the car wouldn’t start.  Sometimes the big things are too big to handle, so little things bear the brunt of feelings that have little or nothing to do with them. It is a way to release some of the energy that builds as huge challenges overwhelm.

While I have fun with our love of ice cream, Mary Ann’s weight loss is what triggered the move to Hospice Care.  We have struggled to find things that will help her stabilize.  The narrow range of what she will eat certainly does include ice cream.  I can get both of us out of the house with the promise of a stop for ice cream.  I suppose some of my fears about her well-being, completely irrationally, fuel my feelings.  The coping needed to handle 24/7 caregiving doesn’t leave a lot for use in dealing with the minor frustrations.

I am embarrassed to wonder out loud if some of my feelings had to do with the loss of influence when I retired completely from the ministry.  Maybe there was a little pain realizing that I don’t even have left enough influence to get a bump up of 1.5 ounces from a Junior Scoop to a regular scoop of ice cream at Baskin & Robbins. I certainly am profoundly imperfect.

On to what is really important.  Mary Ann slept well last night.  She was awake most of the day except for a comparatively short nap.  We had another bout with the combined fainting and intestinal activity.  It was not nearly as long and difficult as last Saturday evening’s battle. She went to bed at a normal time for her, and at the moment, she seems to be sleeping.

By the way, while I got pretty irritated at those who run the B&R, I am not going to  punish the two of us by not eating B&R ice cream any more.  I am annoyed but not crazy!

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