Tuesday, October 2, 2012

GrandmaMall


My parents have 17 grandchildren, aged 14 to 8 months, and when everyone gets together, the house always stays clean. 

Toys are put away. Beds made. Floors vacuumed, garbage emptied, furniture dusted, and there is never, ever, a dirty dish in the sink. (If you’re holding your breath for a confession of sarcasm, grab an oxygen mask my friends! I am being completely serious.)

Is there hired help involved, you wonder? (Don't be silly! I don't even help. The kids do all the work.) Well then, are the children behaving under duress? Are these gatherings held in a home, or a penitentiary??

I can assure you that everyone acts under their own volition, and that the time spent together is heavenly - There is laughter and Legos, dress up, dance parties and marshmallow roasting.  But in between, there is also a lot of pitching in, picking up, and putting away.

The secret to the success, is GrandmaMall.  

A couple years ago, my mom started collecting treasures for the grandkids wherever a good deal was to be found - the Target dollar bins, holiday clearance sales, etc. When the kids came to visit, she would set up the finds at her kitchen table as "Grandma's Store," where the items could be purchased using tickets earned by being helpful and pitching in around the house.


                                   

The idea was a success, and a new tradition born. Every year the inventory expanded until this year Grandma's Store finally closed its doors, giving way to the launch of GRANDMAMALL.  




Jack says that next year he is hoping for the launch of Grandma Mills. And by 2014, GrandmaMallofAmerica.




To call the venture a success would be an understatement. It was capitalist greed at its finest. The kids were constantly asking what they could do to help. Once the toys were all put away, beds made and every surface of the house had been dusted and sanitized, we had to start getting creative (Who knew cereal could be alphabetized?) Once or twice I may have been caught offering tickets to the first kid who would surrender their Skittles, or fetch me a Dr. Pepper.



After three days of initial earning and saving, it was time for the Grand Opening.



Don't let those adorable smiles fool you. It was like Black Friday out there.

To ensure inventory control, Jack & Eddie were enlisted as mall cops. It was the fourth time in my life I kicked myself for never purchasing a Segway.



Finally, at 9:00am, all the scrubbing and sweeping finally paid off. 

The doors opened, the crowds entered, and dreams came true.













On the last day of our visit, amid the tearful goodbyes, Grandma Susan cheered everyone up by offering a clearance sale,




where all remaining inventory could be purchased at the rock bottom price of a hug and a kiss.

Customer service had better prepare itself. I have a feeling that as the years go by, every little shopper is going to find their way back to Grandma Susan's, with all the love they've collected over the years, and they're going to want to return it.

16 comments:

Krista said...

Katie - I get soooo excited every time you post. This is the perfect example of why! The neighbor kids have all adopted Grandma Susan, I wonder how soon she will start an adoptive grandchild version... She could probably be transported in a rickshaw if she so desired.

krissiecook said...

What were the other 3 occasions you've wished for Segue?

Jen Garbett said...

You have GOT to be kidding me!! Seriously? How on earth are you all so creative and HOW do I get to be a part of your family?? I LOVE LOVE LOVE it, I only wish I could be HALF as fabulous and creative!!

And then there's the writing and witty of the post...I literally CAN'T wish to be half as funny...it's not possible.

Marilyn said...

Susan's the Grandma of all Grandmas!!!

Richard Bracken said...

I've experienced GrandmaMall yet somehow your post made me feel Iike I was experiencing it for the first time with your vivid spot on description!!! I will be laughing for days at the mall cops!!

Daneille said...

What a super idea! I'm sure Susan won't mind me opening a franchize here in Arizona. The mall cops are the best! Grandma Susan's Mall is the greatest! Beyond clever!

Jenny B said...

Oh my gosh I literally LOL'd. And I NEVER SAY LOL.

Susan is the BEST!!! I'm so glad she's June's third Grandma.

Becca said...

LOVE, LOVE, LOVE!!!

Mike said...

What a great idea? 99 out of 100 homes are totally trashed when all the grrandkids leave.

Your mother deserves some type of award for Critical Thinking.

Katie and Jeff said...

Katie! Where was this when we were growing up! How many times did we help each other with our Saturday chores? I must have missed the passing out of the tickets and walked right past the room with the "Mothers Mall"! Jack and Eddie are too cute!

Lexy and Jared said...

That Susan is a (kind-hearted) manipulative genius. Since I am now in my third year of teaching in the public school system, I heartily endorse bribing children to get some level of work out of them. Can I be Susan's adoptive grandchild? I feel like I really could thrive at GrandmaMall/go crazy over the incredible selection.

Kristin said...

First of all, fantastic photo editing. I wouldn't be able to get those mall cops out of my head either! Their mustaches were downright formidable. Second of all, that was A LOT of stuff! Like 5 Christmas mornings down there! Very impressed with this idea. Mostly impressed with Eddie's scary mustache...

Cathy Leavitt said...

What a super idea! How creative. Now I know where you get your creativity from. Would love to do the same for my grandchildren someday... once they all are close enough to visit more frequently. Thanks for another great post.

Courtney Vance said...

This is brilliant! I look around my house and think, How does anyone keep their house clean? And why do I bother to try? Parenting is all about being creative. I just wish I had more imagination.

Mary Karlee Mullen said...

I sending this on to my mom. Does she need to apply to Susan for a franchise license to open her own mall? :) Your captions were hilarious!

Taylor said...

oh man, you beat me to the segway mall cop joke.

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