On unclear relationships

1179px-CousinTree.svg.pngThis isn’t so much a customer gripe as a WTF moment that could have happened anywhere.  I had a pair in last night that appeared for all the world to be a dad and his, oh, I dunno, 10-year-old son.  I don’t know for certain that I ever heard the boy call the man “dad,” but they were very clear that they were looking for barstools for the kid’s mother as a Mother’s Day present.

I leave aside the question of whether barstools are a great present for Mother’s Day.  It’s perhaps an unorthodox choice.  But they were convinced she’d be happy, so whatever.  They ended up picking some red stools that were available in several other colors, mostly because red was Mom’s favorite color and were definitely the color she wanted.  Okay, cool.  $58 each, bropeople, thanks.

An hour or so later, the phone rang.  It was Mom.  I recognized who she was from her name immediately because their name was one of those hyper-Polish collections of consonants that are thirty letters long and somehow phonetically identical to “Smith” when pronounced.

And then something really weird happened.

“My husband and my…”

two second long, uncertain pause

“…friend were in there earlier, and they bought some bar stools for me?”

Now, I immediately can reconstruct what’s going on if it’s her “…friend” and her son.  That’s a somewhat uncertain relationship between two adults.  Cool.

But in what world is your relationship to the ten-year-old, a kid who calls you Mom, weird enough that you pause before describing him as a “friend” to the furniture salesman who you have never met on the other side of the phone?  Especially when she’s just calling to see if they’re returnable for another color (they were) and you don’t really need to go out of your way to name your relationship to these people in the first place unless you want to?

Creative writing assignment, guys:  figure this nonsense out.

4 thoughts on “On unclear relationships

  1. There could a certain number of levels of ‘squick’ there.

    Kid was possibly nearby and might overhear if the word ‘son’ is mentioned, and get all upset mum didn’t wast his prezzie.

    … other than that, it’s a mystery. 🙂


  2. This is an odd one but here goes. This is a neighbor kid who knows both of these people and was hanging around when the guy needed to run this errand. He was a tag along.
    I find people freak out a bit when they don’t know what to say which makes it even more awkward.


  3. This boy is a child of a close friend who is in jail or away for the week-end and this couple is looking after him. They don’t want to explain the story, so they just call him a friend.


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