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8/22/11

The Battle of Price Chopper

It was Saturday, August 20th of the 2011th year. The day would go down in infamy as hosting the most intense battle to date between two rivals that will forever butt heads: Independent Toddler and Disciplinary Dad.

The Battle of Price Chopper came to fruition out of seemingly inconsequential circumstances. Disciplinary Dad had escorted Independent Toddler to make a mandatory, standard expedition to the store to purchase rations. Allies at the time of arrival, Disciplinary Dad was ignorant to the fact that Independent Toddler would soon turn on him and make the Battle of Price Chopper a living hell he would never forget.

The first skirmish occurred in the neutral territory of the produce section. The seemingly bright and airy region soon turned gloomy and menacing when Disciplinary Dad refused Independent Toddler her right to carry the 3 pound bag of bananas while in the shopping cart. The decision was predicated on previous encounters where innocent fruit had been sacrificed at the hands of Independent Toddler.

Seeing this as a spit in the face in the wake of their alliance, Independent Toddler showed no hesitation in firing away with a counter attack. A shrieking battle cry followed by rapid fire tears rendered Disciplinary Dad confused and without a plan of action. Quick on his feet, Dad offered a truce of a single banana for Toddler to hold. The offer was accepted and temporarily calmed the storm, but trouble was brewing again on the horizon.

Tired of being restricted to her shopping cart seat and seat belt, the beans and canned tomatoes aisle found Independent Toddler ready to break free from her fabric straps of capitalist oppression. Working quickly to catch Disciplinary Dad off his guard, Independent Toddler let out her signature battle cry and took a sweeping blow at a can of dark red kidney beans in an attempt to shed first culinary blood on the sacred Price Chopper grounds.

Fortunately, through his years of intensive training, Dad saw the can strike in his periphery, and used his cat-like reflexes to make a lunging grab, rescuing the can from what was sure to be an early demise. With narrowed eyes and a stern voice, Disciplinary Dad warned Toddler that such an attack would not be tolerated again and that consequences would be felt.  However, Disciplinary Dad's attempts to assert dominance were soon overcome by fear as he saw an emerging lower lip and watery eyes.

Independent Toddler's shopping cart battle skills were renowned throughout the land.

Wanting to duck for cover but knowing he must face this challenge head on, Disciplinary Dad scooped up Independent Toddler as the tears of battle rained down from her face. Cries for "Mama" echoed through the cavernous shop as Dad did everything in his power to diffuse the situation. Knowing certain weaknesses of the Toddler side, he lowered her to the ground and asked her to help push the cart. Met with a grin, a wave of relief swept over Dad as the trek to reach the frozen foods continued.

A successful march through the dairy section had Dad feeling cautiously optimistic. But he knew that the biggest challenge of this battle still lay ahead. He had the unfortunate task of moving Toddler back to her original position and applying her restraints while he paid for the rations that had been collected. This exact scenario had led to numerous ambush attacks in the past, so Dad kept his head on a swivel and knew that he may encounter the worst.

And encounter the worst he did. All seemed well and good as he approached the belt and loaded his materials. The friendly alliance with Toddler seemed to be returned to it's normal state, and no indications of aggression or tension were present.

But little did Dad know that Toddler was just a small trigger away from the most devastating blow in the history of Price Chopper and Dad alike. Upon seeing Dad's car keys being passed to the checkout clerk for discount redemption, Toddler immediately felt spited and saw her alliance crumble before her very eyes. Those keys were HERS. By allowing a third, unknown party to access those keys was an unconscionable act and had to be dealt with severely. Dad would pay.

All fell silent as a Toddler war scream rattled the windows. An OK! Magazine was grabbed and went flying across the tile. Outstretched arms reached for the object of controversy as "KEEEEEEEEYS!" was repeatedly screeched towards the cashier. Eyes wide with fear, the employee tried to pass the keys to Dad, but fumbled in her fright. Dad lunged to snatch the keys off the belt and handed them to Toddler in hopes of calming her as she sobbed in despair. It worked temporarily, but Dads minutes were numbered. He entered his debit card PIN number as fast as humanly possible, and offered his wallet to Toddler as a secondary peacekeeping gift. The effort worked, and Dad and Toddler made their way to their vehicle to exit Price Chopper.

Sweaty, exasperated and defeated, Dad collapsed into the seat of his car while Toddler gleefully tossed debit and credit cards around the backseat. There was no question. Toddler had won the Battle of Price Chopper. But the War was ongoing, and Dad could only prepare in hopes of getting the upper hand in the next encounter with Independent Toddler.

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