Wednesday, September 20, 2006

True Story

So I got invited to attend a surprise baby shower for one of our accountants that the Foundation does business with. It was a luncheon held at an Italian restaurant in Raleigh. There was a fairly big crowd (probably 20 or so), and we pre-ordered our lunch selection to make everything go smoothly once we got there. I had never met the mother-to-be in person (we’d only e-mailed and spoken on the phone), but I knew that her baby was going to be named Morgan. Earlier the day of the shower, I stopped off at the Carter’s outlet at what I call the “airport mall” in Morrisville. This outlet mall is the Triangle’s best-kept secret. There are bargains galore to be had, and it’s never ever crowded. It’s one exit up from where I work, so I frequent it on my lunch breaks. I racked up at Carter’s. I had all of these babies to buy for, girls and boys (friends who just had babies, friends who were going to have babies, a little something for Baby Morgan to take to the shower, etc.). I just bought a bunch of pink and blue clothes in various sizes. I also bought a couple of gender-neutral gift bags, you know, in lime green, or yellow or something. I had well over $100 worth of baby clothes in my car when I pulled up to the Italian restaurant. I was running a little late, and I definitely didn’t want to blow the surprise, (guests were supposed to arrive at 11:30 AM, the mother-to-be, at noon) so I quickly pulled some price tags off of a few of the blue outfits (Morgan is a boy’s name, right?), put them in a gender-neutral gift bad and hurried inside. The father-to-be was there as well as other shower guests, and there wasn’t a blue decoration in sight. Pink balloons, pastel ribbons, Baby Morgan was a girl!! I had stuff in the car, no problem. Just about that time, two blue-collar guys who work for a counter-top business showed up looking rather sheepish. They hadn’t brought a gift. (Lesson learned guys: don’t ever show up to a Baby Shower empty-handed, especially when you’re being fed a free lunch). I was just about to dash out to my car to switch the outfits for Baby Morgan and I told them, “Wait, I think I can help you..” I rushed back to the car, ripped off some pink price tags, switched the contents of my gift bag out and filled up a gender-neutral gift bag for the Countertop guys. These are strangers, remember. I got back in just in time and said, “Here, these can be from you.” We were then immediately seated for lunch and the gift-giving began. Countertop Guy #1 (who was sitting beside me) leaned over and whispered in my ear, “So, what did we get her?” “A couple of outfits,” I whispered back. When Morgan’s Mommy opened the gift from the Countertop Guys she seemed surprised and touched at their sensitivity of selecting such cute outfits for her baby girl. She said, “Did you pick these out yourselves?” Countertop Guy #2 didn’t miss a beat, “You like it? I would have tried it on first, but, you know, it didn’t really fit.” He got away with it! We got away with it. Morgan’s Mommy didn’t even put it together that our gender-neutral bags were the exact same bags from the exact same store. Afterwards, Countertop Guy #1 and #2 thanked me for saving them but never offered up any cash. I told them they owed me one and that they’d better repay the favor if the three of us ever found ourselves at another business baby shower at which I turned up empty-handed. They laughed at the thought implying, “As if,” slipped me a business card and called it a day.

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