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Shopping With the Prisoners

January 29, 2009

Have you ever been shopping with prisoners? No I am not referring to your children and their potential futures. I am speaking about bright orange jumpsuit-wearing prisoners, with “CDCR Prisoner” emblazoned on their backs in black block letter {CDRC= California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitations}.

Well let me tell you, prisoners in orange jumpsuits and a very curious three-year-old make for an interesting trip to Smart & Final. We arrived at the same time in parking lot. I saw the inmates and their correctional officer and knew it would be an adventure. Knowing the Big One and knowing how often we see grown men in orange jumpsuits, I knew she was going to be interested in them.

We were in the syrup aisle (the Husband’s co-workers wanted sno-cones for some social event tomorrow at work so we were on a mission to get sno-cone making supplies). Apparently inmates at the California State Prison, Los Angeles County drink a lot of Coca Cola. No Pepsi products on their cart, but lots of Coke. Of course the soda and syrup are in the same aisle.

As soon as they made their way down the aisle they caught the Big One’s eye. And the rapid fire questions began: “Mommy, who is that man? Why is he wearing that? Is that a police man? Who is that? What’s his name?” I was trying to quietly answer her questions, while not drawing even more attention to these men.

I honestly felt bad for them. I saw the other shoppers watching them and no matter what their offenses, it’s uncomfortable when everyone is staring at you. {No I don’t have personal experience being in a prison jumpsuit while shopping, but I do have experience with very loud children while shopping}.

While this is going on, the one inmate caught my eye, said hello and asked how I was doing. I responded with some idle chit chat while trying to squelch the Big One’s questions. Seriously what do you say to the guy?

So as I answered her final question about not knowing what his name is, the one inmate couldn’t take it any longer.

“My name is Kevin,” he said to the Big One.

“OH,” she replied, “What’s his name?” she asked while pointing to the other inmate.

“His name is Stephen,” Kevin told us.

To which the Big One’s eyes got really big and she got really excited and exclaimed, “His name is Stephen just like at grandma and grandpa’s house!”

You see grandma and grandpa’s next door neighbor is Stephen. Really Stephen is more like the older brother I never had. He’s at my parents a lot and keeps and eye on the old folk for us (just kidding, grandma!)

Anyway, so as the Big One fortunately moved on to talking about grandma and grandpa’s house, the men were able to continue on their shopping trip.

As luck would have it we checked out at the same time. So as we were standing in line next to the prisoners, the Big One exclaimed, “Look mommy, it’s Kevin and Stephen!”

Now we were the objects of everyone in the store’s unwanted stares.

Oh the joys of my life!

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. January 30, 2009 7:47 am

    LOL. I am glad she is so friendly.

  2. January 31, 2009 10:06 am

    OMFG I *heart* her on 8 million bagels. This made me teary. YEAH for not knowing to be ‘scared’ and ‘mean’ and stare at prisoners but just treat them like humans.

    I don’t care what they did. They are still humans. YEAH!

  3. Karen permalink
    February 2, 2009 2:58 pm

    LOL! AT least you never made it to the “why is he wearing that” questions!

  4. fixitmommy permalink*
    February 3, 2009 10:10 am

    Oh no, I got that question, I think I told her something about liking orange. I tried to redirect her, but she was fascinated with the neon orange!!

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