Tag Archives: mistakes

Join Me in More Parental Confessions

Sign that says "Confessions Booth"

While browsing through some of my past posts I came across one I had written in 2012 – Three Parental Confessions. In there I confessed to three times where I felt I had fallen a bit short of being the perfect mother. I now need to unburden myself of a couple more such incidents, and give you the opportunity to confess too.

French Lessons

When my son started secondary school three years ago, he was doing just fine in all of his lessons except French, where he really struggled. I spent a lot of time trying to help him with his French homework, but he just couldn’t grasp any of it. In the end I was just doing the homework for him and he would copy it into his book. I told him that at the parents’ evening, I would speak to his French teacher, and see if there was any extra help they could give him. He didn’t really want me to do that; he said that he had already decided he was going to drop French after Year 9 when he picked his options, so there was no point. I insisted that there was a point because he still had to do French for two and a half more years until he could drop it.

When the parents’ evening arrived, my son and I walked over to the French teacher’s table. As we approached, she had a huge smile. Before I had a chance to tell her about his struggles, she said “I’m SO pleased you’ve come to see me because I want to tell you how well your son is doing in French!”

Toy of teacher at desk

“Really?” I asked.

“Yes,” she said, and went on to tell me how he was grasping concepts that the rest of the class weren’t, and how he was much more advanced that she would expect from a year 7 student. I sat there lapping it up, a little confused, but delighted.

Finally she pulled out a book. “I’ll show you what I mean,” she said. It was his homework book. She began leafing through it, showing me all the pieces of homework I had done, saying things like “Look at this! 10 out of 10! Nobody ever gets 10 out of 10 for this,” “And look at this, I didn’t expect anyone to understand this so quickly!”

After the discussion we had just had I felt far too awkward to say “Oh I see, no, I did all that.” So I just sat there smiling, saying things like, “Wow, that’s great! I’m so pleased!” and “Wait, why is that one only 9/10? Let me see that.”

As we walked away my son said “Good job mum, telling her how much I’m struggling with it.”

“It doesn’t matter,” I told him. “You’re dropping French after Year 9.”

Raffle Prize

On one occasion when my kids were at primary school, we went to a quiz evening at their school. My son was 8 and my daughter 11. They were also doing a raffle. The raffle tickets were sold at the start of the evening and the draw was at the end of the evening. Those who won were able to go and choose whatever prize they wanted from the prize table.

I bought three strips of tickets, one each for me, my son, and my daughter. When it came to the draw, one of my son’s numbers was drawn. “Ooh, what are you going to pick?” I asked him.

Used raffle tickets

“I’m going to pick the travel game!” he said, and began walking up to the prize table while people applauded him. I tried to let it go, I really did. But I had seen the travel game earlier and it was one of those rubbishy little sets that quite clearly came from the £1 shop. He almost made it to the table when I couldn’t take it any more, I leaped out of my seat, ran up, practically shoved him out of the way and grabbed the case of beer instead. I’m pretty sure there were a few shocked gasps from the other parents who had all witnessed my behaviour.

As we did the walk of shame back to our seats I muttered to my son “I’ll buy you a travel game, it’s just that this is worth much more.” I like to think I was teaching him something about value. In case you’re wondering, yes I did buy him a travel game, and no I didn’t enjoy the beer; it was too tainted with my guilt.

So come on, fess up, what parenting mistakes are you ashamed of? You’ll feel better if you share.

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Photo credits:
Confession booth sign
Toy teacher at desk
Raffle tickets

I Don’t Have a Kevin and I Don’t Know How Much Broccoli Weighs

Closed cup mushroom

From what I understand, online supermarket shopping is much more popular in the UK than in many other places, most of the big supermarkets here now deliver to most of the country. So I thought I’d give a little run down of what it’s like for those of you who might not have experienced it. Personally I’m a huge fan – from the comfort of your home, you just click a few keys on your keyboard and voila! Next thing you know, a nice man arrives on your doorstep with your week’s shopping, and all you have to do is flash him a smile and then put your groceries away. What’s not to love?

You generally get a bit of a laugh and banter with the friendly delivery drivers too, so that adds to the enjoyment of the experience. One time, two delivery guys arrived, one was in training I learned, and when I answered the door, the other one pointed at him and said “He’s the one who sounds like your Kevin!” and they both laughed raucously, so I laughed raucously too even though I didn’t have the slightest idea what they were talking about. I don’t have a Kevin. Most of the time though I do understand what it is that we’re all laughing about so that’s good.

Of course it’s not all plain sailing. Sometimes you can spend as long doing your online order as you would physically going to the supermarket, especially the first few times you do it. But navigating the website isn’t the biggest issue.

One of the issues is substitutions. Just because a product is in stock at the time you place the order doesn’t mean it will still be in stock at the time they pack your order, so in most deliveries you get at least one substitution. Usually their substitutions make sense – a different brand of the same product, or a different variety, or a different pack size. Sometimes they’re a bit strange though, once when the toothpaste I had ordered was out of stock they substituted a toothbrush instead, and another time I ordered hamster food and they substituted rabbit food. It’s ok though, you can refuse the substitutions at the door if they’re not suitable. But substitutions aren’t the biggest issue either.

The biggest issue is pack sizes and weights. It’s not until you start ordering groceries online that you realise how much you shop for food by assessing quantities visually. Suddenly you’re being called upon to say how much broccoli you want by weight – I don’t know, I just want one head of broccoli. What does that weigh? Does anyone know? Everyone who regularly orders groceries online will have funny stories of quantities being much more or much less than they had expected when they ordered. The photo of the mushroom at the top of this page was from one of my recent orders, I thought I was selecting one pack of mushrooms, but when it arrived it was just the one mushroom. I always think the packers must derive great amusement when they’re putting the orders together, knowing perfectly well that you probably didn’t want enough bacon to feed a small nation for a month, or a block of cheese the size of a dice.

For me though, the positives definitely outweigh the negatives, I still pop into supermarkets in person for bits and top ups, but my big shops are mainly online now.

Do you do any supermarket shopping online? If so, please do share your funny weight/pack size stories, I know you’ll have some!

When Advertisers Get It Wrong, Especially You, California

Some of you may have seen this picture circulating on social media recently. It’s particularly worrying that it’s an advertisement for an educational establishment…

Education poster

You just think “Really? Nobody noticed before it went out?” However, Salesian College in Farnborough probably doesn’t have a particularly large advertising budget. But what about the California Travel and Tourism Commission? They presumably have a pretty significant advertising budget, they are after all representing a whole state. They probably spent a pretty hefty sum of money on this advertisement in 2011 trying to encourage people to visit California. Do you remember it? It was shown on TV here in the UK, and no doubt in many other parts of the world too. Overall I think they did a pretty good job of making California seem like a fun place to visit, but why did none of the people involved in making the ad spot the big fail in the very first sentence:

If you’re not inclined to watch it right now, the first sentence is “People have a lot of misconceptions about California, but none of them are really true.” Hmmm. Anybody see what’s wrong with that? Some people blamed Kim Kardashian, the utterer of those words for the error, but that’s probably a little unfair, I’m pretty sure she wasn’t responsible for the script. Although having said that, she is reading a book about Quantum Physics in the ad, so you’d think she’d have been able to spot and point out the error in the words she was being asked to say.

What about this one, on the first reading all seems well, but give it a minute, think about it…

Action banner
Presumably they’re using some kind of brain washing tactics?

This next one isn’t strictly an advertisement, but a sign printed on a shop door. A friend posted it on Facebook and added the comment – “That’s a bit mean, considering they are working for charity and everything!” –

Shop dog sign

He was of course referring to the bottom line, which if you can’t read properly with the glare says “No dogs accept guide dogs.” Ha!

And finally I must give mention to supermarket giant Sainsburys who blundered in a different way here in the UK last week when they accidentally put a poster up in the window of one of their stores that was clearly meant to be posted only in staff rooms –

Sainsburys 50p poster

It says “Let’s encourage every customer to spend an additional 50p during each shopping trip between now and the year-end.” I have to say I was a little shocked by this. I guess I must be somewhat naive, because whilst I understand that businesses are of course always looking for ways to get customers to spend more, I didn’t think they would be so brazen as to produce a poster about it like that. Makes me wonder what kinds of methods the staff will be using to encourage this extra 50p spend on every shop. Any ideas?

Have you spotted any advertising blunders lately?