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Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Racism, child abuse, and things I wish I could say

Last week there was a girl who came into my work with her 4-year-old son. Her son is sitting in the big part of the basket (you know, the part not meant for children where we all put our kids), begging, crying, whining like he's about to explode, "Pleeeease, Mom! I have to go to the bathroom!" Over and over, I can hear him throughout the entire store. And I keep hearing his mom (who appears to be about 14 - but then again, so do I, so who knows how old she really is) say, "Shut up! You can go at the next store!" but she keeps shopping and shopping... (And by shopping, I mean browsing, because she of course never buys anything.) That poor child has a look on his face like he's about to explode in his pants, and his mom is telling him to shut up... so loudly that I was embarrassed for her. (I'm frequently embarrassed by parents' attitudes in public, so this is nothing new.)

At one point I'm pretty sure she pinched him because he started screaming and said, "Why did you do that?!"

(A common theme among people who hurt their kids in public is that they never answer this question. The child asks them why they were treated this way, and the parent gives them NO ANSWER. Thus leaving them - and everyone else within earshot - with absolutely no lesson learned except that their parent sucks.)

Anyway, this is all kind of beside the point, but you get the general impression I got the first time this woman came in to our store.

(She finally took the child to the bathroom, btw, carrying him like a football all the way in, and told me he's "ridiculous" on her way. I find it interesting that a child is ridiculous for having to do what EVERY HUMAN DOES NATURALLY...)

So this girl came in another day. As she's walking around the toy department, of course rejecting her child's pleas to get out of the cart and look at the toys, she looks him straight in the eyes and says, "It's not fair! Why aren't you a girl?" This girl wishes she could buy cute little girly toys, so she makes her son feel like a failure just for BEING male.

This of course made me angry, but because I want to keep my job, I get to stand there and say nothing.

When I got to work this morning, I discovered the new baby doll. It's so cute! It's a little black baby that plays peek-a-boo with you.

The 14-yr-old Mom of Unwanted Boy came in to the store about twenty minutes later. As she walked past the baby dolls, she said, "Ohh. Now they're comin' out with BLACK babies!" You should have seen the disgusted look on her face. I wanted to slap that look right off her white-girl face. It took everything I had not to say something to that woman. She walked away shaking her head, like she was appalled that we would sell a baby doll with anything but white skin. Quite frankly, I'm appalled there are people like her in this world. I wanted SO badly to tell that girl she was not welcome in our store anymore.

While we're on the subject of things I wish I could say to people, I'm just going to throw these last few out there to get them off my chest...

First of all, to whomever left dirty, wadded-up fishnet tights in my fitting room: starting out my day by picking up and throwing away your nasty, crusty fishnets was not great. Please don't come back.

Second, to the people who bring carts in our store from other stores: this might be the tackiest thing I've ever seen. Stop it.

Oh, and lady who looked at me today with that smug look on her face and said, "NO TAG... I guess it's free?" You are not clever. And no, it's not free. If you treat it as such, that's called theft.

Then there's the super awesome mom who let her 2-year-old child STAND UP on the handle bar of the shopping cart and almost jump to his death. When you told him, "You're going to break your leg," and then just walked away from him, we were legally and morally obligated to say something to him ourselves. When I told your son to get down, I was saving his life. Glaring at me doesn't make you less of a bad parent.

One last thing... This one's for you, Lady. Yeah, you, the one who asked me to watch her possessions and then rudely said to me on her way into the dressing room, "Now don't let anyone take these!" Ohhhhh. Is that what you meant by "watch my things"? Because I thought you just meant I should look at them while people walk off with them. Treating me like a moron just makes you look like a moron yourself.

Thanks. I feel better. 

6 comments:

  1. I love reading these posts! It helps me keep my parenting in check, especially as we are out shopping for the holidays. It strengthens my resolve to be a good, patient mom. People can be so ridiculous, I hope I am not ridiculous.

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  2. Haha, we're all ridiculous in public sometimes! I find myself telling my kids to "stop it" a lot. Working here has really helped me notice it and try to stop. Still working on that final result, though. :)

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  3. You are one PATIENT lady. I wouldn't be able to hold my tongue!!

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  4. Gotta love retail - and public. But, seriously, emotional abuse IS abuse.

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  5. You are a far better person than I am... I would have smacked the shit outta that lady who commented on the black doll. I cannot and will not tolerate racism.

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