I am pretty non-confrontational. I rant and rave behind the scenes about crying babies in theatres, ghetto conversations at high volumes at the public library, people who throw cigarettes out their car window, etc. But I rarely get in someone's face and tell them to kiss my grits. It was all I could do to hold my tongue on Monday afternoon. My son, Denver and I had just finished up his golf lesson and headed to this teacher store to buy one of those presentation pointers for him to use in his public speaking class. We went right to the counter and started to pay. Well, picture the scene. A long counter filled with little see-through barrels of dice, trinkets, stickers and other sparkly things. My son, recognizing some of the foam dice we own at home for math games, picked up one out of the barrel to look at. The owner of the shop picked up a box and put it down on top of his hand to basically say, "Get your hand out of there". Then he left the box on top of the barrel so that it was blocked off from future "fondling". My kid is a mature, almost 12-year old young man. He goes spear fishing with his dad. He jumps out of 20 foot trees into rivers. He has his own business. He is not a baby. He was, however, humiliated.
Over the past decade, my kids have been scolded by this man while they are standing right next to me, for doing absolutely NOTHING. He has come down the aisle where we are standing, and said to us, "I just want to remind you that we look with our eyes, not our hands". Are you kidding me?!?! Once he took a product out of their hands and stuck it back on the shelf and walked away. I was (was being the key word) going to buy said product. We left that day without buying anything. Everytime this happens, I want to stand outside and picket: "Beware of Scrooge". But I fume for an hour or so, and then run into an emergency weeks later for flashcards or fraction manipulatives and (you guessed it), I cave.
Why do I keep returning for more torture, you ask? Because he has the market cornered in our area. No other store compares in selection. But I have decided to take a stand. I will order everything I need online from now on. I will borrow from the library or share with friends. I will not walk in that store again, unless it is to deliver a strongly-worded message of my boycott.
As my son and I left the store on Monday, I finally asked, "If you don't want children to touch your products, why do you have them on the counter like a candy store? Why don't you put up a sign if you don't want anyone to touch them?" He pulled out a foam die from under the counter (I suppose he keeps it there year after year to illustrate the following ridiculous point....) He says, "This is what children do when they touch these things." and he showed me bite marks on one of the foam pieces. I asked him if my pre-teen looked like he was going to bite a stupid die. I told him that replacing a few small trinkets was the cost of doing business in a child-focused industry!!! Duh!
So, to compensate, Bossypants handed my kid a lousy pencil promoting his business. I took my son to the car and asked him to give me the pencil. I snapped it in two and threw it on the ground in the parking lot. I know--I'm so mature. DO NOT MESS WITH MY KIDS. Period.