Thursday, September 15, 2011

Letting Off Some Steam

I have been stewing about this for four days, so forgive me if I just let it all out.  We have a teacher store in my town.  I'll just say it.  It's called the Teacher's Exchange.  They sell new products as well as consigned used items.  I have been shopping there for over a decade, since my original intention was to homeschool my kids way back when I was pregnant with my now-11 year old.  I have been gathering materials for years, and through the process have easily spent several thousand dollars at this establishment. 

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.


Laura Lou said...

Brava to you for confronting the issue! Those wonderful and wise words needed to heard by him, whether or not you shop there again. Hopefully, he had ears to hear. :)

Peterson Party said...

Haha, I have been in that store ONE time and will NOT go back! The guy struck me wrong from the get-go, but the final straw was when my daughters needed to use the bathroom. We let them independently go to the bathroom when it is a one person bathroom and I stand outside the door and wait. Nope, the guy told me I had to go in with them. It just struck me wrong that day that he was telling me how to train my kids. My kids know not to make a mess and play around in the bathroom and I always go in after and make sure they haven't. Anyways, as soon as he was telling me how to raise my kids, I left. He may have the "biggest" store around this area, but his prices sure don't compete with those found online and his attitude makes it very easy to go elsewhere :)

stephellerbe said...

I totally agree with you Kim, he is such a jerk. There is a great store in Winter Haven that Mandi James and I went to over the summer. I would rather drive there than spend another dime at Teacher's Exchange.

Melissa said...

Kimberly...can I just say I LOVE YOU! We are a lot alike I think, I'm not confrontational either - but that just might have been a breaking point for me. Mama Bear will only take so much :) Good for you!

At any rate, the reason I stopped by today was to give you an award! You can see the post here:

Have a great day!


Marie said...

HAHA! This made me laugh! Go get 'em mama!!

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