I was in H&M at Baybrook Mall sifting through the children’s racks for an entire wardrobe for my stepson’s visit last summer. In my hip I had my daughter, and to my side stood my four year old step son. I was not finding the selection I normally did and as I took a moment to look at a tag of a shirt I would settle on a voice came over the sea of racks, “Watch your kid lady, he’s tearing up the store!”
I looked and in that short time my stepson had made his way to pilfer through the rack that was adjacent to the one I was at. I looked at him shopping, and then at her in a questionable manner, “He’s going to pull that whole thing down on himself!!” I looked again at my step son who was still only looking just the way I did on the rack, but I called him over to me anyway.
Having been in retail I understand there are some parents who don’t watch their kids, and I get that. But to treat me like I’m a neglectful mom just because a four year old wandered a foot from me in the short time it took me to look at a price tag is ridiculous. The woman remained in the section, arms crossed watching me, as if he had just been running wild, swinging from the bars, and throwing the clothes on the ground for the past twenty minutes. I left, no purchase made.
Not long ago myself, my two year old daughter, and my husband (in that ordered) piled as quickly as we could into our local Hot Topic at Parkway Place Mall to look at cartridge jewelry. The store was so skinny that we walked in a single file line, meaning my daughter followed me on foot but was in front of her father. Although we were both not a foot away from her the employee hollered over the punk rock, “What parents just let their kid randomly wander into the store unaccompanied?” My husband looked up at the girl with her jet black braids, purple lipstick, and facial piercings just hanging out flirting behind the counter with a disgruntled look as he picked up our daughter, turned around, and walked out. He was actually embarrassed, but he shouldn’t have been, the associate should have been more aware of her customers, actually greeting and reaching out; not just shouting out rude observations without even stepping away from her register.
- Don’t assume all parent’s are bad parents. Instead give a margin of error for tiny snafus that happen and don’t cause you harm. (particularly in a children’s dept.)
- There is a kind way to speak and there is an accusatory way to speak. Don’t come right out the gates ready for a fight, try kindness first, after all I’m bringing you my money.
- Take note that children are not perfect robots no matter what level of discipline we as parents offer, they all have a mind of their own. Do not judge me on the days my child decides to be an asshole, thanks.
- No, I will not give you the satisfaction of watching the punishment of my child, this is a matter that is private and should be handled that way. Just because you didn’t see the act of discipline does not mean it did not happen.
- Feel free to talk to my child in a kind voice if you notice he has strayed or is messing with a display, “Hey buddy! Where’s mommy?” Or “Hey little man, be gentle.”
- Keep in mind, children are future customers, particularly those ones that you really hate, the ones that are just dropped off at the mall unaccompanied at 12.
I’m not asking you to ogle my child, in fact I don’t even care if you give him the time of day. I’m just asking that retailers take a moment to consider:
- Children are not all out to intentionally destroy your store (they are still learning [testing] limits, kindly help them).
- Not all parents are in there to use you as a babysitter (on that note I don’t want you or trust you to watch my child).
- Not all parents are incompetent (why not try seeing the good intentions first, and then over time allow the parent to prove you wrong rather than the other way around).