Rebecca Eckler is one of Canada's most talked about newspaper columnists, the author of Knocked Up: Confessions of a Hip Mother to Be, which has been translated into nine languages. Also the author of the bestsellers, Wiped!, Toddlers Gone Wild, and Rotten Apple, the first in a YA series. Random thoughts on life in the competitive world of modern mommyhood. Blog will be loved by trendy mothers who still feel, or often feel, that the most important word in "mommee" is ME!

Monday, April 24, 2006

Anti-Children People - Hate 'em

Ok, I was debating naming names, but I'm going to name names.

I'm leaving Scottsdale Arizona tomorrow, to go back to the real world. Argh. Anyway, I went back to this cool, funky store in Scottsdale, called 42 Saint.

I shopped there last week, and bought about $800 (US) worth of cute clothes. I went back yesterday to see if there were any last-minute finds (Why is it when you're on vacation, you feel like it will be the last time you ever shop again? It's ridiculous.)

Anyway, The Dictator and I went to 42 Saint and I found this wicked pair of white jeans. A saleslady put them in the changeroom for me, while I continued to browse.

The Dictator, of course, was being her usual charming 2 year-old selve and touching everything. She was not sticky or anything. I swear. She was clean and being cute.

But - oh no! - The Dictator touched the glass case with all the sunglasses in them. And the owner of the store - 42 Saint - a cute twenty-something male who actually made purple nail polish work, said to me, "Um, can she not touch the sunglass case? It's on wheels. And, you know, kids and fingerprints."

I looked at him like he was crazy. It's one thing to tell me to "be careful, case is on wheels," but to add, "Kids and fingerprints?" Geez, have you not heard of Windex buster. There I was, about to try on a pair of pants that cost $100 US dollars, and this owner dude was all, "Fingerprints no-no."

Personally, if I owned a store and a kid came in, I'd let said Dictator touch the glass. Why? Because it would be worth it to make a $100 US sale, that's why. For a hundred US bucks, I'd get out the piece of paper towel and wipe of a mini-hand print and even throw in, "Cute kid you have."

But I was just a customer, not the owner. So I looked at the owner of 42 Saint and said, 'You know what? I can get those pants anywhere. See ya."

No one tells my daughter not to touch a stupid sunglass case. I was so irrate that I actually wanted to take back all the other clothes I bought last week. If I knew he was so anti-child, I would have never bought the clothes in the first place. (The Dictator was not with me the first time.)

But I didn't take the clothes back. Why? Because I loved the clothes, that's why. But I'm never shopping at 42 Saint again. I have pride, you know.

Anyway, I was kind of thinking that if anyone else out there had anti-children stories in stores, I won't shop there either. In fact, all moms should share their rude sales people stories, and maybe that way, saleslady and store owners will be nicer when you're just trying to buy a pair of pants and you have to take your child with you, because you are alone with child.

Trust me, I'm pretty sure I'll find another pair of pants I love. At a store that actually treats little kids as they should be treated - as future customers, of course.


Blogger Mother of all Mavens said...

Can't believe I'm the first to comment. I went to a store called Annika in Aventura Mall, Florida. AWESOME store. I go every year and drop a lot of cash. this year they had kid's stuff and I had tonnes put aside, I just had to breasfeed my (perfect) baby first. I asked the saleswoman if she minded, she said of course not. So I whipped out my boob , tastefully o' course. Suddenly the other sales-slag (she was no lady) told me I might be more comfortable in the tiny dingy changeroom. i asked her if maybe SHE would be more comfortable, considering no one was in the place and the only to catch a glimpse of any flesh was to stand right behind me and try to look down my shirt. She said some of the customers got tense. I pointed out I was about to spend several hundred dollars - on KIDS stuff as well as some things for myself. Finally the other woman told the nasty one to get over it and get a life. She almost lost a slae and would've had it not been for her very sweet co-worker - who even offered me a drink while I nursed. Now that's service! (sorry to ramble)

2:23 PM

Blogger MommyWithAttitude said...

That's infuriating. I would have totally returned everything I'd bought. It's very annoying when people act like you're not really supposed to bring children anywhere.

2:54 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

As the mum of a 2 year old and a newborn, I have to disagree here... chidren in shops (especially boutiques) should be taught to look and not touch. My daughter knows to keep her hands clasped behind her back or in the pockets. Further to a previous entry, this would also prevent shoplifting.

While the shopkeeper's tone could be refined, I think you were in the wrong here. If you disagree and really felt so strongly about your moral high ground, you'd return the previous purchases.

3:16 PM

Blogger York Region Baby said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

4:27 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

For a girl, who on her own admission, never, ever touches the Windex, you're pretty quick to suggest other people get it out and start cleaning up after you

What makes you think it was worth an $100 buck sale to him to wipe down the counter? How much profit was he going to make on those jeans? How much time was he going to spend cleaning? Do the math. Maybe he"d rather lose the 15$ profit and spare himself the clean-up. And maybe he has enough customers that he doesn't care about the high maintenance ones.

I recently went picture shopping with a friend who put her hands all over framed prints in stores and then came home and put them on my computer screen.

Someone should have told her to stop when she was two so I wouldn't have had to tell to stop when she was an adult.

4:50 PM

Blogger Elle_V said...

Having worked in the restaurant biz (server and hostess) I was shocked when an ass of a customer asked me to ask a nursing mother to "save that stuff for later, it's very offensive". I kicked him out and almost got fired for the incident but it was totally worth it. The nursing momma thanked me, the ousted guy got red in the face and threw a fit like a five year old girl who didn't get a pony for her birthday, and I got the satisfaction in knowing I had saved the day from the evil man-hissy-girl. Hey, I might not have kids but I will someday and I would only want to be treated just as fairly in my times of need.

6:38 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey momsters, you keep saying what a powerful market you are, but based on what? Wishful thinking? Show me the mom money stats.

The point is a lot of retailers and restauranteurs find you a completely expendable market because your kids chase away other customers who don't have misbehaving little rugrats with them.

I'm a mother too and I never inflicted my child's bad or inappropriate behaviour on other people.

She slept peacefully through a restaurant dinner. Fine. We all had a good time.

She screamed her head off at a birthday bash. Grandma volunteered to take her home so everyone else could enjoy their meal. (Thanks Mom)

I'm also struck by how these "child friendly" arguments are really about being mom friendly. Kids don't want to go to boutiques and restaurants. It's their parents that do. So let"s not make this about your kids when in reality it's all about you!

4:24 AM

Blogger Not Jenny said...

I try not to shop for clothes with my little bunnies in tow. My 11-month old is impatient and my 2-1/2 year old is like a bull in a china shop when we are in a store (though cuter). That being said, the very best experience I had with shopping was in Safeway, of all places. I had a grocery list a mile long and a screaming infant and a figety toddler. A clerk in the store actually came up to me and took my baby and walked with me all over the store rocking her. She took my toddler to the deli and got him a snack, and when I got to the cash register she laid my baby out on the adjacent counter and put on her snowsuit as I paid for my food. I was amazed.

I hate it when people think breastfeeding should be done in yucky bathrooms or changerooms. You see more flesh exposed on some teenage girls than the tiny sliver you see when a woman is feeding her baby.

6:37 AM

Blogger The Duchess said...

As someone who's been both the sales associate and the customer-with-child, I guess I'm going to have to take a middle ground here.

Your daughter was in the stroller, that's fine... she was reaching out to touch things... okay... not too bad. I understand children are curious, I've had to chase a few myself when they were big enough to figure out how to get out of the stroller when I turned my back to examine merchandise.

However, as a sales associate, those people are not free babysitters. Unfortunately, there are women out there who leave their children in the store and go somewhere else... or they let them run rampant without telling them to be polite. Children don't know how to act in public, they just want to explore and have fun. As a sales associate, it is not my job to make sure your child doesn't decide to play hide-n-seek in the clothing rack and pull everything off in their excitement. They don't know they're doing something wrong, but it's extremely rude on the part of the mother to the other customers and to the people who work there to just let the child be crazy without at least attempting to exert some sort of control.

I understand that you can't find a babysitter just so you can go shopping childless. In fact, I don't expect you to.

However, people in the general public who are not child-haters... and even some mothers agree... that children need to learn early how to be polite and well-mannered... and that sales associates are NOT free babysitters.

6:51 AM

Blogger Rebecca said...

This discussion has gone in two different directions and I agree in bits, on both parts. Nursing mothers should be left to nurse. The majority don't flash boob around, they just want to feed their babies and those who can't deal just need to get over it.

I do, however, disagree that stores should treat children the same as adults. I have been asked to leave certain places simply for having my children with me and that does anger me - because my children behave in public and would never touch. Well, the baby would try but would be told no immediately. But the reason a lot of places don't want kids - or are anti-kid is- because of children who are allowed to just touch things and sometimes run wild. Simply because I am spending money somewhere doesn't give my kids the right to do/touch what they want.

It's our job, as moms, to teach them proper behavior and I don't believe you really think it's okay for her to touch whatever she wants, whenever. I think, maybe, you felt as tho your parenting skills were called into question and were offended on that note. And that's understandable. However, I really don't see how he was overstepping his bounds in asking that she not touch his things. KWIM?

7:01 AM

Blogger Jenn said...

Real kids are curious and having said that, I don't see what the problem was if the Dictator simply touched the glass. I might touch the glass too - if I were browsing for sunglasses - That's the price you pay for keeping your wares in a glass case - you occasionally have to clean it.
Yes, I try to teach my kids appropriate behaviour in public - but it's MUCH easier said than done. You can't just say "teach your kids to comply" because it isn't that easy, and if you think it is, I'd wager you are either childless or have a huge case of selective memory on behalf of your own little angels.
I have 3 boys under 5 - they are also autistic. Makes for some interesting shopping experiences let me tell you, and I'd be annoyed at a salesperson who told my kid not to touch a case simply because they were a kid. I'm sure adults touch the glass too - and maybe that's ok if they are buying a 100$ pair of shades, but dropping 100$ on jeans obviously means you can only touch the racks.
One store that annoys the living crap out of me is Bonnie Togs. It's a children's clothing store, but I've never been in one that has enough room to move around freely, let alone push a stroller, or in my case a side by side double stroller. I am the target demographic for that store, and yet they make it impossible for me to shop there - so I don't. The Gap and Old Navy have nice big aisles. I'll shop there thanks.
Sorry you had such a lousy experience - you'd think they would have recognized you, having plunked down so much money earlier. Regardless of whether you bought anything at all - a simple word of caution would have sufficed rather than showing such disdain for something as minor as a fingerprint. My guess is that you are not annoyed at what they said so much as how they said it.

9:51 AM

Blogger Jinbon H Wrong aka Sloop John B said...

The definition of shallow is?

9:56 AM

Blogger SkylarKD said...

Frankly, I think the store owner was a bit rude in asking Rebecca's daughter to not touch the case. Fingerprints? Seriously, if you sell kid stuff in your store, you're going to have kids there, and kids touch things sometimes - get over it. And make sure your sunglasses case is stable, in case anyone bumps it.

That being said, I worked in retail for 6 years, and I agree with the poster who said that salespeople are not babysitters. I couldn't count the number of times people let their children literally race through our store (record store). They could get hurt! Some did - tripped & fell. When kids are out of control like that, parents should ask them to behave or take them outside. If a parent is not willing to do that, they shouldn't get upset if a salesperson asks the children (nicely) to stop running, or asks the parent to tell them to.

11:24 AM

Blogger Kristen said...

I have to agree on both sides with certain things. I do agree that store employees aren't free babysitters, but I don't think she was trying to say that here. I do respect the fact that he came to you with it, rather than try to say something to your child. I can't decide how I feel about the fingerprints issue- I mean what's a few fingerprints - if she even left them- but then again, why should he have to clean them off? I don't know. I just don't know where I stand! I haven't had a personal experience with my daughter like this yet, so I'll let you know when I do and then I can tell you how I feel, LOL.

P.S. Rebecca I posted something just for you today- FINALLY- I had it saved as a draft b/c I've been SUPER busy.

12:24 PM

Blogger Bahar said...

Hey People!

- you expect a 2 year old to stand in a store and not touch anything? a 7 year old maybe.

- what's the deal with windex? I used to work in sales. They get paid to fold shirts and clean windows and glasses.

- why do the non-parents snub the parents? don't they understand that these kids will be paying their pernsion in 30 years? especially in Canada!

- parents who raid children probably spend 30,000 a year (at least) per child and the ones that don't have kids, travel and buy nice cars. at the end of the day, these children will be the ones whose income tax pays the pension of the retirees.

Anyways, sorry for rambling.

1:00 PM

Blogger Her Bad Mother said...

Leaving fingerprints is not some terribel breach of etiquette, so I don't think that calling R out on her child's behaviour is warranted. Hell, I'm sure that I've left many a fingerprint and probably a nose print or two in my shopping travels. Someone who fusses about fingerprints has something stuck up their *ss. If a child is terrorizing other customers, ing left to run around, knocking things over - that's one thing. But that clearly wasn't the case here. Gawd.

I recently had a similar experience in a BABY store in Toronto. Stroller knocked something off of a wall display of plastic things and my god the HUFF that came out of the saleswoman. Not going back.

2:12 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

hmmm...where to start except tell you ladies to re-read your posts and take a trip back in memory lane to a time when you had no children and thought, "ugh, those kids are ruining my shopping trip."
i'm not suggesting you don't bring the little munchkins into stores, but life doesn't stop for you when your little children (as they do) run around being, well, children. it's fair enough for a store-keeper to suggest you keep your child with you while trying some clothes on. get over it, along with your super-glam suv-like strollers. remember the time of childless bliss? yeah, it was calmer, far more selfish, and very typical to judge mothers who think they can take over stores. GET OVER IT!

3:46 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

as a one-time sales associate in a toy store, let me say first that he was probably just worried that the situation could escalate, though the fingerpints comment was unnecessarily snarky. personally, i can't even count the number of times that i had just straightened a section only to have a child run through knocking every product on the shelf over, only to have tehir parents give me a mildly-apologetic smile that screamed "isn't my kid adorable?!" without offering to help clean up the mess or scolding their child. so the man at the store maybe though (about the wheels etc.) that the situation would escalate quickly, as they usually do. and i empathetically agree with teh sentiment that sales associates are NOT baby-sitters...customers often expected us to watch their children as tehy shopped or even left, and i can't count the number of times that i've found a crying, lost child wandering the store, only to have their parent act incredibly disinterested in their child's distress after i eventually located them. disgusting parenting.

7:35 PM

Blogger tomama said...

I was escorted out of a certain garden/home decor store at Bayview Village (with its sister store at H. Lanes) because my at the time one year old daughter was sitting in her stroller eating a baby mum mum. They could be having a 99% off sale and I'd still not darken their door.

7:46 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

One thing I can't stand is people who bring their little brats with them to places where only adults should be. (such as a high-class clothing retailer!) The children fuss, whine, and put their hands all over everything, and that's supposed to be okay? That's what daycare is for! People like you need to stop thinking that just because you are a parent, you have special rights and privelages that us "non-breeders" do not! If I (childless woman) walked into a store and started slobbering and putting finger prints all over YOUR store, you wouldn't think twice about telling me to stop! No one is going to give you a freakin medal of honor just because you had a baby- get over yourself! Children should be taught to be respectful when out in public and not touch everything. Not everyone thinks it's cute! If more parents actually taught their children manners, people would not be so annoyed by children's presence. Get control over your spawn you cow!

12:58 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I cannot believe this blogger, and yet she is like so many mothers out there, just completely obsessed with her child and herself. Anyone with any demand that gets in the way of her child being with her, even though the setting is inappropriate for a child, is rude.
It is just unbelievable. If you want to get knocked up and drag your kid around with you, don't expect ANY sympathy. Your choice, don't inflict it on us.
BTW, I am fully funding my own retirement and don't expect or need any of these little brats to do it for me.

11:11 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am a father of 4 kids, and I would never let me children touch a glass display case. Can you not teach your kids to cause as little additional work for others as possible?

I side with the manager on this one. You need to get some perspective.

3:46 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Funny...I am actively saving for my old age, I don't expect a free ride from other peoples taxes.
Having a kid to ensure better pensions is beyond selfish, and anyone who cites that as a reason to tolerate the (few) badly behaved children with their lax and incompotent parents is worse than a joke. They won't be paying for my retirement, I've actually worked hard to save for mine, so I don't have to tolerate them.

6:26 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I found myself intrigued when doing a search and found a description aimed toward me: anti-children. I laughed at it so I clicked. I do have to say though that deep down I believe that I'm anti-non-parent. It just happens that the children are the annoying medium that play out the result of bad parenting.

Parents who spend their time hating non-breeders and making baseless arguments such as "if you had a kid, you'd understand," or "you better thank my ass when my kid is paying for your pension" among other non-educated "you're a bigger poopy-head" sentiments probably know they've been inadequate parents. Responsible parents (and adults for that matter) don't blame.

In comparison to raising a child past providing food, clothing and shelter, having a baby is easy; millions are conceived by accident every year:P Now if you raise an upstanding member of society, perhaps I'll extend a medal to you...

11:29 PM


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