Writing Can Be Murder

March 19, 2007

PSA It Takes A Village To Raise A Brat

Filed under: Uncategorized — jenniferelbaum @ 9:21 am

 I regularly break the cardinal rule of political correctness: I tell people (complete strangers) how to parent their children.

I’ve been told that this is wrong. That it’s none of my business. That I have no right to say anything.

I say that if you bring your child out in public and I’m subjected to their bad behavior that I not only have the right, but the obligation to say something.

 Last week I was in my local Borders and I said something. This particular Borders provides “shopping bags” so that you don’t have to balance all the books you’re thinking of buying in your arms (this is an evil tactic that I will tackle another day, lol) while you stumble under the weight of your would-be purchases.

Two boys (around 5 & 6) were DRAGGING around books of bags. Running from one end of the store to the other.  And their mother said nothing.

They kept saying, “Look Mommy, we’re dragging our books!”  They knew it was wrong, probably because some poor teacher has had to reprimand them a thousand times not to do it. They were waiting for their mother to correct their behavior.

Still their mother said nothing.

Everyone in the store, shoppers and staff alike, were watching the display with disgust.

No one said anything.

I did.

I marched right up to her and said, “Tell your children to stop it or I will.”

She stared at me dumbfounded. People are always shocked when you ask them to do their damn job.

I wasn’t done. “It is not acceptable behavior for them to run around in a store and destroy things that don’t belong to them. And it’s unacceptable that you as their parent condone this type of behavior.”

Blink. Blink.   I think I had woken her out of her coma.

She ushered her kids into the children’s section, yelling at them not to drag their books.

A member of the staff thanked me.  

(People almost always thank me for my “outbursts” which pisses me off because it means that the offending behavior was bothering others but people are too scared or polite to say anthing.)



  1. Don’t you love it that the staff says nothing? They should have given you a discount for doing their job for them.

    Comment by Jennifer Colgan — March 19, 2007 @ 1:18 pm

  2. Jennifer C. is right – the staff should have been the ones to tell mom to take control of her kids, and charged her for any books they damaged. I’m glad they at least thanked you.

    Comment by Peggy — March 20, 2007 @ 1:33 pm

  3. Jennifer — Oooohhh, maybe I could get myself hired at bookstores (payment in books and perodicals is fine with me) to crack down on their obnoxious customers!

    Comment by jenniferelbaum — March 20, 2007 @ 5:11 pm

  4. Peggy —

    In my more generous moments, I think the staff ends up in a No-Win situation. If they address the mother, then they have to talk to the obnoxious guy yelling on his cell phone (yes, I do provide that service also) etc.

    As a customer I could say anything I wanted (but I didn’t, I swear I didn’t!) whereas it’s an extremely fine line for an employee to have to navigate.

    It’s really a shame that people can’t be polite enough to police themselves.

    Comment by jenniferelbaum — March 20, 2007 @ 5:16 pm

  5. *applaud*

    Good for you. More people ought stand up to misbehaving kids and parents who can’t be arsed to parent.

    Comment by Nonny — March 21, 2007 @ 6:05 am

  6. Thanks Nonny!

    Now if only more people would stand up to misbehaving adults…

    Comment by jenniferelbaum — March 26, 2007 @ 11:24 am

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