Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Teaching My Kids Through Others Lack of Compassion

The following offensive statement, by a father to his son, was overheard in the shoe store:

Random Father (aka The Prick): Those shoes make you look mentally challenged. Like you're riding the short bus.

Oh yes he did! The boy, probably about 8 years old, laughed. I guess this is what constitutes comedy in their household. But this was said, not in the privacy of their own home (which is no better by any means), but out in public. In a crowded shoe store on a Sunday morning. Where any number of their fellow shoppers may have a child of their own born into this world with challenges that most children do not face. And just what kind of values is this man teaching his son? Clearly compassion, empathy, and respect are not on that list. It's little wonder why there are so many people out there that lack these attributes what with the stellar role models and all [That tremor you just felt were my eyes rolling]. After my audible "Oh, good grief" and giving him the dirtiest look of disapproval I could muster [seriously, been working on that one all my life, it's a good one. Fear it] I took the opportunity to explain to my own children why I was so offended; and they were given another lesson in compassion, empathy, and respect. People make me sick.

Oh, why were we at the shoe store? Well, thanksforasking that would be because after wearing his new school shoes for three days, Boy-Child#2 admitted that his new Nikes were crushing the life out of his pinkie toes. Of course, now they're slightly dirty and worn looking; the box they came in and the receipt long gone. This is what I get for trusting that he knows what he's talking about when he says that they fit just fine. This is what we all get now that things like knowledgeable shoe store clerks are a thing of the past. Since most stores now carry their inventory on the showroom floor and you're left to your own devices to properly measure your child's foot and select the right size. Unless you go somewhere like Stride Rite. Except the last time I went to Stride Rite, the saleslady [I'm sorry, I mean teenager] tried to sell me shoes that were two sizes too big for my oldest son and then proceeded to argue with me when I disagreed that buying shoes that he will eventually grow into; shoes that were literally falling off his foot when he walked, was not the proper way to spend my money. If you're fresh out of high school it stands to reason that mothers know more about children's feet and shoes than you do [p.s. rule #1 in sales: the customer is always right and even if they aren't; humor them but never outright argue].

I've never gone back to Stride Rite. I will, however, give a shout out to the Vans stores. Very helpful and friendly service and the dudes are kinda hot; all valid reasons for shopping there.

On a final note in lessons learned: Watch what you say and do in public. I may hear you and blog about it. Especially if you're being an ass.

37 comments:

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

I'm right there with you. What an idiot.

Shoes-wise Nordtrom will make sure they're the right size but you will have to take a 2nd on your house.

Mekhismom said...

Unbelievable! People teach their children how to be asses. It is both sad and unfortunate. In my opinion it is child abuse.

I am sorry that you had a bad experience at Stride Rite because their shows are great!

Kelley said...

You know I wouldn't have been as nice as you. I would have probably got hauled out of that store by security...

Idiots.

Oh and I used to take a tracing of my kids feet to the shoe store! Never trusted them to tell me how the shoes really felt.

Ann said...

*Shakes fist in air*

Well, good for you for giving the "Good Grief" and a shriveling look - many would do nothing!

O'Neal (The woman in charge around here) said...

That was us, last Tuesday, minus the asshat father of the year. Skecher's lady measures Blue's foot and says, close to 3 1/2 so get a 4. Picked out shoes (in a 4), "they're great Mom!",pay and proceed to food court. "Mom, my shoes keep flopping up and down!", (YES, both my children wore their new shoes OUT of the store, TOTAL redneck ingrained into their souls). I sit him down at a table and proceed to wipe the bottoms with wipeys and return to store for the 3 1/2. Manager proceeds to argue with me that his foot measured closer to 4...Um, did you give birth to him??? No,I didn't see you there in the delivery room, I'm sure I would have noticed an extra 7 yr old there. Just STFU and give me my credit card back,thanks.

Geeeeeaaaa, it almost tarnishes the term "shoe shopping"!

Dawn in Austin said...

Thanks for the kudos for Vans! My son works there and I've been told he's kinda hot. Of course, this was told to me in strictest confidence by our 14 year old neighbor-girl. His favorite job? Measuring baby feet for Baby Vans! Totally agree with you on the rude dad. It's amazing the things I hear when I go out. It's sad to think that things like respect and politeness are considered "old fashioned".

Steph said...

I try to steer clear of Nikes in general for my kiddos...they always seem to pinch the heck out of their pinkie toes!

hulagirlatheart said...

Yeah, we learned that lesson the hard way when my three year old loudly asked, "who farted" in the middle of a crowded Payless. Since I didn't even know she knew the word, I did what any good parent would do, I burst into uncontrollable laughter and had to leave the store in shame. Another fine parenting moment on my part. I hate it when parents are idiots, especially me.

Burgh Baby said...

Shoe shopping is the bane of my existence. HATE. IT. Women are far too competitive when it comes to scoring a good deal on a crappy pair of shoes and men are too stupid to be seen in public. Or at least that guy is.

Amy said...

I've found myself having to do the same thing with my children. Recently my kids were upset because other kids were being rude and inconsiderate and they just couldn't understand why the parents weren't doing anything about it!

And I'm a fan of Stride Rite - that's the only place I can buy shoes for Boy 1 because his feet are SO wide!

Don Mills Diva said...

What a complete idiot, though it actually makes me feel more sad than angry - can you imagine what kind of a teenager that boy is going to be?

Lisa Milton said...

As if shoe shopping with kids wasn't enough.

That guy was a twit. Hope he was scathed by that look.

Texan Mama @ WhoPutMeInCharge said...

Oh I always buy my kid's shoes too big. Not two sizes too big, but a little big for us is okay. That way they last longer.

On the opinion of Stride rite, I am not going to spend $30-50 for a pair of shoes that my kid will outgrow in a year. I have 4 kids. If they each need, say, 3 pairs of shoes, that would be $360-600 per year just for shoes. No thanks. We usually just buy at Payless or Walmart or Target. By the time they're outgrowing them it's time to throw them away anyway.

Undomestic Diva said...

Am I the only one who kinda feels like that dad's comment was, maybe, ironic? Or does that make me as bad as him?

People suck.

P.S. Hey Tootsie - You wanna hang out? I could give you blog material for a month just by having a cappuccino with you for twenty minutes.

Mamasphere said...

I was forced into a Stride Rite store for flower girl shoes. First, the girl insisted the shoes were white (they were obviously off-white when we got them home and held them up to the dress). Second, she sold us on a shoe size that was way too big. I started doubting myself and bought the dang shoes, but I should've held out!

And good for you for making it obvious that that man's remarks were inappropriate.

Cute But Psycho said...

What an ass!

Having a severely brain-injured brother, who - btw - was once a Southern CA Golden Gloves champion (but ended up disabled due to a vehicle/pedestrian accident), I am especially sensitive to comments like that.

Having your favorite sibling go from being completely independent, to a person in a vegetative state, tends to change your whole perception of how quickly life can change.

I'd love to have a few words with that prick myself.

Cute But Psycho said...

BTW... I had no choice but to shop at Stride Rite for the first 5 years of my son's life. He started walking at 10 months old, and the daycare required shoes (of course), and that was the only place we could get extra-wide widths. Yes, back in 1996, I was spending $45-$50 on shoes for him every 3-5 months. Loads of fun! I could shop NOWHERE else and get a proper fit. His feet finally narrowed down a little by kindergarten, but even to this day, VANS seem to be the only 'regular' shoes that are cut wide enough. At least they're not as expensive as Stride Rite!

SuperSaverSusan said...

Well, you've obviously met our favorite Stride Rite saleslady (er, girl). Over the weekend she tried to sell size 9 shoes to my not-yet 2 year old. Even when I held them up to her foot and they were clearly 3 inches longer than her foot, she insisted we try them on and then told me she would grow into them. Then she walked away. I had heard good things about Stride Rite, but we won't be back.

texasholly said...

I am switching shoe stores because I have never been attracted to any salespeople at my current choice. I hadn't thought of that as an option. Thanks Tootsie. I learn super important tips from you all the time.

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

Well done. I'm all for dirty looks and loud comments on other people's stupid behavior in public. Probably a good thing I don't go out much, come to think of it.

Insane Mama said...

I agree, the guys that work at the Vans store are ALWAYS Hot!

standing still said...

Help me lord Jesus not to unleash on those people.

I would have enjoyed nothing more than to look directly into his beady little rat like eyes and said, "My son has a disability, has used special education transportation, and he is infinitely more of a gracious human than you, sir." I would like to see him crawl up into his own colon.

But, if I were on my Harley? I'd just run him over.

mysecondjournal said...

Buster Browns.. :-) I remember when mom would take me for my shoes.

My husband pulled a short bus joke in public..OMG I almost killed him. He can be so UN PC sometimes.

Mr Lady said...

A) Asshat.
B) Oh, the Vans store dudes. *swoon*

Marmarbug said...

i can not believe that man said that!!!!
He should have gotten a shoe thrown at his head.

MadWoman said...

Some people should have had to take a test before they had children. A morals test, a test on what they'll teach their kids. It astounds me that people are like that around their kids and around other people.

Ugh.

Angie @ KEEP BELIEVING said...

My bIL calls his 14 year old SHMUCK all the time. ALL. THE. TIME. Not just when he is a stupid teenager schmuck, but ALL THE TIME. I find it pretty much appalling. But I'm all judgemental like that. Plus, dont ever say anything on my blog or your about it cuz he reads me and then that would make me a shmuck for talking about him.

KEEP BELIEVING

JoeinVegas said...

Geez - I hope you informed your kids so that HE COULD HEAR what an ahole you felt that he was. People never change unless confronted, (then they just get defensive) so I don't know the right path, probably what you did with your kids of making him a bad example.

Lulu said...

Thank god my teenage son buys his own shoes now! I was completely drained of spending upwards of $80 on shoes. The shoes that I buy cost a fraction of that!

And holy Captain Underpants, Tootsie Farklepants! I just realized the origin on your name!

The Introvert said...

Geez. It's too bad you aren't in Texas because Luke's Locker is where it's at! My mom is an avid runner and loves buying her running shoes there. I watched them measure her, fit her, and painstakingly examine her on a treadmill to see which way her foot rolls when she walks and runs. Now that is service!

Swirl Girl said...

I heard a 5 year old say 'retard' the other day...I asked her if she knew what it meant and she said no. So I said - why do you use the word? She said - I heard it from my brother.

Just an example of how kids hear things and repeat them.

ms-teacher said...

As the sister of a brother who is mentally retarded, my blood boils when I hear stories like this. Unfortunately, I then have to teach these kids who don't understand empathy and think nothing of using the "R" word or other words that are just as derogatory and offensive.

The one place I love is Zappos.com. I've ordered shoes there and have had them in my hand the very next day. Their return policy is unbelievably great. We ordered the youngest's shoes there last Saturday and had them by Monday.

Eve Grey said...

I've been known to storm out of my car and tell non-handicapped people why they should NOT be parking in a handicapped space. I love reading stuff like this becuase soemtimes I wonder if I over-react to people's stupidity. But you sound similar & you're rad. (:

apathy lounge said...

Can you imagine saying that to a kid...about another kind of child who didn't choose to have challenges? Hopefully, that 8-year old knows that his dad is a moron. But that's sad, too.

Anonymous said...

"especially if you're being an ass"

Yeah - you'd know wouldn't you!

blissfullycaffeinated said...

Uh, that may have been my brother. Sorry.

Mel, A Dramatic Mommy said...

Good on you for making him aware of his stupidity. That man's son is going to eventually want to date someone's daughter.