There are some things in the world that can make me an angry mother. I readily admit that I have a bit of a temper, and things can bother me. However, one area that seldom brings out the angry mother within is retail staff.
You see, I worked in a grocery store through high school and college. I know that customers can suck. As such, I usually cut retail and wait staff a lot of slack. Usually. Today, it was a cashier that brought out the angry mother.
I’m not sure how common this is in the States (I never saw it the entire time that I lived there, but I understand that Aldi’s has it), but up here, in order to get a shopping cart, you insert a coin, push it in with a “key”, and the key in the back of the box pops out, thus freeing your shopping cart. You get your coin back when you return it. I went through that basic process at Save On when I had to get a few things for dinner.
The family grocery shopping certainly isn’t what made me angry, either. You see, Norton and I were having fun. He was playing peek a boo with me through his hoodie… and he slammed his face down into the coin box. It’s big, hard, and plastic. Understandably, he screamed. (And who could blame him? That crap hurts.) It took a moment to see how severe of a toddler injury we were dealing with. His mouth was bleeding and he had a fat lip. I took a paper towel off of the service desk (since I couldn’t get the attention of the person working the counter) to clean up Norton and see what we were dealing with. As I’m doing this, of course, the toddler screaming is echoing through the store.
Fortunately, we’d already had our stuff, so I just wanted to hurry out of the store to get Norton home. At that point, I was more of a worried mom than an angry one. However, the cashier managed to change that in a hurry.
Norton was now only screaming intermittently, but he still was clearly in pain and his lip was swelling nicely… and there was still a bit of blood on his face. I rather crossly told the cashier that he had just busted his face on the coin box, so of course he wasn’t happy. The cashier looked at him and said, “I think you just want to hear yourself scream.”
I nearly lost it. I came thisclose to snapping at her, “How about I smash your face into the cart. Then you can tell my how much you like it and tell me if you think that’s worth crying about.” Instead, this angry mother seethed and gave her a look that was so mean, if looks could kill, she’d have been pushing up daisies. (There was also a lot more profanity in my head, too.)
Then it got even better. She was putting groceries in the cart. Norton was shrinking back from her in the basket… and she reached out and touched my kid. What was she thinking?!
It’s two hours later, and I’m still angry. At this point, I think I’m going to call the manager since I can’t find an online complaint form. I mean, seriously, how stupid can someone get? You don’t a.) make rude comments to a mother who is dealing with a toddler injury (as was evident by the blood that was still on his face) or b.) touch someone else’s kid, particularly when the kid is sending you hands off vibes.
Have you ever had a cashier or server bring out the angry mother in you? How did you handle it?
Originally written September 1, 2011. I ended up sending a complaint through the store’s website. The store manager called me to apologize and inquire on my son’s welfare. He also promised to deliver training to his staff to let them know that the first thing that they should do in the event of an injured customer (or child) was to call the ranking member of management for on the spot resolution. I never saw that cashier again. I’m not suggesting that she lost her job or what have you. I don’t know. I do know that, to this day, I’m impressed with my restraint.