When Does Public Disrespect Deserve A Response?
I’m disturbed by some publicly disrespectful behavior we observed in a department store recently. While checking out, we noticed a little girl – perhaps 2 years old – running around behind the checkout lines while her mother, her aunt and grandmother, paid the cashier. The child ran right behind a store Associate – a girl maybe 18 years old – who was assisting at another checkout stand nearby.
The Associate turned around and, not seeing the child behind her because the child was so small, knocked the child over who landed face-down with a loud smack on the hard floor. The child let out a huge wail and the grandmother picked up the child while the Associate apologized profusely.
The mother rushed over, grabbed the child and called the Associate the “B” word, acting as if the Associate had done it deliberately! The Associate started crying quietly while a manager ran to get ice.
We couldn’t believe this mother would blame the Associate; her child was running around unsupervised. A number of us spoke up immediately about it and the Aunt told us all to “chill out, it was a normal reaction.” That didn’t help and we made it clear the mother calling the Associate the “B” word was inappropriate.
As the family rushed the child out, saying “we’re going to the Emergency Room” we all wondered if the family was going to sue the department store. After I got home, I decided to call the manager and offer myself as a witness should it come to that. The manager thanked me.
Is the Aunt right? Is that a “normal reaction” to call the Associate the ‘B’ word? A lot of us there, even the mom’s, didn’t think so.