Thursday, March 12, 2009

Open Letter to the Beauty Counter Sales Associate

Dear Sales Associate,

The other day when I came in for foundation matching, I know my son was a touch out of line, just a touch. Spinning in the counter stools and jumping from them seemed a little bit much for our encounter, but when I noticed his behavior I began to correct him. I guess you noticed too because you joined me in correcting him, actually stepping in as if you were the second parent.

Yes, you spoke more firmly and seemed to know how to get a child in line. You joining in my efforts to calm my child caught me off guard, but from the grin on your face, I figured you meant no harm. The third time though, I did have to stop you because you were clearly overstepping the line at that point. It's one thing when you rub me the wrong way, but it's another when I'm rubbed the wrong way for my child. See what you have failed to realize is that my son is in a structured learning setting from 7:30am to 4:30pm. After that, he's in aftercare until 6pm. I gave him dinner on the go so that I could have a little retail therapy. By 7:45, 8:00pm, the kid should have finished taking a bath and winding down for the night, but he was with his mom looking at blasted foundations. So when he's spinning around and doing things that you don't think are appropriate, he's trying to keep himself busy and fight his tiredness. I don't scold him for that. He's 4 years old and is doing his best. He knows that when I instruct him to do something, he's supposed to do it right away. While he doesn't always do that, I'll admit, I don't necessarily need anyone else's help to get him in line especially without my expressed permission.

Maybe you didn't realize that I've been at this for 5 years and a little longer working in youth outreach and having 2 younger siblings of my own. I have my moments where he'll get cut off the break, but I'm still working on grooming him to respond to me talking to him, not barking at him like a dog, pointing my finger, furrowing the brow and getting loud. So the next time you want to pull your parenting skills and leadership, try your own child. I'm doing fine by mine. After, I stopped you and had a serious eye to eye with my kid he understood my disappointment in his behavior and acted like an angel.

Thanks, but no thanks,
Your last random foundation customer with the kid spinning in chairs

What do you guys think? The MA was right? My child was out of line? I was too leniant with him? What's your take on a situation like this?

*Usually, the Kid knows exactly what to do in makeup stores. He either strikes convo with the MA's or nicely has a seat on a stool or in a corner (aww my lil' puppy) and chills, occassionally getting hand sanitizer until I'm done.... thank you very much.

**pic source I got the above pic from an appropriate reference, as the article relates to this topic.

I loved reading all of the comments agreeing or disagreeing. Thanks everyone for chiming in. I do reply to all/most of my comments.
For the record, I didn't take the lady personally. I just had 'thoughts' on the situation because the older my kid gets, the more I'm experiencing as a parent. So for those that have children/ like them, thanks for understanding. Many of you know, at one time in my life I didn't like children or even want a kid so if I wasn't on the parent end of the situation, I might feel differently. Of course, my blessing changed all of that. I think SweetBonita summed it up and really got at the heart of my matter (re: comments). I couldn't have said it better. Here are a few of my other 'thoughts':

1. i purposefully went during the week cuz NO ONE is in the stores. i'm allergic to malls on the weekend. furthermore, I'm usually doing something at the kid's school on the weekend, so I don't get to go.
2. understand this scenario happened over approx. a 20 min. span.. i asked him to stop, he'll stop and then i'll catch him later spinning in the chair... this happens again, but the last time he corrected his behavior for the night.
3. he wasn't bothering anyone, he was actually sitting very close to me.
4. i accessed the situation and decided that's how i wanted to handle him. when i'm super strict on time, the store is busy and conditions are different like i said, there are times when he gets cut off the break.
5. i said she caught me off guard, but i didn't get at her initially cuz i know she didn't mean harm or to offend me. my subconscious sense of community kicked in for a second.
6. i believe she was 'stepping in' because she was more so reacting to his reactions to me when i told him what to do. he would kinda stop or ask me "whyyyyyy?" instead of doing like he's trained which is to say "ok or yes mommy" and just do what i say.
7. i was being a bit lenient cuz he really wasn't bothering anyone, just not acting appropriate.
8. it could have been MUCH worse... like him being on the other side of the store wrecking displays with no parental control.
9. i've been in other situations where MA -PARENTS know how to respond if they want to help... "here would you like something to write on. show me how you write your name" which i pull these techniques too but.. just that night i wanted him to sit still with no tricks involved.
10. i guess parents aren't supposed to buy makeup or get a babysitter to steal a few minutes at the counter.
11. good for you if you have military trained toddlers and small children. if i' m dealing with the same issue (speaking to him more than once) a few years from now, i will actually have a problem. he's learning and being groomed right now.
12. there are some things i never understood until i became a parent. i can't and don't expect everyone to understand.


Amina said...

the MA was out of line!! The fact that he "scolded him" and gave you a grin, I won't take it personally but acting like the second parent, hell naw!!
plus your kid is also tired and had a FULL day!! he deserves to run around a little bit especially he doesn't do that usually.
and he's only 4 years old!!

♥ Kendall ♥ said...

She was out of line. Even if your child was running around and knocking things over it's not her place to discipline him. He's only 4. Spinning in a chair is perfectly fine and was probably keeping himself occupied & busy.

Jaclyn Rose said...

girl, you were not out of line. the only time I think she should have said something is if your child was putting himself in danger. I've come across that a few times when kids were running around the store when I used to work at a computer retail store.

so yes, I think she was out of line, to be honest she should have minded her own business. you were doing your job already by talking to your own kid.

boys will be boys. haha I should know =).

Jaimie said...

seriously, she was way out of line

Seymone said...

You handled it better than me because her manager would have been their in a flash and my makeup would have been complimentary... I dont play when it comes to my kids. Eventhough I threaten and furrow my brows at them. LOL

Connie said...

she was definitely out of line. she has no right at all to scold your kid.

Tee said...

AAAGGGHHH!! I don't play when it comes to my kid so they would've been calling security on me! If you told him to stop spinning the chairs what was her point? And 3 times no less? She was so out of pocket-I can't even begin to express how out of line that was. FOR REAL!

Steve said...

"The fact that you had a "serious eye to eye" with your child acknowledges that he was behaving badly. It should have been you who corrected him when he first got out of line. I'm making an assumption that the counter person was waiting for you to say something and when you didn't they took charge because your silence was sending the wrong message to your child. They have a place of business and your child's behavior could have been bothersome to other customers which, if not corrected, could cost that business future customers. You should have corrected his behavior immediately and the situation would have been avoided.

Jamie @ Rural Glamour said...

She was out of line...I would have shut her and any of her scolding down quick...she ain't the one trying raise him and working at the same time and all the other things that come with raising little people! Folks who think that know kids always try to step in on some stuff...

I know how it feels, you just want to have a bit retail therapy to yourself, you executed the plan of feeding him so you got your shop on but kids will flip the script! I've attempted to plan many times with varied results.:) No advice here... just watch... the next time you want to shop and you prep the kid( feed him, etc, etc..) he'll act right!!

LKG said...

1. Maybe your son was a "touch" more out of line that you recognize.

2. Maybe you failed because due to your son's schedule that you had absolutely no business having him out looking at foundation at a makeup counter and putting him the position to have to behave.

3. Maybe at 4 years old he shouldn't have to be "doing his best" to fight his tiredness. Maybe he should be home going through his bedtime ritual.

4. Maybe the SA is one of many of us who are sick and tired of listening to and watching children out in public misbehaving.

5. Maybe the SA was about to have a meltdown because of spending the day dealing with mom's and their misbehaving children at her counter.

6. Maybe the SA participating in correcting your child was her misguided and passive-aggressive way of letting you know that you were not doing enough to keep your child under control.

Bottom line the SA should not have been participating in the discipline but you should not have been there in the first place and then now complaining because you experienced a bad result.

Brooke said...

Well here's what I think: No, I don't think the MA should have said anything to your child, but when she did and she got away with it the first time, she thought it was cool after that.

And if the MA really felt as LKG stated above I think she should have directed the comments to YOU and not the child.

My only problem with LKG's statement was that YOU should not have been out with your child. I am a mother, and sometimes you just HAVE to take your kids with you, there isn't always another option, and I wish more people would be simpathetic to that fact. We were all kids once and know how hard it is sometimes :)

That's my take on the sitch :)

J said...

No one should be reprimanding a child except the parents or the person whose care he is under. Period. But you should know better than to keep him out late when he's likely to act up, so really the MA should have scolded *you*. Surely she was more interested in selling you foundation, in which case she should have bitten her tongue completely.

I can distinctly remember being scolded in line at the video or grocery store, but a department store makeup counter is a space intended for adults only. In this case I think you should take him when he is at his behavioral prime of the day (on very best behavior), or not at all.

SweetBonita said...

we all say, "no one should reprimand the child but the parent" but then nod our heads in agreement when folks say, "it takes a village to raise a child"... there were plenty of days when i was young that someone other than my parent had a word with me or told me to behave and i have to say, i appreciate it, cause if not, a kid can turn into the type of loud hooligan children on the metro that curse old ladies out when someone tells them it's impolite to swear and swing on the hand grip bars...

that being said, no one should disrespect your parenting authority or your child. and i really think a sales associate should defer to the parent and ask the parent to stop the child from doing something potentially harmful the child, or that could ruin store products, because in a professional sense, it's bad customer service to do otherwise. so i'd have to say yes, they were a bit out of line trying to parent your child not once, but three times.

Rere said...

She had no right to say ANYTHING to your child! Maybe he shouldn't have been out at that time but as any mom knows, sometimes it happens!!! IF you were too lenient or something, she should have said something to you. If the lady was about to have a melt down from a long day as LKG stated, that is her problem! If you can't handle the stress of something as simple as selling makeup, maybe its not the right job for you! Bottom line gets on my nerves when people let their kid act however they want in public...but it definitely doesn't sound like that was the situation here. I would love to see some salesperson try me like that, I am a tigress for real when it comes to my baby!

Visit Tigress Or Tame? Beauty for Wild & Mild Kitties for makeup giveaways, contests, reviews, freebies, and more!


Anonymous said...

It's kinda a catch 22 type situation as a God-mother who is fiercely protective over my God-kids, my first response it to say the MA was out of line but as someone who has worked in is very distracting and it can be very annoying to try to do your job effectively when you have a child misbehaving. I've experienced kids knocking over display racks and behaving so badly that customers have left...I don't get that your son was that bad but maybe the MA didn't want it to escalate. She shouldn't have kept reprimanding him but in all honesty maybe she too was having a rough day or is not a understanding parent.

MakeupByRenRen said...

i'm so on your side...i dont think others should overstep the boundaries for other people's children.

Anonymous said...

Well, in my opinion - The magic words that you said are "YOUR CHILD" Although you stated all of the reasons why he, your child, acted the way he did - SO WHAT! She should have/could have addressed all of her concerns regarding your child to you-HIS MOTHER, especially since you were there.


Anonymous said...

WTF?! Real talk I know in my heart that I would've had to hurt her feelings. I don't go for that... just like when the flashlight cop at the grocery store got on to my daughter about her Heely's. Don't ever get fly with my child, I'm the adult. That cow was way out of line.

Jamie @ Rural Glamour said...

I'm back..ha!

I agree with Brooke...sometimes you just got to take your kids with you, there are no other options. And always leaving them at home is not always the answer either. When my babies were babies, I took them everywhere, church, the store,the mall, restaurants...I wanted them to be used to the surroundings and the behavior used in those surroundings. Folk leave their kids with babysitters and so and so on then the kid get out in public and act a nutcase and wonder don't take them no where!! I, too, wish people were simpathetic to this...but when I was single no kids, I couldn't stand when folks had little whiny babies and toddlers in stores...then I became a mother and saw the light...:)

Kid Yum was just tired and trying to keep himself busy and ole' girl should've kept her mouth close regardless if she was someone's mother or not and let you handle it. XOXOX!!( so glad you are back, diva:))

Anonymous said...

How out of line was he being? LOL kidding. I've been on the side of the Sales Associate before, but I could never bring myself to "handle" someone's child for them. Instead, I handled the parent. How? By getting them the heck out of my store as fast as possible. LOL.

Vanessa M. said...

What?!? Fuk that bitch!!! She's an effin sales associate not fukin mom or guardian.. Girl I would have ended up givinbg her a piece of my mind *shakes fist*


people who get in other people's business are always out of line. good for you for stepping in and putting her in her place.

Caramelx said...

I'm gonna go against the grain of the "She was bang out of order" comments.

If she had to open her mouth three times, then your son obviously didn't hear YOU the first time.

I don't think she was challenged your authority as a parent. Your son's behaviour could have disrupted other customers shopping experience and a 4 yr old really doesn't have any business being in a MAC store at the best of times.

Handle your business and others won't have to stick their oar in. Sorry if I come across as harsh but I'm being honest.

I agree with LKG.

Phyaflyjones said...

I do not think that she was out of line. If a child is acting up it is the job of the adult that witnesses the behavior to correct it. If a kid is in my presence and acting a fool I am GOING to speak on it. I guess it's all in the approach. If he had been doing something that was going to get him hurt, would you have wanted her to mind hers? I doubt it. I know kids have their moments but if he was in her place of work disturbing her business or her customers she did have the right to address it. When I was a kid and I was acting a donkey in the store my mom was not the only one that would speak on it. I wasn't overstepping. I was a recognition that parenting is a job best done in numbers.

It's not something that I'd take personally. This is the type of thing that has people grown folks fighting in the streets when their kids get to middle school. " You said something to my kid. yada yad yada We gonna fight." What happens when he exhibits negative behavior when he is older and not under your watchful eye? Will it be a problem when a teacher or another authority corrects his behavior? That is where it becomes a serious slippery slope. It's learned behavior that dicates the future.

Erin said...

So much has already been stated, so lemme just say I am in agreement with LKG, Caramelx and Phyaflyjones.

The Pretty Brown Girl said...

Yummy, I know I'm more than a day late and past a dollar short on this post, but as a mom (mine are 15 & 10) and an early care and education professional ( I work w/kids ages newborn-8yrs), I feel a bit compelled to weigh in:

The only way you can teach your children to behave out in public is to TAKE THEM OUT IN PUBLIC. And as a single mom, a lot of times, I had no choice. So it worked out for the best. I've been embarrassed by my children's behaviors plenty of times, especially when they were little like your son. That's just what happens with kids. No biggie.

What I've learned is that everybody will have an opinion when it comes to how you deal w/your kid. My first responsibility is to my children and I deal w/that first. I've learned how to graciously put folks right back in their place when they step out there too far: "Thank you for your help, but I'll handle it the way we normally do in our family" I say is respectfully and with a smile because my word is law w/my kid as it is...I don't need to be mean to the "helpful" stranger. Having this attitude will save you the stress of resentment when it comes from unsolicited opinions and "help", because it won't ever stop. TRUST ME on that! LOL!

I also learned early on that some stuff just has to be skipped altogether. The key to avoiding incidents where Ike or Tina (my son & was going to wig out from fatigue or hunger or any of that other stuff was time management. If I couldn't get it done w/in an acceptable time frame for them, then my motto was "tomorrow's another day". So much of what we do that is best for our babies is SACRIFICE. Did I get salty about it sometimes? Yes, because I am still a person. But I have to shore up my spirit and do what's best for my young ones.

Keep on pushing, Mama. He won't be that little forever. It's just one of those things.

Shen said...

you are the customer, she should entertain you! not pretend to do the right thing by handling your child and making him behave. no matter how rowdy a child gets, the parent should be the one to handle them. honestly, if i was in her place, i would have offered the kid a paper and pencil so he can busy himself drawing. i did it once when i was applying for a phone line(i'm the customer here, mnd you). ended up tearing my notebook for papers and gave my pen... told her if she like to draw, she said yes and actually shut up. pretty simple. she even gave me her drawing so i got a nice souvenir, too. :)