It's been an eventful week for me. There was the Virginia Tech massacre, which has been on my mind particularly because my brother is there. And there are other things I'm not ready to share with the world, at least, not yet. Nothing for you to worry about, just some stuff.

So anyway, I'm way too pre-occupied with this, that and the other to get anything done school-wise, and staying at home all day is giving me a minor case of the crazies. So this morning, seeing we finally have gorgeous weather outside, I had the great idea to take Daniel to a park. Not one close to our house where I'd see the same people as I usually do (because I'm not in the mood for chit-chat), but a different park, a park new to him. As we got in the car, it occurred to me that he still has no hat for the summer, something with a wide brim to protect his delicate features from the harsh UV rays of the sun. No problem, I thought. I'll just go to ShopKo and pick something up that's inexpensive. No go. They only had hats for girls, and most of those had the Nike swoop. I hate the Nike swoop. I won't dress my kid in anything with it unless it's a hand-me-down. So I go to Dick's Sporting Goods, since it was close by. The employees, while friendly, were clueless and sent me all over the store before I figured out they just don't sell hats for little kids. So I wandered into the mall and had to wait a few minutes for the rest of the stores to open. Malls make me twitchy. I don't like them. They're full of obnoxious people and, early-ish on a weekday morning, suburban moms with large strollers and kids who are a little too well-dressed. (Who, me? Judgmental? I'm working on it...) I finally found something suitable at Gymboree and high-tailed it out of which time Daniel had had enough of the whole outing and fell asleep in the car.

After lunch, still feeling like I didn't want to be stuck in the house, I decided to go across town to Lakeside Fibers. Petting yarn would soothe me, I thought, and there's a small park right around the corner where Daniel could play for a while. We were at that little park for about an hour. The weather was glorious, Daniel didn't try to take his hat off too many times, and we met a very sweet little girl and her mother and it was all nice and good.

Then I went into Lakeside. Now, I know taking a little kid into a yarn store isn't always the smartest thing, but Daniel behaves himself as well as any 14-month-old could. He stays away from the merchandise, for the most part. I always have a few books and toys for him to play with, should he choose to do so, because I'm not totally without a clue. He did pretty well for a few minutes before he found a large potted plant with lots and lots of dirt. Daniel loves dirt; check out this picture from last weekend:

He started removing dirt by small handfuls and dropping them carefully onto the floor. It was a little messy, but he wasn't wandering away from me and he wasn't messing up the yarn, so I let him. After a few minutes, I asked an employee if she would bring a broom out for me so I could clean it up. She looked really annoyed, but did it. I swept up the dirt and let Daniel hold the broom and everything was fine, until I decided to check out. I walked up to the counter with my two items to purchase. One lady jumped ahead of me in line and proceeded to have at least a 10-minute conversation with the ONE available employee about what needle size she should use for the yarn she was buying. By this time, it was obvious that Daniel was tired and more than ready to go. If the whining and squirming weren't enough, he kept heading for the door. Another employee came in, gave me and Daniel a look-over like she couldn't wait for us to leave, and then went to make a phone call behind the counter. I waited the 5 minutes (at least) it took for her to finish, and said as politely as I could, "Do you mind checking me out? I only have a couple things here and I've been waiting." So she did, but didn't look happy about it.

It irks me that they're so snooty. I've been to this yarn store enough that most of the employees recognize me. I'm a regular customer, for a yarn store anyway. If Daniel were to cause any actual damage or disruption, I simply wouldn't bring him along. He made a little mess; I cleaned it up. He didn't fuss or whine until the end of our time there when I was waiting and waiting on their employees. It's not like they have a toy area. A friend of mine told me that they used to have a play area with toys that they later removed because "some of the customers were complaining." It seems to me that customers would complain more about a child pulling yarn off the shelves (which Daniel doesn't do) than about a child playing with toys in a designated area. I'm about ready to quit going there altogether and write them a peevish letter explaining why I felt so unwelcome there and that I'd rather take my business somewhere else. Maybe if they had a kid-friendly area, mine wouldn't be playing in the freaking potted plant.


Good for you! I'm so sick and tired of stores that 1) act like they're doing YOU a favor just by ALLOWING you to shop there; and 2) look at your kid like he's an escaped prison inmate or something. Puh-leaze! I would definitely quit shopping there.
Thorny said…
OMG, that's so disappointing!

I had been wondering what had happened to their little toy area there - they got rid of it just as my kids were getting old enough that they might actually have played with it. As a result, I've only taken my kids there once, and that time they a) were stuck in their stroller the entire time and b) stayed for all of 40 minutes, while we had some lunch with some friends who were visiting. I'm so sorry to hear they treated you that way.

I certainly wouldn't blame you if you decided not to go there again. I am so sick of places that give you the stink eye whenever they see you've got kids. Grr!
Steph said…
Do it, Suze, do it. Write them a letter and let them know exactly why you're mad, explain that a lot of knitters have children and that you are sorry they have chosen to be so incredibly alienating to mothers. Let them know you're a regular customer and that they're losing business from you and everyone you're going to tell. They will regret inciting the power of pissed-off moms. I am so sick of snobby yarn store employees. The Lawrence yarn store has a serious snob vibe going too.

I better make sure to buy some green yarn for Afghans for Afghans BEFORE I come to Madison! I'll probably just go to the craft store, too, now that Lion Brand and Patons have so much cool wool stuff.
Animal said…
I've had a strange sense about kids in public since LONG before Tess & I decided to bake our own. I just...don't GET IT that many people seem to feel so antagonistic about children! Okay, granted, there are people who simply don't like kids. Fine. Maybe someone didn't like YOU when YOU were one, I dunno...whatever. But..come ON! I sort of thought this whole idea of "children should be seen and not heard" was last popular with Almanzo Wilder's family! Kids are kids: they don't know the world, they don't understand adult social customs, and they don't control their emotions all that well. They wanna play? LET 'EM! No toys? Well, they're pretty good at making their own, whether it's a potato or a pile of dirt. Yeesh. For all that we claim to have this huge, vested interest in "our children, our future!", we sure do wanna stamp 'em down while they're developing.

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