Something my husband said to me yesterday struck a chord. Let me start by saying I am actually going to attempt to eliminate all of my usual side stories and stick to topic – feel free to let me know how I do.
So – to begin (no this isn’t a side story, it’s background for reference), we were at King Soopers about a week ago buying some stuff that had to be retrieved from the back of the store. Well, they paged this woman to assist us (her name was Luann), and much to our surprise it was a mom from a baseball team our son used to play for. So while we were killing time waiting for some or other part of this whole process to take place we were conversing with Luann, oh crap – I have to add a side story, but it really is a sub-story – anyhow, so we were waiting for another of the King Soopers employees to arrive with a grocery cart that Luann had sent him to get and he never came and he never came and Luann went away and reappeared and asked me if he was back, by this point in time my husband had gone to retrieve a cart thinking that the other fellow had been abducted by aliens or something, and husband also hadn’t come back for quite some time. Eventually when my husband arrived with a cart he explained that a little girl was stuck in the bottom of the cart and that the other employee we were waiting on was rescuing her. This caused us to strike up a conversation about how stupid parents are when it comes to allowing their kids to ride in areas of the cart that are not designed for that or worse when they allow them to stand up in a cart and the hideous falls that occur much more frequently than you would suppose because of this (talk to a store manager sometime, you will be STUNNED). So, I of course told my worst horror story (this is a sidebar and part of the real story, not a digression) – My aunt who managed an Albertsons for almost my whole life told me of a woman who left her child standing in the cart at the deli and took off for the produce section to shop while waiting for her number to be called – my aunt who was in a checkstand at the time got to the child before the mother – that is how far away she wandered from her toddler! The child fell out of the shopping cart and literally scalped himself when he landed on the big metal bar that is mounted in front of the deli case to protect it from cart bumping. In addition to the hideous concussion, etc – this child required hundreds of stitches to sew his scalp back on. This led to us discussing how parents react when you approach them and sweetly warn them that the children they have standing in their cart are in danger. I have had the experience of having mothers tell me to butt out they are the parents and how dare I question them, etc. Luann, even as an employee of the store has had similar experiences. (This completes the background portion of this post).
So my husband said to me yesterday as we were walking into Safeway (it only seems fair that all three local chains get their due mention) that he had an epiphany! When those people that you approach and attempt to warn them out of the kindness of your heart, etc. say something along the lines of “it isn’t any of your business” he says, he now has a reply – “It is in fact my business. As long as you are putting your child at risk you are potentially costing me money and safety. If your child falls from the shopping cart and has to be treated medically this will cause your health insurance rates to rise – oh you are in a group, well if everyone in your group acted like you and the incidence of accidents within your group went up, your rates would indeed rise. Your health insurance rates may or may not affect mine, but if everyone began being careless and having more accidents it most certainly would affect my rates; also, whatever business you work for would have some sort of trickle down affect on my cost of living. You are also raising the rates of the insurance of this store, which in turn gets passed to the customer in the form of prices. In addition to that, God forbid your child have an accident that would pull the local emergency response personnel in here to respond and might prevent them from responding to another emergency as fast as needed (and what if it is me or my child that needs assistance), also everytime the local fire department or paramedics respond to an accident it costs me, the taxpayer money. So you see it really is my business if you choose to be careless in your responsibilities as a parent and citizen in keeping the children of our community safe from harm.”
Wow, isn’t he smart and brilliant! Who would have thought of all these ways of telling some dumbass that they are indeed really even more stupid than anyone thought when you started.
This also reminds me of something my mother has always preached about, “it may seem small right now because you are the only one doing it, but everytime you act, you have to ask yourself ‘what if everyone did this?’”
Mom’s advice in parable (?) form – (this may indeed be a side story but it illustrates mom’s point). Mom’s neighbor chose for several summers not to water his lawn at all. Living in an older neighborhood without covenants, but full of custom homes, most of the neighbors bitched among one another but no one ever actually reported them – they are the neighborhood eccentrics and the neighborhood is full of people who do little quirky things and wouldn’t want the rest of the neighbors reporting every little thing – besides it was only ONE yard among many. Finally Mom said to him, “Roger, why don’t you water your lawn” – and he said “to save money”. So Mom said, “Roger, what if everyone on the street did that, our property values would plummet, it would deplete the ozone by killing off plant life and make everyone’s home much hotter because there is no vegetation to help cool the earth” – Roger waters his lawn now – it’s not plush and beautiful, in fact it’s still a bit on the sparse pathetic side, but it is somewhat green.
Now think about just plain old fashioned manners – what if everyone stuck their dirty hands in the veggie platter, what if everyone left their dirty Kleenex wherever they happened to be when they blew their nose, what if everyone spit their gum on the ground (or just go to Elitch’s and this will be illustrated), what if everyone left the lids off of their trash on windy days, what if everyone parked in the handicapped spots, what if everyone merged onto the freeway doing 35mph, what if everyone bought clothes, wore them once and returned them, what if everyone allowed their dogs to bark all night (or run around the neighborhood w/o a leash), what if everyone spit on the ground/floor whenever they felt like it (are you getting a vision of Deadwood?), what if everyone was wasteful and never used the full amount of the product and never recycled, what if everyone decided they didn’t want the milk after all and left it on the shelf in the soft drink aisle to spoil, what if everyone didn’t insure their cars, homes, etc., what if everyone didn’t license their pets, cars, etc., what if everyone drove drunk… I’m certain I could keep going. It does indeed take a village, but not in the way she meant it.