New Castle News

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September 17, 2013

Kali Davies-Anderson: Grocery store trip a lesson in judgment

NEW CASTLE — Most of the time I have my oldest daughter with me, but yesterday I had an appointment before heading to the store.

So I was alone.

As I finished up my shopping, I began searching for the shortest check-out line, and found one that looked like it would move along a bit quicker than the others, so I pulled my overflowing buggy behind an older woman with just a few items.

In front of that woman was a younger mother, probably a few years younger than me, and what looked to be a 3-year-old girl. The mother had a fairly large order and her daughter was growing impatient.

Having started in the designated seating area at the front of the buggy, she had, against her mother’s wishes, crawled into the part of the buggy where her mother was trying to load groceries.

Repeatedly, the toddler climbed into the back of the buggy and her mother calmly placed her back into her seat. She was not happy with this and was then whining a little bit. Though the girl wasn’t making a scene by any means, I found her mother’s reaction to be very patient and tactful.

I kind of chuckled to myself because I thought of my own daughter and the lengths I go to to keep her happy while I shop for groceries.

Eventually, the woman completed her transaction, thanked the cashier and was on her way.

When the next woman stepped up to the register, I overheard the cashier say, “What a bad child, I’m sure glad I don’t have one.” The older woman in front of me agreed (despite the fact that she had engaged with the toddler and even waved hello to her).

I was stunned.

Aside from it being unbelievably unprofessional to remark on another customer, whom neither woman knew, the girl was being labeled “bad” by a complete stranger, and it was all I could do to not butt in on the conversation.

This is what is wrong with our world — we judge people we do not know and label others based on information we have gathered in two minutes of time.

 “Bad” is such a strong and horrible label to put on a person. In fact, most of us will go our entire lives only personally knowing a handful (or less) of truly “bad” people.

The problem with labeling a child as being “bad” is that they grow up believing what they hear and acting upon it, and if a 3-year-old is repeatedly told she is bad she will undoubtedly carry it with her for her entire life.

You never know the life a child has and judging any person or group based on such a brief encounter is, in my opinion, a disservice to the human race.

Similarly, it would have been unfair of me to judge the same cashier for bagging my milk in a bottomless bag and sending it to the floor, nearly breaking my toe.

But instead, I told her it wasn’t her fault (despite her lack of apology) and moved on with my day.

You never know the journey or path that another person is on, nor can you possibly be fully aware of the trials and tribulations that person is facing.

So my advice? Save your judgments, even when you feel they are constructive, for the person staring back at you in the mirror.

That person is who you really need to worry about.


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