Adventures in stupidity
Amy and I went shopping this past weekend. Labor Day weekend is not the best time to shop, especially at a mall in Greater Suburbia, but there are times when the needs of a toddler out weigh the needs of the parent to STAY AWAY FROM A MALL ON A SHOPPING WEEKEND. *sigh*
So we are at Target, picking up ... a variety of things. (No, I am not squeamish, I will just spare you the detailed discussion.) Target does, occasionally, have some nice clothes for fairly cheap. Amy spots some pants that may (or may not) look cute on her. The price is right, so we decide she should try them on.
Problem: Bea is in 3/4 fussy mode. She is currently calm, strapped to Amy's back, but will not remain so if she is separated from Mommy while Amy tries things on. Nor is she likely to behave is she is just set down on the changing room floor.
Target, of all places has the answer to this: Family Changing Rooms. The first couple of changing rooms are labeled as such with a picture of a man, woman and little girl all holding hands. Awesome. So we proceed ...
Target Attendant: How many items?
Amy: Three, and we would like to use the family changing room.
TA: Go ahead, it is right there.
(We all proceed forward, but the attendant steps in front of me.)
TA: You can't go in there, that is the women's changing area.
Me: Excuse me? You just said that we could use the Family Changing Room.
TA: She can, but you can't go in there.
At this point, for expediency, Amy goes ahead and goes into the changing room, saying that she will try and hurry, with a worried glance back at Bea. (We were approaching nap time so "fuss-factor" was likely to go up.)
Me: ...erm...We ARE a family.
TA: You are a man, I can't let you into the women's changing area.
Me: (Pointing at sign.) You know that your sign indicates that a MAN is part of a family for the Family Changing Room, don't you?
TA: I am sorry, sir, but I can't allow men into the women's changing area.
I can now hear Bea starting to raise a bit of a fuss.
I give the attendant my best calm-but-you-are-toast look, and quietly smile and say:
Me: OK, then you can get a manager here so I can discuss your policy with them.
TA: (quite unnerved) Um, OK ...
She then picked up her "Emergency Radio" which she could not figure out how to use. Nor could she figure out how to read the list that showed the code for calling a manager. She finally found an experienced employee to explain the radio and calling a manager. (Said experienced employee positions herself to watch the show. Additionally, the next shift attendant has shown up just before she gets off of break.) Finally, the manager shows up. I can tell he is the manager as he has a professional look on his face that barely hides the "what now" that he is feeling, and the Attendant started looking smug.
Target Manager: How can I help you?
Me: Is that the FAMILY Dressing Room?
Me: I was prevented from entering with my wife and daughter to help while my wife tries on some clothes.
(I was preparing to point out the man on the sign and talk about how the "No MEN allowed" policy conflicted with that. My point was to be: Change you policy or change you sign.)
TM: What?!? Who prevented you?
Me: (Pointing at the attendant) Her.
(It is worth noting that the Attendants face fell at this point from "smug" to "oh no" as it visibly dawned on her that she just might have done the wrong thing.)
TM: Of course you can go in there, that is what those rooms are for.
TM: (to TA) OF COURSE he can go in there. (And leaves to do something that I assume was genuinely important)
After having gone into the room, calmed down Bea, and explained to Amy what had happened, we could hear the coworkers still trying to explain to the girl WHAT she had done wrong. "If a man is obviously with his wife and child, he CAN go in there to help out."
When we left, she had the look on her face of "I still don't understand how you were right and I was wrong, but I want to keep my job."
TA: I'm sorry for the confusion.
Me: Thanks. You know, I understand that you were just trying to enforce a policy as you saw it, which is why I wanted to talk to your manager. I wasn't going to bother discussing policy with you.
As we walked away, I could see the look on her face turn to "Wait! He won again! How did that happen?" as her coworker hid her snicker behind her hand. I think there is a reason she was working at Target.