Letter: Facing challenges locally while navigating stores

Editor,

I can’t help but feel as though there’s a war on parents happening on the South End, and let me explain why.

My complaints are two-pronged — one rests with the customers/service relationship, and the other with toys and their location in stores as of late.

I will begin with the toys as do some of the stores on the island. Right when you walk in. Now I believe it’s because you think we may be more likely to buy these in order to get our kids agreeably through the store.

Let me assure you, this is not the case. As a mom whose only option is to take her kids with her to shop, it feels like an assault. And when it becomes more than just one store, it starts to feel like a war against me as a single shopping parent and caregiver.

You are not encouraging me to buy that ridiculous plastic, not locally-made garbage. If it doesn’t get lost by the time we make it home, it will break shortly after because that is what happens to garbage.

To me this seems like a grand gesture to take my business online, where there’s no lines, no car seats and no bribing the kids back to the cart.

My problem is that I really enjoy and believe strongly in supporting local businesses, and I want my kids growing up learning the skills related to it. But you set us all up for failure when you insist on reaching for children’s reptile brains the instant we walk in the store.

I love a good toy aisle whether the store is for kids or not, but no one wins with the toys up front. I want to support my community, but I can’t if I don’t feel supported. I honestly can’t even leave my house. I want to leave feeling supported. I want to leave feeling good. I want to leave feeling like I can’t wait to share my experience with someone else. What do you want me to feel when I leave?

My second prong deals with customer service.

I have two small kids and only one of me. I had to run a “quick errand,” which required grabbing one thing from one of our local specialty stores.

The kids and I were there shortly after they opened. One other customer was in the store, and many service associates were milling about making small talk with each other. I am struggling and it is obvious.

As moms, we have to announce everything we do as a part of our job so it was no secret where I was trying to get the kids to go, and we were still ignored. I eventually got the thing and made it to the register. I was able after what seemed thousands of bribes, threats and pleads of my kids to get away from the amazing toys that lined the front of the store to pay for the thing only to be asked if I needed help to my car.

I left feeling unhelped, unsupported and insulted.

Is it against the rules to have someone ask if we need help with our shopping? Maybe YOU, the person who works in the store, can run and grab the thing while I keep my kids safe?

Don’t you want me leaving feeling happy? Don’t you want me to leave with the feeling of wanting to come back?

To leave with the feeling of wanting to share my experience with others so they can go and have a similar one?

As a community we depend on and rely upon each other.

Living in this modern day affords me alternatives online. What are yours?

Niki Vansice

Freeland

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