The Boss Does Right After A Slur

Jade Moon
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Wednesday - July 25, 2007
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A column I wrote a while back about an employee who had been insulted by a customer generated a fair amount of response from readers, so here’s a follow-up I’m happy to report. The customer had repeatedly called the young woman the “N” word, and the employee was distraught at what she perceived as a lack of support from her boss.

Since then, the management of the establishment informed me the offending customer was told it was unacceptable to abuse the employees, and was asked not to return.

I spoke with the young woman soon after that. She was all smiles, happy with her job and secure in the knowledge that her company was backing her up. I was happy too, not just for her but also because I like shopping at the store where she works. As I’ve indicated in this column before, I’ll go out of my way to support a business that offers superior customer service.

three star

Oh, how times have changed. And when I say that I feel like one of those old timers who constantly reminisce about the way things used to be. But I’ll tell you what I’m talking about and you be the judge.

My family and I were having lunch at Big City Diner the other day when some folks came in and sat in a booth nearby - two women, three kids, one of them a baby.

Now I remember taking my son Zach to restaurants when he was a baby. First rule of motherhood: Bring along an arsenal of distractions. Most moms I know have bulging diaper bags filled with chew toys, big plastic keys, Cheerios and sippy cups or bottles filled with milk or juice. I would also bring one or two of those little plastic picture books - indestructible and educational. Even with all these fun little items babies have an odd tendency to demand attention in sweet little ways - mostly by squawking, crying, trying to escape the high chair and rubbing food into their hair (and Mom’s).

This mother did something you’ll consider either brilliant or seriously misguided. She reached into that big bag of hers and pulled out a portable DVD player. Mom plunked it in front of baby, popped in a disc, and then proceeded to have an animated chat with her friend. Her little tyke did not throw food, fuss or otherwise demand attention. Instead he sat wide-eyed and quiet, completely mesmerized by Baby Einstein. That’s either very weird or very cool, depending on your perspective. I found it fascinating and unsettling.

We have decried the influence television has on our kids. We try to limit the hours they spend sitting in front of the boob tube. And there’s an entire generation of kids growing up who’d rather reach for a Gameboy or Playstation than immerse themselves in a good book. What that mother did could be seen as harmful. Is she creating a media-obsessed child junkie? Is she numbing his growing brain for her own comfort and convenience?

Or is she simply doing what mothers have attempted to do since the dawn of human existence - that is, distracting baby long enough to grab a little much-needed time for herself? That little device certainly did an excellent job of giving her time to pay attention to her friend.

Technology is supposed to make life easier. And it is, for the most part. But easier doesn’t mean less complicated. We have more choices, but are still working out the kinks and discovering the consequences.

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