Mar 31, 2015

It's All About ME ME ME! - my encounter with an adult temper tantrum

“Get out of my way.  Can't you see, I'm more important than you!”  

“I'm sure you don't mind.  You don't have anything better to do than wait right?”

“It's OK if I take all these right?  I was first anyway!”

It would be almost understandable if you heard a child say these things, but as adults we are held to a much higher standard of courtesy. I'm not sure whether some people understand how rude and inconsiderate they are being or if they just don’t care.

Two years ago I wrote about the greediness of the guests at the Catalpa Oaks Marshmallow Drop. I mean who needs 100 dirty marshmallows? I don't know! All I know is my daughter and several other children walked away with either one or none. What a disappointment on Easter.

I recently had a very upsetting experience with another selfish type of person, who ironically, thought the same of me. We attend a facility that provides customers with changing rooms.  Sometimes the rooms fill up, no biggie. Soon rooms open up. But some families get dressed, then leave their things in the changing room to participate in the activity and come back to their room, rendering a perfectly good changing room unusable for the duration of the activity!

The situation has been ongoing for some time. Some weeks abandoned belongings occupy up to three changing rooms.  It is incredibly frustrating for us and other families who have to wait longer because people lack a bit of courtesy. The business speaks to these families to discourage this, but it continues to happen every week.

So, with two little ones, I choose not to wait on empty rooms. I use "reserved” rooms. On several occasions, I have taken belongings out and set them on a nearby bench. However on one particular time, the belongings of the family in question were spread out in the room.

As I started to get my girls dressed, the family came back and explained that this was their room and asked if I could pass their belongings out.  I explained that I was helping my daughter get dressed and they would have to wait until I was done.  When I had a break, I held their bag over the top of the door.  It was literally ripped out of my hand, pulling my shoulder … dang that hurt!  I let out an “ouch”.

The couple demanded the rest of the belongings. I explained very calmly that it would have to wait, as I was getting my kids dressed and I didn't want to risk further injury.  The man got very angry. He demanded his stuff and threatened to come in after the count of three if I didn't comply!  I told him my girls were not dressed and that would be invading our privacy.  That didn’t matter to him.  He popped his head over the top of the door and began to yell at me.  

I was in shock! He then began to call me names and swear at me, all while his child was waiting. He was behaving as if the world was going to end!  He then took an item of ours that was on the floor and the girls started to cry.  I explained it was no big deal, we would get the item back.  (We did end up finding the item stuffed in a cubby. Maturity at its finest.)

The man then decided to stand on the bench in the stall next to us and taunt us (all the time watching my children get dressed) until we left.

The mom then tells me her child was waiting for the room.  I told her, "I'm sorry, I didn't know if you’d be back soon or not.  It’s written clearly on the door, ‘Please be courteous to our other guests and remove your belongings from the changing rooms when they are not in use.’  Next time, don't leave your stuff in the room." She replied, “You could’ve at least passed the things along.”  I told her, “I did until I was hurt in the process, but it certainly isn't my responsibility to move your things.”  “My son was waiting”, she said.  “So were my girls. I don't understand how your son is more important than my girls” I replied.

All the while, I was cool, calm, collected. Never raised my voice.  Never got angry, but literally was shaking inside. I even held the door open for said family on the way out.

The father said, “I'm sorry but you should have given us our stuff.” (Even kids are taught it’s not really an apology when you use the word "but"!)

“Next time, don't leave your stuff in the changing room”, I replied.

“My wife only stepped out for a minute.”


“Next time, I will just have to wait in the room then.”

“Sounds like a plan!”

So here we are back to “I am more important than you” ... right?  Because you’re going to get your stuff in an empty room and save it until you are ready to use it, all while people wait.  Even if it's only a couple of minutes … it's still the same concept:  ME FIRST.

But the best and final parting words he said, "You should try going to church more often". My incredulous reply was, "Dude, it's Sunday, and you are here too."

At times I see that I have room for improvement in the area of courtesy.  I sometimes get angry, or I’m in a hurry, get distracted and I find myself oblivious to what’s going on, fully immersed in a "Me First" moment.  It happens to us all, right?

You have a choice to make every moment, every day.  Do you take as much as life will give you without regard to the others around you?  Does this build a strong community?  Is this how you want to raise your children? Is this how you want to be treated?  What kind of person do you strive to be?

We need to consciously think about our actions and how they affect those around us.  Being courteous isn't a natural act: it’s something one has to think about. To form a habit, that habit must be practiced to be maintained.  Courtesy lifts not only the person to whom it is extended, it raises the community and has the added bonus of lifting the person giving it.

"No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted." - Aesop

Metro Detroit Mommy Writer:


  1. oh wow!! just..WOW!! I worked at a very high end jewelry store about 15 years ago. A woman I was helping threw a fit because, with her discount, she didn't end up spending as much as she wanted to spend on a gift. She started SCREAMING at me, in the middle of the busy store! She was calling me names and threw the 'do you know who my husband is' card at me., I don't know who you're husband is but I can bet he'd be humiliated by how you're acting right now. Thankfully, one of the owners who saw how distressed I was becoming came and took over. But sheesh..people and their holier-than-thou attitudes. They need to get over themselves!

    1. That is HORRIBLE Melissa. I worked in the service industry for many many years. Luckily, I only ran into a few people that rattled my cage. I think I was a lot more sassy in my youth... (there's another story for another day).
      Again, don't know if people are aware of themselves and just don't care, or if they are ignorant of how their actions are affecting others. Thanks for sharing your story!

  2. OH. MY. GOD.
    Talk about total disrespect. If the establishment clearly posts the "warning" signs, then why don't they take the items out of the stalls and put them on benches when someone violates the rules? I know this would necessitate an additional in the locker rooms, but seriously, someone has to take responsibility for this type of person ruining everyone else's experience. I would think a note attached to maybe a small bulletin board on the door saying something like, "Your belongings were removed from changing room "A", by the administration of "ABC establishment", because they were left unattended. They are being held at the front desk. When you retrieve them, your name will be noted. If this continues to be a problem, you will be asked not to use the changing rooms in the future." or something along that line of thinking. I'm sorry, but locker rooms are locker rooms and everyone sees everyone. Even little children need to learn to deal with that. I used to take my girls into a remote corner and hold a towel up as a make-shift changing room, then change myself, in full view. WHATever. IMHO.
    I think you handled it well.

    1. At this facility there is no locker room... it's just a bunch of individual changing rooms in a public space. The business has been addressing this for several weeks. Employees do move belongings, but they do not monitor the rooms.

      However, I don't think it appropriate for a stranger to watch my little girls get dressed. Male or female. Especially since the changing rooms imply a certain sense of privacy.
      Not everyone is comfortable with being undressed in front of others. Nor should they be forced into that situation if they are not comfortable, especially in a heated situation such a the incident I explained in this post.

      Thank you so much for taking the time to read and respond to my post.

  3. Please tell me you complained to management before you left?! Seriously, not only was that an invasion of privacy, but that could also be a liability issue to the business. Did that guy not realize you could have slapped him with a sexual harassment suit since he decided to watch your female minors get changed? Even for a moment? Just the fact that he peered over a privacy wall would count.

    That adds to your point that some people are oblivious to the most basic rules of common sense. He was so caught up in his own superiority complex, that he didn't even realize the severity of his actions. Not to mention his wife. She was right there when he did this? Hell, if my husband started doing something like that, his ass would have been in so much trouble.

    1. Jackie, yes I did speak with the management. They spoke with the family before we all left.
      I really regret not even thinking of calling the police while it was happening or after I had gotten them changed. That bully should not have gotten away with this behavior. Even as we were leaving, he still felt he was right... CRAZY.
      As for his wife.. he probably bullies her too, so standing up to her husband for a complete stranger was probably not on the list of things to do for the day, no matter what the situation. Just sad that they are raising their son with this as an example of acceptable behavior.

  4. Unbelievable!! And for a man to think it was ok to peer into an area with unclothed children (especially when he heard they were girls) - pretty disturbing! Good for you for holding your cool and dealing with both of those people - I am not sure I would have been able to handle myself as maturely even though I would have tried for the sake of my daughter being there. Usually in these situations I use it as a learning tool and open discussion for us to talk as a family to prevent her from ever acting that way and how she should handle a situation like that. Hugs to you hon!

    1. Rosa was asking about the situation as it was happening.. we did also talk about it afterwards. We talked about the way it made is feel and how we didn't want to make others feel that way. We also discussed ways we can show kindness to others.
      Sarah, I don't think I could ever imagine your daughter becoming unhinged like this. You have done such a great job raising a lovely young lady, and you set a great example!
      Thanks for taking the time to read and comment!

  5. Wow ... that's a crazy situation. Glad you stayed calm though.