Everyone has their own parenting styles and their own opinions on how children should be raised. Fine, I get that and, of course, I’m absolutely all for people having their own opinions and feeling that they need to express them. Voicing them to strangers though?
I’m not a parent and, hopefully, I won’t be for quite some time. However, I got extremely offended in this particular situation.
A mother and her two younger children (boy and a girl, I want to say between 8-11?) where in my store this morning. I was talking to the mother about the new Skylander’s Giants that’s coming out in the fall while her kids were talking to each other about the 3DS games they were looking at.
Meanwhile, an older woman (late 40s?) is circling my gift card rack oddly slowly, shaking her head. I approached her to see if she needed assistance and, instead of saying “No”, she simply looked at me for a good 3 seconds, then looked back down to the gift cards, stared for another 3 seconds and picked one. Saying nothing, she passed me and walked up to the counter. Ok…
I love rude, condescending customers.
While ringing her up, she decides it’s time to voice her opinion, which went something like this:
“You know, I’m only buying this giftcard for my nephew because his mother specifically asked me to get it. I don’t support these…video games. Honestly, I can’t understand how parents can stoop to reducing the intelligence of their children with these stupid things. If it were up to me, the industry would be in the ground, and parents who supported it would be in jail.”
Anyone who knows me can tell you how much of an extremest I am when it comes to freedom of speech, individualism, and having such a lovely freedom as to have your own opinion. You don’t support video games? That’s fine, you don’t have to. Don’t play them. You don’t think children should play video games? That’s fine, don’t buy them for your children. But can we try not to directly insult the girl doing her job to help you out and the poor mother who just got absolutely burned in front of her children?
I was raised not to let people treat me that way. But…I’m an assistant store manager in a customer service job. Well played universe…so, my response was as controlled as I could make it:
“Well, considering it’s none of my business how other people choose to raise their children, I’m going to sell you this giftcard and hope your nephew has a wonderful time picking out a game for himself the next time he comes to a GameStop. I have to say though, touche to his mother for having you purchase this for him. *smile* I wrote a thesis on the impacts of familial, communal, and school environments on internalizing and/or externalizing problems among child and adolescent. He’ll be just fine. Have a great day.”
Then, I walked over to help the now-smiling mother of two, taking note to the woman staring where I had just been standing…blankly.
Honestly. If you want to play, I’m down, but you’re going to actually have to have some game.
In all seriousness, though. I love video games in all aspects. More often than not, I feel guilty selling certain games to kids even with parental approval, and disapprove myself on such a sale (i.e. Grand Theft Auto/Saints Row/etc to any child below the age of at LEAST 16). The ESRB rating system is in place for things like that, though. I can also appreciate the parents who limit the amount of games/time they allow their children to play, especially if the child is young. However, every parent is different; every child is different; every aspect of our lives as human beings differ from one second to the next when compared to the lives of those around us. I think people with the view that this particular woman had are ignorant and cruelly misinformed.
Generalized, playing video games do not lower the intelligence of the consumer. Perhaps if you never step away from your gaming system, read a book, eat some fruits and veggies, drink some milk, go for a jog, socialize, or sleep…well, I’m not even getting into that. That’s a whole different post.
That mother should have walked up to her and punched her in her mouth.
But that’s just my opinion.